7 Reasons Why You Should Join LinkedIn

7 Reasons Why You Should Join LinkedIn

What? You’re not on LinkedIn yet? What are you waiting for?

These seven reasons outline why you should be on the social networking site.

7 Reasons You Should Join LinkedIn - Job Search Guide from ResumeButterfly

  1. Because That’s Where The People Are. LinkedIn is the number one social network for professionals — and, arguably, the most important website for jobseekers — with more than 200 million members worldwide. Not only are people you know already on the site, but so are people you should get to know — recruiters, hiring managers, and your future co-workers.
  2. To “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” In his book of the same name, author Harvey Mackay advocates building your network before you need it — and joining LinkedIn now gives you time to build your network of connections.
  3. To Strengthen Your Offline Network. LinkedIn helps you keep track of people you know “in real life” — what they are doing, where they work now, and who they know.
  4.  To Reconnect With Former Co-Workers. Sometimes it’s hard to stay in touch with the people you used to work with — making it difficult to find them when you need them (say, to use as a reference in your job search). LinkedIn allows you to search contacts by employer, so anyone who listed that company in their profile will be found in the search.
  5.  Because You Can Establish Yourself as an Expert. One of the ways to be seen as a thought leader in your industry is to increase your visibility. One way to do this is to actively participate in Groups related to your job, and also to respond to questions on LinkedIn’s “Answers” forums. Anytime you post in Groups or answer questions, these updates will be available in your profile, so people looking for you can see that you are actively engaged in this online community.
  6. To Be Found as a Passive Candidate. Having a robust LinkedIn profile — filled with your accomplishments and strong keywords — will lead prospective employers to you, even if you are not actively looking for a job. Recruiters especially are always searching LinkedIn to find candidates to match their search assignments.
  7. Because Your Presence on LinkedIn Can Help You Be Found Elsewhere Online. It’s common practice for hiring managers and recruiters to “Google” job candidates, and your LinkedIn profile will likely appear high up in their Google search results. A strong LinkedIn profile can enhance your candidacy, especially if you have a solid network of contacts, at least a few Recommendations, and you’ve supplemented the basic profile information with things like lists of your certifications, languages you speak, SlideShare presentations, honors and awards, and/or your professional portfolio.’

Let’s Connect on LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicaasmith

Check out other LinkedIn articles – https://resumebutterfly.com/category/linkedin/

Don’t miss DAILY Job Search Tips on Twitter & Facebook.

Follow me on LinkedIn too!

Join 200 Million: Easy, Step by Step Guide to Creating a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn has changed their look and features for jobseekers. Download the guide today!

NEWLY UPDATED 2013 guide with screenshots featuring the new LinkedIn profile.

Step by Step Guide to the New LinkedIn Profile Join 200 Million - Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com

Your information is 100% safe and secure.

Want more information? Carry on:

This 44-page, step-by-step guide to using LinkedIn in a job search is jam-packed with information. (The report includes more than 73 screenshots)

Topics Include:

  • Why Get LinkedIn?
  • Why LinkedIn Is Important In Your Job Search
  • How To Set Up An Account
  • Editing/Enhancing Your Profile
  • Creating Your Headline and Summary
  • Controlling Your Privacy Settings on LinkedIn
  • Making Connections: Importing Contacts
  • What To Do With Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Building Your Connections
  • Conducting Company Searches
  • Using Introductions, InMails, and Invites
  • Making Inroads with Invites
  • Making Connections Through LinkedIn Groups
  • Finding Jobs on LinkedIn
  • Building Your Credibility With Recommendations
Thank you for your interest in Join 200 Million: Easy, Step by Step Guide to Creating a Powerful LinkedIn Profile!

I’m excited to offer you this free digital download and help you transform your job search!

Simply enter your name and email below for instant access to the guide!


Response Required: Please check your email and confirm your download. Check your spam if it doesn’t come to your inbox! Thanks.

How to Give — and Get — LinkedIn Recommendations

How to Give — and Get — LinkedIn Recommendations

Download this information as a FREE 23 page PDF with images.


With LinkedIn becoming increasingly important in the recruiting and hiring process, having Recommendations on your profile is important. Great Recommendations can be the difference in getting the job offer.


LinkedIn Recommendations are a natural evolution of references and letters of recommendation. However, they often are more credible than these traditional documents, because it is harder to fake a Recommendation on LinkedIn than it is to forge a letter. Since many companies are restricting reference checks to verification of title and dates of employment, a LinkedIn Recommendation from a supervisor — and/or coworkers — carries weight.


LinkedIn has been described as a “reputation engine.” That’s an apt description, because your reputation does precede you online — not just in your work history, but also in your LinkedIn Recommendations.


Someone looking at your Recommendations wants to know two things:

  • What are you like?
  • Are you good at what you do?


Recommendations are also vital in increasing your visibility on LinkedIn. In order for your profile to be considered “complete,” LinkedIn also requires you to receive a minimum of three Recommendations. According to LinkedIn, “Users with Recommendations in their profiles are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries through searches on LinkedIn.”


In addition, you can enhance your own reputation by providing Recommendations, because people viewing your profile can see (and read) the Recommendations you make. (Go to the person’s profile on LinkedIn, and on the right-hand side of the page, you’ll see a box for “(Name) Recommends.”) You can see excerpts of their Recommendations, or click the link for “See all Recommendations.”


Recommendations can also provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results — meaning, they will help you get found — both on LinkedIn as well as on search engines. Use industry-specific terminology in your Recommendations. Keywords included in LinkedIn Recommendations also receive emphasis in search engine results — especially searches within LinkedIn. When conducting a keyword search, all the keywords in a profile are indexed, and profiles with a high match of relevant keywords come up higher in the results listings. Although LinkedIn’s specific algorithms are secret, some experts suggest that keywords in Recommendations receive double the rankings of keywords provided in the profile itself.


How many Recommendations you have on your profile depends on how many contacts you have. A good guideline is 1-2 Recommendations for every 50 connections. Ideally, these will be a variety of individuals — not just supervisors, but co-workers, people you supervise, and clients/customers. Choose quality over quantity.


Recommendations should be built up over time. Because Recommendations have a date attached to them, don’t try to solicit all of your Recommendations at once. Don’t write and send your Recommendations all at once either. Recommendations are date-stamped, so the reader will be able to see when they were added to your page. It’s best if they are added gradually, over time.


In this guide, we’ll start with what to write in the Recommendation, and then show you how to actually make a Recommendation on LinkedIn. Finally, you’ll learn how to request your own Recommendations on LinkedIn.


Formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation

Before you write anything, take a look at your contact’s LinkedIn profile. Align your Recommendation with the individual’s LinkedIn profile. Tie in what you write with their headline, summary, and/or experience — reinforce the qualities they want to emphasize in the Recommendation you write. Look at the existing Recommendations they’ve received too.


Some things to consider include:

  • What are they good at?
  • What did they do better than anyone else?
  • What impact did they have on me? (How did they make my life better/easier?)
  • What made them stand out?
  • Is there a specific result they delivered in this position?
  • What surprised you about the individual?


Choose the qualities you want to emphasize in the person you are recommending. You may choose to use what author and speaker Lisa B. Marshall calls “The Rule of Threes.” Simply stated, concepts or ideas presented in groups of three are more interesting, more enjoyable, and more memorable.


In general, you will want to showcase transferable skills, because these will be the most relevant for your contacts when they are using LinkedIn for a job search or business development.


The top 10 skills employers are looking for in employees are:

  • Communication Skills (verbal and written)
  • Integrity and Honesty
  • Teamwork Skills (works well with others)
  • Interpersonal Skills (relates well to others)
  • Motivation/Initiative
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Analytical Skills
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Computer Skills
  • Organizational Skills


These are the types of attributes you can focus on in your Recommendation. Use the following formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation to write a great Recommendation.


Here is a simple formula for a LinkedIn Recommendation:

  • Start with how you know the person (1 sentence). Give context for the relationship beyond just the job title and organization/company/school, although that can be a good way to start your Recommendation. (“I’ve known Amy for 10 years, ever since I joined XYZ Company. She was my lead project manager when I was an analyst.”)
  • Be specific about why you are recommending the individual (1 sentence). What qualities make him or her most valuable? Emphasize what the person did that set him or her apart. What is his work style? Does she have a defining characteristic? To be effective, Recommendations should focus on specific qualifications.
  • Tell a story (3-5 sentences). Back up your Recommendation with a specific example. Your Recommendation should demonstrate that you know the person well — so tell a story that only you could tell. And provide “social proof” in the story — give scope and scale for the accomplishments. Don’t just say the individual you’re recommending led the team — say he led a 5-person team, or a 22-person team. Supporting evidence — numbers, percentages, and dollar figures — lends detail and credibility to your story.
  • End with a “call to action” (1 sentence). Finish with the statement “I recommend (name)” and the reason why you would recommend him or her.


In the first sentence, you describe how you know the individual and give context about why you are qualified to recommend him or her.

  • (Name) and I have worked together…
  • I’ve known (name) for (how long)…


For the second bullet point, you can set up the description of his or her qualities by providing an overview sentence. Here are some examples:

  • Able to delegate…
  • Able to implement…
  • Able to plan…
  • Able to train…
  • Consistent record of …
  • Customer-centered leader…
  • Effective in _________
  • Experienced professional in the _____ industry
  • Held key role in ________________
  • Highly organized and effective…
  • High-tech achiever recognized for…
  • Proficient in managing multiple priorities and projects…
  • Recognized and appreciated by…
  • Served as a liaison between _________
  • Strong project manager with…
  • Subject-matter expert in _____
  • Team player with…
  • Technically proficient in _________
  • Thrived in an…
  • Valued by clients and colleagues for…
  • Well-versed in the…


For example:

Mike had a consistent record of delivering year-over-year sales revenue increases while also ensuring top-notch customer service, working effectively with the entire 7-member sales team to make sure the client’s needs were met.


Jill is a subject-matter expert in logistics, warehouse planning, and team leadership. Her ability to take the initiative to ensure the thousands of items in each shipment were prioritized for same-day processing made her an indispensable member of the management team.


For the storytelling section, you can choose a “Challenge-Action-Result” format to describe the project:

  • Challenge: What was the context for the work situation on the project? What was the problem that the project was designed to tackle?
  • Action: What did the person you’re recommending do? What was their specific contribution?
  • Result: What was the outcome of the project — and can you quantify it?


Choose descriptive adjectives to include in your Recommendations. Instead of describing someone as “innovative,” choose a word like “forward-thinking” or “pioneering.”


Here are some other descriptions:


































































































































































































































Team player







Top producing































Make sure the Recommendation you write is clearly about the person you’re recommending. That sounds like common sense, but many Recommendations are too vague or too general — they could be about anyone, not this specific individual. To be effective, the Recommendation you write should not be applicable to anyone else.


Recommendations that you write should be:

  • Genuine
  • Specific
  • Descriptive (with detailed characteristics)
  • Powerful (including specific achievements, when possible)
  • Memorable
  • Honest/Truthful (credibility is important; avoid puffery or exaggeration)


Length is an important consideration when writing LinkedIn Recommendations. Keep your Recommendations under 200 words whenever possible. Some of the most effective LinkedIn Recommendations are only 50-100 words.


You may find it useful to look at other Recommendations before writing yours. You can do a search on LinkedIn for others with that job title and check out the Recommendations on their profiles.


You can use LinkedIn’s “Advanced People Search” function to conduct a search. At the top right-hand side of the page, click the “Advanced” link next to the People search box.




You can enter in keywords or job titles to find profiles related to the type of Recommendation you are writing.




You can then browse the listings that come up as matches and check out the Recommendations on those profiles.


Consider drafting your Recommendation in Microsoft Word or a text editor. Because LinkedIn does not have a built-in spell check function, this will help ensure your text does not contain spelling errors. You can also check your grammar in Microsoft Word, and use the “Word Count” feature to determine the length of your Recommendation.


Now you’re ready to actually create the Recommendation in LinkedIn.


How to Make a Recommendation

Under the Profile menu, choose “Recommendations.”




This will take you to a separate screen where you can manage the Recommendations you’ve received and make a Recommendation. You will also see tabs on this page where you can view your Sent Recommendations and Request Recommendations.




You must either be connected to the individual you wish to Recommend or know his or her email address. Also, the individual must have a valid LinkedIn account. You may find it easiest to use the “select from your connections list” in the “Make a Recommendation” section. You can also make a Recommendation from the individual’s profile page directly.




The “Recommend” feature may appear under the “Suggest connections” button. Or, like on this profile, the “Recommend” might be in the dropdown menu under “Send a Message.”




You’ll be asked to recommend the person as a:

  • Colleague (someone you’ve worked with at the same company)
  • Service Provider (someone you’ve hired to provide a service for you or your company)
  • Business Partner (someone you’ve worked with, but not as a client or colleague)
  • Student (they were at the school when you were there, either as a fellow student or as a teacher).




Once you’ve selected an option, choose “Go.” You’ll be taken to a page where you can create the Recommendation.




You’ll be asked how you know you know the person and can select the job or school you were at during that time.


Paste in the Recommendation text you created in the first section of this report.


In some instances (mainly when selecting Service Provider as the way to recommend the individual), you may be asked to select “Top Attributes” of the person you’re Recommending. LinkedIn will supply some suggested qualities for you to choose from. When you are given this option on the Recommendation page, you must choose three (“no more, no less”!) — but because it autofills the attributes, they may not be as relevant as ones you would choose yourself.




When you are finished, click on the [ view / edit ] link at the bottom of the “Create your Recommendation” page — this link allows you to include a personal message with the notification email. Let the person you’re recommending know this is a rough draft and encourage suggestions for improvement.



The person you recommend will get your email notifying him or her that you’ve made a Recommendation.


If you don’t receive a reply from the individual you’ve recommended within a week, follow up and make sure they received it.


Keep in mind that you can change (or remove) Recommendations you’ve given.


Under the Profile menu, choose “Recommendations.”




Click on the “Sent Recommendations” tab.




This will take you to a page where you can see the Recommendations you’ve written. You can also edit Recommendations from this page, and choose who can see the Recommendations you’ve written. (Options for “Display on my profile to:” include “Everyone,” “Connections only,” and “No one.”)




If you want to edit or remove a Recommendation you’ve written, click on the [Edit] button next to the person’s name.



This will pull up an “Edit your Recommendation” page:




You can click on the blue “Withdraw this Recommendation” link to remove the Recommendation. You will be asked to confirm this change:



Any Recommendation you write may show up in your Activity feed on LinkedIn — even before it’s approved by the individual you’ve recommended — so keep that in mind.


How to Request Recommendations on LinkedIn

Only ask for Recommendations from people who are relevant to your goals — powerful Recommendations come from people who know you and your work. It’s better to have a strong Recommendation from a boss than a half-hearted one from someone with a well-recognized name. Don’t ask people to recommend you who don’t know you well.


Before you ask for a Recommendation, check the individual’s profile and see if he or she has written any other Recommendations. Do the other Recommendations they’ve written show unique detail? See how many they’ve given — and see if each one says basically the same thing. If they aren’t very strong, you may want to consider providing the person with a rough draft of a Recommendation you’ve written about yourself on their behalf.


To ask for a Recommendation, LinkedIn has a Recommendation request form.


Go to the Profile tab and select “Recommendations.”




Click on the “Request Recommendations” tab:




You will be taken to a page that says “Ask the people who know you best to endorse you on LinkedIn.”


Under “Create your message,” you will want to customize your request. Replace the existing text with a personalized message. Although LinkedIn gives you the option of sending “bulk” Recommendation requests, don’t do it. Each request should be personalized to the individual you are asking for a Recommendation.


When asking for a Recommendation, ask for one related to a specific project. For example:

“Could you provide me with a Recommendation based on our work together on [X Project]?”


Your sample request might look like this:




An even better idea is to ask for the Recommendation through more personal means — for example, in person, on the telephone, or via email.


In fact, one of the best ways to get a LinkedIn Recommendation is to ask after they’ve given you a compliment “in real life.” If they praise you via email, for example, you could respond with a message that thanks them and says: “Are you on LinkedIn? Would you mind if I sent you a LinkedIn request for a Recommendation? It would mean a lot to me to have you say that in a Recommendation on there.”


Reciprocation is also a powerful motivation for Recommendations. Generally, if you ask for someone to provide you with a Recommendation, they will expect you to write one for them. (So it’s a good idea to only ask for Recommendations from someone you’d be willing to recommend back!) The reverse is also true — sometimes, if you provide an unsolicited Recommendation, the person you recommend will go ahead and write one for you as well.


However, reciprocal Recommendations (I gave you one, so can you give me one?) are less powerful than Recommendations that are freely given. Remember, visitors to your LinkedIn profile can see who you have recommended as well as who has recommended you. It’s easy to spot one-to-one (reciprocal) Recommendations.


If you don’t receive a response back from someone after requesting a Recommendation — or, if you don’t feel comfortable following up, consider whether you should be asking for a Recommendation from that person in the first place.


One of the most effective ways to get a great LinkedIn Recommendation is to write it yourself. This makes it easier on the person who you want to recommend you — and ensures your Recommendation is specific and detailed.


In this case, your request for a Recommendation might follow this format:


Dear (Name):


I’m writing to request a Recommendation of our work together at (company name) that I can include on my LinkedIn profile. To make this easy for you, here’s a draft Recommendation. Feel free to edit this or create your own.


Thank you.


(Your Name)


When possible, give the person you’re asking for a Recommendation some context for your request:


“I’m writing to request a Recommendation on LinkedIn. As you know, I’m looking to make a career change, and I believe a Recommendation from you based on our work together on [X Project] would be useful in highlighting my transferable skills.”


If You’re Asked to Make a Recommendation

Don’t ignore requests for Recommendations. But don’t feel like you have to accept all requests to make a Recommendation, either. You can respond back that you don’t feel you know him or her well enough to write a Recommendation (or that you don’t know them well enough in their work life to recommend them, if you only know them socially). Or you can put them off — saying something like, “Once we’ve worked together for a while, I’d be happy to write a Recommendation for you.”


So-called “character references” (also called “personal references”) don’t have much of a place on LinkedIn, where the emphasis is on Recommendations from people you have worked with (“professional references”). You can say something like, “Although we know each other socially, because LinkedIn attaches Recommendations to specific jobs, I don’t feel I’m a good fit to write a Recommendation for you.”


You will rarely see a negative Recommendation on LinkedIn. Because the content of Recommendations is public, it’s likely to be positive. Also, because recipients can choose whether or not to display Recommendations, they are not likely to approve negative comments for public display.


And your mom was right: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”


However, if you do decide to write a Recommendation, the first question you should ask is: “What is the goal?” Does the individual want a new job? A promotion? Make a career change? Land a client? Knowing what their goal is in soliciting a Recommendation will help you tailor it to meet their needs.


Look at the individual’s LinkedIn profile — especially the job description of the position when you worked together.


If you are asked to provide a Recommendation, it’s fine to ask the person to draft their Recommendation for you to work from.


Remember, Recommendations you write show up on your profile too, so someone looking at your profile can see the Recommendations you’ve made for others.


When Someone Recommends You…

You’ll receive a notification when someone Recommends you. The notification will be emailed to the email address you have on file with LinkedIn:




When you click on the link at the bottom of the email, you will be taken to the same message in your LinkedIn account (you may need to sign into your LinkedIn account, if you are not already). It will ask you if you want to “Show this Recommendation on my profile” or “Hide this Recommendation on my profile.” Choose one option and then click “Accept Recommendation.”




After you click “Accept Recommendation,” you’ll receive a “Recommendation Confirmation.” This screen will also give you the opportunity to write a reciprocal Recommendation.




If you find an error in your Recommendation, or it’s not specific enough, you can click the “Request Replacement” link and it will automatically generate a request for a change with an email to the individual who wrote the Recommendation.


The best way to handle a Recommendation that you don’t like is simply to ask for it to be changed. But instead of asking them to change the whole thing, address specific issues in the Recommendation that you would like changed.


“I like what you’ve written, but I was wondering if you would correct the statement where you said I brought in $200,000 in revenue; my records from that time show that the figure was closer to $375,000.”


Replace the standard text in the message with your custom message.




What If You Change Your Mind About Displaying a Recommendation?

You can also choose to remove Recommendations from your profile, even after they’ve been published.


Here is how to manage the Recommendations already on your LinkedIn profile. Choose “Recommendations” from the Profile menu.




The default tab on the Recommendations page is “Received Recommendations.”




At the top of the page, it will show you any Recommendations you’ve received that have not yet been added to your profile. The second section is “Manage Recommendations You’ve Received.”



In the section below that heading, you’ll see a list of your current positions and any Recommendations you’ve received, associated with each job position you’ve listed in your profile.



If you click on the Manage link, you will see the Recommendations you’ve received for that position. You can click the checkbox above the word “Show” and it will change that Recommendation to hidden on your profile. When you click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page, it will remove that Recommendation from being visible on your profile.




You can also request a new or revised Recommendation on this page.


You can also refuse Recommendations. When you receive a message notifying you of the Recommendation, choose “Hide this Recommendation on my profile.”




Then, click “Accept Recommendation.” This will acknowledge receipt of the Recommendation, but it will not be visible on your LinkedIn profile.


These are the best ways to handle a Recommendation that you don’t like — if you’re not willing to contact the person who recommended you and ask for changes.


Final Thoughts

Recommendations matter — but who they came from is sometimes more important than what the Recommendation says. A Recommendation from a higher-level person makes more of an impact than one from colleagues. You can often judge a Recommendation by the quality of the person writing it.


Don’t write — or display — bad Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. Bad Recommendations are those that are:

  • Generic
  • From people who don’t have a clear understanding of you and/or your work
  • Written without context (how they know you, how they worked with you)
  • Old or outdated


LinkedIn does allow you to go back and edit Recommendations after they’ve been posted, but remember: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.


View Jessica Smith (Benzing)'s profile on LinkedIn

Write a LinkedIn recommendation today!

Check out my other posts about LinkedIn here.

LinkedIn Profile Checklist

Download this information as a FREE 1 page PDF – LinkedIn Profile Checklist.

 LinkedIn Profile Checklist - Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com


Profiles that are considered “complete” by LinkedIn’s standards receive 40 more “opportunities” (contacts from prospective hiring managers and recruiters) than incomplete profiles, according to the social networking site.

Filling in your profile improves your chances of being found by people searching for you specifically, or someone with your qualifications, credentials, and background. And that’s true even when using sites like Google and Bing. As LinkedIn’s own materials say, “LinkedIn profiles typically appear among the top search results when people search by name.”

LinkedIn has its own criteria for “profile completeness,” which has changed somewhat over time. As of June 2012, to be considered “complete” by LinkedIn’s standards (the score you see on the right side of your “Edit Profile” page reflects how close you are to finishing these items) you need these items in your LinkedIn profile:

  • Profile photo
  • Your current industry
  • A current position with description
  • Two or more positions
  • Education
  • At least five skills
  • At least 50 connections
  • A summary

To maximize your success in using LinkedIn in your job search, you should also complete these activities:

  • Customize your LinkedIn profile URL (www.linkedin.com/in/yourname)
  • If you’re including a link to your website or blog, customize the text link (rename it so it doesn’t just say “Personal Website” or “Company Website”).
  • Include your contact information. LinkedIn allows you to add your phone number (designated as home, work, or mobile), Instant Messenger contact information (AIM, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, or GTalk), and multiple email addresses (in addition to your primary/sign-in email).
  • Add languages that you speak
  • Fill in key projects you’ve worked on (this is a separate section within the profile).
  • Add a list of courses you’ve taken. (This helps with keyword searches)
  • In the “Settings,” change the “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” to “Your name and headline (recommended).”

Most important:

  • Proofread your profile carefully. Check grammar and spelling!
  • Update your profile regularly! Not only will your connections be notified when you update information on your profile (bringing your profile additional visibility), but you’ll also be confident that someone searching for you will have access to the most current information!

Update your LinkedIn profile photo today!

View Jessica Smith (Benzing)'s profile on LinkedIn

Check out my other posts about LinkedIn here.

Jobseeker’s Guide to Writing an Effective LinkedIn Profile

Download this information as a FREE 16 page PDF – Jobseeker’s Guide to Writing an Effective LinkedIn Profile e-book.

Jobseekers Guide to Writing an Effective LinkedIn Profile - Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com

 Having an online presence on LinkedIn can be important in your job search. Your LinkedIn profile can present your credentials to prospective employers and hiring managers, increasing your chance of securing an interview.

Your LinkedIn profile should complement your resume, but it shouldn’t duplicate it directly. To have a strong online presence, you must be clear about who you are, and who you are not. (An unfocused LinkedIn profile may be worse than no profile at all.) Your LinkedIn profile can also be more comprehensive than your resume, since it offers you more room to showcase projects, publications, and experience.

A successful LinkedIn profile gives readers a snapshot of who you are and how you can contribute to their organization. You must understand and be able to articulate and communicate what makes you exceptional and compelling.

The purpose of this report is to help you develop a LinkedIn profile that will lead to job opportunities, contacts from prospective employers and recruiters, and increased visibility online. All of these will help in your job search.

One of the most effective ways to establish a presence online (so that you are found when someone “Googles” you), is with a LinkedIn profile. You want an online profile that you control, that you can take with you — independent of any employer — and that demonstrates what kind of job candidate you are (and what you do). Best of all, LinkedIn’s basic features are free.

Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing piece — not a biography or a resume. It’s not designed to outline your entire professional history. Instead, it provides enough information to get people to connect with you — and/or make a contact with you. Because it’s a marketing piece, you need to come up with a headline that will instantly attract the attention of your reader. You have approximately 20 seconds to catch the attention of a visitor to your profile. Consequently, you must find a way to stand out in a crowd. If your profile is like every other profile on LinkedIn, you won’t stand out, and you won’t be found as easily.

Standing out with your LinkedIn profile can mean highlighting the strongest qualifications you have for an employer in your LinkedIn headline, backing up those qualifications with accomplishments throughout your profile summary, and using strategies that will help you become found by the people who most need someone like you.

“Don’t try to be all things to all people.” Although you can create different targeted versions of your resume to target different types of positions, you’re limited to one LinkedIn profile. On LinkedIn — as on your resume — one size does not fit all.

The most difficult part of creating your LinkedIn profile is sounding original. By articulating what makes you unique and valuable, you will attract attention from prospective employers. Be specific about what distinguishes you from others with a similar job title.

The answers to these questions may give you some ideas for creating your LinkedIn profile and headline:

What specific job titles are used to describe someone in your position? (Be specific regarding level, functional role, and industry.)


In performance reviews, in what areas do you receive the highest scores or the most positive feedback?


What is the most important part of your current job?


What is your biggest achievement in your job — have you saved your company money, helped the company make money, or helped it become more efficient, improve safety, improve customer service, etc.


What are your top three skills?


What are you best known for at work?


If you were asked to select your replacement, what qualities would you be looking for?


What kind of challenges at work do you most enjoy working on?


Do you have any specific training or credentials that distinguish you?


What makes you different from other (job titles)? Is there an area where you are better than others?


Can you distinguish yourself by the geographic area you work in or your years of experience?


When someone searches for you on LinkedIn, they will see three things: Your name, your LinkedIn headline, and your location. In many cases, hiring managers and recruiters will make the decision to read your full LinkedIn profile based on just these three things. Consequently, the LinkedIn headline acts like a newspaper or magazine title. It gives the reader an idea of what your profile will include (just like a newspaper headline previews a story). Being specific results in a much better headline. Great headlines attract attention, and the more people who view your LinkedIn profile, the better your chances of connecting with the right person who can lead you to your dream job.


Your headline needs to quickly identify you as a certain type of person — i.e., manager or executive, or someone who specializes in a certain field or industry.

A well-written headline will also help you to structure the rest of the information you include in your LinkedIn profile. If the information doesn’t support the headline, consider whether it should be included at all. Remember, focus is important.

Note: LinkedIn’s default for your headline is your job title and company. If you don’t change it, this is what LinkedIn will show on your profile.


The Role of Keywords In Your LinkedIn Profile

Keywords also play an important part for you in being found by people who don’t know you on LinkedIn — this is particularly true for jobseekers who are hoping for contacts from prospective employers and recruiters. Keywords are a list of words and phrases that are related to your work — they are the words that a prospective employer would search for when trying to find someone like you. LinkedIn headlines are searchable fields using the “People Search” function when someone is looking for particular skills, interests, qualifications, or credentials.

You can also incorporate keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile, including:

  • Your LinkedIn profile headline
  • Current and former work experience
  • LinkedIn summary section
  • Specialties or Skills section

Where can you find keywords? Brainstorm them. Write down a list of words that relates to you, your work, your industry, and your accomplishments. Try to come up with as big of a list as you can; you will narrow it down later.

You can also find keywords in job postings or job descriptions. Check out online job boards for positions (don’t worry about where the job is located, just find positions that are similar to the one you’re seeking and write down the keywords.)

You can also find broad job descriptions — with plenty of keywords — in the U.S. Department of Labor’s free Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/).

Another great research tool is Google’s Adwords Keywords Tool, which can be found at: https://adwords.google.com/select/keywordToolExternal. You can use keywords you identified through your earlier research and it will suggest related keywords (it will also tell you the popularity of the keywords you enter as they relate to current Google search results).

Now it’s time to narrow down your keywords and pick a “Top 10” that you will use in your LinkedIn headline and profile.

The keywords that you select for your profile must fit two criteria:

  • They must speak to your “onlyness” — that is, what you want to be known for.
  • They must align with what employers value — that is, what they want.

Focusing on these areas enables you to get the most out of your online efforts while differentiating you from other job candidates with the same job title. You need to express clearly: “I am this.” Someone who is reading your LinkedIn profile should be able to recognize you in it. If what you wrote could apply to anyone with your job description, revise what you’ve written.

How to Write an Attention-Getting LinkedIn Headline

The headline and the first 2-3 sentences of your LinkedIn profile summary are critical to making connection and securing opportunities from recruiters and hiring managers.

You can learn a lot about developing your profile from online dating sites — because the concept is the same. You have to get someone’s attention. Your profile may be the first impression that hiring managers have of you — so make it count! You’re trying to get them to take a first step and reach out to connect with you.

Focus on what you have to offer a prospective employer; don’t focus on you. The information you provide should be 80 percent about what you have done for your current employer (accomplishments-oriented), and 20 percent about you and what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, most LinkedIn profiles (especially the summary section!), are the reverse.

Think of it this way: Prospective employers are tuned into a particular radio station — it’s called “WIIFM.” All employers are listening for is: “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM). Remember: Employers hire for their reasons, not yours.

What proof do you have that you can offer the employer the results they are seeking? Quantify your accomplishments as much as possible in terms of numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts.

Don’t copy someone else’s LinkedIn profile. Be original! Look at other profiles for ideas, but don’t copy someone else’s headline or summary. Remember — your online presence must speak to your “onlyness.” Also, give your profile some personality!

People who make a connection with you through your profile are more likely to contact you about a career opportunity.

Formula for Writing an Effective LinkedIn Headline

There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to writing your profile headline. The first is using a narrative or descriptive title; the second is simply using keywords separated by commas, bullets, or the pipe symbol on your keyboard ( | ).

LinkedIn’s current algorithm gives higher ranking to matching keywords, so strategy number two appeals more to computer searches, while strategy number one appeals to human readers. Eventually, all profiles found through computer searches will be reviewed by a human being, however, so it is important to balance readability with the inclusion of keywords.

You are limited to just 120 characters in your LinkedIn headline, so it’s also important to be succinct and direct.

Things you can consider including in your LinkedIn headline:

  • Job titles
  • Types of customers / projects you work with
  • Industry specialization
  • Brands you’ve worked for
  • Certifications or designations
  • Geographic territory specialization

Note: If you don’t write your own headline, LinkedIn will create one for you — usually, the most recent job title in your profile and a company or organization name. This is very similar to strategy number one, so this is the most common type of LinkedIn profile you will see on the site.

To improve readability, capitalize the first letter of each of the words in your headline.

Here are some strategies for writing your LinkedIn headline, along with the advantages and disadvantages that go along with each tactic.

  1. Keep It Simple. Say it simply and directly: Your job title and the company you work for. This is a good strategy if your job title is a strong keyword and/or the company you work for is well-known. The advantage is that it clearly communicates who you are and what you do; the disadvantage is that it doesn’t set you apart from many others who could claim those same credentials.

This strategy can also use the following formulas:

    • (Job Title)
    • (Job Title) at (Company Name)
    • (Job Title) for (Industry) at (Company Name)
    • (Job Title) Specializing in (Keywords)

For example, here is an example of a headline that incorporates a job title and keywords:

  1. What You Do. This strategy focuses on job functions instead of job titles. The advantage to this headline strategy is that job functions often make excellent keywords. The possible problem is if you simply string together a bunch of job functions without creating a story to explain who you are — along with what you do — so make sure you add some context to your keywords/job functions.

This strategy can also incorporate key projects and/or the names of key clients or important employers, especially if any of those have high “name recognition” value. You may also wish to include a specific industry or geographic area to your job function-focused headline.

Here is an example that uses job function and targets the kinds of clients this consultant serves:

  1. The Big Benefit. It’s important to identify the primary benefit you have to offer a prospective employer. Target what author Susan Britton Whitcomb says are “Employer Buying Motivators” in her book Résumé Magic. The 12 specific needs a company has include the company’s desire to: make money, save money, save time, make work easier, solve a specific problem, be more competitive, build relationships or an image, expand their business, attract new customers, and/or retain existing customers.

How can you be a problem solver for your next employer? Think about the job you want and what your next boss would want in an employee in that role. Make that the focus of your headline.

This can be expressed in several different ways:

    • (Job Title) That Gets (Results)
    • (Adjective) (Job Title) With a Track Record of Success in (Results)

For example:

Be specific! Adding numbers and other specific wording can make your LinkedIn headline much more powerful. Here is the same strategy, but this one quantifies the scope and scale of the benefit to the employer:

But try not to include the “Top 10 Overused Buzzwords in LinkedIn Profiles in the United States.” Here is the 2011 list:

  1. An Enthusiastic Testimonial. This headline strategy works best when you’ve received honors or recognition within your field. This can be an extremely effective strategy if you word it correctly. It’s important that the designation is clear enough to stand on its own without too much detail. It if requires too much explanation, you may not have enough room within LinkedIn’s 120-character limit. A word of caution, however: Don’t trade on honors or recognition that are too far in the past. “Four-Time President’s Award-Winner for Revenue Growth in the Ball Bearings Industry” isn’t as impressive if those awards were for 1998, 2001, 2003, and 2005.

This strategy also works if you can make a claim that is defensible (if the statement is “arguably true”). Put the claim in quotes so it appears as if it was published somewhere.

If you are having trouble writing your LinkedIn headline, write a very rough draft. It doesn’t matter if it’s not good, or if you have to leave some blanks. Having a framework will make it easier for you to complete later. Go ahead and finish writing the rest of your LinkedIn profile and then come back to it. Oftentimes, the headline will become much clearer at that point. (Just remember to review your LinkedIn profile to make sure all the information you’ve included supports the focus of the content, as directed by the headline and summary.)

You can also look on LinkedIn for inspiration. Check out the headlines and summaries of people you’re connected with, or do a search for others in your field. Just remember not to copy their information; instead, use it as inspiration.

How to Change Your LinkedIn Headline

Sign into your LinkedIn account. From the main menu, choose “Edit Profile” under the “Profile” tab.

On the “Edit Profile” page, click next to the “Edit” button next to your name.

You will be taken to a “Basic Information” page where you can type your headline into a text box labeled “Professional ‘Headline.’”

There’s one more thing you should consider on the “Basic Information” page. Remember, LinkedIn will display your name, headline, and location on its search results page. You can adjust what information LinkedIn shows in the results using the “Location & Industry” section. Be sure to click “Save Changes” before leaving the page.

Writing Your Profile Summary

The “Summary” section of your LinkedIn profile is a vital part of your LinkedIn presence. You have 2,000 characters to give readers a brief snapshot of who you are.

The first 2-3 sentences need to instantly get your prospects interested in your profile — or, even better, get them excited about reading the rest of your profile. How do you add more value to the company, or solve problems better than other job candidates? Your LinkedIn summary can set you apart from other jobseekers on LinkedIn by demonstrating that you understand what employers want — and what you have to offer that meets that need.

Address these questions:

  • How will your next employer benefit by hiring you? Quantify the value in terms of numbers, money, and/or percentages. Use specific numbers and facts to build credibility.
  • What experience can you offer that will provide value to your next employer?
  • What additional skills do you have that set you apart from other candidates with a similar background?

Write naturally and conversationally. In contrast to your resume, you should use pronouns in your summary. Speak in the first person, not third person. (“I did such-and-such.”) Write as if you’re speaking to an individual reader. Make it personal. Be sure to emphasize outcomes — as well as what makes you uniquely qualified to do the job you do. Try to find a common THREAD through your work. Then, once you have a theme, use storytelling principles to write your summary as a narrative. Have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Your summary can be anywhere from a few sentences up to a few paragraphs. But don’t waste any words — make the most dramatic, powerful, attention-getting statement you can. Don’t use any more words than is necessary, and don’t be overly flowery in your language. The point of the first sentence is to get the prospect to read the second sentence. And the next sentence. And the next.

Be conversational and informal in your tone. Use contractions (“you’re” instead of “you are”). Every word counts! And pay attention to grammar and spelling. Make sure there are no mistakes in your profile. Re-read and edit it. Have a colleague, friend, or spouse read it. Copy-and-paste it into a word processing program and run a spell-check on it.

You can also use asterisks, dashes, hyphens, and other keyboard characters to format the summary and make it easier to read.

Here is Jane Jobseeker’s profile summary:

Notice the format:

  • In the opening paragraph, draw attention to issues, challenges, or problems faced by your prospective employer.
  • In the second and third paragraphs, demonstrate the value you offer to employers by quantifying the accomplishments in your current position (ideally related to the problems outlined in the first paragraph).
  • In the fourth paragraph, talk about why you might be open to inquiries (if you are a passive candidate). If you are unemployed, you might state the reason why your most recent position ended (if the company closed, for example) or that you are available immediately. Give the reader information on how to contact you. (Note: LinkedIn’s Terms of Service prohibit you from providing your email address directly in this section. Instead, direct them to connect with you on LinkedIn, or use one of your links to provide a method for direct contact.) You can also use the “Personal Information” section to provide a phone number.

Using these strategies, you can develop a LinkedIn headline and summary that will lead to job opportunities, contacts from prospective employers and recruiters, and increased visibility online for your job search.

Miscellaneous Symbols and Bullets to Customize your Profile

Consider adding some visual appeal to your resume by adding bullets, but use SPARINGLY! You want your profile to look professional.

Simply COPY & PASTE into your LinkedIn profile!

Stars: ★ ✪ ✯ ✰

Traditional bullets: ■ ♦ ◆ ●
Ticks: ✔ ✘ ☐ ☑ ☒
Arrows: ☛ ☚ ☜ ☝ ☞ ☟ ⇨ ► ◄ ► »
Email: ✉ ✍ ✎ ✏ ✑ ⌨
Phone: ✆ ☎ ☏
Lines: ☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲


These symbols are called Unicode Characters – more ideas on Wikipedia’s page List of Unicode Characters. For more symbols, visit Wikipedia’s page on Miscellaneous Computer Symbols.


p.s. Remember to use sparingly and stay professional!


Customizing Your LinkedIn Profile URL

You can customize your public profile URL when you edit your public profile from the Settings page. Custom public profile URLs are available on a first come, first served basis.

  1. Go to Settings and click “Edit your public profile”.
  2. In the “Your public profile URL” box on the right, click the “Customize your public profile URL” link.
  3. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  4. Click Set Custom URL.

View Jessica Smith (Benzing)'s profile on LinkedIn

Update your LinkedIn profile today!

Check out my other posts about LinkedIn here.

Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile Photo - Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com

 Your profile photo on LinkedIn is very important. Did you know that profiles with pictures attract 50-70 percent more inquiries than profiles without pictures?

Here are some tips for your LinkedIn photo:

  • Don’t use an old photo. There are few things worse than meeting someone for the first time and not recognizing them because the profile on their LinkedIn profile is from 10 years ago (or longer)!
  •  Use a photo of you in your profile — don’t use a photo of an object.
  •  Consider using a full body shot of you sitting or standing. At a minimum, your photo should include your head and shoulders, not just a close-up of your face.
  •  Smile! Radiate warmth and approachability in your photo.
  •  Photos should be professionally done, if possible (but not Glamour Shots).
  •  Wear your most complementary color. Bright colors can attract attention, but avoid patterns.
  •  Don’t have other people in your photos (and don’t crop other people out of your shot — there should not be any errant body parts in your LinkedIn photo!).
  •  Make sure the background in the photo isn’t distracting.
  •  Relax. Look directly at the camera.
  •  Take multiple shots and ask people their opinion on which one makes you seem most “approachable.”
  •  Tips for Men: Wear a dark blue or black dress shirt. No t-shirts or Hawaiian shirts. No busy or crazy patterns.
  •  Tips for Women: Wear something you feel comfortable in. No t-shirts. No big or busy patterns. Soft, dark v-necks look great. Black always works; avoid white. Remember to fix your hair and makeup.
  • Evaluate – what does your picture say about you? Is that what you want it to say?

Update your LinkedIn profile photo today!

View Jessica Smith (Benzing)'s profile on LinkedIn

Check out my other posts about LinkedIn here.

Don’t Make These Mistakes On LinkedIn

Do not make these mistakes on LinkedIn ResumeButterfly Job Search Advice

  • Don’t Dismiss LinkedIn as Something Only for People Who Are Looking For a New Job. The best time to build your LinkedIn profile, connect with people, and participate on LinkedIn is now, before you need it. If you find yourself suddenly unemployed and decide that now is the time to start using LinkedIn, you’re going to be playing catch up. Instead, take time to “dig your well before you’re thirsty,” as author Harvey Mackay says.


  • Don’t “Set it and Forget It.” Your LinkedIn profile is an evolving snapshot of you. You should be updating it regularly with new connections, status updates, and activity (within LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers, in particular).


  • Don’t Ignore It. Check in on LinkedIn regularly; at least every other day if you are in active job search mode; at least once a week for passive jobseekers. Plan on adding one new status update each time you log in.


  • Don’t Be A Wallflower. LinkedIn is most effective when you engage with it. Seek out opportunities to connect with thought leaders in your industry. Join 3-5 Groups and participate in conversations. Respond to, or ask, questions in the LinkedIn Answers section.


  • Don’t Be Selfish. You will get more out of LinkedIn if you focus on how you can help others, not how they can help you. The phrase “give to get” is very powerful on LinkedIn. You can earn the respect of your peers and people of influence if you “help enough other people get what they want,” in the words of Zig Ziglar.


  • Don’t Wait For Others To Find You. Use the LinkedIn People Search function to look for people you know and invite them to connect with you. You should aim to add 2-5 new connections each week if you are a passive job seeker, and 6-10 connections a week if you are actively searching for a new job.


  • Don’t Forget to Explore the People Your Connections Know. One of the most powerful functions of LinkedIn is the ability to connect you with people who are connections of the people you know. Follow LinkedIn’s guidelines on connecting with these folks, however (using InMail or requesting connections through your mutual friend), so that your account is not flagged for spam.


  • Don’t Indiscriminately Try to Connect With People. One of the strengths of LinkedIn is the connections you make, but it’s not a race to get to 500 connections. Have a reason for each of the people you connect with — either it’s someone you already know or are related to, or someone it would be beneficial to connect with. If you don’t know someone, get to know them a bit before sending a personalized connection request. (You can do so by seeing who you have in common — or who they are connected to, checking out their LinkedIn summary and work history, visiting their website or blog, and seeing what Groups they belong to).


  • Don’t Forget to Check Out “LinkedIn Today.” On your home page of your LinkedIn profile is a roundup of stories that LinkedIn thinks may interest you. Check out these “Top Headlines” to stay abreast of important information in your industry.


  • Don’t Forget to Give Recommendations. Acknowledge and recognize the contributions of people you know by providing unsolicited, genuine Recommendations for them.


  • Don’t Restrict Your LinkedIn Networking to Online Only. Use LinkedIn to connect with people but then request in-person get-togethers, when possible. Meet for coffee, or lunch, to catch up. The LinkedIn “Events” section can also alert you to in-person gatherings in your industry or geographic area.

Update your LinkedIn profile today!

View Jessica Smith (Benzing)'s profile on LinkedIn

Check out my other posts about LinkedIn here.

WOW for the Wow – Job Search Skills – Free eBooklet

FREE Job Search Tips Instant Download ebooklet

Click here to download your FREE 12 Page Job Search Tips e-booklet – Words of Wisdom for the World of Work! No obligation.

There’s no catch! It’s completely free.

If you like it, the only thing that I’d ask is that you LIKE ResumeButterfly on Facebook.

To view the e-booklet you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here for a free download of the current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

[pinit description=”FREE Job Search Skills e-booklet @resumebutterfly”]

Want more tips to take your job search to the next level?

Get Career Corner access!

FINAL Logo - Resume Butterfly - Job Search