LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts

I am reminded (almost) daily that candidates sometimes just don’t “get it” when it comes to the lack of content in candidate profiles and photos they choose to post on LinkedIn. LinkedIn, after all, is the leading worldwide business tool designed as a networking platform so you can connect with other professionals in your industry niche.

Unlike Facebook or Twitter (both excellent social media platforms), LinkedIn is designed to connect people both known and unknown based on the connections they build in their LI profiles. Last month 141 million people logged on to the LinkedIn site (many looking for top-shelf talent) – and that’s only part of the story. With 225 million users it has become the top digital repository of resumes on the planet. I think about the power of LinkedIn as a networking tool and then run across profiles that baffle me beyond words.

Here are a few tips on getting your LinkedIn photo and profile ready for primetime:

Photos

– I’ve seen photos of candidates taken on the beach in a bathing suit – never good.

– A picture of a photograph screams you don’t know anything about computers. Ouch!

– Photos taken in a bar consuming adult beverages just send the wrong message. Period.

– Colorful Avatars, while cute, have no place in a LinkedIn profile unless you are in the arts.

– Photos of you kissing your significant other are in poor taste as your profile photo. Just bad.

– I love my kids too – but a photo with your children is probably not ideal for a LinkedIn profile.

– Poorly taken photos look bad and demonstrate the wrong message. It’s easy to take a great PIC!

– No photo is actually better than any of the examples above. A photo puts a face with a name.

– Posting a photo of yourself taken 20 years ago is both disingenuous and awkward.

Content

– Join Groups that are relevant to your skills and occupation. You can join up to 50 groups on LI.

– Always join your ALUM as it’s a great way to network.

– Get recommendations from people you’ve worked with. No recommendations send the wrong message.

– Having a solid number of contacts you are connected to matters. It’s great for networking and shows you are well connected in your space.
– Having contact information visible is important if you want people to know how to reach you directly.

– Endorsements are also a great way to showcase your skills – make sure you have endorsements in multiple categories. It helps to tell your story.

– List any publications that have been published by you or articles where you were quoted.

– Understand the power of the advanced search tool to find people and companies to connect with. It’s a very powerful feature.

– If you write a BLOG make sure it’s posted on LI as it increases your brand to everyone in your network.

LinkedIn can be a wonderful way to make sure you are truly connected in your niche. On the other hand if you have little to no content, don’t use its vast array of features and elect to remove that photo taken on the beach at the beer bash – maybe not so much.

Top 6 LinkedIn Candidate Debacles

Social media has certainly been a game-changer in today’s competitive job market, and LinkedIn is a very important part of a candidate’s virtual representation of their career accomplishments. With over 135 million members and two new accounts signing up per second, LinkedIn is becoming an ever more important professional networking and job search tool. If you think having a stellar resume is the way recruiters or future employers will evaluate and vet you as a candidate, think again. Your resume, while still a key requirement when seeking a new employer, is only part of the hiring equation. I’m baffled when I talk to an outstanding candidate who has an incomplete LinkedIn profile or a profile that’s… let’s just say is less than flattering.

Try to avoid (at all cost) falling into the “disqualified” category and make sure your Linkedin profile does not negatively impact your ability to land a new gig. Here are some tips from someone (that’d be me) who looks at hundreds of profiles every week:

Profile Photo– Stay away from unflattering photos of you having a beer with friends. It’s just not smart. Also, lose the outdated (by 20+ years) photo of yourself in your attempt to convince the world that you’ve found the Fountain of Youth. Most importantly, use a photo of yourself – not some silly cartoon avatar. We live and work in a professional world so make sure your photo is current and represents your professional self! It’s fine to have a casual photo of yourself as long as it is in good taste.

Work History– Make sure your work history is an accurate mirror image of your resume, especially in terms of its chronology of the Who, What and Where you’ve been during your career. Make sure any between-careers gaps are reflected with a consulting role (if you’ve had one). If you took a sabbatical, it’s ok to list that both on your resume and LI profile. Be accurate and disclose, disclose, disclose…

Contact Info– There is a section in your profile that gives the reader Advice for Contacting you. Make sure you use that field to input your e-mail address. The actual place to input your e-mail on your profile may vary depending on your LI subscription – but find a way to make your e-mail visible.

Interested In- If you want to be contacted about new job opportunities, LI has a specific place for you to “Opt In”. This section gives those sending an InMail way to contact you that matches the things you are most interested in. For example: Tim is interested in: Career Opportunities, Consulting Offers, New Ventures, Job Inquiries, Expertise Requests, Business Deals, Reference Requests, and Getting Back in Touch. If you turn this feature OFF, you are also limiting people from contacting you. Make sure you understand the importance of this feature.

Stay Current- Make sure your latest role and title are current with where you are today. So many candidates start a new job with a new organization, new title, new geography and perhaps more responsibility and forget to update their LI profile to reflect the changes. Make sure you check your profile for accuracy, and add any new content including educational courses or certificates you’ve earned.

Recommendations/Endorsements– This becomes important when a recruiter or hiring manager has a relationship or knows the person who wrote your recommendation, whether it’s personal or through the HCIT industry. Make sure people who write a recommendation for you have actually been an eyewitness to your work! Having no recommendations… it’s not recommended!

Hope this helps.

Top 5 Keys to Using LinkedIn

Originally posted on Healthcare Informatics

I talk to CIO candidates on a regular basis and I’m always excited to schedule a call with candidates to discuss their career track and plan to find their next gig. While many have a well thought out search plan – others need some guidance and help on exactly what they need to do to present themselves to the marketplace.

As a first step, I usually search LinkedIn for their profile to see if I can offer some advice. I’m not a pro – but this is what I always look for. Make sure your profile is up to speed using these 5 tips to attract recruiters and perhaps your future employer:

GROUPS: How many Groups do you belong to? LinkedIn allows a user to belong to multiple Groups (up to 50). This can include CIO specific Groups, HCIT specific Groups, education related Groups (your college probably has a LinkedIn Group) or Groups that you have a real interest in having as a networking tool. The CHIME and Healthcare Informatics Groups are a must! Adding Groups is easy and painless. By belonging to Groups you can send a direct message to other members of the Group or get connected simply by belonging to a Group. Look at the Groups other CIO’s belong to and start joining more Groups today! Make sure you check the settings!

Recommendations: Make sure you reach out to former employees and/or employers and get them to write a Recommendation on your behalf. It always helps to have someone else tell your story. You don’t want dozens of recommendation but 1-2 per job you’ve had is usually enough. Not having Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile sends a silent message to the reader when they search for your profile. Make sure the Recommendation others are writing for you is short and sweet. You get a chance to approve a Recommendation before the content is posted to your profile. Make sure it helps position you to future employers or business partners.

CONTACT SETTINGS: How do you want people to contact you to talk about an opportunity? That’s what the Profile Settings is all about. You can share ways that people may reach out to you directly or indirectly. This includes new ventures, job inquiries, expertise requests, business deals, reference requests or simply getting back in touch. I suggest you turn them all on unless you simply don’t want to be contacted. If your employment situation changes you might consider reviewing your Contact Settings to make sure others can reach out to you. This also includes your phone number and other contact information. You can also add your contact information in the Personal Information section.

Your Connections: I am probably a real stickler on this one. I generally do not connect with LinkedIn users that are not related to the HCIT world. Your connections are everything in LinkedIn and you need to make sure you are constantly adding connections on a regular basis. Add members of a group you belong to, a former colleague, employee or a thought leader in this space. Whatever you decide to do in adding connections to your profile – keep adding connections to your network. Don’t stop. Ever.

Complete Your Profile: This is the easiest part of adding content to your profile. It’s all about you! According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. That’s HUGE! Complete the following information and your phone will start ringing much more:
Your current position
Two past positions
Your education
Your profile summary
A profile photo
Your specialties
At least three recommendations

LinkedIn is a great tool for executives like you and you should make a commitment to log-in to your LinkedIn profile today and make sure your profile is everything it could be. Make the maintenance of your LinkedIn profile a priority. You will see a big difference. Promise!