LinkedIn

Hidden Secrets of LinkedIn – Tagging

Now that LinkedIn has been around a good while – over 10 years – most people I come across are on it. Some are very active, some aren’t.  There are few features of LinkedIn, though, that even the most active users don’t seem to be aware of.  Here’s one very useful one:

Tagging

Did you know you can tag your contacts?  Tagging your contacts makes it easy to filter them by different categories and easy to send a quick group message.

Many of your contacts are automatically tagged when you connect, based on the invitation you sent.  If you said they were a colleague in the invitation, they’ll be marked as such.

But you can add tags too.  You can create up to 200 unique tags.  Do you want to quickly be able to see just your contacts who are recruiters?  Or, people you know through a particular professional association? Create the tag, and then tag your contacts.

To see what tags you currently have, go to your list of connections. The left hand column will look something like this:

LinkedIn tags

Next to the word ‘Tags’ is the word ‘manage’.  Click ‘manage’ and you’ll be able to add any tags you like.

For example, I created an ‘HR’ tag, a ‘recruiters’ tag and a ‘consultants’ tag.  If I want to make a referral, I can quickly scroll through them to find the right one to refer to.

You have to mark each person with the tags you create.  This can be a time consuming process, but worth it. To do this, click on a contact.  Their details will show in the right hand column.  Now, click on ‘edit tags’, mark the tags you like, and save.  See below.

LinkedIn tagging

As you accept new invitations, you’ll want to tag people right away.  Trust me, it’s easier this way.

Once you’ve tagged your contacts, when you click on that tag in the left hand column, you’ll see only the people with those tags.  In the right hand column, you’ll see the words ‘Send message’.  To send a group message, just click this.  A new message window will pop up, pre-populated with their names.  Now compose and send.

That’s it!  It may look a little complicated here, but after you’ve done it a time or two, you’ll find it easy.

Advertisements

Managing your virtual brand

In a recent post, I asked if you’ve Googled yourself.  If you haven’t yet, you should.  See what is showing up about you online. Is it what you want people to see?  Is it even about you? Sometimes what you’ll find at the top of “your” search results are links to people with the same or similar name who have done things you don’t want to be known for.  I’ve addressed previously why this can be damaging, so I won’t replay that tape.

If this is happening to you, or you don’t know how you’re showing up online, what can you do?  One option is: do the legwork yourself.

1)  Google yourself, and look at the results beyond page 1; conduct several searches using various forms of your name if you have them, locations and other indicators which may pull different results to the top.

2)  Search for yourself on any social platform you’re a part of.

3)  Bury negative or out-of-date information by creating newer, positive content and generate links to it.  LinkedIn is a great way to do this, since LinkedIn results in general almost always show up on page 1 of a Google search of a name.  Update your profile, share your profile with contacts, invite new contacts to connect, share a LinkedIn update with a link to your blog or personal website, if you have one.  All of these will help “good” content move in on top of “bad” content.

4)  Address false or damaging content with providers if possible.  Occasionally, you will find that online content providers and platforms will remove data if you can show that it’s incorrect or damaging.  For example, someone created a fake profile in your name with your information all over it, but their content. How online providers handle this varies greatly, but it’s worth a shot if there is something truly harmful to your reputation out there.  Do be careful about who you contact, and what information you provide to “confirm” your identity.  If it’s a big name like LinkedIn, you’re fine.  If it’s a company you’ve never heard of, check out their reputation by Googling them along with the word ‘complaint’ and looking at sites like RipoffReport.com or Pissedconsumer.com.

Another option is: get help.  There are many companies who will clean up your online reputation for you, for some pretty nice fees. This will definitely save you time if not money. Again, do your research to make sure you will get what you pay for. Getting recommendations from friends is best if you can manage.

There is also a free online product that a friend recently told me about: Brandyourself.com.  I have not used it myself, but checked them out online, and think they’re worth a look. They have a free account option, and of course a paid account option if you want more support.  Even if, after checking them out, you decide to do it yourself, they’ve got some great articles on their blog that I think you’ll find useful.

What other tools or resources do you recommend for managing your brand?

Career Wellness Checkup #15

So you’re on social media.

How well are you managing your brand?

Whether you’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs or anything else, you need to realize that every word you write, every picture you share and every connection you make becomes part of your brand.

Here are few tips for actively managing your brand in a way that’s healthy for your career:

1)  Stay engaged. Update, comment, share, tweet or retweet regularly.  When you do, it reminds people that you’re there and often leads them back to your profile.

2) Keep your content aligned with your brand.  If you randomly share anything and everything, you will dilute your brand.  If you’re a tech person, share mostly on tech topics. If you’re a finance person, share mostly on finance. That doesn’t mean you should never color outside the lines but maintain the right balance. A little bit creates interest and dimension. Too much creates confusion.

3) Like, comment on or share content of others with relevant content.  People appreciate it when you share what they say and bring attention to their brand. If they like your content, they may reciprocate. 

4) Stay current.  You are always changing and growing.  Therefore, your profiles and what you share should change too. Read your profile on a regular basis and adjust as needed.

Let your Skills do the talking on LinkedIn

Last year, I wrote a post about creating a robust profile on LinkedIn.  It’s time to update that because of the  new(ish) LinkedIn feature called Skills.  It has been in beta testing for a long time, and technically still is, but I believe it’s here to stay.  LinkedIn has incorporated it into the initial profile building process.  For those of you who joined LinkedIn a year ago or more, you didn’t get pushed through this process automatically, but it is easy to remedy that now.

The Skills feature has great functionality which benefits recruiters, job seekers and passive candidates alike.  Recruiters in particular, who have access to special features as part of upgraded/focused account types, can and do “power search” in the Skills feature.   This will only work to your advantage if you have skills listed!

Here’s one quick way to identify relevant skills and add them to your profile:

  • Under the More menu, click on Skills
  • In the search box, enter a primary skill that you use in your work (or otherwise possess) and search…
  • On the resulting page, read the description of that skill in the center column and look at the people listed below to see whether this skill is a good “match” for your profile — consider your professional brand.
  • If so, click on the blue Add Skill button.  This skill will now show on your profile.
  • Check out the list of related skills in the column on the left.  Click any which may be a fit, and repeat the process above.  You will soon have a robust set of skills on your profile.

How to mine the Companies feature on LinkedIn

I promised this post a long time ago, and have not tackled it until now because there is simply too much good stuff there and it’s hard to whittle down!  However, to be readable, I really must make it short and sweet.  So, here are my top five tips on using the Companies information on LinkedIn:

1. Find your target companies and “follow” them

Why: Updates about the company will show up on your home page.  You can keep up-to-date with what is happening in their business, including posted jobs, and be attuned to changes that may be to your benefit, for example, if someone was promoted, perhaps their position will need to be backfilled. 

How: On the company page, click on the yellow Follow button.

2. Review the company statistics.

Why: You can get a general sense of tenure, what functions may have a significant presence on LinkedIn, where the company has employees and more.  

How: Click on the link that says “Check out insightful statistics about…”

3. Review the list of employees.

Why: You won’t be able to see all employees generally, but can review enough to see what titles they use, where people in various functions are located, get a sense for company specific lingo and more.

How: Click on the blue (hyperlinked) number next to the phrase Employees on LinkedIn.

4. Find a contact.

Why: Well, why are you looking?  Is it because you are seeking information or an introduction? In either of these cases, your best bet is going to be someone who is already in your extended network.

How: Click on the lists of folks at the company who are in your network or are fellow alumni. Consider how close of a connection they are, what function or geography they work in, what level they are and so on to determine who best to reach out to.

5. Prepare for interviews (or networking meetings.) 

Why: This one’s obvious. There is a bounty of information at your fingertips.  Shame on you if you go in unprepared.  Doing your research shows you have genuine interest (as well as good research skills).  

How: Review everything possible on the company page including the things mentioned above.  Review the profile, if available, of the people you will meet with as well as others in the department by searching for their name in the main Search box or in the employee list.

I have just scratched the surface with these five tips, but if you use these, it will provide leverage to expand and enhance your networking and job search activities.This is the kind of insight that people in the past would give their right arm for.  Don’t waste the knowledge you can gain through a few clicks.  Knowledge is power.   

 

Find your tribe: LinkedIn groups

After a nice little summer break, I’m back.  In my last post, I said I would next begin covering intermediate LinkedIn functions, so here goes!

Would you like to connect with other like-minded professionals?  No matter where they are located? 

Looking for contacts in a particular company?

Hate networking a room? 

Looking to expand your knowledge? 

Would you like to become better known in your “niche”?

There are many reasons to join LinkedIn groups.  To a great extent, they mirror the reasons to join any group: to share or gather information, to meet people with common interests, to be part of something larger than yourself, to help others.  The reasons go on and on.   But there are over 900,000 groups on LinkedIn!  How do you find the right ones?

Here are some quick tips that can help you find and use LinkedIn groups to achieve your goals:

Find relevant groups

  • Look at what groups your connections belong to
  • Go to the Groups Directory and use the search function to find groups within your industry or profession
  • Find the LinkedIn group for any professional associations you already belong to
  • Find the Alumni group for your alma mater

 

Assess and join

  • Determine whether a group is a fit for you by reading the group description, looking at highlighted members and, if it’s an open group, reading some of the discussion 
  • Look for both quality (in terms of the content) and quantity (in terms of the members and activity).  The bigger the group, the more access you will have to information and contacts; however, small niche groups with whom you will have a lot of interaction can be very valuable as well
  • You can join up to 50 groups, though you don’ t need nearly that many to get the value you seek.  Find 2-4 that you will be very active with and approximately 10 more which give you some variety, but are still relevant  

Engage in meaningful activity

  • Now that you’ve found the right groups, jump right in! One of the beauties of online groups is that people get down to business without much small talk, or long introductions 
  • Add value.  Share your expertise or raise relevant issues through the discussions and comments. This will drive more meaningful conversation
  • Post, share (or apply for) related jobs
  • If you are seeking a new position, find contacts within your target companies and even target location using the search function
  • Encourage others!  Everybody likes to be encouraged and it builds relationships
  • Once meaningful contact is established, consider taking a network contact “offline”.  If it makes sense, you may want to deepen the professional relationship by meeting for coffee, talking by phone, or connecting at a conference

Groups are a great shortcut for networking and building your professional brand.  Use the tips above to get started today!

Summer celebration a success

Thank you to those who subscribed to the blog during my summer celebration!  That was fun and I’ll definitely do it again in the future. Congrats to those who received a free profile review.  What a great investment of your time to focus on refining your online brand. 

In my next post, I’ll delve further into intermediate features of LinkedIn.  In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Summer celebration – free profile review!

I love summer!  It’s a time to get outdoors, spend time with family and enjoy a little relaxation and renewal.  Speaking of renewal, it’s also a good time to refresh your LinkedIn profile.  

In celebration of summer, I am announcing a “giveaway”: a free LinkedIn profile review to the first 10 new subscribers after this post is published.  The subscription itself is free – all you have to do is click the button on the blog that says, “Yes, review my profile!” and you will begin receiving notifications via email of new posts.  I don’t post every day, so I promise not to clutter up your inbox. 

Once I confirm your subscription, I will reach out via email and ask you to provide me the URL to your public profile.  Then, after my review, I’ll follow up and share my feedback.  It’s that simple!

Thanks for reading and subscribing.  Enjoy your summer!

LinkedIn recommendations: recommended

To have or not to have?  That is the question (apologies to Shakespeare.)  

In my book, there is absolutely no doubt.  Have. 

There are people who argue against LinkedIn recommendations and their argument goes something like this: “Who would include bad recommendations?  Of course they are all going to be good.  Therefore, they cannot be trusted and are of no value.”

These cynics are partially correct.  It’s true that you won’t find a negative recommendation about someone on their own LinkedIn profile.  Why would they include such a thing?  And, are there many recruiters and hiring managers who don’t put much value on recommendations, or even read them?  Yes, there are. 

However, the points in favor of including recommendations on your profile outweigh the points against.  As I mentioned in my post Power of the profile, they can be beneficial if done right.  I’ll outline below some reasons to include recommendations, as well as provide a few pointers in making your recommendations work for you. 

Why you should include recommendations on your LinkedIn profile:

  • Without at least 3 recommendations, your profile will not reach 100% completeness.  This negatively affects where you show up in search results.  Say, for example, that a recruiter does a search for profiles which match certain criteria. Do you want to give yourself the best odds you can? Of course you do.  Consider this quote from the LinkedIn Help Center:                                                                                          

 “Users with Recommendations in their profiles are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries through searches on LinkedIn. Recommendations written about you are visible to members within your network and also to Fortune 500 companies that use the LinkedIn Recruiter corporate tool.”

  • Many recruiters actually do read those recommendations.  And, they look at who wrote them.  If you have a recommendation from a former manager talking about your amazing Java skills and you are branding yourself as a web-based software developer, do you think this will help or hurt the recruiter’s impression of you? 
  • A recommendation of you shows up on the profile of the person who made it.  This gives you additional exposure and the chance to be found by someone who may be looking for someone just like you. 

Here’s how to make the most of your recommendations:

  • Ask for recommendations from people with strong professional reputations who know your work first-hand.  Having a variety of current or former managers, clients, colleagues and employees is a good idea.  Also, recommendations on your most recent work experience is usually best, but it is advisable to have at least one from each job or company in the last several years.
  • Ask them to be specific about some of your skills or achievements.  Saying “he’s a great guy; really enjoyed working with him” is not nearly as helpful as “he was my go-to guy for creating impactful marketing plans under tight deadlines.”  You may even tell them you are trying to highlight your skills in a certain area, and ask them to write about those.
  • Obtain a minimum of 3 recommendations.  You don’t need to go overboard – 30 recommendations is not necessarily better than 10.  Think quality vs. quantity, but at least have 3.

It’s that simple!

To get some recommendations from your preferred connections, simply ask.  Also, consider proactively providing one for them.  You never know when it might help them, and perhaps they will return the favor.  Be professionally generous and it will come back to you.

Power of the profile

For most people, LinkedIn is the first website referenced in a Google search of their own name. This makes their LinkedIn profile their #1 marketing tool.  How can they make it work for them?  How can you make yours work for you?

A great profile can sell you.  A weak one can sink you.  Whether you are in an active job search, being scouted by the competition, in consideration as a guest speaker or a possible network contact, what people see when they look at your profile will affect whether they reach out to you.   This is your “brand” laid out visually. So, here are some basics on building a powerful profile:

Know Who You Are

Professionally, that is.  Know your strengths, skills, areas of knowledge.  Which stand out?  What are you exceptionally good at?  Of these things, which do you enjoy the most and are the most marketable?   What are some key achievements of yours?  These are questions you should have asked as you built your resume if you have done so recently.  The answers will help you define your profile content. In fact, your profile should include similar information to your resume.

Use Keywords

Searches on LinkedIn produce results based on keyword hits.  Therefore, you want keywords that describe your experience, skills, knowledge and abilities integrated throughout your profile.  What keywords might a potential employer search by?  Read job descriptions for roles that interest you (even if you are not in a job search.)  This will give you some ideas. 

Sections

Here are brief recommendations on what to include in the main sections of your profile:

Summary –  A concise overview which includes an overarching “branding” message – communicate immediately what functional area of expertise you possess and at what level.  Highlight some experience, skills or capabilities or combination thereof which you possess and are your key “selling points”.   Are you a talented software architect with really strong interpersonal and presentation skills?  Say so.  Have you led teams on high visibility projects?  Ditto.

Specialties –  This is the place to list or bullet all the tangible knowledge areas or skills you want to highlight.  Focus first on hard skills then soft skills but only if they distinguish you in some way.  Do not list “team-player”.  In a recent study, this was the most over-used adjective on LinkedIn.  This distinguishes you from no one. 

Experience –  As in your resume, list employers, position titles, a brief description of your overall responsibility (one sentence) and then bullet out a few achievements that illustrate your best skills.  Only detail out the last 10-15 years or whatever is relevant.  Do not go back to the beginning of time.  If you had a big gap somewhere in there, either do not go beyond it, or understand that it will raise questions.   

Education –  List relevant formal education, leaving dates and other details out if you think they may hurt you.

Other –  There are a number of other areas you can complete such as Awards and Personal information.  Remember, only include that which is relevant and which you want people to know and be able to share about you.  Some things like marital status and your physical address, for example, really do not need to be completed on your LinkedIn profile. 

What Not to Include

Information that is irrelevant or even detrimental to you as a potential employee, consultant, speaker, reference…you get the picture.  Interests outside the workplace that are highly charged such as religion or politics – be aware these can hurt you.  If you wish to join Groups that are polarizing – just don’t “show” the group on your profile (can be changed in Settings or Edit Profile page).  More about this in a future post.

Uploading Your Resume

Though you may choose to, you do not need to upload your resume and make it available through an app such as Box.net.  Keyword searches don’t search these, so you won’t produce any hits this way, and you lose control over your document, as others can print, save or share your document without you ever knowing.  Anything you do choose to upload and make available on your profile, save it as a .pdf.  This won’t make it impossible to change your document, if the individual has the right software, but it does make it less likely. 

Applying the suggestions above will help you begin creating a powerful profile.  This is a start.  In the next post, I’ll talk about recommendations and the benefits of getting your profile to 100% completeness.