Tag: linkedin tips

Tips on How CxOs Can Optimize Their Executive LinkedIn Profiles

Many C-level executives tell me they have a LinkedIn profile but don’t really do anything with it. Other CxOs share they don’t even have a profile. Concerns range from simple lack of time or interest to privacy concerns.

I think the main issue is lack of understanding relative to value. Many executives simply don’t see how LinkedIn can benefit them. But there IS value in having a LinkedIn profile if you are a top executive. Below are several ideas and tips for leveraging those benefits:

Adjust Your Privacy & Settings

First, if you are concerned about privacy, in the security settings of your profile, you can change the setting for “Select who can see your connections” to “Only you.”

This way, your company and your competition cannot see who you are connected to. And if you wish to connect with others that may raise an eyebrow or two within your team (top-retained recruiters—or even your competition), no one can view your connections except for you.

Summary Statement

It’s a good idea to have an email—and maybe even a phone number—at the very beginning of the Summary statement. This ensures that people who may be visiting your profile can reach out to you, even if they may be outside of your first- or second-degree network of connections. If you are open to new opportunities, there is no reason to broadcast it, since you can very easily give someone a way to reach out to you!

Privacy tip: set up a new Gmail account with a variation of your name or something that is business-friendly, and use that email in your LinkedIn Summary statement.

Keyword Headings

When deciding on your keyword headings, think about what a recruiter or other key decision maker might be looking for when searching for someone like you. An advanced degree, splashy award, high-level certification, or size/scope information, such as “Fortune 500 Companies,” “Fast Growth Start-Ups,” Board Member,” or “International Expansions.” If you are looking to change industries, think of how broad your industry choice can be without looking as if you are searching for another opportunity.

Depth & Breadth

Most resume writers agree that LinkedIn profiles are best written in first-person informal. Generally speaking, the details in your profile should not be covered as thoroughly as they are in your executive resume. A good rule of thumb is to add just enough detail to create intrigue. Your profile should never, in my professional opinion, broadcast that you are looking for another opportunity. LinkedIn seems to work best for establishing thought leadership and to expand your network into specific areas.

Expand Your Network

When you expand your network with recruiters and key decision makers across a few industries and divisions, you are creating a network that can be leveraged. For example, a few years ago my husband was complaining that his LinkedIn connections were almost nonexistent. He is in the wine business, so I suggested he find those in “his tribe” through direct searches and LinkedIn groups and invite them into his network. Within 45 days my husband had more than 400 of the most powerful global connections of suppliers, distributors, wineries, vintners, wine-recruiters, HR directors, and high-profile critics in the wine industry. He regularly receives important information and job solicitations now through his LinkedIn profile.

Thought Leadership

Have your read an insightful industry article in Forbes that you agree with? Did you recently attend—or even better—speak at an industry conference? Attend or help lead a community event? Why not share that in your activity broadcast? Articles are another great way to share your insight; including pictures or videos will make them more clickable. Remember to keep it all business! This is an excellent way to solidify your brand and thought leadership within your network.

Although there are many other optimization and design tips that are important to know, these tips are great starting points to get you using LinkedIn as a tool that will give you market leverage and solidify your branding message.

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The SECRET to Leveraging the Power of LinkedIn

Only 5% of executives I speak with on a weekly basis share with me that they are “happy” with their LinkedIn presence and that they regularly attract ideal job opportunities through LinkedIn.

The other 95% share with me that although they may have a profile, they don’t do much with it—and frankly, that’s because they are not sure what to do with it.

A question for you: What are three things you WISH LinkedIn could do for you? Please stop reading for a minute and define one to three things you wish LinkedIn could do for you.

I’ll wait here …

Are they:

  • Bring you more business?
  • Draw ideal job opportunities to you?
  • Establish the perception of thought leadership?
  • Scout for talent for your company?

Once you define what is important to you—you can then determine how to use LinkedIn to provide you with optimum market leverage.

If you want to establish thought leadership, look into WHAT you want to say to your audience—and use LinkedIn’s activity broadcasts to do it; or post using LinkedIn’s blog feature (like I do!).

If you want to scout for talent, you might want to upgrade to a Premium account and concentrate on expanding your network. You could also explore LinkedIn’s Recruiter App for your company’s needs.

If you want to energize your network, you might want to first write out all of the reasons WHY that is important to you—and then develop a simple system to spend 15 minutes per week on LinkedIn to actively increase your connections. Can you define the industry, titles, geographic locations, and so on, that you want to expand? This will help!

If you want to expand your business, you may look into LinkedIn advertising (I do) to reach out to your ideal audience.

And whether you are a passive or active job seeker, think about WHO you want to be seen by. Did you know that if you are not in your target market’s 1st-, 2nd-, or 3rd-degree connections, they can’t “find” you? It’s true.

If you want to learn how to expand your network and get real, actionable results, check out the online program I’ve developed (one of my most popular courses) that teaches executives how to attract career opportunities through LinkedIn. It works! Learn more about it here.

Executive-Level LinkedIn Profile Tips: How to Create Amazing Content

I have talked at length on the topic of how top executives can utilize LinkedIn as a tool in their career toolbox in my articles, Tips VPs to CXOs MUST KNOW to Leverage the Power of LinkedIn Part 1 and Part 2.

Now I would like to share some tips on content with you.

If you are a Director, VP, EVP, COO, CEO, CFO, CMO, CSO, CIO, CTO, CISO, CRO (my fingers are getting tired, so my apologies to all the other CXOs out there), or Board-Level Executive, these tips are for you.

Your Name

I know this is about content, but in order to explain rationale, I have to share that you need to optimize for findability. One of the ways you can do this is with your name. After your name, you can add a certification or an MBA. Recruiters and other key decision makers search by advanced degrees and special certificates, so this is a great and easy way to increase your chances of coming up in keyword search results.

Your Headline

This is my favorite because it is where you get the most optimization juice. For what unique quality do you want to be found? For being part of an MNC or Fortune 100 company? Maybe for the industry you are in? How about utilizing keywords that center around a specialty of yours; say, Cloud Technology Mergers & Acquisitions? Think about your unique value proposition. Think about what you want to do next, if you could do anything—then work backwards. Your keywords should mirror your goals (the ones that match, at least!). You can separate your keywords with a comma or a pipe (, or |).

Your Summary

If you want to make it easy for someone to contact you directly after they have glanced at your profile, you can elect to put your contact information FIRST in your summary. Again, this is so that if a recruiter is using the LinkedIn Recruiter app, they will be able to easily find and clearly see your contact information, even if they cannot see your entire profile. You can format your contact information like this:

E-mail: myemail.com | Phone: 000.000.0000

If you haven’t heard by now, less is more. So concentrate on the one thing you know will grab someone’s attention. Start with your unique value proposition and the results you achieve. Sometimes you can use exact metrics, but if you don’t feel comfortable giving away exact figures, why not use approximate ones or quantify accomplishments using percentages? You could say, “Drove top-line revenue 350% over previous years in 12 months.” Short, sweet, and very effective.

Most writers and marketers agree that first-person informal is the tense and style with which to craft your LinkedIn profile.

Your Professional Experience

Starting with a little information about the general size and specialty of the company. Again, the style is rooted in brevity. One or two single-sentence accomplishments should set the tone and pace for a positive cursory glance. You are trying to hit major points and create intrigue. You do not want your profile to look or read like your executive resume.

LinkedIn for Executives: Tips VPs to CXOs MUST KNOW to Leverage the Power of LinkedIn – Part 1

linkedinPART 1: THE MINDSET

Each week I talk with senior-level executives about their career needs and invariably the subject of LinkedIn always comes up. The conversation usually goes like this:

Me:  So, how is your LI profile? Do you get many job opportunities coming to you through LI?

Them: Honestly, my profile is just sitting there. I have a fairly good network, but I don’t really see much action from it, and don’t really know how to change that.

-or-

Them:  As COO of a billion-dollar company, I often wonder what I should be doing on LinkedIn—if anything—being so highly visible.

Your Audience

To begin making decisions about LinkedIn you must first have a clear vision of your audience. Who is your audience? Let’s look at it this way: If there were no obstacles to your next ideal career position, and that position was located in a pond, what kind of fish would be in that pond? Those fish are your audience.

Are your fish private equity firms? Top retained executive search firms? Fortune 500 technology companies? Fast-growth, mid-market companies in the (fill in your blank) industry? Presidents of security technology firms?  Maybe a combination of the above?

Do you want or need to stay in your geographical location? Then limit this list to your geographical preference (minus the recruiters and PE firms – they have holdings/clients all over and are not geographically tied to their own physical location).

Your Goals

You need to fish where the fish are, so get your driving motivators down—including your industries of choice—and make sure those industries are growing, stable, or at least not in decline!

Your Platform

Social networking (for business) is a very effective advertising medium that makes it easy for you to reverse engineer your job search by connecting to your audience. Initially your only interest should be in connecting with them. Nothing else. This is the first and most important step!

Why reverse engineer your search? Because if you make $250k and up per year, only 10% of open jobs at your level are posted on the Internet.* Most executives think, “Well, that is why I depend on recruiters.” But the other 90% of jobs at your level are not held by recruiters. MOST are filled BEFORE a company has to hire a recruiter to find you. Let’s let that sink in for a moment…

LinkedIn is a platform that helps you cut the middleman out in many cases and can put you in direct contact with a key decision maker. In other words, you can be the leader you ARE—even in your job search! And I know that is where you are most comfortable. LinkedIn allows you to retain your leadership role, and control your own personal job transition, many times without having to be at the mercy of a chain of predetermined screening events with built-in competition.

The Bottom Line

If you are a top executive, the name of the game is threefold:

  1. Connect with key players.
  2. Keyword optimize your profile so that when people find you and want to pitch job opportunities your way, your profile is already aligned with your greatest preferences.
  3. Use LinkedIn to develop thought leadership.

I share more details in Part 2. Do you have questions about this article you’d like me to answer? E-mail me at maryelizabeth@maryelizabethbradford.com.

The C-Level Executive’s Quick Start Guide to LinkedIn

Why would a CEO, COO, CMO, CFO or other CXO need to have a LinkedIn profile? That is a good question. Many very high-level / high-visibility C-level executives don’t have a LinkedIn profile. Perhaps this is due to concerns about overexposure. While I certainly understand that concept, the opportunity to leverage your network – whether you are a VP, SVP or C-level executive – has incredible benefits when you do it correctly.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your C-level LinkedIn profile:

Adjust Your Settings & Privacy

I suggest that my clients change the setting for “Who can see your connections” to “Only you.”

This way, your company and your competition cannot see who you are connected to. Overall I think that is a smart move.

The other settings worth noting are what others can view in your public profile. I like to have enough general information show up so if another key decision-maker or executive recruiter saw and liked your profile and wanted to reach out to you, they could. Showing your Summary statement (which should include some contact information) should be enough.

Summary Statement

I like to have an email and maybe even a phone number at the very beginning of the Summary statement. This ensures that people who may be visiting your profile can reach out to you, even if they may be outside of your first- or second-degree network of connections. If you are open to new opportunities, there is no reason to broadcast it, since you can very easily give someone a way to reach out to you!

Worried about privacy? No problem! Set up a new Gmail account with a variation of your name or something that is business-friendly and use that email in your LinkedIn Summary statement.

Keyword Headings

When deciding on your keyword headings, think about what a recruiter or other key decision-maker might be looking for when searching for someone like you. List any advanced degrees, splashy awards, high-level certifications, or size/scope information, such as “Fortune 500 Companies,” “Fast Growth Start-Ups” or “International Expansions.” If you are looking to change industries, think of how broad your industry choice can be without looking as if you are searching for another opportunity.

Depth & Breadth

Most resume writers agree that LinkedIn profiles are best written in first-person informal. Generally speaking, the details in your profile should not be covered as thoroughly as they are in your executive resume. A good rule of thumb is to add just enough detail to create intrigue. Your profile should never, in my professional opinion, broadcast that you are looking for another opportunity.

Grow Your Network

When you grow your network with recruiters and key decision-makers across a few industries and divisions, you are creating a network that can be leveraged. For example, several years ago my husband was complaining that his LinkedIn connections were almost nonexistent. He is in the wine business, so I suggested he find those in “his tribe” through direct searches and LinkedIn groups and invite them into his network. Within 45 days my husband had over 400 of the most powerful global connections of suppliers, distributors, wineries, vintners, wine-recruiters, HR directors and high-profile critics in the wine industry. He regularly receives important information and job solicitations.

The takeaway is that I advocate thinking of your LI network as a tool to connect with like-minded professionals. Personally, I don’t believe you have to “know” these contacts before you invite them. Rather I believe in connecting across industries and disciplines to form a solid foundation with short- and long-term benefits. If a recruiter or other key decision-maker is looking for someone with your skills and abilities and you are NOT in their first or second-degree network, then you will not show up in their search results.

Thought Leadership

Have you read an insightful industry article in FORBES that you agree with? Did you recently attend or, even better, speak at an industry conference? Attend or help lead a community event? Why not share that in your activity feed? Articles are another great way to share your insight, and including pictures or videos will make them more clickable. Remember to keep it all business! This is an excellent way to solidify your brand and thought leadership within your network.

Although there are many other optimization and design tips that are important to know, these tips are great starting points to get you using LinkedIn as a tool that will give you market leverage and solidify your branding message.

Executive Job Search Strategies: How to Advance Your Career in 2014

Many of my clients over the years have made big leaps up the ladder to better positions, exciting challenges and more money. How did they do it? Of course every case is different, but if you are looking to advance your career in the upcoming year, here are some things you can put into place right now:

Keep track of your accomplishments.

This is something I think all of us should be doing regardless. Avoid the mistake of thinking that someone is always looking over your shoulder tracking all of your career related accomplishments – or worse – that you shouldn’t because your job is “just what you do.” Take full responsibility for tracking your accomplishments and stepping back to view your value to your company as a whole. In other words, don’t just note the accomplishment, but the result it helped your company to achieve in $ and/or %.

Make a 30-minute meeting with yourself every 60 to 90 days to track your goals and write down your accomplishments. 30 days before your annual performance review, you can share your “progress report” with them. Many of my clients have stated that this type of initiative landed them a bigger raise.

Invest in yourself.

Whether your company pays or you foot the bill yourself, obtaining certifications, involving yourself in prestigious associations, or committing to coursework to obtain an advanced degree, are all endeavors that can have big returns for you! By perhaps pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, your industry or business expertise is expanded, and you will be keeping yourself fresh and relevant by learning something new. Those you work with will be motivated by your leadership and initiative.

Update your offline presence.

Leadership resumes have dramatically changed over the last few years. Those that are professionally written tell your story in a powerful, readable, and visually compelling way.

A highly polished and crisply delivered message sets the peg at a much higher level for your initial conversations, continues forward from that very professional initial contact, and gives you a competitive edge. This is why you will often hear that top resume writers help their clients land much better positions with significantly more money.

To find a good professional resume writer, I have always advocated that job seekers go to Career Directors International and look for qualified writers with advanced resume writing certifications. CDI’s Certifications are notoriously difficult to get, and that’s a good thing for you. In a largely unregulated industry, it’s an insurance policy that you are getting someone who can actually help you. This is why paying for top writers is generally a very wise idea. You truly get what you pay for in this instance.

Update your online presence.

Once you have your resume aligned with where you want to be, you will also need to create continuity between your new resume and your LinkedIn profile. You can get some major leverage through LinkedIn by optimizing your profile. The secret is connecting with the right recruiters so you can find yourself in their universe when they have a search need for a candidate (like you). Key word optimizing your profile to better align yourself with your next career steps will help you to “be found.”

Also, join as many relevant groups as you can and strategically connect with key group members. Just invite them into your network by introducing yourself as a fellow group member. Remember, you can change your profile settings to hide “job related” and “recruiter” groups so those group icons do not show on your profile.

How to Find a Job When You Are Not Looking for One

Many executives I speak to share with me that they have never had to look for a job before – the jobs came to them. And even though in recent years the market is tougher, it is still quite possible to draw opportunities to you.

Here are a few things you can do now to set yourself up for success:

Connect With Recruiters
Back when I was a recruiter, there were some executives that would actually hang up on me when I called to pitch them a job – only to call me a year or two later asking about open jobs I was working on. Unbelievable! But I know YOU are not ever going to do this, right? Right! Because today it is all about being networked so everyone can help each other.

So first things first: find the recruiters in your industry. It makes no difference if they are close to you geographically, only that they work in your industry or specialty. Call them and let them know you are happy where you are, but that you would like to invite them to call to network with you, and to keep you in mind for any particular opportunities that might be a good fit. Remind them to keep this confidential and not to send your resume to any companies without your prior consent. Do this with 5 or 6 good recruiters and you will be in good shape!

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Did you know that your Linked In profile, done correctly, can dramatically increase your weekly visitor rate? You want to pull the right eyes to your profile so that you are top of mind for networking and potential opportunities with the people you most need and want to be connected to. There is a trick to this, but it is not hard to set up if you know how. I just took a large group of executives step-by-step through how to set up their LI profile and recorded it here. This is a “must-know” for every career-minded professional.

Become a Thought Leader
How do superstars attract opportunities? By being good at what they do, yes, but many times you will find them stepping into the fullness of their potential through leadership positions outside of their companies. This includes speaking at associations and trade conferences, writing articles for associations on their area of expertise or getting involved in their local chamber of commerce for their particular business function (such as being an ambassador for their cities local manufacturing sector). This attracts people, makes networking easy, and challenges you mentally to always be the best you can be – step out and try new things using your career expertise as your springboard. Years ago I stepped up to become a thought leader in my industry, especially on the topic of tapping the hidden job market. You just have to be willing to share what you know with others. Many people struggle with the “but who am I to do that?” syndrome. In fact, most everyone does. Those feelings are a normal and a part of the progression. Acknowledge those feelings, but continue on!

Have An Outstanding Resume
Are you really serious about the edge you want in the market? A professionally written resume will wow both recruiters and companies, set you well apart from your competition, and work to secure you more interviews and offers. There is just no getting around the ROI you can experience by investing in yourself in this area. Make sure your writer is certified with a top association and an experienced writer in your industry. You can see samples of professionally written executive resumes here. Put a reminder in your calendar every 90 days to keep track of your career accomplishments, no matter how small – and try to quantify them with %% and $$ whenever possible. This small effort has a direct effect on your future salary.

5 Quick & Valuable Tips to Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

There is a lot going on with LinkedIn these days! Would you like to know how to leverage this social marketing tool to enhance your career? Here are some places to start, and some tips you might not have heard of before.

  1. Keyword Optimize Your Title. Instead of using your title and company name, why not put your keywords to better use? Adding a certification is a great idea. For example, if you are a Six Sigma Black Belt, or you have your MBA or PMP Certification, and that achievement is meaningful and impactful to your career progression, then it is totally appropriate to add it after your name.
  2. Keyword Optimize Your Tagline. Put the tagline under your name to good use by including important keywords. Instead of saying “VP of Company X,” why not say “Operations Executive | Vice President | Software | Fortune 500 Companies”?
  3. Pick Your Industry Carefully. In the same area as your Title and Tagline you will have to opportunity to display your industry. Remember, if you are considering an industry change, see if you can find a broader keyword to represent yourself.
  4. Protect Your Brand. Don’t say you are looking for “career opportunities”. Not only can that get you in hot water potentially with your current employer, I have found that advertising your job seeking activities on LinkedIn is not effective.
  5. Build the Right Network. Invite recruiters that specialize in your position/industry to connect. Become a part of their network so you more readily come up in their search queries. Changing industries? Join groups (note: you can hide certain groups so they don’t show up on your profile) and invite thought leaders and people from companies in your industry of choice to start building the right network. My husband is in the fine wine industry and grew his network of top wineries and presidents of suppliers and distributors in just 30 days – simply by searching for and inviting them to become network connections. His only regret? Waiting so long to do it.

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