LinkedIn launched on May 5, 2003, known internally as
"Cinco de Linco" Day. At the end of May 2003, 4,500
people had joined. As of January 2017, LinkedIn had a
registered membership of 467,000,000 and at last report
continues to grow at 2 new members per second in over
200 countries and territories.
While perceived to be for professionals, of the Top 10
most recruited positions on LinkedIn are "Executive
Assistant" which reflects the broad membership base.
LinkedIn gave us a new LinkedIn system and generated more questions and
concerns and new problems. Here are some items that may help you work within
the new LinkedIn structure. Share with LinkedIn your thoughts.
COMMON PROFILE MISTAKES
Start first. Then figure out what you should have done first if you can figure it out!
OK, you just got the URL to launch LinkedIn and you're banging away on the keys to get stuff slapped in there so you will get a job offer the next day.
Welcome to Fantasy Island ... it don't work that way.
Your Resume can make an good starting point for your Profile but by itself, you are discounting how LinkedIn works and thus how to be found by those looking for people. So here are some basics from the founder of LinkedIn on what you need to do.
- WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY TO BE FOUND
Yes, they just don't stumble on your Profile out of the hundreds of millions out there. So you need a strategy to improve your changes of being found. LinkedIn is about being found!
Fill out your Profile. Don't just say your some Executive. You want to show your GOALS. More than one goal is permissible but don't go crazy as you do not have unlimited space. Include words that indicate for the search being conducted, you are the person they want to contact. Do you have areas of specialization or concentration? List the keywords for those areas in your Profile.
- DON'T BE GENERIC
Be unique, be special. LinkedIn annually publishes the most overused "buzzwords" which are not going to get you found quickly. Review those words and remove them using specific words. Be descriptive on the type of work you do. Hobbies are nice but unless that hobby is part of your special value you bring, consider omitting it. What are the things you are an expert in doing and what are things you like to do. This plays to passions which are important. In a highly networked age, being found is very important. Keep
in mind specifications from an employer to the recruiter will be specific so you need to be specific to be found!
References are a wonder written statement of your skills, abilities, attitudes, integrity, etc., etc. from another LinkedIn person that help validate you are what you say you are. Let's face it, how many "World's Best Salesreps" have you encountered with their self declared title being in question? These are informative statements to the reader (such as a recruiter or hiring manager) that is written by someone making a statement in public. People making statements in public generally are careful about what they say. Statements on your abilities, how easy you were to work with, ideas you contributed, how well things went, how you would enjoy working with this person again all bring high value. And remember, what someone says about you also appears on THEIR LinkedIn Profile where THEIR friends can read it making it less likely false or totally inaccurate statements will be made.
Normally, references are not given high value as they can be 100% fabricated and difficult to verify, or they were "cherry picked" from the best of the best people you could find. The value of the LinkedIn Profile is the reader can easily validate the recommendation as it is online.
Today, managers are worried about "Bad Hires": people who are hired then just don't work out or suddenly resign. This is a very high cost to the company and it's a big black mark against the hiring manager. So how does a manager lower their risks? Easy!
METHOD 1: Internal References
Having employees in the company recommend a potential
the internal reference is a respected employee. We "hang" with
people like ourselves. If the employee is a respected, most likely
their friend will be a respected employee thus lowering risks to
the hiring manager.
Sometimes "bounties" are offered to employees recommended
people for open positions. Payments from a few hundred to
thousands are possible if the person recommended remains on
the payroll for 3 to 6 months with a good record.
METHOD 2: External References
Much like the above but rarely does money change hands and
the hiring manager has less leverage should the new hired
employee not work out. The external reference could be from a
Recruiter the hiring manager knows and trusts bit may or may
not be presenting the prospective employee, someone the hiring
manager knows, or other such introduction and communication
based on prior trust.
METHOD 3: LinkedIn Recommendation
The hiring manager may have little insight into the person who
wrote the recommendation but it is a public statement written by
the individual and posted in a public form for their friends, co-
workers and the world to see. PLUS a copy of the
recommendation goes on the recommenders Profile. People
generally do not lie or overstate things in public and less so
when it is tied to them directly as a matter of record.
METHOD 4: Written Reference/Recommendation
For those who are not or won't get on LinkedIn, you can get a
written and signed Letter of Recommendation, scan it, and attach
it to your LinkedIn Profile. While not optimal it is the next best
alternative. Save a copy of the scanned document just in case.
COLLEGE STUDENTS should have their highest level of education (such as
"College" or "High chool") in their Experience Section of the
LinkedIn Profile. This allows you to solicit recommendations
from your Professors, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and other
qualified and experienced individuals familiar with your work to
add a create a recommendation under this section. Essentially,
you are making "College" a job, and what college student can't
say that isn't true ... it was just an unpaid position. This
placement is then in the same location with future job
recommendations giving your Profile added clout and value. You
may need to write out step-by-step instructions to these people
to create their Recommendation but it is worth it! These people
have seen your work for potentially years making them by any
definition your past Managers of your deliverables, quality of
work and ethics.
This can be one of the most effective means of seperating you
from the pack of candidates fresh out of college (or wanting
summer work) than any other means!
To no one's surprise there is a finite number nearly everywhere and LinkedIn is no exception. Here are some reported limits by field or area that may help you? If this gets lots, always check LinkedIn's very will organized Help Center.
- First Name - 20 characters limit.
- Last Name - 40 characters limit.
- Professional Headline - 120 character limit.
- Summary - 2,000 character limit.
- Specialties - 500 character limit.
- Website Anchor Text - 30 character limit.
- Website URL - 256 character limit.
- Phone number - 25 character limit (seen by 1st level connects only)
- Address - 1,000 character limit (seen by 1st level connects only)
- Company name - 100 character limit.
- Company Page Description - 2,000 character limit.
- Company Update - 6000 characters or 250 characters if with link.
- Position title - 100 characters limit.
- Position Description - 200 minimum, 2,000 maximum character limit.
- Interests - 1,000 character limit
- Instant Message - 25 character limit (seen by 1st level connects only)
- Skills - Limited to 50 skills; allowed 61 - 80 characters depending ...
- LinkedIn Status Update - 600 to 700 (reports vary) unless you want to
update your Twitter status at the same time. Twitter updates are
limited to 140 characters - beyond 140 characters not viewable on
- Custom Public Profile Link (aka, "Vanity URL")
URL is 29 characters after www.LinkedIn.com/in/
Remember the rules about no spaces, symbols or special characters.
LinkedIn will allow upper case characters due to a reformatting process
they use on their side of the Internet.
- 50 Groups maximum
Subgroups may allow you to go beyond this number.
- Reply to Group Post - 666 characters - their number not mine.
- Publisher Post Headline - 100 character limit
- Publisher Post Text - 30,000 to 40,000 characters (differing reports)
NOTE: None of these values are committed to by LinkedIn and may be
changed at any time with or without notice.
TIP: Creating Text for Your Profile
LinkedIn is a very powerful "Big Data" application but it is lacking something things
1. NO Spell Checker
At this point many are in panic. How will you know if you fat-fingered
something one or more times, you just didn't know how to spell a word so you
winged it and it looked kinda right, or something worse!
2. NO Special Characters
No bullets and you want to use bullets as it catches the attention of the reader's
3. No Thesaurus
None. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
So how do you handle this so the world doesn't see your mistakes and post them on Facebook?
RELAX! You may already have the tools for this solution. If you use Microsoft Office, you have a built-in Spell Checker, the ability to include Special Characters into a line of text, and a Thesaurus.
1. Build your LinkedIn text in Word.
2. If you need a bullet to showcase an Accomplishment Statement or other item,
select the bullet of your choice (ideally a filled circle character) and incorporate
into your text.
3. When writing the section, use your Thesaurus to find words of high impact.
4. Run the Spell Check to identify any potential problem and resolve the ones that
Copy from Word and Paste into the appropriate area in LinkedIn and you're good to go!
One can only guess LinkedIn did not incorporate these features because ...
a) they already exist in many computer application packages in the marketplace
b) there is little benefit to consuming additional disk storage to replicate capability
c) most Windows tools can interact with other Windows based software packages
d) why have to learn another tool when you have one you already know and it
e) do you have any idea how much longer your downloads would take with the