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10 Ways To Become A LinkedIn All-Star

10 Ways To Become A LinkedIn All-Star

I’ve been using LinkedIn for six years now and am the type to always keep my profile up to date. I actually became so obsessed with it that at one point in my university career, I was delivering talks on how to best make use of the world’s largest online professional network. Here’s a list of 10 surefire ways to help you leverage LinkedIn and take your professional profile, job search efforts and personal brand to another level.

1. Spice up your profile and Summary

Your LinkedIn profile will tell a lot about you as a professional. To make the most of it, devote some to keeping it updated and ensuring you have all the relevant sections of your profile completed. Adding courses you’ve taken or organizations you’re a part of is great, but the real meat and potatoes of your profile lies within the positions you’ve held and your profile summary.

When listing each of your roles on your profile, ensure that the dates are correct and your job title is accurately displayed and aligned to your resume. Considering you have quite a bit more room to describe your positions, work on including a few sentences about what each of your roles entailed and your major job responsibilities, followed by a few bullet points (no more than five) on some of your key achievements in the role.

The key to successfully writing out your bullet statements is to make them achievement-oriented. Follow the formula “Achieved %/$ increase in X by doing X”. An example of this might be: “Helped the business unit realize an additional $25,000 in cost savings by performing a cost-benefit analysis of various accounting softwares and implementing XYZ.”

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Your profile’s Summary is an opportunity for you to add some personality to your LinkedIn page and grab your reader’s attention. Rather than simply providing an endless list of what you’ve accomplished throughout your career, think of your Summary a a personalized elevator pitch. Here are some things to consider when writing your Summary:

  • Who: Briefly mention a sentence or two about yourself; what your career has entailed and some of the positions you’ve held. If you’ve worked for large organizations, this is your opportunity to put them on display.
  • What: What makes you special; what are you known for and what are some of your most noticeable career accomplishments?
  • Something personal: Towards the end of your summary, mention some of your interests and what you like to do outside of your 9-5 – no one wants to hire a robot.
  • Use key/buzzwords: Your summary is an opportunity for you to attract recruiters by infusing buzzwords associated with your particular position, skill set and industry.

Here’s an additional resource to help you craft the perfect profile Summary.

2. Harness the power of Advanced Search

LinkedIn_Advanced_Search_Operators_Example_Search_1

    LinkedIn’s Advanced Search is the ultimate professional creeping tool. Within seconds, you have the ability to find specific members (say, recruiters, managers, etc.), companies, groups and a host of other options to help you build your network and refine your job search prospects. When it comes to job searching in particular, you have the ability to search by Company, Date Posted, Job Function, Industry and Experience Level. This is how I’ve typically reach out to recruiters for jobs I was interested in applying to and did it ever make a difference! One of the best advanced job search features is the ability to narrow your results based on your desired salary range. Although this feature requires you to upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account, I would suggest using one of LinkedIn’s periodic 30-day free trial offers to explore the full range of features available and see if you’d like to continue with the account after the trial period expires.

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    3. Reach out to recruiters

    Reaching out to recruiters and hiring managers is a key method to helping you personalize your cover letter (e.g. “Dear John Smith” vs. “Dear Hiring Manager”) and distinguish yourself from hundred’s of potential competitors for a particular position. Often, when you pull up a position from LinkedIn’s Job Board, a thumbnail with the posting recruiter’s profile is shown in the top-right corner of the posting’s page. This is your opportunity to reach out to the recruiter and make an impression. Connecting with them and keeping in touch with them throughout the hiring process is a great method of setting yourself apart from others.

    4. Choose your connections wisely

    Do you remember seeing the term “LION” next to people’s names on LinkedIn? My personal opinion is that it’s better to make meaningful connections (quality) rather than simply amassing contacts that may be of some future benefit to you (quantity). Who you connect with will affect how people view you as a professional on LinkedIn. For example, if you’re connecting with recruiter after recruiter, it’s a good sign to your profile’s audience that you may be looking for a new job. Make it a point to connect with people you have at least met at some point recently, not someone who you were vaguely introduced to by a friend of a friend 10 months ago. People who you know to some extent will be better-aligned to your industry, skill set and will be in a better position to help you because of a somewhat personal connection you have with them.

    5. Post relevant articles and share your thoughts

    What you post on LinkedIn says a lot about you, and is a great a way for you to engage your LinkedIn connections and beyond about subjects/topics you think are fascinating and important. This is a great way to build your professional image. I regularly post quotes on LinkedIn and have even been fortunate to receive personal messages commending me on my posts. In addition, sharing your thoughts on your connections’ posts and the content posted by companies you follow is a great way to get noticed and possibly build meaningful connections.

    6. Give MEANINGFUL recommendations

    There’s a few parts to this:

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    1) Providing recommendations for connections you’ve worked with in the past is very important. Although it’s always great to receive recommendations for your work, don’t get into the habit of being stingy and only providing recommendations for people who have recommended you. One of my LinkedIn pet peeves is someone who messages me saying “Hey, could you write a recommendation for me? I’ll write you one in return.” To me, that really shows that the person is not interested in actually writing me a sincere recommendation and just wants to liven up their own wall. If you really think someone you know or have worked with in the past has done good work – let everyone know about it. Remember – what goes around comes around; perhaps if you unselfishly write a great recommendation for someone, someone else will randomly recommend you as well.

    2) I absolutely despise when someone writes me a useless recommendation, such as “Mustafa was a great addition to our team.” This doesn’t tell say anything about my contributions and skill set. For all you know, all I did was buy my team cupcakes everyday. If you’re writing a recommendation for someone, put a little effort into writing something for them – even if it’s only a few sentences. Talk about what they contributed to the work environment, what they achieved and your general thoughts on them as an individual.

    3) Don’t just ask any random connection for a recommendation, or someone you worked with a really long time ago on a project that neither of you really remember. The key is always always always quality. Ask people who you’ve worked closely with on projects to recommend you, because they understand your work and what you’ve contributed better than anyone else. This might be a coworker, manager, director, etc. This will really make your profile stand out and others are sure to take notice of what you can bring to their organization.

    7. Send personalized invitation messages

    Oh, how I absolutely hate the default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” invite message I get from almost everyone who adds me on LinkedIn.

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    Writing a customized LinkedIn invitation message is a great way to help you distinguish yourself from competition when you’re applying to a particular job, or you’re trying to remind someone of who you are after you met them and subsequently decided to connect with them on LinkedIn. I’ve seen many of my own friends send generic invite messages to recruiters. Unsurprisingly, those messages never got any replies and most of the time, the recruiters declined their invitation to connect. I would say I’ve had about a 95% success rate in receiving responses to tailored invite messages. When you take the time to write something thoughtful, people will recognize that and are more likely to respond to your requests and questions. Use tailored invite messages to begin conversations with people, inquire into a particular job role’s responsibilities and to get your foot in the door by mentioning how you are different from the 247 applicants who just applied to the same job you did.

    8. Customize your public profile URL

    2015-01-25_19-17-18

      There’s not much to say here, except that I really like that we have the option to customize our LinkedIn profile’s URL. It’s a particular useful feature when you want to include your profile’s LinkedIn on your personal website and or neatly on your resume.

      9. Use LinkedIn’s job board

      2015-01-25_19-25-06

        I find LinkedIn’s job board is heavily underutilized and unappreciated, although it has some of the highest quality job postings and filtering options available for job seekers. There are plenty of job boards with great job postings and opportunities. Often, you’ll see the same postings from other websites also listed on LinkedIn. However, there are a few added perks to using LinkedIn’s job board:

        • A ton of filtering options (see the above screenshot)
        • The ability to save searches
        • Thumbnails of who posted a particular job, which gives you the opportunity to connect with and reach out to the job’s poster
        • The ability to look for jobs worldwide, rather than having to look at country-specific postings. Basically, the world’s job opportunities are at the tips of your fingers.

        10. Take advantage of free profile upgrades

        Every now and then, LinkedIn will send you a 30-day free trial to upgrade to a Premium account. It is absolutely loaded with awesome features that will really help you get noticed by employers and give your job searching efforts a huge boost. 30 days is an ample amount of time to discover all the features available to you and try them out, so after your month is up, you can then decide if you’d like to continue. Even if you don’t see yourself using the product for an extended period of time, you can at least use it to help you with your job search efforts until you’ve landed a role.

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        Last Updated on December 3, 2019

        7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

        7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

        I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

        It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

        A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

        1. Define Career Success for Yourself

        Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

        What does career success mean to you?

        This is about defining your career success:

        • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
        • Not what people may think of you
        • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
        • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

        “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

        When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

        There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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        • Work-life balance
        • Opportunities for growth and advancement
        • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

        Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

        • What do you mean by work-life balance?
        • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
        • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

        Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

        • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
        • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
        • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

        Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

        • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
        • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
        • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

        Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

        Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

        What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

        2. Know Your Values

        Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

        There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

        Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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        • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
        • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
        • Put the words on your fridge
        • Add the words on your vision board

        Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

        3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

        When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

        How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

        Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

        • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
        • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
        • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
        • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
        • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
        • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

        Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

        • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
        • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
        • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
        • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

        Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

        By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

        4. Determine Your Top Talents

        What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

        What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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        What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

        What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

        What do you notice?

        5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

        Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

        I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

        Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

        Keep these words visible too!

        Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

        6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

        Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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        Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

        “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

        7. Manage Your Own Career

        Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

        Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

        Summing Up

        For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

        Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

        Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

        1. Define Career Success for Yourself
        2. Know Your Values
        3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
        4. Determine Your Top Talents
        5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
        6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
        7. Manage Your Own Career

        “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

        Good luck and best wishes always!

        More Tips on Advancing Your Career

        Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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