You made me delete you, I didn’t want to do it…..

 

About a week ago I accepted a LinkedIn connection request. As is my practice, I responded by thanking them for the connection to open the door to conversation.

Today, I shut that door. Locked it. Deadbolts. No vacancy sign. Moved without a forwarding address.

Every once in a while I will have a new connection respond to my door opening with a sales spiel. Ugh. Although slightly perturbing, I usually just delete it and move on.

The sales spiel is immediately discoverable because it starts with “Hi Lisa K.”

I do not go by Lisa K. I use the “K” professionally to delineate myself. Lisa McDonald is a more common name than one might think. My middle name is Kaye. The only person who ever called me Lisa Kaye is my dad. To get my attention – which it did.

Often starting your message with ‘Lisa K’ shows a formatted list that imports names.

If it is a persona message, I get it, you don’t know me. You probably don’t know about the “K” thing. It is forgivable. In this case, I gently guide my conversation partner by signing off any future messages with simply “Lisa”.

Barraging someone you just connected with to sell them is a big no-no in networking. LinkedIn is networking. The foundation of networking is relationships. To build a solid business relationship it takes three aspects:

– Cultivate interest

– Motivation to help each other

– Establishing trust and credibility

These three things take time. Appropriate time is not five minutes or a day after I accepted your connection request.

For Mr. Happy, I deleted his first salely message and moved on. Then a few days later, I got another “Hi Lisa K.!”

Now, I’ve gone from perturbed to annoyed. Yes sir, I saw your first message and no, I was not interested. Go away.

Today I moved from annoyed to “oh for crying out loud”. There was no cultivating of interest. I have no desire for you to help me. Your credibility is completely shot. Not only are you spamming, you did not read my profile.

You see what this gentleman was selling was branding. More specifically LinkedIn branding. He was promising he could take my lackluster profile and make me a social media sensation. Hey, guess what I do? That’s right – branding. Guess where I focus – right again – LinkedIn among other places! Go figure!

So in the spirit of the holidays, this ‘branding genius’ (his sentiment, not mine) went to my naughty list. Marketing yourself to a colleague using an outside our industry message is not genius-like behavior.

Let us learn from Mr. Happy. Your network is a sacred thing; you should treat it as such. Nurture it, care for it, protect it, give to it and it will flourish like flowers in the Spring. Spam it and disrespect it and it will die. Think dead of winter with no sunlight. (I had to follow my flower theme) It is that simple. In the end, the quality of connections and contacts, not the quantity, will yield a beautiful garden. (I couldn’t end without another flower reference!)

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

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Why Dumping a Resume/Bio in Your LinkedIn Summary is Killing Potential Conversations

road block stop

 

Do you know why someone is reading your LinkedIn profile? They want to get a sense of you: who you are, what you do and what you enjoy doing – in a professional context.

I heard it said that LinkedIn is a virtual handshake.  I think that is perfect.  Although it is a huge, digital platform, it is very business-personal because it is a one-on-one conversation between you and the person reading your profile.

The reader is imagining what your voice sounds like, how tall you are and all the little particulars about you based on the words you choose.  They are going beyond putting together the face with the name, they are filling in details.

The reader can look at your experience section or perhaps they have read your resume.  That is the business-business side of you.  LinkedIn is the business-personal side.  This is where your personality should shine through.  Instead of assumed I statements on the resume, you are speaking directly to the reader using I and me.  (i.e. resume: “Manage team of 30” – LinkedIn: “I manage a team of 30”)

You are beginning a business, networking relationship with the reader by digitally extending your hand and using your summary to say, “Hey, nice to meet you, let me tell you a little bit about myself”.  You are speaking directly to them, again, a one-on-one conversation.

Writing about yourself is hard.  I get it.  Even though branding is my passion and business, I cringe every time I have to put something together for myself when I lead training or for a speaking engagement.

The easy thing is popping your bio or resume into your LinkedIn. Just because it is easy does not mean that is the best plan.  For your experience section, it is doable – just remember to insert the I’s and me’s so it is more of a conversation and not so standoffish.

However, for your summary, dropping in your bio or resume is a terrible plan.

Bad to Worse

Imagine you are at a networking event.  Go ahead, close your eyes to visualize – no, wait, if you do that you won’t be able to get the rest of this.  Scratch that.  Keep reading and imagine an event with 25 people or so.  It is business professional environment, pretty lively with everyone getting to know each other.

Now imagine a professional looking person walking towards you and extending their hand, introducing themselves at Pat.  You tell them “Nice to meet you Pat, so tell me about yourself, what you do.”

Now imagine this response:

“I have 15 years’ experience as a financially savvy, customer experience-oriented Operations Manager with a passion for success.  I have proven success in process efficiency in manufacturing and am proficient in Windows, Access, PowerPoint and Excel.”

Did you stop listening at customer-experience-oriented? Probably, because that is not normally how people communicate in a face-to-face, relaxed business environment.  It is boring, it is memorized, it is robotic and not a person.

This is the resume dump in your summary. The distance puts up roadblocks in starting a conversation.

Let’s set the stage again for a different response:

Professional Pat comes over, handshake giving their name. You say: “Nice to meet you Pat, so tell me about yourself, what you do.”

“Pat has 15 years’ experience as a financially savvy, customer experience-oriented Operations Manager with a passion for success.  Pat has proven success in process efficiency in manufacturing and am proficient in Windows, Access, PowerPoint and Excel.”

Whoa!  Wait, what? Who is Pat? I thought I was talking to Pat but is Pat talking about a different Pat?  It feels like a SNL skit.  When I hear someone who talk about themselves in third person little buzzers and flashing lights go off in my head and I look for the quickest exit possible.

This is the bio dump in your summary.  This goes beyond roadblocks into the road was swallowed by a sink hole.

Do not take the easy way in dropping into your LinkedIn summary.  Take a few minutes to ask yourself:

  1. Who do I want to read my profile?
  2. What is important to them?
  3. What do I want them to know about me?

Write the answers to these questions down.  Then say it out loud as if you were standing in front of that person in a business, casual environment.

That, my friends, is your summary and one that will start great conversations!

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

I Did Not Connect with You on LinkedIn Because of Your Facebook Picture

facebook picture on linkedinLinkedIn is LinkedIn and Facebook is Facebook. They are two different venues, environments and interactions. Facebook is the silly, personal side. LinkedIn is the business side.

I am not going to belabor the point of mixing behavior between the two. This article is only about the profile picture, and why using a Facebook type picture on LinkedIn is preventing you from expanding your business network.

I have read many articles stating that it takes seven seconds to make a first impression – but that is if you are having an interaction. Seven seconds in meeting someone face to face or seeing their body language. How quickly do we form an impression based on a photo?

As little as 1/10 of a second.

That is what was found in a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov. It only takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face. Click this link to read the full, fascinating article: How Many Seconds to a First Impression by Eric Wargo on Association for Psychological Science.

Here is a list of photos that I have seen that close doors on LinkedIn:

  • Wedding photos
  • Data nights – including your date and the food
  • Bar buddies – you all look like you are having a good time, plenty of cocktails and which one are you?
  • Phantom hands on shoulders – cropping the rest of the other people out, but not those hands
  • All decked out in favorite sport team gear – jersey, face paint, Mardi Gras beads
  • Holding or surrounded by children
  • Cartoons – either a meme or a characterization of yourself, perhaps ok if you are a cartoonist
  • Car shots with seat belts and back seats
  • Up the nose selfie – holding the phone at such a low angle that the inside of your nose is most prominent
  • Painful, angry or confused – not sure if the picture took, well dressed mug shot or it hurts to smile
  • Showing off favorite toys – motorcycles, cars, boats and this has nothing to do with your business
  • Are you in the shot? shots – vacation shots, dog shots, fun in the sun shots where you are merely a speck among the scenery
  • The future is so bright I gotta wear shades
  • Looking cool selfie with a full view and prominence of your arm
  • And the honest to goodness bathroom selfie complete with the shower curtain, sink and holding the phone in front of your chest

All of the above are fine on Facebook, but what value do they convey about you as a business person?  What value does your child, dog, toy, sunglasses or bathroom give your business (unless it is directly related)? My dogs are extremely photogenic and just so darn cute, but having them in my profile picture does not speak to me or my value as a career and business coach.

In other words, in the business world no one cares about those lovely attributes of your personal life unless they bring value to them as a connection, customer or prospective employer.

What comprises a good photo, one that will open doors? It is a matter of five elements:

  1. Expression – Smile. It does not have to be a full on toothy number, but at least look approachable and open. When getting your picture taken, instead of a forced smile, think of something that makes you grin – a funny line in a movie, something cute your child did, hearing praise from your boss – anything that brings a natural, genuine smile to your face without going into full out laughter.
  2. Clothing – Dress for where you want to go or what represents who you are professionally in a business casual sense. Business relaxed, not the corporate suit and tie head shot unless that is the image you and your company want to portray.
  3. Background – This is a backdrop, not the most important element of the picture; it should not be distracting or inappropriate. It does not have to be in an office environment, however, it should be the last thing someone focuses on in your photo.
  4. Proportion – Your head and shoulders should take up at least 60% of the frame, we want to see you!
  5. Likeness – The picture should be somewhat current and look like you, over the age of 40 no high school photos or glamour shots.

Unless in that 1/10 of a second you convey you are about business prospective clients, connections or employers will not take the time to accept your invitation or read your profile. LinkedIn is for business, it is all about making connections, adding value, expanding your networks and knowledge – if your picture is closing those doors you are missing the greatest of opportunities.

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I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

13 Ways to Launch Your Visibility on LinkedIn and Significantly Increase Your Connections

linkedinIf you want to increase your professional visibility to grow your business, your book of business or find the opportunity to take the next step in your career do not get on LinkedIn.

That is right – do not get on LinkedIn.

In order to accomplish the goals listed above you must participate on LinkedIn.

There is a difference.

Side note: I am nitpicking on a word; however, one word can make a huge impact in your communications in networking and on your resume – just a little gentle reminder.

LinkedIn is an amazing, effective and powerful tool for your business and career – if it is used properly.  As with any tool, if it is not utilized it does you no good.

Having an incomplete profile, double digit connections, lack of information or incorrect information will send the message to the LinkedIn community that you simply got on LinkedIn but show no interest in being a part of LinkedIn.

Here are 13 tips to elevate your profile to let it work for you through content and engagement

Content

1.     Profile picture

Get one and post it.  This picture should be a nice head and shoulder shot with the dress in the theme of business casual.  Smile.  Please no bathroom selfies, family shots or pets.  My dogs are adorable and photogenic but they do not belong in my profile picture.

2.     Professional Headline

Personally, I hate titles.  They are meaningless.  I recently wrote a post about networking and introducing yourself by anything but your title, aptly named For Crying Out Loud Don’t Tell Me You are in Sales.

The same principle applies to your LinkedIn title.  Yes, you can list your title; however, you have a 120 character space limit for this section – utilize it.

Instead of “Sales Professional” try something like Award Winning Health Care Sales Representative with a career of exceeding sales & revenue targets for growth & expansion.

If you are employed and looking for another job, I would not recommend advertising this fact for two reasons:

  1. It is disrespectful to your current company
  2. No one wants to hire the unhappy person, if you are not happy there what makes you think you will be happy at the new place – and would you do the same thing to them?

In this instance, utilize your current title with the value that you add in support of the current organization.  For example something along the lines of “Systems Sales Representative bringing solutions to our clients for all their CRM needs now and as their companies grow.”

3.     Summary

If you get someone to your page, you need to give them something to read.  Too often profiles are missing the summary section.  This is your introduction to prospective clients, employers and contacts.  Utilize this space – up to 2,000 characters – to give them a glimpse of the value that is you.

This is not a place for you to post your resume.  There is a distinct difference in voice between your resume, business biography and LinkedIn.  I discuss the difference of this voice in more depth in the post LinkedIn Versus a Resume or Business Bio – The Difference is Voice.

To boil it down: in a resume or bio you are portraying a professional sales presentation of yourself not knowing who will be reading it, it is an arm’s length conversation.  On LinkedIn you are having a one-on-one conversation with the person reading your profile.  Direct the conversation to this target audience.

It is not enough to tell the reader what you do, you must give them a sense of your value in describing things such as who you work with, how you work with them, what you do, how you do it and the value others receive in you doing what you do.

4.     Position Description

This is where I see a lot of copy and pasting from resumes or job descriptions.  LinkedIn is that additional layer; people who have viewed your bio or resume are looking to LinkedIn to find out more about you.  If the bio/resume and position descriptions (or summary) are the exact same you look like a one trick pony.

This section should be similar to your resume or bio; however, since it is a one-on-one conversation you should use the “I”s and “me”s that you do not in the resume.  You have a minimum and maximum character limit here of 200 and 2000; choose the biggest highlights to emphasize here while giving a brief description of your role and value.

5.     Stay Current

It takes time to craft a complete LinkedIn profile; however, do not fall into the trap that in completing it you are done.  About once a month on an off day, read and review your profile.  Is everything still relevant and current?  Are there any additional skills, projects or accomplishments that you can include?  Could that one sentence be tweaked so it is a little more compelling?

LinkedIn has made a change in that you can update your profile without notifying your connections about every single thing one.  For directions on how to accomplish this refer to How Not to Broadcast Your Updates on LinkedIn.  The article describes when you might want your connections to see updates and the updates you have no control over if they are seen or not.

Engagement

6.     Post and Share

Interact on LinkedIn every day.

Post and share relevant content for your connections.  This can range from inspiring quotes, Slideshare presentations or relevant industry articles.  Scroll through you home screen and read what your connections have posted; like or share the ones that you truly like or may be of value to your connections.

7.     Participate

Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your business, expertise, goals and interests.  Take it one step further and participate in these groups; ask and answer questions within discussions.  You can begin a discussion by posting a question within the group.

One word of caution, make it manageable.  Staying active and engaged in 20 groups is quite the task, start with a few and go from there.

Follow influencers that resonate with you, your industry or specialty.  Like, make a comment, ask a question  or share their posts.

8.     Connect

LinkedIn does a wonderful job in providing you with suggestions of people with whom you can connect or may know, even providing a little connect link right there!  Try to send at least one invitation daily, but do not be lazy.  Although LinkedIn provides a pre-written script, personalizing your message gives you a better chance of making that connection.

Do not stress yourself out over creating a personal message.  Make it as simple as “I would like to add you to my professional network as I see we have some common connections including Joe Johns and Mary Mary.”

Another option could be, “I have gained a lot of insight and information from your articles and would like to connect with you directly.”

9.     Appreciate

Provide endorsements to your contacts via a personal endorsement or for one of their skills listed in their profile.  Do this as a one way action without expectation for them to do the same for you.  Business is all about the giving.

10.   Allow Them to Contact You

Make sure that your contact information is displayed and easily found in your profile.  If you are going to gain their interest you want them to follow up, right?  Make it easy for them to do so!

11.   Link for You Elsewhere

Create a link to your profile on your email signature allowing people to easily find you – and connect with you.  If you are a business owner, display this link on your blog, website and any other places prospective clients and connections can click.

12.   Combine to Build

Spread the love to other social media platforms.  Tweet your LinkedIn updates to Twitter, LinkedIn gives you this option within the status update box.  Include your blog and website into your profile for your connections to see your entire brand across various platforms.

13.   Stay Consistent

This tips are solid and will work – if you work them consistently.  Making a big surge for two weeks then slacking off for two months will take you right back to square one in having to build trust, confidence and value with your network.  It takes less than 15 minutes a day to implement the connection tips.  One quarter of an hour is certainly a valuable investment in your career, one that can provide considerable results.

The Benefit of Befriending Strangers Near and Far

it's a small small worldDuring the end of last week, I was traveling in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  At one point, I met a gentleman whose brief remark sparked a short conversation about Indiana. 

He was originally from Pennsylvania and recently returned after living in Greenwood, Indiana at a different job for two years.  I grew up just north of Greenwood, Indiana.   

I am always amazed when proven time and time again that old saying, “It’s a small world”.  I apologize now for any reading this that now have the Disney song stuck in their head. That song that also brings images of small marionette children dancing in their head.  I am so sorry.

I love traveling and meeting people and discovering the one connection that bridges the miles, ages, differences and life experiences between us.  It fascinates me.  I also like to hear stories of similar experiences from friends.

Isn’t it odd that we can find or recall a situation where we connect with someone we meet miles and miles away from our home base and it amazes us with the reminder of a small world; however, we fail to realize this same concept or impact when building our business or searching for a job.

Every interaction you have can be a positive or negative, it is your choice.  I will grant you, some make it more difficult to choose positive based on their actions.  However, this is when the choice is in your reaction.  But that is a different blog.

Every interaction allows you to make a connection with someone on some level.  You do not need to travel thousands of miles from your home base, look right next to you.  Look around you in the grocery store, at the baseball game, the walking trail or in line to grab a cup of coffee.  Those connection opportunities are all around you.

One of my favorite things to do is to share stories with my best friend from a day of meeting someone and making that connection.  We have met some very interesting people; some have turned out to be clients, others have referred me business and still others turn out to be just very interesting and great people.

Someone asked me recently how I turn a casual conversation into a connection, into a business relationship.    I told them that it happens because I do not approach it from a business perspective.  I do not look at strangers and think, “I wonder how I can get them to hire me.” 

I look at strangers and say hi.  I make small talk.  I ask them about them or give them a genuine compliment.  I treat them with respect and kindness.  This then turns into a conversation and it goes from there. 

You never know who you are going to meet, how you might be able to bring value to them or them to you.  If you treat everyone new you meet as a prospective job lead source, you will find yourself without any leads.  If you treat everyone new you meet as a potential customer, you will find yourself with a dried up pipeline.

However, if you treat everyone new you meet as an individual, just like you enjoying the beautiful weather, waiting for their coffee or enjoying the game – just like you, just like you would like to be treated; well then you will find yourself with an amazing network of great people who will gladly give you business, leads and even better yet – friendship.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com