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!
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?
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.
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:
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:
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.
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”:
- 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.
Before: Vice President Human Resources
After: Vice President Human Resources | Director of Human Resources | HR Generalist
Before: Director of Engineering
After: Director of Engineering ½ Technology Development Manager ½Biomedical Engineer
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.
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!