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LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn recently released a new function that allows job seekers to indicate that they are looking for work to recruiters. This function is private – meaning you won’t be advertising to your current employer or any followers that you are looking for a new position. Enabling the feature is fairly simple and this tutorial spells out each step. The ‘Open Candidate’ option is available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia for now, but will surely be global very soon.

The only thing you have to do is make sure your profile is up-to-date and makes a positive statement about you.

Updating Your LinkedIn Profile

All of your skills are on display through this social media profile, right? Are each of those skills marketable – what employers want to see in a prospective employee? Before making your account open, do a little research into what companies you’d be interested in are looking for, especially if you are trying to change career paths. Take the time to review your profile for any typos, old or irrelevant information, or incorrect dates. The accuracy of your profile actually does make a difference and you also will want it to be as complete as possible – utilizing the percentage indicator on your homepage.
Many of LinkedIn’s features are free but there are membership only options. The new ‘Open Candidate’ feature is free and it was developed to keep your job search confidential – away from the eyes of your current employer. Your profile, for the most part, is public and you should want it to be open. Employers can search for candidates based on the skills or experience they have and having your profile open will put you in those search results. With the new feature, you will actually be able to signal to recruiters that you are looking for a new position. Knowing that, there are some other pieces about LinkedIn that you should keep in mind.

LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts

While LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful resource, it is not like other social media sites. Understand the etiquette surrounding the media – it is a business connectivity website. Including anything you would post on any other social media site would be against your best interest. When thinking about what you should include on your profile, and how to communicate with others, consider the following tips.

DO:

  • Keep your profile up-to-date with new skills and positions, discarding out of date information.
  • Endorse your followers’ skills – they will endorse you back.
  • Build your network by following people that work at a company or industry you are interested in. Cultural etiquette encourages a message to reach out to this person before adding them to your network. The additions will give you an idea of what skills you should strive to gain and add to your repertoire.
  • Comment in the forums and make connections.
  • Use LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions.

DON’T:

  • Post inappropriate pictures for your profile picture or otherwise – if you wouldn’t wear that outfit to an interview or at work, don’t post that picture.
  • Update or blog about your everyday life.
  • Follow people that are outside your network that look like fake profiles. There are fake profiles on LinkedIn – scammers trying to lure you to job opportunities that seem too good to be true or connect you with important people.
  • Send spam-looking messages to contacts.
  • Self promote in the forums or respond negatively to anyone.
  • Use only LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions. Not every employer will post a job through this social media website.

Social media can be tricky. Facebook and Twitter allow for nearly constant updates and pictures about your life, how you’re feeling, and advertisements. Pinterest is an eclectic collective of DIY, art, and life tips. LinkedIn is it’s own kind of social media and the best rule of thumb for this site: If you wouldn’t say it in an interview, it doesn’t belong on LinkedIn. Business, business, and only business should be on display for your profile – nothing personal.

When in doubt, leave it out. You should feel like your LinkedIn profile represents you on a different level than your resume. With everything you are able to do through LinkedIn – forum conversations, messages, and blogging – it is a new experience that can bring elements to your job search you haven’t used before. There is no guarantee that your profile will be any more unique than Sally’s or Joe’s, but the professional presentation of your knowledge and skills is much more important here than photos of your lunch.

Photo attributed to ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Don’t Forget to Back Up Your LinkedIn Profile

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10 Things to Do on LinkedIn Right Now, All in Less than 1 Hour

Do these 10 things on LinkedIn Right Now, All in Less than 1 Hour

You’re thinking, “I definitely have an hour to spend on LinkedIn, but I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Most executive job seekers don’t know what to do on LinkedIn, either. In fact, LinkedIn is always changing, which makes keeping up even harder.

To complicate things, if you don’t keep up with all of the different functions that LinkedIn offers, you might find yourself behind your competition to connect with the right people to find the right executive role. If you’re stressed about how to manage your LinkedIn presence, follow these 10 simple daily strategies to target your talents and expertise to your executive ideal job search goal.

  1. Connect with someone you don’t know personally on LinkedIn, and customize your connection request so they understand exactly why you’ve reached out to them.
  2. Write a LinkedIn recommendation for someone else.
  3. Call up someone with whom you have not spoken in at least 6 months.
  4. Look on LinkedIn’s job board for interesting positions open right now.
  5. Review several colleagues’ profiles to see what they have been up to.
  6. Join a LinkedIn group and post one question—or comment on someone else’s question.
  7. Take those business cards you collected from your last networking event and connect with each of them on LinkedIn.
  8. Write a long-form blog post and publish it on LinkedIn.
  9. Look at a LinkedIn company page to see when their next industry event or webinar will be held, then make time to participate.
  10. Read an article in a publication related to your industry or job function. Then update your LinkedIn status with a link to it and a question or insight about it to your connections.

Can you do all of these in less than 60 minutes? Time yourself—you’ll be surprised at how fast you can complete these 10 tips. Do them every day, and you’ll master your executive job search on LinkedIn.

Updated January 2017

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

5 Software Tools to Jump Start Your Job Search

5 Software Tools for Job Search

“Jumping in” can be the hardest part of your Job Search. Motivation can be difficult to harness when you don’t know where to begin. This article will spotlight some great software products that you can use either free of charge or close to it. Having the proper tools available can make all the difference in your job search from the beginning to the successful ending.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), if this is something new to you, refers to systems that companies use to manage and/or analyze customer data with the goal of improving relationships, studying customer retention and initiating sales growth.

CRM systems are built to organize information about customers including websites, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. They can also provide detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and their concerns.

There are several open source options, such as SugarCRM. Open source CRM systems allow you to add data links to social media. This aids companies looking to improve social CRM practices.

Using any of the above mentioned CRM methods varies depending on a company’s business needs, goals and resources. This software can prove to be very beneficial in organizing your networking, sales and contacts. An organized job search is bound to be a successful one.

  1. Office Software

We are all familiar with Microsoft Office, and have probably used it in the past or maybe are even using it currently. It is a great program with applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and so on. However, it can be an expensive program. We all need to be aware that these types of office applications are also available in free and open source formats.

Open source office software has come a long way in the past several years making it a great choice for your work productivity software. You won’t even lose most features or support. These free software options have countless tools and also provide all the features you need and expect.

Most of these alternatives to Microsoft Office have the basic applications to help you be productive in the office, such as: word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Several of the alternatives provide even more options, including drawing, database tools and storage.

Below are some great options you may want to consider: Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, Google Docs, and KOffice.

  1. WordPress

WordPress is free web software that you can use to create an awesome website, blog, or even an app. The software has been created by hundreds of volunteers. When you are familiar with the countless ways the software works and want to move onto more than the basics, there are innumerable plugins, customizations and themes available to transform your site into anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people use WordPress; numbers don’t lie!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Slideshare

If you haven’t heard of SlideShare, you are one of the few! SlideShare is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world. SlideShare provides you with the ability to learn not only faster, but smarter as well.

Rather than scrolling through endless pages of text, you can look through a SlideShare deck and obtain the same information in half the time. You have the ability to learn about any topic you can imagine. You can also share information and insight through many different types of media. SlideShare has endless possibilities that will be sure to send you into any job search well prepared.

  1. LinkedIn

I am confident that you are familiar with LinkedIn, especially if you are in the process of job searching, but just to be sure you are up to speed, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. LinkedIn offers many different services including: Groups, Job listings, Online recruiting, Skills, a Publishing Platform, Influencers, Advertising and for-pay Research.

LinkedIn is also free of charge. This service can be instrumental in job networking as it works like a gigantic web with many connections that you wouldn’t likely find otherwise. Job recruiters, and personnel HR often use LinkedIn as a source for finding potential candidates, more so than ever before. LinkedIn also allows users to research companies that they may be interested in working for. As a potential employee you are able to apply for various jobs right through your LinkedIn profile, using it as a resume. In addition, all of your job applications will be saved for you to use in the future.

Closing Remarks about Software Tools for Job Search

Each of these services could prove to be a valuable asset in preparing for and carrying out your job search. The best part is with most of the options being free of charge they will not add any overhead in a time that may already be proving to be stressful. There are so many tools at our fingertips. We need to be sure to get out there, do our research and put all the best options to good use.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it is time to find a new job, no matter the circumstances, it can feel like a daunting task.  Even when you are tied into career networking and know the direction in which you would like to go, you can often feel very overwhelmed. Let’s talk about some often overlooked tools that you may not be utilizing.  These tools can prove to be instrumental in directing your job search and making it nearly painless.

  1. Job Boards

There are almost too many online job boards to count. So how do you know which job boards will not prove to be a waste of time? The truth is, this will take some work on your part.  You will want to stick with the familiar, large, more established sites that have been around and successful for a significant amount of time. Also you may want to start with those that are local if you are hoping to stay in the same geographical location. You may find that there is a minimal cost for access to some of these boards; however, many of them are free to use.

Hint:  Always use the advanced search options when searching for jobs on these sites.  By doing so you will significantly narrow down extra information and jobs that do not relate to your needs. This will help your search to be much more efficient.

  1. LinkedIn

If you aren’t already a member of LinkedIn it may be time to become one.  This network can be a valuable asset in your job search.  Rather than spending countless hours doing research or pounding the pavement looking for the perfect career opportunity, let others help you! By using career networking sites such as LinkedIn, you are sending out information about your job needs to a variety of people in many different types of work environments.  It is just like having a team of job recruiters on your payroll.  Don’t forget to give as much as, or even more, than you get—the more you help others, the more likely you are to receive the help you need as well.

  1. Background Checking Services

Have you ever wondered what a former employer would say about you?  You may not even be aware of this, but there are companies that will provide discreet calls to your last boss or supervisor to determine if they will give you a good reference.  One such company is Allison and Taylor, but there are also others.  These companies will help you to feel secure in knowing what potential employers will be told about you. They can also help you with background check reports and other personal areas that may come up as you search for that perfect job.  These services are not free, of course.  However, if you are serious about landing that position that you are qualified to have and just need to be given the chance, this route may be a helpful option for you.

  1. Resume Distribution Services

Resume distribution services are another excellent option that you may be failing to take advantage of.   These distribution companies can help make the most challenging job searches easy and efficient. They help you to reduce the time you would spend on a traditional job search.  These companies are able to maximize your exposure to extraordinary opportunities across the globe by distributing your resume to recruiters and companies that are actively filling positions in your area of expertise. Do a little homework (or ask Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths), find a reputable company and get your information out there!

  1. Resume Writing Services

The final service that is definitely worth mentioning is a resume writing service.  If you aren’t familiar with exactly how these work, let me give you the details.  You submit your relevant information such as: education, previous employers and work experience, additional skills, locations and fields that you are interested in, etc. You will probably also want to submit some form of a resume that you have used in the past.  Once they have all of the information that they need, they compile it into a simply amazing resume! Obviously this saves you both time and frustration!  Let’s face it, writing an attention getting, professional looking resume that will stand out above the rest is not an easy thing to do.  We are not all equipped with the skills or the time necessary to create an exceptional resume. Call Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths Career Transition Experts to talk about your current career goals and resume writing requirements.

And Remember….

No two job searches are the same.  You must personalize your journey.  Make choices that you have completely thought through and feel good about.  Be patient, it may take time.  There are countless “tools” available to help you, let that be a comfort.  Having many options and strategies to choose from is a great thing. Move forward with confidence!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.
Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

Companies have ups and downs with the changes in the economy, and your employment status depends on the company’s stability. Being laid off is not the end of your career, as the layoff is not for cause—the job simply ceases to exist. Consider the following strategies to help you after a “separation,” an umbrella term for the various reasons you and your company part ways:

Take care of you.

Whatever the reason for the separation, it is never a pleasant experience. Allow time to heal; don’t waste your time being angry at your previous employer. Think about where you might have the ambition to work next, and prepare for your future rather than dwell on your past. You will find another job in your career field, provided it may take time. The best course of action, in the meantime, would be to work on yourself. This means you can allow yourself to grieve the loss of your former role while focusing on your future.

Reconnect with or build your network.

Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

Unemployment isn’t the end of your career. Start rebuilding with these 5 practical strategies for recovering after a layoff.

When you are ready to return to your career field, you will want that network to build on and rely on for opportunities. Branch out with contacts via LinkedIn or other business social media, and turn those online connections into phone calls and meetings to support your new job search.

Building your network:

  • Enhances skills you can bring to a business
  • Supports fresh ideas for your current or new organization
  • Develops an improved understanding of the business environment

—all helping you become a stronger leader and finer follower. It takes time to build a successful network, especially if you have not used this strategy before, yet it will be worth the effort.

One caveat: Don’t assume they understand your immediate needs or ask those contacts for a job. This is a binary, dead-end question that only can be answered “yes” or “no.” Instead of asking this closed question, use your networking opportunities to generate deeper, broader insights into your contact’s experience and expertise.

Volunteer in your career field or in your community.

Volunteer work adds skills to your personal knowledge bank and meat to your resume. It can also provide you with an activity to fill your time while you are in job limbo. Volunteering supports your current passions or demonstrates work you aren’t fit for. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer: to benefit others, to make a difference, to develop additional skills, to feel better about yourself, to explore other areas of interest, and numerous others. And, this volunteer experience can become a line item on your resume, which explains fruitfully what you have been doing since the time you separated from your company.

Learn a new skill.

Don’t just pass time — build on your abilities and enhance your skills. Maybe there is a computer program you’ve always longed to learn or a communication skill you recognize you need to improve on. Consider this time now available to build new skills and complete that course or certification you have been thinking about. Work on that new skill and add it to your knowledge bank.

Prepare your resume.

A resume is not just for earning your next job. It allows you to highlight your accomplishments and the skills you earned from those accomplishments. You can either use the time to reflect on your career and the skills you have and prepare a sparkling resume yourself or, as recommended, you can hire a professional resume writer to give your resume that extra polished feel.

Remember, a layoff reflects no fault of your own. The majority of layoffs involve mass groups of the company’s employees, not just one, not just you. Employers take the time to consider each individual they layoff, your being on the list is chalked up to crummy luck. Who is laid off has little to do with work ethic and competence and more to do with the budget or politics of the company’s situation. Dust yourself off and strive toward getting back out in your field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Image by winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

How many first-degree connections do you have on LinkedIn? 40? 100? 500? 10,000? That number is indicative of the number of people you have influenced to join your inner circle. But it’s not indicative of the power of your influence overall on LinkedIn. The most powerful number on LinkedIn is your total third-degree LinkedIn connections.

What Are Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections

Before we talk about the value of these third-degree connections, let’s define what we mean. Imagine you’re standing in a circle that contains only you. Everyone with whom you’re connected directly is your first-degree connections. Now imagine one of those first-degree connections standing in his or her own circle; everyone to whom that person is connected (unless they are also your first-degree connections as well) is your second-degree connections.

Example: You are connected to Mary. Mary is connected to Joe, Tom, Jack, and Donald. Joe, Tom, Jack, and Donald are your second-degree connections (assuming they’re not also first-degree connections of yours to start).

Now imagine that Joe is standing in his own circle. He has first-degree connections, too. These individuals are your third-degree connections (unless they’re more closely connected to you in some other way).

Example: Tom, Jack, and Donald (your second-degree connections) also have pools of first-degree connections. This entire set of connections-of-your-connections’-connections comprises your third-degree connections.

What Happens to Your LinkedIn Connections When You Connect with Someone New

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

As the graphic illustrates, your inner circle is only as large as it is; of course, you can expand it via a number of techniques, and you definitely should do so as you progress through your executive job search. When you do add a first-degree connection, your second-degree circle expands, but your third-degree circle grows exponentially. Furthermore, when one of your second-degree connections adds a new member to his or her inner circle, your third-degree pool also grows. Considering that LinkedIn has 364 million global members, with 2 reported to join every second (2013 metric), the number of connections in your broadest circle is growing exponentially, even while you sleep, even when you are not active on the platform.

Why Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Job Search

Third-degree connections matter on LinkedIn because no relationship activity valuable to you specifically happens outside of your network. In practical terms, this means that you can’t know about someone’s participation on the platform if you do not share some type of relationship (connections being only one flavor, but certainly the most powerful and reciprocal).

From a search standpoint, all search results on the platform are dictated by relationship status. When a hiring executive or executive recruiter who is looking for someone like you conducts a search, for practical purposes, his or her results will include only those who are first-, second-, or third-degree connected. For you, this means that this hiring executive or executive recruiter will not be able to find you unless you are part of that person’s extended network. You simply will not appear in the search results for that individual. You won’t be on that person’s radar, and if you’re not in the differential, you won’t be in the diagnosis–if you’re not in the pool of candidates, there is no way you can be chosen even for initial evaluation of candidacy.

How to Build Essential Third-Degree Connections

In many ways, the number of third-degree connections you have is largely out of your control. However, if the majority of LinkedIn users abide by roughly the same principles, every new connection that you make or someone else makes deepens and strengthens all levels of connections. To actively increase the number of third-degree connections you have, start by connecting with individuals whose brand is to be a hub on LinkedIn. These individuals are called LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs. Search these LIONs out by region, industry, job function, or company, and connect with them; most do not reject connection requests.

Connect with me on LinkedIn now.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Savvy LinkedIn users know the value of the circles of connections–why my first-degree contact has first-degree contacts, who are now my second-degree contacts, the contacts of whom are my third-degree contacts. Some become LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs; some keep their contacts more or less private. Wherever you are on the spectrum, you need to know that despite LinkedIn’s best efforts, some profiles are fake. Be wary of these false profiles, so you don’t get sucked in to their scams.

How to Recognize a Fake LinkedIn Profile

  1. Your name is in all lower-case letters. I’m not sure why improper capitalization correlates to a fake LinkedIn profile, but it does, anecdotally speaking.
  2. No photograph or headshot. Although not having a current photo is not necessarily a reason to decline to connect with a prospective contact, the fact that a profile has no personal or professional information leads me to believe that I’m reading a fake LinkedIn profile.
  3. The LinkedIn profile does have a photograph, but when a quick search of that photo on Google’s image search function yields some alarming search engine results. Typically, these images show that these images are being posted to multiple profiles, none with the same name. Sometimes they come from paid image sites. You need to judge whether the photo is credible.
  4. The text of the LinkedIn profile is thin. The person’s education is unlikely, given the person’s location and current profession. The work history is spotty, unusual, or unrelated to anything else in the profile. There is no description of the person’s employment, and there is no summary statement explaining the individual’s career path and what he or she offers the marketplace.
  5. The LinkedIn profile has fewer than 50 contacts.  Of course, every new entrant into LinkedIn has zero contacts–this is hardly the worry. A new profile with legitimate content and built out appropriately raises no red flags. But if the profile has few connections and some or all of the foregoing issues, there is high probability for this to be a fake LinkedIn profile.

A Real-World Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Let’s take this to the streets and evaluate a connection request I received yesterday. The email included the generic request for connection. While this isn’t a huge red flag necessarily, it’s never a great idea to generically invite someone to connect. But a fake profile “owner” can’t invite someone authentically, with a real request, because there’s no actual network to invite someone to.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

When I clicked through, I see the following LinkedIn profile:

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Take a look at the elements of the profile relative to the enumerated description above:

  1. The person’s name is in all lower-case letters.
  2. There is a photo today, but there wasn’t yesterday, when I first viewed the profile.
  3. The photo is not of the profile “owner.” I saved the photo and searched for it on Google Images. As I suspected, the image is someone’s private photo (as posted on Flickr, of an individual celebrating Manila Day). Clearly, this is not a professional photo of the profile “owner,” as the individual named in the private photo is different.
  4. The content of the profile is thin, misspelled, and not descriptive. Typically, profile owners write their actual job titles, not a vague description, and savvy LinkedIn users fill out their complete profiles. Moreover, the place of employment is listed on the company’s web site as Iowa. The profile owner lists Houston, TX, as his place of employment.
  5. The profile has <50 connections.

Are These Faults Enough?

You might say that none of these faults in this particular LinkedIn profile definitively indicate that the LinkedIn profile is fake. You’re probably right–any one of these, independent of the others, is not cause for particular alarm or disconnection. However, taken together, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I’m 99 44/100% sure that this is a fake LinkedIn profile. It lacks authenticity and honesty, and doesn’t even attempt to represent a real human being.

How to Be Authentic in Your LinkedIn Profile

There are many resources on how to write a terrific LinkedIn profile. Rather than describe the many ways to engage in an effective LinkedIn strategy, I’m going to offer one piece of valuable insight: Be authentic.

To design and implement an effective LinkedIn profile, not only do you need to complete the fields within it appropriately, you need to demonstrate that who you are online is who you are in person.

The reason fake LinkedIn profiles raise eyebrows–if not all-out alarms–is that there is no substance behind the skimpy text. What is your substance, and how does your online presence match your true self in the eyes of your audience?

Want to report a fake LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn’s customer service can help.

Connect with me (Amy L. Adler) at http://linkedin.com/in/amyladler.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Have you ever wondered where you could go from your current job? Are you concerned that your career path is unclear, and you do not know what your next position might be? Use LinkedIn’s “Past Company” built-in search feature to learn where your company’s former employees landed to help you craft your own path.

Your Colleagues' Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Your Colleagues’ Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Start by logging into LinkedIn. Now click on the “Advanced” link, to the right of the search bar at the top of your screen. A number of search options beyond the simple search become visible. The one you need to look at is called “Past Company,” and there is an “+Add” icon that you can click to add your current company’s name. You can add your own title, a different title, or prospective title. You also can select the degree of connection (you might not specify this at this point). Now scroll down and click the blue “Search” button in the left sidebar.

The list that results from this type of search yields profiles of your connections — first through third, depending on your choices — who used to work at your company. Explore these profiles to see what types of roles they had, what they did after that, and what their most recent positions are. From a selected sample of these profiles, you might be getting a better picture of the career paths your former colleagues have taken.

To take this exercise a notch up, select for only first-degree connections. Now do the search again. This list can serve as a starting point for your networking and informational interview strategy. You definitely will have something in common with these individuals, which makes for a great conversation starter. You also have a goal in mind for your informational interview: “Could you please tell me how you chose to leave [former role at former company] for [next role at next company]? What led you to that choice? What skills did you need to acquire to make that jump? How do you feel about your decision now?”

Image courtesy of Freeimage.com / ColinBroug

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

Do you wonder whether you are really getting anywhere with your job search networking strategy? While you are in the midst of networking, the process can seem thankless. Did that connection you made a month ago turn into something? How do you know whether the presentation you attended was worth going to from a networking perspective? Although it is hard to pin job search success onto any one networking event, overall, you can measure your networking success with a few simple metrics.

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

1. New Connections on LinkedIn

When you collect business cards at a networking event, do you turn them into LinkedIn connections? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity to broaden your network. Measure the growth of your first-degree connections–those you have met in person and those you “meet” virtually–to see whether your networking efforts are bearing fruit.

2. Telephone Meetings

Often, first-degree connections on LinkedIn linger in purgatory, never becoming real-world connections with whom you have conversations. How many of these first-degree connections result in telephone conversations, during which you can ask your new contact a variety of questions about their experiences, positions, companies, and industries? If your number is small, you might need to open this bottleneck in the networking process.

3. Face-to-Face Meetings

How many of your telephone conversations turn into real-world meetings? Granted, the face-to-face meeting is likely to be a more rare event than the telephone meeting, but this makes in-person conversations that much more important. Stack the deck in your favor, and ASK for the meeting. Your connection might be too busy, but chances are that he or she will feel flattered, particularly if you are seeking expertise from a position of genuine curiosity about this person’s experience.

4. Introductions to Hiring Executives

Now recall the number of times you have been introduced by a connection, personally, to a hiring manager. More rare still, these opportunities to meet actual hiring executives are precious chances for you to demonstrate the value you could bring to a company or an industry. Prepare for these meetings wisely–they are not likely to be frequent, so make the most of the chance to make that special first impression.

5. Job Interviews

Interview offers can come in cold, from the submission of your resume to an indifferent web site or email, but they are more likely to develop as a result of your ongoing, powerful, and planned networking strategy. Therefore, this is the metric that matters most in your networking efforts. Bring your best game, and use this opportunity to show how you are the right fit for the company.

Conclusion: Identify the Bottleneck

Where in this process did your numbers drop off? Was it at step 1? Maybe you are not putting yourself out there sufficiently at the broadest level to create as many new connections as you can. Was it at step 4? Why do you think hiring managers–those with the power to extend critical interview offers–are not following through? Not getting a second interview? Then you must examine your interviewing strategy for step 5. Wherever the bottleneck seems to reside, you have to figure out why your experience has followed this pattern. Not sure why your job search networking strategy is not working? We can help.

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / cobrasoft

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

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LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn recently released a new function that allows job seekers to indicate that they are looking for work to recruiters. This function is private – meaning you won’t be advertising to your current employer or any followers that you are looking for a new position. Enabling the feature is fairly simple and this tutorial spells out each step. The ‘Open Candidate’ option is available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia for now, but will surely be global very soon.

The only thing you have to do is make sure your profile is up-to-date and makes a positive statement about you.

Updating Your LinkedIn Profile

All of your skills are on display through this social media profile, right? Are each of those skills marketable – what employers want to see in a prospective employee? Before making your account open, do a little research into what companies you’d be interested in are looking for, especially if you are trying to change career paths. Take the time to review your profile for any typos, old or irrelevant information, or incorrect dates. The accuracy of your profile actually does make a difference and you also will want it to be as complete as possible – utilizing the percentage indicator on your homepage.
Many of LinkedIn’s features are free but there are membership only options. The new ‘Open Candidate’ feature is free and it was developed to keep your job search confidential – away from the eyes of your current employer. Your profile, for the most part, is public and you should want it to be open. Employers can search for candidates based on the skills or experience they have and having your profile open will put you in those search results. With the new feature, you will actually be able to signal to recruiters that you are looking for a new position. Knowing that, there are some other pieces about LinkedIn that you should keep in mind.

LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts

While LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful resource, it is not like other social media sites. Understand the etiquette surrounding the media – it is a business connectivity website. Including anything you would post on any other social media site would be against your best interest. When thinking about what you should include on your profile, and how to communicate with others, consider the following tips.

DO:

  • Keep your profile up-to-date with new skills and positions, discarding out of date information.
  • Endorse your followers’ skills – they will endorse you back.
  • Build your network by following people that work at a company or industry you are interested in. Cultural etiquette encourages a message to reach out to this person before adding them to your network. The additions will give you an idea of what skills you should strive to gain and add to your repertoire.
  • Comment in the forums and make connections.
  • Use LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions.

DON’T:

  • Post inappropriate pictures for your profile picture or otherwise – if you wouldn’t wear that outfit to an interview or at work, don’t post that picture.
  • Update or blog about your everyday life.
  • Follow people that are outside your network that look like fake profiles. There are fake profiles on LinkedIn – scammers trying to lure you to job opportunities that seem too good to be true or connect you with important people.
  • Send spam-looking messages to contacts.
  • Self promote in the forums or respond negatively to anyone.
  • Use only LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions. Not every employer will post a job through this social media website.

Social media can be tricky. Facebook and Twitter allow for nearly constant updates and pictures about your life, how you’re feeling, and advertisements. Pinterest is an eclectic collective of DIY, art, and life tips. LinkedIn is it’s own kind of social media and the best rule of thumb for this site: If you wouldn’t say it in an interview, it doesn’t belong on LinkedIn. Business, business, and only business should be on display for your profile – nothing personal.

When in doubt, leave it out. You should feel like your LinkedIn profile represents you on a different level than your resume. With everything you are able to do through LinkedIn – forum conversations, messages, and blogging – it is a new experience that can bring elements to your job search you haven’t used before. There is no guarantee that your profile will be any more unique than Sally’s or Joe’s, but the professional presentation of your knowledge and skills is much more important here than photos of your lunch.

Photo attributed to ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Don’t Forget to Back Up Your LinkedIn Profile

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10 Things to Do on LinkedIn Right Now, All in Less than 1 Hour

Do these 10 things on LinkedIn Right Now, All in Less than 1 Hour

You’re thinking, “I definitely have an hour to spend on LinkedIn, but I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Most executive job seekers don’t know what to do on LinkedIn, either. In fact, LinkedIn is always changing, which makes keeping up even harder.

To complicate things, if you don’t keep up with all of the different functions that LinkedIn offers, you might find yourself behind your competition to connect with the right people to find the right executive role. If you’re stressed about how to manage your LinkedIn presence, follow these 10 simple daily strategies to target your talents and expertise to your executive ideal job search goal.

  1. Connect with someone you don’t know personally on LinkedIn, and customize your connection request so they understand exactly why you’ve reached out to them.
  2. Write a LinkedIn recommendation for someone else.
  3. Call up someone with whom you have not spoken in at least 6 months.
  4. Look on LinkedIn’s job board for interesting positions open right now.
  5. Review several colleagues’ profiles to see what they have been up to.
  6. Join a LinkedIn group and post one question—or comment on someone else’s question.
  7. Take those business cards you collected from your last networking event and connect with each of them on LinkedIn.
  8. Write a long-form blog post and publish it on LinkedIn.
  9. Look at a LinkedIn company page to see when their next industry event or webinar will be held, then make time to participate.
  10. Read an article in a publication related to your industry or job function. Then update your LinkedIn status with a link to it and a question or insight about it to your connections.

Can you do all of these in less than 60 minutes? Time yourself—you’ll be surprised at how fast you can complete these 10 tips. Do them every day, and you’ll master your executive job search on LinkedIn.

Updated January 2017

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

5 Software Tools to Jump Start Your Job Search

5 Software Tools for Job Search

“Jumping in” can be the hardest part of your Job Search. Motivation can be difficult to harness when you don’t know where to begin. This article will spotlight some great software products that you can use either free of charge or close to it. Having the proper tools available can make all the difference in your job search from the beginning to the successful ending.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), if this is something new to you, refers to systems that companies use to manage and/or analyze customer data with the goal of improving relationships, studying customer retention and initiating sales growth.

CRM systems are built to organize information about customers including websites, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. They can also provide detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and their concerns.

There are several open source options, such as SugarCRM. Open source CRM systems allow you to add data links to social media. This aids companies looking to improve social CRM practices.

Using any of the above mentioned CRM methods varies depending on a company’s business needs, goals and resources. This software can prove to be very beneficial in organizing your networking, sales and contacts. An organized job search is bound to be a successful one.

  1. Office Software

We are all familiar with Microsoft Office, and have probably used it in the past or maybe are even using it currently. It is a great program with applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and so on. However, it can be an expensive program. We all need to be aware that these types of office applications are also available in free and open source formats.

Open source office software has come a long way in the past several years making it a great choice for your work productivity software. You won’t even lose most features or support. These free software options have countless tools and also provide all the features you need and expect.

Most of these alternatives to Microsoft Office have the basic applications to help you be productive in the office, such as: word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Several of the alternatives provide even more options, including drawing, database tools and storage.

Below are some great options you may want to consider: Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, Google Docs, and KOffice.

  1. WordPress

WordPress is free web software that you can use to create an awesome website, blog, or even an app. The software has been created by hundreds of volunteers. When you are familiar with the countless ways the software works and want to move onto more than the basics, there are innumerable plugins, customizations and themes available to transform your site into anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people use WordPress; numbers don’t lie!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Slideshare

If you haven’t heard of SlideShare, you are one of the few! SlideShare is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world. SlideShare provides you with the ability to learn not only faster, but smarter as well.

Rather than scrolling through endless pages of text, you can look through a SlideShare deck and obtain the same information in half the time. You have the ability to learn about any topic you can imagine. You can also share information and insight through many different types of media. SlideShare has endless possibilities that will be sure to send you into any job search well prepared.

  1. LinkedIn

I am confident that you are familiar with LinkedIn, especially if you are in the process of job searching, but just to be sure you are up to speed, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. LinkedIn offers many different services including: Groups, Job listings, Online recruiting, Skills, a Publishing Platform, Influencers, Advertising and for-pay Research.

LinkedIn is also free of charge. This service can be instrumental in job networking as it works like a gigantic web with many connections that you wouldn’t likely find otherwise. Job recruiters, and personnel HR often use LinkedIn as a source for finding potential candidates, more so than ever before. LinkedIn also allows users to research companies that they may be interested in working for. As a potential employee you are able to apply for various jobs right through your LinkedIn profile, using it as a resume. In addition, all of your job applications will be saved for you to use in the future.

Closing Remarks about Software Tools for Job Search

Each of these services could prove to be a valuable asset in preparing for and carrying out your job search. The best part is with most of the options being free of charge they will not add any overhead in a time that may already be proving to be stressful. There are so many tools at our fingertips. We need to be sure to get out there, do our research and put all the best options to good use.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it is time to find a new job, no matter the circumstances, it can feel like a daunting task.  Even when you are tied into career networking and know the direction in which you would like to go, you can often feel very overwhelmed. Let’s talk about some often overlooked tools that you may not be utilizing.  These tools can prove to be instrumental in directing your job search and making it nearly painless.

  1. Job Boards

There are almost too many online job boards to count. So how do you know which job boards will not prove to be a waste of time? The truth is, this will take some work on your part.  You will want to stick with the familiar, large, more established sites that have been around and successful for a significant amount of time. Also you may want to start with those that are local if you are hoping to stay in the same geographical location. You may find that there is a minimal cost for access to some of these boards; however, many of them are free to use.

Hint:  Always use the advanced search options when searching for jobs on these sites.  By doing so you will significantly narrow down extra information and jobs that do not relate to your needs. This will help your search to be much more efficient.

  1. LinkedIn

If you aren’t already a member of LinkedIn it may be time to become one.  This network can be a valuable asset in your job search.  Rather than spending countless hours doing research or pounding the pavement looking for the perfect career opportunity, let others help you! By using career networking sites such as LinkedIn, you are sending out information about your job needs to a variety of people in many different types of work environments.  It is just like having a team of job recruiters on your payroll.  Don’t forget to give as much as, or even more, than you get—the more you help others, the more likely you are to receive the help you need as well.

  1. Background Checking Services

Have you ever wondered what a former employer would say about you?  You may not even be aware of this, but there are companies that will provide discreet calls to your last boss or supervisor to determine if they will give you a good reference.  One such company is Allison and Taylor, but there are also others.  These companies will help you to feel secure in knowing what potential employers will be told about you. They can also help you with background check reports and other personal areas that may come up as you search for that perfect job.  These services are not free, of course.  However, if you are serious about landing that position that you are qualified to have and just need to be given the chance, this route may be a helpful option for you.

  1. Resume Distribution Services

Resume distribution services are another excellent option that you may be failing to take advantage of.   These distribution companies can help make the most challenging job searches easy and efficient. They help you to reduce the time you would spend on a traditional job search.  These companies are able to maximize your exposure to extraordinary opportunities across the globe by distributing your resume to recruiters and companies that are actively filling positions in your area of expertise. Do a little homework (or ask Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths), find a reputable company and get your information out there!

  1. Resume Writing Services

The final service that is definitely worth mentioning is a resume writing service.  If you aren’t familiar with exactly how these work, let me give you the details.  You submit your relevant information such as: education, previous employers and work experience, additional skills, locations and fields that you are interested in, etc. You will probably also want to submit some form of a resume that you have used in the past.  Once they have all of the information that they need, they compile it into a simply amazing resume! Obviously this saves you both time and frustration!  Let’s face it, writing an attention getting, professional looking resume that will stand out above the rest is not an easy thing to do.  We are not all equipped with the skills or the time necessary to create an exceptional resume. Call Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths Career Transition Experts to talk about your current career goals and resume writing requirements.

And Remember….

No two job searches are the same.  You must personalize your journey.  Make choices that you have completely thought through and feel good about.  Be patient, it may take time.  There are countless “tools” available to help you, let that be a comfort.  Having many options and strategies to choose from is a great thing. Move forward with confidence!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.
Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

Companies have ups and downs with the changes in the economy, and your employment status depends on the company’s stability. Being laid off is not the end of your career, as the layoff is not for cause—the job simply ceases to exist. Consider the following strategies to help you after a “separation,” an umbrella term for the various reasons you and your company part ways:

Take care of you.

Whatever the reason for the separation, it is never a pleasant experience. Allow time to heal; don’t waste your time being angry at your previous employer. Think about where you might have the ambition to work next, and prepare for your future rather than dwell on your past. You will find another job in your career field, provided it may take time. The best course of action, in the meantime, would be to work on yourself. This means you can allow yourself to grieve the loss of your former role while focusing on your future.

Reconnect with or build your network.

Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

Unemployment isn’t the end of your career. Start rebuilding with these 5 practical strategies for recovering after a layoff.

When you are ready to return to your career field, you will want that network to build on and rely on for opportunities. Branch out with contacts via LinkedIn or other business social media, and turn those online connections into phone calls and meetings to support your new job search.

Building your network:

  • Enhances skills you can bring to a business
  • Supports fresh ideas for your current or new organization
  • Develops an improved understanding of the business environment

—all helping you become a stronger leader and finer follower. It takes time to build a successful network, especially if you have not used this strategy before, yet it will be worth the effort.

One caveat: Don’t assume they understand your immediate needs or ask those contacts for a job. This is a binary, dead-end question that only can be answered “yes” or “no.” Instead of asking this closed question, use your networking opportunities to generate deeper, broader insights into your contact’s experience and expertise.

Volunteer in your career field or in your community.

Volunteer work adds skills to your personal knowledge bank and meat to your resume. It can also provide you with an activity to fill your time while you are in job limbo. Volunteering supports your current passions or demonstrates work you aren’t fit for. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer: to benefit others, to make a difference, to develop additional skills, to feel better about yourself, to explore other areas of interest, and numerous others. And, this volunteer experience can become a line item on your resume, which explains fruitfully what you have been doing since the time you separated from your company.

Learn a new skill.

Don’t just pass time — build on your abilities and enhance your skills. Maybe there is a computer program you’ve always longed to learn or a communication skill you recognize you need to improve on. Consider this time now available to build new skills and complete that course or certification you have been thinking about. Work on that new skill and add it to your knowledge bank.

Prepare your resume.

A resume is not just for earning your next job. It allows you to highlight your accomplishments and the skills you earned from those accomplishments. You can either use the time to reflect on your career and the skills you have and prepare a sparkling resume yourself or, as recommended, you can hire a professional resume writer to give your resume that extra polished feel.

Remember, a layoff reflects no fault of your own. The majority of layoffs involve mass groups of the company’s employees, not just one, not just you. Employers take the time to consider each individual they layoff, your being on the list is chalked up to crummy luck. Who is laid off has little to do with work ethic and competence and more to do with the budget or politics of the company’s situation. Dust yourself off and strive toward getting back out in your field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Image by winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

How many first-degree connections do you have on LinkedIn? 40? 100? 500? 10,000? That number is indicative of the number of people you have influenced to join your inner circle. But it’s not indicative of the power of your influence overall on LinkedIn. The most powerful number on LinkedIn is your total third-degree LinkedIn connections.

What Are Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections

Before we talk about the value of these third-degree connections, let’s define what we mean. Imagine you’re standing in a circle that contains only you. Everyone with whom you’re connected directly is your first-degree connections. Now imagine one of those first-degree connections standing in his or her own circle; everyone to whom that person is connected (unless they are also your first-degree connections as well) is your second-degree connections.

Example: You are connected to Mary. Mary is connected to Joe, Tom, Jack, and Donald. Joe, Tom, Jack, and Donald are your second-degree connections (assuming they’re not also first-degree connections of yours to start).

Now imagine that Joe is standing in his own circle. He has first-degree connections, too. These individuals are your third-degree connections (unless they’re more closely connected to you in some other way).

Example: Tom, Jack, and Donald (your second-degree connections) also have pools of first-degree connections. This entire set of connections-of-your-connections’-connections comprises your third-degree connections.

What Happens to Your LinkedIn Connections When You Connect with Someone New

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

As the graphic illustrates, your inner circle is only as large as it is; of course, you can expand it via a number of techniques, and you definitely should do so as you progress through your executive job search. When you do add a first-degree connection, your second-degree circle expands, but your third-degree circle grows exponentially. Furthermore, when one of your second-degree connections adds a new member to his or her inner circle, your third-degree pool also grows. Considering that LinkedIn has 364 million global members, with 2 reported to join every second (2013 metric), the number of connections in your broadest circle is growing exponentially, even while you sleep, even when you are not active on the platform.

Why Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Job Search

Third-degree connections matter on LinkedIn because no relationship activity valuable to you specifically happens outside of your network. In practical terms, this means that you can’t know about someone’s participation on the platform if you do not share some type of relationship (connections being only one flavor, but certainly the most powerful and reciprocal).

From a search standpoint, all search results on the platform are dictated by relationship status. When a hiring executive or executive recruiter who is looking for someone like you conducts a search, for practical purposes, his or her results will include only those who are first-, second-, or third-degree connected. For you, this means that this hiring executive or executive recruiter will not be able to find you unless you are part of that person’s extended network. You simply will not appear in the search results for that individual. You won’t be on that person’s radar, and if you’re not in the differential, you won’t be in the diagnosis–if you’re not in the pool of candidates, there is no way you can be chosen even for initial evaluation of candidacy.

How to Build Essential Third-Degree Connections

In many ways, the number of third-degree connections you have is largely out of your control. However, if the majority of LinkedIn users abide by roughly the same principles, every new connection that you make or someone else makes deepens and strengthens all levels of connections. To actively increase the number of third-degree connections you have, start by connecting with individuals whose brand is to be a hub on LinkedIn. These individuals are called LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs. Search these LIONs out by region, industry, job function, or company, and connect with them; most do not reject connection requests.

Connect with me on LinkedIn now.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Savvy LinkedIn users know the value of the circles of connections–why my first-degree contact has first-degree contacts, who are now my second-degree contacts, the contacts of whom are my third-degree contacts. Some become LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs; some keep their contacts more or less private. Wherever you are on the spectrum, you need to know that despite LinkedIn’s best efforts, some profiles are fake. Be wary of these false profiles, so you don’t get sucked in to their scams.

How to Recognize a Fake LinkedIn Profile

  1. Your name is in all lower-case letters. I’m not sure why improper capitalization correlates to a fake LinkedIn profile, but it does, anecdotally speaking.
  2. No photograph or headshot. Although not having a current photo is not necessarily a reason to decline to connect with a prospective contact, the fact that a profile has no personal or professional information leads me to believe that I’m reading a fake LinkedIn profile.
  3. The LinkedIn profile does have a photograph, but when a quick search of that photo on Google’s image search function yields some alarming search engine results. Typically, these images show that these images are being posted to multiple profiles, none with the same name. Sometimes they come from paid image sites. You need to judge whether the photo is credible.
  4. The text of the LinkedIn profile is thin. The person’s education is unlikely, given the person’s location and current profession. The work history is spotty, unusual, or unrelated to anything else in the profile. There is no description of the person’s employment, and there is no summary statement explaining the individual’s career path and what he or she offers the marketplace.
  5. The LinkedIn profile has fewer than 50 contacts.  Of course, every new entrant into LinkedIn has zero contacts–this is hardly the worry. A new profile with legitimate content and built out appropriately raises no red flags. But if the profile has few connections and some or all of the foregoing issues, there is high probability for this to be a fake LinkedIn profile.

A Real-World Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Let’s take this to the streets and evaluate a connection request I received yesterday. The email included the generic request for connection. While this isn’t a huge red flag necessarily, it’s never a great idea to generically invite someone to connect. But a fake profile “owner” can’t invite someone authentically, with a real request, because there’s no actual network to invite someone to.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

When I clicked through, I see the following LinkedIn profile:

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Take a look at the elements of the profile relative to the enumerated description above:

  1. The person’s name is in all lower-case letters.
  2. There is a photo today, but there wasn’t yesterday, when I first viewed the profile.
  3. The photo is not of the profile “owner.” I saved the photo and searched for it on Google Images. As I suspected, the image is someone’s private photo (as posted on Flickr, of an individual celebrating Manila Day). Clearly, this is not a professional photo of the profile “owner,” as the individual named in the private photo is different.
  4. The content of the profile is thin, misspelled, and not descriptive. Typically, profile owners write their actual job titles, not a vague description, and savvy LinkedIn users fill out their complete profiles. Moreover, the place of employment is listed on the company’s web site as Iowa. The profile owner lists Houston, TX, as his place of employment.
  5. The profile has <50 connections.

Are These Faults Enough?

You might say that none of these faults in this particular LinkedIn profile definitively indicate that the LinkedIn profile is fake. You’re probably right–any one of these, independent of the others, is not cause for particular alarm or disconnection. However, taken together, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I’m 99 44/100% sure that this is a fake LinkedIn profile. It lacks authenticity and honesty, and doesn’t even attempt to represent a real human being.

How to Be Authentic in Your LinkedIn Profile

There are many resources on how to write a terrific LinkedIn profile. Rather than describe the many ways to engage in an effective LinkedIn strategy, I’m going to offer one piece of valuable insight: Be authentic.

To design and implement an effective LinkedIn profile, not only do you need to complete the fields within it appropriately, you need to demonstrate that who you are online is who you are in person.

The reason fake LinkedIn profiles raise eyebrows–if not all-out alarms–is that there is no substance behind the skimpy text. What is your substance, and how does your online presence match your true self in the eyes of your audience?

Want to report a fake LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn’s customer service can help.

Connect with me (Amy L. Adler) at http://linkedin.com/in/amyladler.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Have you ever wondered where you could go from your current job? Are you concerned that your career path is unclear, and you do not know what your next position might be? Use LinkedIn’s “Past Company” built-in search feature to learn where your company’s former employees landed to help you craft your own path.

Your Colleagues' Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Your Colleagues’ Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Start by logging into LinkedIn. Now click on the “Advanced” link, to the right of the search bar at the top of your screen. A number of search options beyond the simple search become visible. The one you need to look at is called “Past Company,” and there is an “+Add” icon that you can click to add your current company’s name. You can add your own title, a different title, or prospective title. You also can select the degree of connection (you might not specify this at this point). Now scroll down and click the blue “Search” button in the left sidebar.

The list that results from this type of search yields profiles of your connections — first through third, depending on your choices — who used to work at your company. Explore these profiles to see what types of roles they had, what they did after that, and what their most recent positions are. From a selected sample of these profiles, you might be getting a better picture of the career paths your former colleagues have taken.

To take this exercise a notch up, select for only first-degree connections. Now do the search again. This list can serve as a starting point for your networking and informational interview strategy. You definitely will have something in common with these individuals, which makes for a great conversation starter. You also have a goal in mind for your informational interview: “Could you please tell me how you chose to leave [former role at former company] for [next role at next company]? What led you to that choice? What skills did you need to acquire to make that jump? How do you feel about your decision now?”

Image courtesy of Freeimage.com / ColinBroug

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

Do you wonder whether you are really getting anywhere with your job search networking strategy? While you are in the midst of networking, the process can seem thankless. Did that connection you made a month ago turn into something? How do you know whether the presentation you attended was worth going to from a networking perspective? Although it is hard to pin job search success onto any one networking event, overall, you can measure your networking success with a few simple metrics.

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

1. New Connections on LinkedIn

When you collect business cards at a networking event, do you turn them into LinkedIn connections? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity to broaden your network. Measure the growth of your first-degree connections–those you have met in person and those you “meet” virtually–to see whether your networking efforts are bearing fruit.

2. Telephone Meetings

Often, first-degree connections on LinkedIn linger in purgatory, never becoming real-world connections with whom you have conversations. How many of these first-degree connections result in telephone conversations, during which you can ask your new contact a variety of questions about their experiences, positions, companies, and industries? If your number is small, you might need to open this bottleneck in the networking process.

3. Face-to-Face Meetings

How many of your telephone conversations turn into real-world meetings? Granted, the face-to-face meeting is likely to be a more rare event than the telephone meeting, but this makes in-person conversations that much more important. Stack the deck in your favor, and ASK for the meeting. Your connection might be too busy, but chances are that he or she will feel flattered, particularly if you are seeking expertise from a position of genuine curiosity about this person’s experience.

4. Introductions to Hiring Executives

Now recall the number of times you have been introduced by a connection, personally, to a hiring manager. More rare still, these opportunities to meet actual hiring executives are precious chances for you to demonstrate the value you could bring to a company or an industry. Prepare for these meetings wisely–they are not likely to be frequent, so make the most of the chance to make that special first impression.

5. Job Interviews

Interview offers can come in cold, from the submission of your resume to an indifferent web site or email, but they are more likely to develop as a result of your ongoing, powerful, and planned networking strategy. Therefore, this is the metric that matters most in your networking efforts. Bring your best game, and use this opportunity to show how you are the right fit for the company.

Conclusion: Identify the Bottleneck

Where in this process did your numbers drop off? Was it at step 1? Maybe you are not putting yourself out there sufficiently at the broadest level to create as many new connections as you can. Was it at step 4? Why do you think hiring managers–those with the power to extend critical interview offers–are not following through? Not getting a second interview? Then you must examine your interviewing strategy for step 5. Wherever the bottleneck seems to reside, you have to figure out why your experience has followed this pattern. Not sure why your job search networking strategy is not working? We can help.

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Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.