Career advancement with LinkedIn

By LEAH BISHOP

While many people would advise to write your resume better, I’m going to advise you to focus on making your LinkedIn profile more searchable to employers, said Richard Kirby from Executive Impact at the LinkedIn as a Career Advancement Tool session at SoCon14.

The session focused on how to strategically leverage the professional social media site to help advance a person’s career.

“How engaged are you in your career? In your job? In your occupation?” Kirby asked to challenge the group that had gathered for his session.

If there’s not any motivation in the job, that’s an indication there is something better out there for you. Money shouldn’t have to be the only thing a person should feel when needing motivation. A person should feel like they need to be compensated for their time, Kirby said.

“In LinkedIn, you can be active or passive,” Kirby said. “If you’re active in LinkedIn, you can create things. If you’re passive, it’s possible that things can come to you, but just not as likely.”

Profile

To be more active, Kirby suggests having a better profile. One attendee updates the statistics of what she has done at work and treats like an annual review.

“I think every three years, I need to refresh the picture,” said Su Berland, another attendee.

Kirby agreed, saying that you need to keep a current photo up to represent yourself. He also strongly recommended getting a photo up if you don’t have one up yet, since it will make you reputable.

Users should also place the number of users you have and your email in an odd fashion so people know how to contact you with an invitation. Since LinkedIn won’t let you use the at symbol in the title, he recommended using the word instead.

“By putting the word in there, I can get through the LinkedIn criteria filter and they won’t kick it out,” Kirby said.

When a person has less than 500 connections, LinkedIn will show the number of contacts the person has. If there are more than 500, LinkedIn will add a plus sign and won’t show the number of contacts the person has anymore, said Kirby. He recommends placing that number up at the top up in the title so the profile is more reputable.

Kirby pointed out that people will want to know how to contact a person and they should be able to find this information in the contact information box near the top. A person should at least have an email address in the contact box.

“You need to think about ‘what is your message?’ What are you trying to communicate to people?” he said.

Within the summary of the profile, he advised a person to put what they do and what they know. Keywords make a profile searchable and they should be placed within your summary, said Kirby.

“If you’ve had two or three jobs, I would at least try to have one recommendation for each job,” Kirby said, adding it shows you’ve accomplished things in your other jobs recently.

Visibility

A person can connect to 21 million users by connecting with others and with every person you add, the closer another connection gets.

Richard Kirby speaks on how to connect with up to 21 million users with a free account on LinkedIn. Photo by Leah Bishop
Richard Kirby speaks on how to connect with up to 21 million users with a free account on LinkedIn.
Photo by Leah Bishop

“The default is your first level connections, followed by your second level connections, followed by your third level connections,” Kirby said on how search results work when trying to find someone.

Kirby recommended developing a personal philosophy when it comes to accepting connections with other people. While one person may be more liberal and accept reputable connections, other people may be more conservative and only accept connections to people they know.

Kirby added that a user can have low visibility with low traffic with a view every few months or high traffic with views every day.

Credibility

“Your credibility, of course a lot of it has to do with how it’s constructed,” said Kirby, before adding that being connected to enough people, having keywords in your profile and having recommendations are some of the top common credibility components.

Being visible is not enough to be credible, he said. The profile would look just like a billboard.

Endorsements also have some credibility, but can easily be abused if not careful. People can add endorsements that may not reflect the person and their qualifications. Endorsements can, however, be edited so the user is reflecting their qualifications clearly, said Kirby.

“Try to get at least five recommendations,” said Kirby on how recommendations can reflect what the user wants to. “If you get more and more and more recommendations, for those of you who hadn’t managed your recommendations yet, you can choose to show a recommendation or hide a recommendation.”

Connections

With a paid account of LinkedIn, Kirby pointed out, you can go beyond the third level connection when searching through connections and reach up to 225 million people on LinkedIn. A person can still add a fifth connection through email, but there’s still millions of people that can’t connect with a free user. The advanced search tool is also important because you can search for connections by job title, zip code or through current connections.

“I think I got a lot of answers to the questions that I had but I think it would take a longer session and process to get through using LinkedIn to where I want to be,” Dannieka Williams, 22, said.

Kirby can be followed on Twitter at @executiveimpact. View more SoCon14 topics at #SoCon14 and on @SoConEvents.

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