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An Open Letter to Linkedin

Dear Linkedin:

For years I have been asking you to fix your LIVE editing format that allows users to first preview what they write before publishing content. It has fallen on deaf ears. Just today I was perusing a professional’s profile and found misspelled words. As a resume writer, this irks me. Typos and misspellings are never good in any form of marketing.

Because of your user agreement, professional resume writers and Linkedin advisors are not allowed to go into someone else’s Linkedin account (even with their permission). I understand why, but can we come up with a solution? Because the current system isn’t working so well.

WordPress is a perfect example of how to set up accounts for multiple users with various permissions. I have asked your company to do the same. My clients want their profiles to look great, so why not allow them to set up a second user account with limited access? The password and sign-on can even have an expiration date of say, 30 days. I don’t need access to a client’s inmail, or even their connections. Nor do I want publishing privileges. But let’s face it. A lot of busy professionals just don’t have the time to set up a Linkedin account any more than they would sit down and create their own company website. And it’s not in their best interest to do so.

So please, hear me out. Now that Microsoft owns you, I know there are plenty of intelligent people in the firm to make this happen. Give your members a chance to have a polished Linkedin Profile, created by a professional, that doesn’t require “cutting and pasting” from a text document and a long list of instructions. Let us in to do the job in preview only mode, so the account owner can look it over and publish it when, and only when it’s perfect. It will make everyone look better. Including your company.

Susan Geary, CMRW

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Blog Career Job Search Advice LinkedIn Profile

Why you need a Custom URL for your Linkedin Profile

Logo-rIf you’re actively seeking work, and you’re confident that your Linkedin profile is up to par, great! That’s a first step. Your second step is to include a link to your Linkedin profile on your resume so that recruiters can easily find it. Yes, they will search Linkedin in they’re are interested in finding out more about you. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find someone on Linkedin, especially when they have a common name, so make it EASY to be found. That’s the whole point of Linkedin.

Case in point, if you’re ever looking for me on Linkedin, you’re going to have to wade through a lot people named Susan Geary before you’re sure I’m the person you are seeking. I tend to move around a lot, so location won’t help you. That’s why you should help people locate your profile. In my case, SusanGeary was already taken when I went to sign up for my custom url. So I chose Linkedin.com/in/1stRateResumes. Not only do I list it on my email signature, but also on my business cards. Few people will  transcribe all those awful numbers and dashes that Linkedin assigns to you when you first set up your account. I’ve seen job seekers list the standard URL on a business card and not only does it look awful and unprofessional, it’s unnecessary. Linkedin allows you to change your URL to something shorter and easier to read, like your name! Plus it’s FREE!

Changing your Linkedin custom url is easy, just follow these steps:

1. Sign into your account and position your cursor over “Profile” at the top of your home page. Select “Edit Profile.”

2. Under your profile picture, click “Edit” next to the URL.

3. In the “Your Public Profile” URL box in the bottom right, select “customize your public profile URL.”

4. Type in the last part of your new custom URL in the text box. I recommend it be your name, or first initial with a last name. If you have a very common name, like Mark Kelly, then you’ll need to be creative. Perhaps something like “MarkKellyMBA” or “MKellySalesDirector”

Note that Linkedin will make all the letters in lower case, but they are not case sensitive. Therefore, on your marketing materials, such as your resume and business cards, I recommend you use CamelCase so that it’s easier for everyone else to read. You will not be allowed to use spaces, symbols, or special characters, but as I’ve demonstrated with my business name, you can use numerals.

And when it comes to listing it on your resume and business cards, keep it simple. You don’t need the http or even the www. To save space, just write Linkedin.com/in/YourName.

Your custom Linkedin URL listed in CamelCase format, will not only show you know your way around social media applications, you’ll also demonstrate you know a few marketing tips that even the most experienced graphic designers fail to use.

 

 

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Should you Link Out of Linked In?

A conversation was started with one of my Facebook friends today questioning the validity of Linkedin. “to me it’s pointless,” he wrote, and was asking for help on how to shut down his account and “link out.” Because my friend has a heap of influential and quite funny Facebook followers, the responses were coming in like a frenzy, all dissing on Linkedin. Has the shine finally come off the polish?

Some of the quotes were indicative of the negative feelings of Linkedin:

Where else can people endorse you for skills you don’t have?” became an early on favorite.

Another writes, “When you find the secret, please let me know. It’s the most pointless of the social media.

I’ve been restricted for years, they want me to upgrade for a special kind of abuse?

Meanwhile, my friend got directions on how to close his Linkedin Account., and then received a message that the fine folks at LI are reviewing his request. All while friends kept commenting on the uselessness of Linkedin and just how annoying it has become.

“Like the buttons you can inadvertently use to delete stuff you really need.”

Then came agreement from the original poster “oh yes, I’ve done that too. I am certified as a computer klutz!,” who added, “Now I’ve been notified that I have too many contacts to close down automatically. Someone from “Support” will be in touch soon. They should just have a “delete” option.”

People were agreeing with the OP, and adding they hated CAPTCHA, and that the rules were too stringent, and the company will hound you if you ever try to quit. It’s bad enough we get tons of junk mail from them, and it’s not easy to navigate where to turn off those broadcasts. Plus, and this is my biggest beef, there is no preview page. Everything you change on Linkedin goes live. That really sucks for the spelling and grammar challenged.

As I write this, more comments are coming in…..

I am amazed at the number of people I have lost touch with over the years who are “suggested” by the Linked system. I mean a step daughter from a woman in the 80’s??? Come on!

I just contacted linkedIn & asked them to delete my account because it is just so stupid to belong to a group of people who only want me to either endorse them or write them a recommendation… I think they dumped me

Once u get in-u can never get out. Impossible to get out

“Its the Hotel California of the Internet. … you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.”

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Linkedin Needs a Preview Page

In my business, it’s paramount that my clients look as good as possible throughout their career. And Linkedin is now included as a “must have” just like a resume. I’ve seen some really good Linkedin Profiles, and some really bad ones. A poorly written profile can cost a job seeker an opportunity, without even knowing it. These are the profiles that are stark, contain bad grammar, or misspelled words.

That’s why clients contact resume writers like me to help out with Linkedin profiles. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work involved from turning on or off privacy and broadcast features, to creating a custom url that can be inserted into the resume. However, the folks at Linkedin don’t make it easy to help their members put their best foot forward. Their rules dictate that no one but the owner of the account can have access. That means no sharing of usernames and passwords or you can jeopardize your account privileges. I get the reasoning behind it, and I’m totally on board with it. But it doesn’t make it any easier for newbies trying to get an account up and running for the first time when they’re on the hunt for new gig.

So may I suggest to the folks at Linkedin a preview page? One that allows the member to send a link to a professional writer for editing privileges, but the profile does not go LIVE until the member approves it and clicks on a button to make it happen. That way the writer won’t have access to the actual account, or private messages, but the client can still have a great looking Linkedin profile without having to cut and paste from a word document.

Come on Linkedin. You know you can do this.

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Don’t Lie About Your Job History on Linkedin

This morning I received my usual email notice from Linkedin telling me what my connections are up to in their career.  I like to know how my friends, clients, and former co-workers are doing and drop them a line when I hear about a promotion or new job.

The note this morning urged me to congratulate “John Doe” on his work anniversary of three years at a well-known company. John was a former supervisor of mine many years ago when I worked in radio, so I went to his profile and started looking through his work history. I found it odd that the station we  both worked at during that time was not even listed. Worse, he listed a different radio station and location altogether! This made me wonder why he would even take that chance. Was it an honest mistake, or did he purposely revise history thinking no one would be the wiser?

Here’s the problem. John had about 50 co-workers during his time at that job so there’s at least 50 people in our industry who could place him there during that time frame and not at the station he listed. Further, he contributed quotes to music publications that linked him to our station. And he was known by competitors in our market, so that adds even more who can refute his Linkedin job history.

Another concern is for those of us who worked with him. Granted, it was 20+ years ago, but if I ever wanted to use him as a reference, Linkedin shows him not working there at all, which brings up the question, “who’s telling the truth?”

You don’t need to list every job on Linkedin, especially those from 20 years ago. But to give the impression you worked elsewhere when you didn’t can easily be challenged. And should his current employer get wind of this, he could seriously jeopardize his job.

Thanks to the Internet, it’s no longer easy to fudge dates or your past. Don’t do it.

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A Garden of Excuses from LinkedIn Opponents

When I work with clients on their job search, one the first things I ask is, “do you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile?” I’m amazed at the number of excuses I hear as to why there is only one connection or the profile is literally growing cobwebs on it. And that’s a problem, because an old profile with few connections gives the wrong impression: no one likes you enough to connect with you, and if you don’t care enough about your own career, how will you take care of a company?

Here’s three of the common excuses I hear:

“I don’t want my boss to know I’m looking.”
Being on Linkedin does not signify that you’re looking for a job. It says you want to stay in touch with your best customers, colleagues, and former co-workers. There’s a lot of business to be had out there. LinkedIn is a super networking tool.

“I don’t want to be found”
Since more than 80% of recruiters are surfing Linkedin looking for passive candidates, it’s a sure bet you won’t be considered for that new great gig unless you’re on there.

“It’s a site that reveals who got fired.”
I had a client tell me this. He says that whenever someone starts padding their LI profile and asking for recommendations, something’s up. That’s not always true. In fact, it shouldn’t be true at all. We should be tending to our LinkedIn profiles much the way we tend to a garden. Planting a garden when you’re hungry is too late. Seeding and weeding is a constant and necessary task to survive.

Before the New Year hits us, take time now to update your LinkedIn Profile. When the flood of new jobs hits, you’ll be armed and ready and have one less thing to worry about. Your garden will be ready for harvest.

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LinkedIn Profiles

The new hot job search tool is LinkedIn. It’s free and a great way to stay in touch with former colleagues and customers throughout your career.

Lately I’ve had requests to “beef up” my clients’ profiles in order to get noticed by recruiters. I decided to do some reading on the topic by seasoned experts only to find out I disagree with a lot of their advice. Here’s why.

The LinkedIn experts have said you get 2000 characters to describe yourself in your profile, therefore you should use them all. What? Since when do people like to read? I learned in a copy-writing class for marketers to avoid going past 5 lines whenever possible or the eyeballs will glaze over the copy. In my opinion, the LinkedIn Profile is no different than your “elevator speech.” Keep it short and to the point yet cover as much as possible to elicit interest. Don’t forget the key words.

I’ve also read that you shouldn’t copy and paste the summary of qualifications from your resume into the profile. In fact, the experts say you should write something different than what’s already on your resume. Hmmmm. I scratch my head on that because I equate it to a company changing its mission statement whenever they want. Don’t most marketers agree that consistent branding is key? So why mix it up? Besides, LinkedIn is not the place to reveal too much about yourself. Anyone can read your profile there. Not everyone needs to know how successful you are. In fact, it could come back to haunt you.

Here is what I agree with regarding LinkedIn:
Get recommendations, at least 8.
Connect with at least 100 people to make your networking efforts successful.
Don’t try to sell anything to your network.
Keep your photo and profile professional.

I’ll continue to research LinkedIn to see if I change my stance. But here’s what I do know. I’ve had clients contact me to report that they had been offered jobs because of LinkedIn and they weren’t even looking for a new gig. Most job offers on LinkedIn will come through a referral. Someone who can vouch for your success.

So there you have it. Networking is still the key to an effective job search. Only now, it’s online.

–Susan Geary / 1st Rate Resumes

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When Twitter and Linkedin Collide

Social networking seems to be taking over our lives and now to make things easier, you can coordinate your Twitter Feed to be delivered over your LinkedIn network, but is that really a good idea? Twitter is considered to be an informal means of communication, while LinkedIn is for staying in touch with those who can help you find work. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I opened up an email with the following LinkedIn update from one of my connections:

“(I) have a date with a smokin’ hot piece of man meat tonight”

At first I thought, this woman is off her rocker to send this out to her LinkedIn connections. And then I noticed that it originated on Twitter. Chances are she was unaware who was really seeing it. Besides, there are some guys out there who would be highly put off. If this tweet came from a guy remarking about a woman, there would be hell to pay because it’s considered sexist. But that’s another story for another day.

I don’t recommend connecting Twitter with LinkedIn for any reason if you plan if you want to keep your personal life separate. And by the way, Twitter is VERY PERMANENT and anyone can see it. Including future employers. Be careful what you shout to the world about your activities.

Susan Geary / 1st Rate Resumes

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Update Your References with LinkedIn.com

Whether you’re out pounding the pavement, or are still gainfully employed, you need to be on LinkedIn.com!

Linkedin is one of the best resources around for tracking down former co-workers, customers, and supervisors and you’ll find it will really come in handy when you need to get an employment reference. With people moving around a lot, it’s hard to keep track of all this information on your own. LinkedIn does it for you — FREE.

With LinkedIn, you can gather testimonial quotes, join networking groups with colleagues in your field, and surreptitiously peruse job openings, just in case.

Jason Alba just updated his book “You’re on LinkedIn, Now What?” to include the latest service offerings of the site. You can purchase a copy through his website at jibberjobber.com.

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You’re on Linked In – Now What?

I just came across a great new book that was recently written by Jason Alba of jibberjobber.com. It’s titled “I’m on Linked In, Now What?” And I highly recommend it!

I’ll admit I was late to the party when I joined Linked In. About 18 months ago, I had a colleague invite me to join her network. I checked it out and opted not to. It was too new, and I thought they wanted to much info about me. Plus I thought I’d be getting lots of spam as a result, so I passed.

Then about 6 months later, one of my more accomplished clients was telling me about the great jobs he found on Linked In and how he could tap into his network to find the decision maker. I was intrigued and took a second look, and then I signed up. But I didn’t do much with it. It required too much of a learning curve that I’ll admit, I didn’t have time for.

Alba’s new book is an easy read, and explains how Linked In works in easy to understand language. It outlines what it can and can’t do for you, and lays out the rules as well.

Now I can’t wait to go back in and beef up my profile and start inviting more people to my network on Linked In.

The book is affordable, and you can order it here.

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes