Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn Tips’

The Upside of Change: No More Automatic Group Member Connections on LinkedIn

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On October 1, 2014, LinkedIn unceremoniously eliminated a widely relied-upon function: the ability to connect with anyone with whom you share a group, without needing to know their email address.

Before October, if you wanted to connect with someone on LinkedIn with whom you shared a group, you would see a dropdown that looked like this:

Now, the dropdown is one item shorter:

While some LinkedIn members are postulating that the loss of automatic group member connections is a technical glitch that will be resolved, I’m assuming for now that it’s a permanent game changer.

LinkedIn experts have recommended for years that you join the maximum number of LinkedIn group (50) so that you can easily expand your network. This reason for group membership seems to have disappeared.

Or has it?

The fact is, the people in your groups are still pre-filtered for shared interests and so you might still want to make the effort to connect with them. Just because you need their email address doesn’t mean you have to give up on building your network! Groups are still a great place to interact with valuable contacts, share information, and ask and answer questions. You can still do all that!

The elimination of the automatic group connection feature might actually have an upside. Let’s say there’s someone in a group you want to connect with. What should you do?

First, look in their Contact Information section or their Summary for their email address. If you find it there, you can easily enter it when prompted. Next, if you know what company they work for, Google them at their company. Or Google anyone at the company and you might be able to model your new contact’s email address on someone else’s. For instance, if you find an address like JaneSmith@Company.com, you can guess that your contact’s email address is JohnBrown@Company.com.

If those options fail, you now must send an actual *message* to the person! It’s free though. There are two ways to do this:

Option #1

From Discussions, click on the member’s photo or name link to see that member’s activity.

You will be taken to that member’s group Activity summary page. Click the “Follow” drop down menu on the right and select “Send message.”

Option #2

Go to the group page and click on the number of members at the top right of the page.

Search for the member you want to message.

Then click the “Send message” link under their title.

Your message might read something like this:

Dear John, I was impressed by your contribution to the discussion in the Job Hunt group about HR practices in pharmaceutical companies. I would love to speak with you further about this topic and would be honored if you would provide me with your email address so I can send you an invitation to join my network! I would be happy to arrange a phone call as a starting point.

Yes my dear social-media-savvy, you might have to interact with another human being before adding them as another number on your connection list.

What I’m suggesting is that LinkedIn may have done us all a favor by forcing us to work a bit to connect with people whom we don’t really know even though we share a group. What do you think about this idea?

Remember again that group membership is valuable for many reasons, not just for ease of connecting with group members. Smaller, more local group in particular provide a forum for you to become a thought leader in your niche.

If you participate enthusiastically enough, it’s likely that other people will do the work of finding *your* contact information and send you requests to connect, rather than the other way around!

What do you see as the impact of the “loss” of this connection feature? I’d love to hear your opinion.

Harrassed on LinkedIn®? Take these steps to prevent and stop it now.

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There’s no question that social media, including LinkedIn®, can expose you to unwanted attention, whether it be spam messages or actual threats. I’ve received some inappropriate emails myself (thankfully nothing threatening or truly stalker-like). But not everyone is so lucky. I have had many people share with me their fear about posting a photo or profile on LinkedIn® due to the possibility that they might be followed in an unwelcome way.

I am grateful to my colleague Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D. for providing tips on how to investigate followers before they become a problem. She credits Robin Schlinger for some of this information as well. Here is some of what she suggests:

Check the person’s photo.

  1. Right click on any profile image and copy the image location.
  2. Next, run that photo through “Google Images” (https://images.google.com/). You can find it by typing “google images” into your browser. Click the camera icon and paste in the image URL. Now you can find some things out.
  3. Look for red flags:
  • Stock photo. That wholesome-looking woman, it turns out, wasn’t really an Apple Computer VP!
  • Stolen photo. The photo is of someone living, such a military-man or Miss World Philippines contestant, or of someone deceased (hey, that’s the late President of Zaire!)

Check out the rest of the general “picture”:

  1. Run the email address you find under the connection’s Contact Info through Google. Did it come up as a known email address associated ONLY with a scammer/spammer?
  2. Run the connection’s name through Google. What turned up?
  3. Run the name AND the email address through Google. Sometimes that is what turns up information that will make you glad you took this extra 5 minutes.

Hopefully this due diligence will prevent some unwanted connections. But sometimes there are bigger issues of LinkedIn® users abusing their connected status to stalk other users. Due to the upswing in complaints regarding this problem, on February 20, 2014, LinkedIn® implemented a member blocking feature.

Blocking a member allows you to completely remove your profile from that connection’s view, and theirs from yours. In addition, says LinkedIn®:

  • You won’t be able to message each other on LinkedIn.
  • If you’re connected, you won’t be connected anymore.
  • We’ll remove any endorsements and recommendations from that member
  • You won’t see each other in your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”
  • We’ll stop suggesting you to each other in features such as “People You May Know” and “People also Viewed”

How to block a LinkedIn® member

To block someone, visit their profile and hover over the down arrow to the right of the message button and click “Block or report.”

You will then get a popup window with options to block this person or report them or both. If you choose to report them, you will need to provide a reason for doing so. Note that you do not need to disconnect from your contact first; blocking them automatically disconnects you.

Once you have blocked someone, their name will appear on your block list. You can view the list by visiting your Privacy & Settings under “Manage who you’re blocking.” From here you can also unblock members, should you choose to do so.

For more information on how the blocking feature works, including how to block from within a group environment, visit LinkedIn®’s Help Center article, “Member Blocking – Overview.”

Take additional privacy precautions

Of course, ideally we would never want to have to block anyone, so take Rabbi Karpov’s advice to heart! In addition, here are a few more things you can do to protect your privacy:

  1. Only accept connections from people you know. LinkedIn® is a great supporter of this philosophy; however, there is a trade-off between maintaining a small number of reputable connections and broadening your network (and thus increasing your leads) by connecting with people outside of your circle.
  2. Change your settings under Privacy & Settings so that only those who know your email address or are in your imported contacts list can send you invitations (Go to Privacy & Settings, Communications tab, and “Select who can send you invitations”).
  3. Go to Privacy & Settings, Profile tab, and click on “Select who can see your connections” where you will have an option to prevent others from seeing see your network. This will prevent your 1st degree connections from seeing exactly how many connections you have; otherwise they will be able to get past the “500+” and see both your exact number of connections and who those connections are.

None of these alternative actions is a perfect solution and you still may encounter unwanted attention on LinkedIn®. If you do, it is your prerogative to block the offending member. You may also want to report any harassment to the LinkedIn® Corporation; and if necessary, please seek legal counsel.

Have you experienced harassment on LinkedIn®? How did you handle it? What precautions will you take in the future? Please share below!

Is It Time to Subscribe to LinkedIn® Premium?

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You may have noticed some changes in the look and feel of many LinkedIn® profiles lately. Some members have a simple blue background, while others have a true profile background complete with images representing them or their company. Here’s what the blue background looks like:

ross-dabrow2

And here’s a sample of a profile background using one of LinkedIn®’s templates (click on the picture for David’s blog):

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And here’s one that the member created:

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Is it just me or is LinkedIn® starting to look more and more like Facebook?

One difference is that currently, for anyone with a fancy profile background on LinkedIn®, the word “PREMIUM” appears to the far right of the member’s name. Click on PREMIUM and you will be brought to LinkedIn®’s Premium Services Page. Businesses can subscribe for $23.99/month, $47.99/month or $74.99/month with an annual subscription, while job seekers have options of $19.99/month, $29.99/month and $59.99/month. My unscientific observation is that more and more people are subscribing to LinkedIn® Premium.

As someone whose job it is to be up on the latest and greatest on LinkedIn®, I have been seriously considering whether I need to upgrade myself so that my profile looks as good as all those other Premium profiles. I checked out some other LinkedIn experts’ profiles, however, and discovered that they still have free memberships. So I wasn’t about to bite the monthly premium bullet quite yet.

Then, this week, I found out that non-paying members can still get at least some of the benefits of LinkedIn®’s new profile look. You will be happy to know that LinkedIn® has created a way for non-premium members to request early access to its new design features.

This opportunity is reminiscent of the one offered a few months ago to request early access to LinkedIn for Publishing Long-Form Posts. I applied for that and access was granted. I have now applied for access to the new design features and am hopeful I will have that soon.

Although I still believe a free account will get you most of the value you need, I feel it’s only fair to mention that there are still some advantages to LinkedIn® Premium. With LinkedIn® Premium, you will have keywords suggested to you. Also, when you appear in searches, your current and past positions are visible; this information does not appear for non-premium users. You also get an orange “in” symbol that draws attention to your profile. And you have a greater ability to view other people’s profiles, see who has viewed you, and write to whomever you want on LinkedIn®.

If these features are important to you, you might choose to subscribe to a paid package and see if you get value that equals or exceeds the investment. I’m holding out for now … and starting to think about what to put on my profile background when I get access to this new LinkedIn® toy!

Top 7 Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making on LinkedIn®

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It’s July 2014! For me, The Essay Expert, this month marks the 2nd full year that How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn® Profile has been trending as #1 in Amazon’s Business Writing Category. I continue to be very excited about being a best-selling author—and I’m looking forward to my DreamBank presentation on how I got here, coming up on Thursday July 17!14

Part of what’s contributed to the success of How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn® Profile is that I keep updating it with new information and tips. In honor of the book’s anniversary as #1, I thought I’d let you in on some of the mistakes that even the most advanced LinkedIn® users might be making. These are not the ones you see in all the Top 10 lists out on the internet!

1) Giving up on connecting with the right people

What do you do when you do an Advanced search for people on LinkedIn®, get the perfect result, and then run into something like this?

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With the above contact, I searched on the keyword “venture capital,” however, there was no connect button and no way to send him anything but InMail, and LinkedIn® wanted me to upgrade in order to see his profile. Thankfully, when this happens to you, you have two “top secret” options to view someone’s profile even if LinkedIn® tries to block you.

Option A:

This workaround will allow you to connect with anyone on LinkedIn® as long as you can view their headline.

First, copy the person’s first name, last initial and headline into a Google search box and the result that shows up in Google will include the full name:

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Check it out! The LinkedIn® member’s full name shows up and you don’t have to upgrade! Clicked on the link and here’s what appears:

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Notice the Connect button? By clicking on Connect, you can write a brief note to the member and start up a conversation with an invitation request. If the person accepts, you will be able to see his or her full profile – without purchasing a premium account.

Option B:

Another “top secret” trick for when all else fails is to share a person’s profile. Here’s how:

  • First, contact a friend or family member and tell them you will be sending them a message via LinkedIn®.
  • Then, select the People option from the search bar drop down menu:
  • You will likely not have access to the individual’s full name, so if you already know who you want to connect with, try typing their first name and job title into the search bar. Or if you just want to connect with several supply chain managers, type in “supply chain manager” and you will return a full list of people with the same identifying information.
  • Then scroll to find your desired connection, hover over the drop down arrow to the right of the “Send InMail” button, and select “Share”:5
  • Send your message, then check your sent messages and you’ll see there is a link to the profile you just shared.

  • Click on the link and you will be able to read the entire profile and contact the person! Yes it’s kind of like magic.

2) Leaving keywords out of your job titles

Pretty much everyone knows that keywords are a must in your LinkedIn® headline. But not everyone realizes the importance of keywords in your job titles. Don’t get limited in your job title fields by entering your actual job title and nothing else. There’s nothing wrong with a job title, but you have 100 characters to use in those fields. So use them! Any keywords you have identified for your headline will benefit you in the job title fields as well; you will get extra mileage by repeating your keywords as much as is appropriate.

Example #1

Before: Vice President Human Resources

After: Vice President Human Resources | Director of Human Resources | HR Generalist

Example #2

Before: Director of Engineering

After: Director of Engineering ½ Technology Development Manager ½Biomedical Engineer

Example #3

Before: Health & Wellness Educator

After: Health & Wellness Educator ? Corporate Wellness Program and Holistic Health Services

Take a look at your job titles. Are yours optimized for LinkedIn® SEO? If not, go add some keywords!

3) “Appending” your Specialties to your Summary when prompted

If you are a long-time LinkedIn® user, you might still have a separate Specialties section. You’ll know you have this section if you go to your Edit Summary page and it looks like this:

If you see the message in blue prompting you to “Append specialties to summary,” DON’T CLICK! If you do, you will lose out on 500 characters’ worth of keywords or have to cut down your Summary section to add them; and once you delete your Specialties section you won’t be able to add it back.

If you do not have a separate Specialties section, not to worry. You can still use your Summary section to include keywords for searchability in LinkedIn®’s Advanced Search function. You can create a “mock” specialties section within the Summary simply by typing the word “Specialties” and following it with a keyword list; or you can integrate your keywords into your Summary paragraphs.

4) Ignoring the Jobs features

LinkedIn® is pretty much THE place to find a job in today’s marketplace. If you are a company, you need to be advertising job openings there. If you are a job seeker, you need to be looking for jobs there DAILY.

The most obvious place way to post and seek jobs is through the Jobs tab.

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Just by clicking on Jobs, you’ll be given a list of jobs that match the keywords in your profile. But you’ll probably prefer to use the Advanced Search function to find jobs in the geographic area(s) and with the job title(s) that interest you. Here’s a sample search result:

You can save your searches to make it easy to get the latest postings for the jobs you want. And you can apply right from the LinkedIn® site.

It costs $195 to post a job for 30 days on LinkedIn®, and if you use this feature you are likely to get matched with very desirable candidates. If you don’t have the budget to post a job officially, consider posting it in the Jobs Discussions within LinkedIn® groups. You won’t get the same exposure as you would if you posted to Jobs, but some savvy job seekers do look in the Jobs Discussions for openings. Be sure to post any Jobs Discussions in groups where your target market will be members.

5) Not leveraging the Find Alumni feature

We humans get downright silly when it comes to Alumni connections. Perhaps the only thing we are more loyal to than our college is our sports teams. We just trust and love anyone who went to our own college way more than we do anyone else. Therefore, if you are not using the Find Alumni tool on LinkedIn®, you are missing out on getting some seriously preferential treatment. The feature is located under the Network tab.

Use it to find alumni from your own college or high school, or even from other schools. Then send some messages to these folks. They will want to help you!

For more on how to leverage this great tool, see The Best Way to Network with Alumni on LinkedIn on the LinkedIn® Official Blog.

6) Using symbols and formatting that doesn’t translate

The symbols and formatting accepted by LinkedIn® change every day. Pay attention! When you copy any text into your LinkedIn® profile, check to see if it looks the way you want it to look before making it public!

Hint: If you see a formatting trick or symbol you like in someone else’s profile, you can easily and reliably copy and paste it into yours.

7) Keeping it on line

Too many people think that having a LinkedIn® profile and having online conversations is sufficient to build a network and get results. It’s not. The people I’ve given and gotten the most value through LinkedIn® are the people I’ve spoken with on the phone or met in person.

Next time you make a new connection on LinkedIn®, how about picking up the phone and talking to them? Or, if you’re traveling to any city, see who in your network you can meet for coffee. I have met LinkedIn® connections when traveling to Chicago, Austin, San Francisco and more. These connections that have led to opportunities to make presentations and build my business in various ways.

People like to meet people. Don’t forget that there is a human being behind every LinkedIn® profile … and chances are every one of them has a telephone and goes out for coffee dates. Go meet them!

If you learned something from this article – or have another tip you want to share – please comment below!

The Magic LinkedIn® Formula

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My e-book, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn® Profile, enumerates 18 “Mistakes to Avoid” as well as 7 “Bonus Tips.” That’s a total of 25 items that I think are important for every LinkedIn® user to understand and implement (actually more than 25, since many of the chapters have subpoints as well).dreambank

Nevertheless, on Wednesday I will be giving a presentation at American Family Insurance’s DreamBank on “Top Five LinkedIn® Mistakes.” Not 25, but 5.

It’s not easy to choose the top five, but I managed to do it. Not only that, but I even narrowed it down to three general categories. I call this my “Magic LinkedIn® Formula” and even if you’re unable to attend my presentation live on Wednesday, you can benefit from the formula.

Success on LinkedIn® comes down to what I have dubbed the “3 Ls” (not to be confused with the class of students in their third year of law school):

  1. Locatability
  2. Likeability
  3. ALiveness

1. Locatability

If no one finds you on LinkedIn®, there’s not much point in having a profile. Unless you are in a rare situation where you prefer not to appear in LinkedIn® searches, easy locatability means you will get in front of the people searching for someone like you. For job seekers and business owners, being found by a target audience is one big key to success.

Increasing your locatability entails two main actions: 1) putting the right keywords in the right places, and 2) growing your network aggressively and appropriately to at least 500 connections. A combination of well-placed keywords and a robust network is a winning LinkedIn® strategy.

2. Likeability

Just because someone finds you on LinkedIn® doesn’t mean that person will contact you. If your profile is sloppy, incomplete, unfocused, or off target, you will probably be skipped over for someone with a better presentation. If, however, people like what they see, they will be more likely to request a connection or conversation.

Likeability means sounding like a human being and not a robot; listing accomplishments without bragging; having an attractive photo and format; and putting your personality onto the page. The more you distinguish yourself as unique, the more you will encourage valuable interaction.

3. ALiveness

I like to say that having a LinkedIn® profile is like having a gym membership. You only get value from it if you do the work! Sitting on your butt will not get you 6-pack abs … or a new client or job through LinkedIn®.

Aliveness on LinkedIn® includes but is not limited to updating your profile, participating in groups, sharing valuable information, engaging in discussions, and taking relationships off line to the phone or even a coffee shop!

how-to-write-a-killer-linkedin-profileThat’s my Magic LinkedIn® Formula: Locatability, Likeability and ALiveness! Are you using it? If you already are doing everything listed above, great—you are a power LinkedIn® user. In that case, I recommend that you dive more deeply into How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn® Profile for the fine points that will bring your LinkedIn® success up even another level.

I’ll have time for Q&A at my DreamBank presentation on Wednesday, and you get to participate too. What burning questions can I answer about my Magic LinkedIn® Formula and your LinkedIn® profile challenges?

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How to Bring Your Personality into Your LinkedIn Profile!

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I received the following note on LinkedIn® this week from CEO and Creative Director Steve Klinetobe:

“I just finished reading your eBook. Thank you, thank you. Tonight I’m going to read it to the kids. Never too young to start building your network! :)”

This was probably the first LinkedIn® invitation I’ve ever received that made me laugh, and I was jumping up and down in my seat. How great when people can express themselves in their professional communications!

Humor is sorely missing from most people’s LinkedIn® profiles, and to be honest, it’s not always appropriate. But inserting your personality into your profile sure is. One of my clients, sales superstar Anna Wang, wrote in her self-authored profile, “When I’m not bludgeoning quotas with a baseball bat, I can be found rocking out with my band, or parked at a poker table.”

That’s a woman I would want on my sales team!

And Jess Hornyak, Marketing Director at KEVA Sports Center, crafted this paragraph as part of her LinkedIn® Summary:

When I was little, I wanted to drive a garbage truck. Then, I moved to Wisconsin and declared I would be the next Green Bay Packers QB once Brett Favre retired.?No one ever told me “No” (or that girls don’t play in the NFL), but soon after I found art and writing, and hopes of being the next big name in football were passed along to Aaron Rodgers.

Jess’s creativity shines through and would persuade me to consider her seriously for a sports marketing position.

Of course humor is not the only way to express your humanity on LinkedIn®. Take this example from one of The Essay Expert’s clients, a dedicated teacher with a background in HR, whose passion is teaching the “whole child”:

When it comes down to it, children *are* our human resources, and it is imperative to support them to reach their full potential. To that end, educational policy and program development are intensely interesting to me. I believe strongly in differentiation in the classroom, and I believe that this is what we should offer to all of our children.

If your career has taken an unconventional turn, revealing your personality might be particularly useful. Here’s an example from Nick D’Antonio, a law school graduate who decided to change paths (not that I would know anything about that…)

My career path veered off course when I realized I didn’t want to become an attorney (please hold the “How many attorneys” jokes). Of course, I graduated during one of the tougher periods for the employment of early careerists; many like me did what was required to remain independent and hopefully make in-roads into a career.

It wasn’t until recently when introspection led to the conclusion that what I’ve done all along has been to build a reputation for promoting customer satisfaction through exceptional service, and a steady flow of repeat business. Not multi-million dollar repeat business – yet – but garnering repeat business taught me the power of the personal business connection.

So…want to talk Sales and Marketing?

If I were looking for someone with an upfront personality who has what it takes to make it through law school and take the risk of following his passion, I might want to talk sales and marketing with this guy. He does not apologize for his background and makes a good argument for himself.

What’s your personality and your compelling story? What’s the best way to tell it? I encourage you to put as much of yourself forward on LinkedIn® as you are comfortable sharing, as appropriate for your background and industry. Perhaps you too can create a tale that’s worthy of reading to the kids at night.

Top 5 Websites for Your Job Search Over the Holidays

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Most job seekers conduct their search by applying for positions posted on various job search websites. They might look on LinkedIn, monster, indeed, or one of many industry-specific sites and identify appropriate jobs. While this tactic is an essential part of every job search, and while some people find jobs this way, the competition is enormous. If you saw the job online, so did hundreds or thousands of other qualified candidates who are also throwing their hat in the ring.

For many, a more fruitful job search strategy is to identify companies where you want to work, then approach them regarding what you have to offer. This “hidden job search” strategy has been effective for thousands of professionals who have created their dream job.

To conduct a “hidden job search,” the first step is to create a list of target companies. This practice, which requires a lot of research, allows you to take control of your search instead of letting the internet dictate what jobs you apply for. The next step is to identify the people you are connected with at those companies and to contact them to start conversations.

The holidays are a perfect time to do some valuable research on what companies you might want to work for. Here are my 5 top recommended websites for your job search over the holidays:

1.  LinkedIn.com. LinkedIn is probably the best site for discovering your connections at any company. First, search for companies using the search bar and dropping down to Companies. Type in your keywords or the company name to get a list of companies that fit your target.

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Once you choose a company you want to research, go to the company page where you will be informed of “How You’re Connected” to the people at that company. For instance, when I go to the Dell page, I am informed that I have 5 first-degree connections (including the Talent Acquisition Senior Advisor in Phoenix) and 4,406 second-degree connections there. If I wanted to know what it’s like to work at Dell, I’d have quite a few people to reach out to!

 On the company page for most mid- to large-sized companies, you can look at the Careers tab to find out what jobs are available there. And if you want to get the company’s news, click on Follow to get their updates.

 Challenge: There is no “Advanced Search” available for Companies, so you are not able to search based on location or other more refined terms.

2.  CareerCloud.com. This site collects news articles (newspaper headlines, online media, and press releases) that indicate company expansion and restructuring. In other words, it saves you the work of doing a google search to find out what jobs might be opening up in your industry. From the home page, click on the Hidden Jobs app and you will be able to choose any U.S. state to see who’s hiring in that state. Then click on “view source” to read the news. It’s free!

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Challenge: No ability to search by city, only state; and you don’t know what level of position might be available until you read the source material.

3.  mantaManta.com. From the bottom section of Manta’s home page, you can search for both U.S. and  non-U.S. companies by either industry or location. You can then filter your results by Company Revenue, Number of Employees, Type of Ownership (Public or Private), and Location Type (Headquarters, Branch or Single Location). Within any given industry, you can browse by location as well. You will get the company’s website and snail mail address and you’ll have the option to “Follow company” (an option that requires you to set up a free account).

Challenge: Although manta is a great tool for research, I don’t see the value of building a network here if you have a robust LinkedIn network. Without a network, you won’t find a lot of information about people who work at any given company.

4.  ZoomInfo.com. From ZoomInfo’s home page, scroll down to the section that says “Browse ZoomInfo’s company directory…” You can search in the US or Canada for companies by industry and then by city. You can then click on any of the search results to found out a company’s address, web address, revenue and number of employees; look a bit further to discover title and contact information of key employees. With a free profile (Community Edition), you can view up to 80 contacts per month.

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Challenge: Some of the information on this site is out of date. Links to companies often do not work. Also, the initial list of companies is merely alphabetical and does not have any filtering options, so you may find yourself clicking on company names rather blindly.

5.  Glassdoor.com. If you’re looking for inside information on any company, this is the site for you. Click on the Companies tab, enter the name of a company and its location, and you’ll get an overall company rating by company employees, a list of salary ranges for various positions (a magic bullet for that dreaded “Salary Requirements” question!), reviews by employees including pros, cons, advice to senior management, and whether the person would recommend the company to a friend, and information about the company’s interview process and questions.

For full functionality, you’ll need to create an account. I’d say it’s worth it for the interview and salary information alone! The site also has job listings.

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Challenge: The site is more integrated with Facebook than LinkedIn so you might not be able to find your professional connections at a company without logging in separately to LinkedIn. Also, it’s hard to tell whether information provided by company employees could be skewed.

Using a combination of all these resources for your research will give you a remarkable amount of information and will put you worlds beyond the average job seeker in terms of your confidence and preparedness in your job search.

Isn’t getting this kind of ammunition worth spending a bit of time during the holidays?

Please let me know what sites you’ve found the most useful for your job search research. And have a wonderful holiday!

The Essay Expert’s LinkedIn Advice Covered by U.K. Career Blog!

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Last Sunday I was interviewed by Luca Rosi, Editorial Manager at Hays, a leading global professional recruiting group based in the U.K., for his career blog, Keeping ahead of the game. I answered 13 questions and Mr. Rosi published 12 of them in two blog articles on December 1 and 2: “How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 1” and “How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 2.”

If you’re curious to read my answers to the questions below, please visit Luca’s blog. You might also like his most recent entry on how to make an impact at an interview!

How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 1

Has the role of the traditional CV now diminished given the stellar rise of LinkedIn?
Is it as simple as uploading my CV and sprinkling a few keywords to make my profile search friendly?
What’s the biggest mistake professionals make with their LinkedIn profiles?
What three things can I do today to build my personal online brand?
Do I really need 500+connections? What can I do to boost my numbers?
If I’m unemployed, should I reveal this in my headline for example?

How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 2

Would you recommend that I upgrade to a premium account to boost my chances of finding a job?
What’s the protocol for recommendations? Surely I shouldn’t have to ask…
Apart from joining groups (the Q&A section is no longer), how else can I demonstrate my expertise?
How regularly should I be sharing updates and do they all have to be related to my industry?
Should I be using more of partner applications such as Slideshare?
And finally, what’s the best piece of career advice that anyone has given you?

What happened to the 13th question and answer? Here it is:

The average age of a LinkedIn user is 41. Is this the platform for graduates or first jobbers?

BB: Some of those 41-year-olds are recruiters and hiring managers. So absolutely! Also some new features on LinkedIn are more specifically geared toward younger job seekers.

Are there questions you want me to answer? Please post them in the comments!

How to Handle a Resume “Gap” – Conference November 6 in Silicon Valley!

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Gaps Happen

How to handle a “gap” in employment is a frequently discussed and debated topic for job seekers, resume writers and other career professionals. General wisdom is that employers prefer to hire people who are currently employed, or at least who have a consistent work history. But real people make choices based on family obligations and important other human factors that don’t always match the picture of an “ideal” candidate.

There are, to be fair, several challenges if you are returning to work after an absence. How can you accurately assess your career options? What steps can you take to build your confidence and sharpen your interview skills? What are some strategies for finding meaningful work? These are all great questions to explore—and none of them have anything to do with a true problem or impossibility in finding work.

Nothing’s Wrong!

I do not subscribe to the idea that there is something “wrong” if you took a break from the workforce to raise children, care for an ailing parent, or heal from an illness yourself. These choices prove only that you are a caring, committed human being. I do not necessarily recommend that you reveal the reason for your work sabbatical on your resume, especially if you have significant accomplishments to share from that time period; but I don’t think it’s a complete no-no either.

I have seen resumes that use an inspiring story of cancer recovery to prove how an executive job seeker attacks every challenge in his life and comes out ahead. I have seen people be explicit about the reason for their work hiatus, and get a great job. Some of my tips for other ways to handle a resume gap can be found in my book, How to Write a WINNING Resume… 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target, which is FREE on Amazon through Tuesday October 22! Click below to download the book FREE today!

How to Write a WINNING Resume

November 6th Conference for People Returning to Work

I will be speaking at the Connect Work Thrive Conference in the San Francisco Bay Area on resumes and employment gaps, as well as on writing a KILLER LinkedIn® profile, on November 6th. If you are located in California and would like to join me for a day full of top-notch advice and strategies on returning to work, please register for the conference by October 22 (last day for special pricing) to get $50 off the conference price ($150 off the walk-in price!), PLUS an additional $50 off when you use coupon code ESSAYEXPERT. See the workshop schedule here. At the conference you will…

  •  identify and effectively communicate your areas of strength
  •  determine resources you need
  •  learn successful return-to-work strategies and tactics
  •  connect with firms in need of your skills

Return to Work Conference

In the long run, if you identify a job that’s the right fit, have the necessary skills and knowledge for the position, and present those skills powerfully on your resume, I believe you will likely get an interview even with a resume “gap.” Walk into your interview well-prepared and with confidence, and you can impress even the most skeptical hiring manager to get a meaningful job you truly want.

4 Ways to Take Control of your LinkedIn Endorsements

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LinkedIn Skills & ExpertiseI’m a self-identified control freak when it comes to certain aspects of my life, and as such, I am perpetually perturbed by the Skills & Expertise section on LinkedIn. The way this section works, anyone can endorse me for anything – even things I know nothing about! And if enough people endorse me for things I do not consider important, these skills will be prominently displayed at the top of my Skills list.

Aargh!

You might, like me, get an email almost daily telling you that someone wants to endorse you for “new” Skills not currently listed on your profile. And if you’re like me, there was a reason you didn’t list that skill in the first place. Either you don’t have that skill or you don’t want to market it.

What I do in this situation is press “Skip” and wait until the next well-meaning person endorses me for skills I don’t have.

At the National Resume Writers’ Association Conference in Chicago this past week, LinkedIn endorsements were a hot topic. We are all concerned that the wrong people are endorsing us for the wrong things. In one session about LinkedIn, trainer Dean DeLisle suggested that we take control of our Skills & Expertise and stop complaining about it!

How can you wield control over this pesky section? Well, let me tell you:

  1. Fill in ALL 50 Skills. This way there will be less likelihood of additional, inappropriate skills being added to your profile. You would have to delete one skill to add another.
  2. Press “Skip” to decline adding Skills to your profile.
  3. Know that the skills listed at the top of your Skills list are the ones with the most endorsements. If you want different skills to show up there, ask your connections to endorse you for the ones you want to appear at the top! (I am going to do this momentarily. Be forewarned.)
  4. As a last resort, you can delete a skill, add it back, and start over from zero endorsements. That will push other skills higher up on your list.

Please Take Action! A Request

I’ve found that a lot of people seem to endorse me for Blogging, Social Networking, Social Media Marketing, Nonprofits, Career Management, Time Management, and a lot of other things I don’t market as my specialties. My request to you is to endorse me for the list of Skills & Expertise that appears below. Please only do so if you are confident that I have the skill! Also note that to endorse a skill, you must be a 1st-degree connection. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn if we are not already connected.

Hint when endorsing anyone for skills: Don’t default or be limited to the ones suggested at the top of their profile! Scroll down in the profile to the Skills & Expertise section and choose from there. You will be able to click on a + sign to choose the skill.

For example:

Resume Writing

 

Here’s my list of requests. Thanks in advance for your support!

  1. Resume Writing
  2. Executive Resumes
  3. Executive Resume Writing
  4. Sales Resumes
  5. Marketing Resumes
  6. C-Level Resumes
  7. Senior Management Resumes
  8. Supply Chain Resumes
  9. Operations Resumes
  10. LinkedIn
  11. LinkedIn Profiles
  12. Cover Letters
  13. Professional Bios
  14. College Application Essays
  15. MBA Admissions Consulting
  16. Law School Admissions Consulting
  17. Law School Resumes

I’m making this request partly as an experiment in service of my e-book, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile. If I can change the appearance of my Skills & Expertise section, then I will be able to stand tall and recommend similar action to my e-book readers in the 8th edition.

Also, if you think I am familiar with your skills and want me to endorse you for specific ones, I will do so IF I know your abilities first-hand.

Thank you and I look forward to the changing face of all our LinkedIn profiles!