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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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        Published on August 14, 2018

        17 Versatile Work Skills Employers Want to See in Potential Employees

        17 Versatile Work Skills Employers Want to See in Potential Employees

        When we look at a job advertisement, it can seem as though employers want an exhaustive list of experience and technical skills from their new hire.

        They list desirable qualities such as ‘initiative’, ‘team player’ and ‘strong work ethic’. Those words can mean a variety of things to different people and it can be quite hard for employers to illustrate fully the combination of technical and soft skills they want their potential employees to have.

        What they often want is a mix of versatile skills that make it easy for them (and you) to adapt to the changing needs and demands which occur in businesses today.

        After all, adaptability and innovation are what make businesses thrive.

        In today’s ever-changing environment, versatility is a mandatory attitude every working person needs to have. With the following seventeen work skills, you will not only make your employer extremely happy and confident that hiring you was their best decision, you will experience greater personal satisfaction and results.

        1. Know what you want but more so why you want it.

        Employers need to sense you have a solid idea as to why you are a fit for their role and their organization. They need to sense you have your own sense of purpose.

        However, it can be a double-edged sword to say you know exactly what you want to achieve and gain if you are successful in your application and interview.

        Some employers can perceive this as arrogance; your needs first, theirs second. What employers are really looking for is your internal sense of knowing that potential to join their organization is a winning combination for both of you.

        2. Diplomacy and conflict resolution skills save money, lost productivity and efficiency.

        Can you agree to disagree? Can you evaluate without passing judgment or at least be self-aware of your own biases? Can you put these aside to find solutions for the betterment of the team?

        Employers look for versatility in soft work skills that bring peace, lower stress and contribute to creating harmony. If you have ways with words to help heated arguments reduce to a simmer so there is space for compromises, negotiations and reasoning to take place your employers’ respect for you will jump at least tenfold.

        Peace-making skills are invaluable in changing workplace culture, particularly toxic ones. Any good employer knows a strong in-house negotiator will save them thousands of dollars in engaging an external mediator.

        3. Know how to set and reframe your own goals.

        Much research has documented that when employees have a clear purpose, mission and goals, they are more likely to be highly productive. They are less likely to flounder around in many directions nor be busy and not produce results that matter.

        Employers know well that employees who develop their own goals and can align these with those of the company are more self-driven, self-sufficient and take greater ownership for performing their role.

        And the benefit is not only to the employers. You personally will find greater personal satisfaction from achieving targets you have chosen to set yourself. Everyone wins!

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        4. Great time management and organization skills make you highly productive.

        Being able to exercise versatility with these work skills needs no explanation. Great time management does not mean multi-tasking. It actually uses more brain power and reduces effectiveness.

        Having great skills to prioritize your activities and demands, being able to assess how long things might take you to address are planning skills which greatly aid effective and better execution.

        Working in harmony with your colleagues’ timetables makes for better teamwork and workflow plus a less stressed environment.

        In today’s working world, any strategies for reducing stress-invoking opportunities are like finding golden nuggets. Your employer will want to hold on to those for dear life!

        5. Be a flexible team player by being able to change roles when required.

        Employers will be looking to see how flexible a team player, a potential employee could be.

        If you are a natural leader, being a better team player might, in fact, mean you stepping down from the helm and encouraging someone else to exercise and step into their leadership potential.

        It might be more beneficial to your employer to play the role of Indian as opposed to the Chief in certain situations. Stepping into different positions on your team not only helps you grow but also the rest of your team.

        Employers relish having a versatile work team which can adapt and is ready and willing to play different roles, even if uncomfortable when crises happen.

        6. Initiative, self-motivated and driven.

        When you have your own internal reasons for looking to undertake a role your motivation is driven by something sizzling inside of you.

        There is a personal drive and desire for the satisfaction you will experience when you meet a certain target that no other person will be able to give to you.

        When you can genuinely identify and demonstrate your own personal connection to the role’s objectives and the greater goals of your employer’s business, they will see you have an internal drive that they don’t need to whip and flog to keep the momentum going.

        Any employer will be grateful they just need to help navigate you and support you with the right tools and network and off you go.

        7. Be confident but not arrogant.

        Imagine if you were conducting initial telephone interviews with shortlisted candidates and one of the questions they asked was:

        “How long would it be until I’ll be eligible for a pay rise or promotion?”

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        There is a significant difference between being confident and arrogant. Employers are not looking for confidence purely in you being able to perform every aspect of your role at gold star level.

        It comes with being comfortable to say you don’t understand, you have made a mistake, you need support, further training, acknowledging what your limits are and being willing to risk stepping outside your comfort zone.

        When you’re a new kid on the block, respecting that you may need to learn to walk before you can run is essential. Unless it is your job to start making significant changes from day one, chances are you’re going to create enemies if you’re so confident your new methods and ideas should replace existing processes.

        8. A positive attitude.

        Demonstrating positivity as a work skill that will truly win over your new employer is about being genuine and actively applying strategies which look for the glass half full.

        Recruiters and employers are not dumb. They can easily see through short-term bright smiles, nervous giggling and general ‘you just need to think positive’ statements.

        In the face of grueling challenges, employers are going to look much more favorably on that candidate who can acknowledge the negative features of a situation but still encourage another solution-focused perspective to be adopted.

        Even better, if you can use language effectively to demonstrate how you have adopted a positive perspective and helped turned around a tough situation.

        It is one thing to have a positive attitude but your potential employer will see you as a superhero if you can show them how you have successfully applied it.

        9. You are resourceful but know the value of asking for help.

        There is nothing more unproductive (let alone frustrating) than that person who simply asks out loud a question to their team when they could simply have Googled the answer.

        Or worse still, they have a manual at their fingertips which has the answer to their question…they were simply too lazy to look for themselves.

        Be that person with Sherlock Holmes as their middle name who sleuths like a dog after a buried bone. You can research and turn over stones to discover and learn what you need but you also are able to ask for help and assistance when you need to.

        Any employer will relish that person who looks to discover the answers to their own questions first before reaching out and asking for help.

        10. Emotional intelligence creates a harmonious workflow.

        Despite the level of seniority of your role having a strong ability to handle emotions is fast becoming an essential work skill (and also life skill).

        It is even more desirable for any employer when your work skill set includes the ability to detect, adapt to and have skills in managing certain emotional patterns of others you need to work with, manage or report to.

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        So much time, energy and productivity is lost due to individuals’ lack of skills in this area. Any manager who can see you possess and can demonstrate such versatile work skills will think they’ve won the managerial lottery!

        11. Be able to adapt your learning style.

        There is no real evidence that using preferred learning styles actually increase the rate at which we learn nor the effectiveness of certain styles.

        However, being able to make changes to what we are given to learn and adapting it to suit our needs and preferences does help us settle into a new work transition sooner.

        We also need to recognize that even though we feel uncomfortable learning a new skill a certain way, it might actually be the way we need to receive it to cement the learning. It is also likely that our new employer only knows or has a budget to deliver training in a certain way.

        Either we can choose to adapt or resist but we know for sure the latter is not going to benefit to anyone.

        12. Flexible leadership style.

        Dan Goleman has conducted extensive research on different leadership styles, emphasizing that being versatile to switch between different styles (e.g. authoritative, coaching, affiliate, coercive, pace-setting) and knowing when to do is a fundamental skill for any leader.

        Being able to change your style to lead other people is as important as how you lead your own role responsibilities.

        13. Incredible communication skills that actively listen and give clear messages.

        Strong and effective communication across all mediums takes time, life experience and highly developed intuition.

        Knowing when to use email, a face to face conversation or telephone discussion is one thing. Another is to use words which emotionally connect and influence the receiver to accept, hear and heed your message.

        Great communicators know that it is their responsibility as much as the receiver for good communication to take place. However, they also know that the receiver may not feel this is the case.

        When you can listen equally, be sensitive to read between the lines to hear the message of ineffective communicators and can respond kindly with inspiring, equalizing and encouraging words, your influence and general likeability as a new addition to your employer’s team will develop in leaps and bounds.

        14. Accountability, responsible and dependable.

        We’ve all worked with people or managers at some point who lay external blame the instance something goes wrong.

        Contrary to popular belief, making mistakes and owning up to it is a highly desirable and versatile work skill that gains loyalty and understanding particularly when mistakes occur.

        Owning up to errors early allows both yourself and the business to recover quickly and shows you’re willing to take responsibility to continue forward on when you have stumbled.

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        When you illustrate you can do this, you build your employer’s trust and faith in you.

        15. Exercise proactive self-awareness.

        Self-reflection is a highly empowering work skill that contributes greatly to becoming better and performing better.

        When you actively look for the achievement, celebrate your success and look for pockets of where mistakes you have made can be corrected you improve faster, become more effective and make your work easier.

        When you start to look at your own errors, receiving feedback from your employer about the same errors can feel far less confronting and having corrective conversations is easier, transparent and far less stressful and emotional.

        You naturally increase your resilience and make life easier for yourself and your employer if you conduct regular self-check-ins and keep your employer updated.

        16. Apply a problem-solving growth mindset.

        When faced with a problem or challenge, your ability to activate a growth mindset is a highly versatile work skill employers love. Not only are you able to reduce the pain and anguish that a fixed mindset can sustain but your ability to remain open to possibilities to find different pathways or ideas is refreshing and helpful.

        If your thought patterns automatically ask: “How can we?” or you often think “there must be a way”, you will only contribute to creating growth opportunities for your organization and inspire others to think the same way.

        17. Be teachable.

        If you have ever tried to teach someone a new skill or technique and they keep reverting back to traditional ways that are familiar to them, you might have become frustrated to the point of giving up.

        Don’t be that person who’s stuck in tradition which no longer serves the business. Whether you are entering a new environment, learning new software or negotiation skills, know that all employers need people who are open to being taught.

        Innovation is a core concern of every business. Innovation means change and change means doing something different.

        Stay versatile and keep learning

        Technical skills can often be taught. Ray Croc illustrated how well a systemized franchise can dominate the planet. Over 36,000 McDonald’s establishments around the world are run by managers barely in their twenties!

        Soft work skills, however, take time to develop, learn and confidently apply.

        There is a key combination of work skills that would make any candidate employer’s dream. However, the essential factor underlying all of these work skills is versatility.

        Equip yourself with these 17 work skills, stay curious and keep learning; and you’ll always nail the job you want.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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