YOU can be part of the LinkedInstitute

The LinkedInstitute is all about helping YOU make the most of LinkedIn. There are a few ways you can get involved in as more than a reader:

  • With comments. I’d love to hear your perspective on my posts and field your questions. Comments are always welcome.
  • With a guest post. Do you have a tip or perspective about LinkedIn that you’d like to share? If so, you can be part of the conversation.
  • With a LinkedIn success story. I’ll be sharing information from those who have used LinkedIn to move up in their career or grow their business. If that sounds like you, let me know.

Remember, this is your blog, too. If you have anything to share, drop a note in the comments, or send me an email.

LinkedIn Success Story: Blake Parton

The LinkedInstitute blog is designed to help you understand how to use LinkedIn to grow in your career or grow your business. With that in mind, we’ll be featuring LinkedIn Success Stories–those who have seen real-world results from their LinkedInvestment. First up: Blake Parton, Brand Manager at Summit Brands.

Parton

Hi, Blake. I understand that you found your current job through LinkedIn. Can you explain how that happened?

I was an early adopter to LinkedIn (I believe I may have had an profile prior to one on Facebook). I worked hard to make sure my profile was 100% complete (All-Star).

I continually update and request connections monthly. So, when the time came that I found myself in a job search after leaving Maxell, I sent messages to many contacts on my availability expressing my desire to return to the Midwest from the east coast. Among the responders was Bri Barber, whom I had meant in passing while at a seminar in New York city. She informed me of a colleague (Bob Van Rossum) who was attempting to fill a Assistant Brand Manager role in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After my hire in Fort Wayne, my VP told me that my extensive profile with multiple recommendations was a major contributor to being invited for an interview. So, LinkedIn didn’t just help me locate the position but in a sense got me in the door.

How do you use LinkedIn in your current job?

I manage my LinkedIn account ( I believe in a unique way, probably not). I have 393 connection all tagged in some manner.

Acquaintances (61) – these are people I have met in a professional setting (seminars, luncheons etc.). I have not done business with them but understand what they do and have had at least 1 face to face conversation. It also helps that most of them are considered by me to be an expert at something.

Each of the companies I have worked for has a listing – Maxell (70), Summit Brands (26), P&G (54). These are all colleagues or former co-workers

Current Agents & Vendors (34) – These are all people I am currently doing some sort of business with through Summit Brands. Co-packers, Agencies, Sales Reps, Packaging Engineers, etc.

YLNI (63) – Members of Young Leaders of Northern Indiana, all people I have meant in Leadership Institute, View From the Top, or Hotspots.

Friends & Family (43) – These are people I am connected with in a very personal way either by blood or through long lasting friendships.

Recruiters (42) – I consider this the lifeblood of LinkedIn, far better than monster.com or any other job website. I have spoken to each of them over my 14 year career. When they call or send an email with an opportunity, even if it does not fit my needs, I attempt to play match maker with another party. Knowing that if I help them, they will be sure to contact me when my desired position becomes a reality.

That being said I log in once a day and review postings by recruiters, find excellent articles that have been posted by my Acquaintances/Experts (i.e. I just saw Joel Book post a article on how Ebags used Facebook + Exact Target to improve sales through 300K emails). I use Facebook and Exact Target in my business and plan to give it a good read.

I have yet to consider myself an expert at anything so I rarely post, with the exception of an occasional “excited to be at the CES Show” or a re-post of an excellent article.

My wife has always joked that LinkedIn is like the Microsoft of social media where Facebook is Apple. One is good for business/spreadsheets; the other is hip/trendy and better at visuals.

If you could tell someone ONE reason why LinkedIn is worthwhile, what would you say?

It places your professional identity/personal brand out among key contacts, decision makers and other professionals in your industry of your choosing.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I keep to a strict philosophy that LinkedIn does not have anything to do with my social or personal life. It is business avenue and professional tool. I have not had a negative experience, in fact I have had very positive results from its format and my management of it.

Thanks, Blake!

Do YOU have a LinkedIn success story you’d like to share? If so, drop a note in the comments below, or contact me directly.

How to remove and add media on your LinkedIn profile

Last week, in part 3 of my overview of the changes to the LinkedIn profile, I mentioned that the Applications feature no longer exists as we once knew it. This does not mean, however, that you no longer can add SlideShare presentations, videos, podcasts, and the like to your profile.

In fact, LinkedIn may have already populated your profile with media that used to be part of an Application. For example, I used to have the SlideShare Application on my profile; now that the SlideShare Application no longer exists, LinkedIn automatically added all my SlideShare presentations to my profile under the Summary.

So, what if you don’t want them to appear in the place that LinkedIn has selected? And what if you want to add them somewhere else? Well, just watch the screencast below.

Have a question you’d like me to cover in a future post? Drop a comment below, or send me an email.

“What’s LinkedIn good for?”

From time to time, I’ll post something on The LinkedInstitute blog that I’ve shared elsewhere. Here’s a post to my other blog, Content, from Oct. 2011 that’s still just as relevant today.

“2005_048_03” by chuckp on Flickr

One of my LinkedIn connections made a request this week:

“I think it would be helpful if you would post the top 5 things that LinkedIn is used for.”

This came just days after another connection said this (to someone else) on Twitter:

“I still don’t see how LinkedIn fits into a promo plan. How is it working for you? What are you doing with it?”

Here’s the thing: I don’t think there are “five” good things that LinkedIn is good for, and how it fits into a promo plan is going to be different for everyone, depending on what industry they’re in and who they’re trying to connect with. I also don’t think LinkedIn is a great fit for absolutely everyone, just as I don’t think Facebook and Twitter are a great fit for absolutely everyone. But I do think there’s one very specific thing that LinkedIn is good for that should be central to your plans if your success is dependent upon collaboration and connection: managing your existing relationships.

I’ll elaborate with a few points:

  • LinkedIn is not about customer/connection acquisition; it’s about customer/connectionretention. It’s much better at enhancing existing relationships than creating new relationships.
  • LinkedIn allows you and your connections to show how you can be a resource to one another. This is why status updates RELEVANT TO YOUR WORK are so critical on LinkedIn: over time, they can make a strong case for your skills, expertise and knowledge.
  • LinkedIn allows you to stay in touch frequently, without the labor intensity that would otherwise come with staying in touch. In other words, it allows you to hear what your connections are working on, and allows you to share what you’re working on, when you can’t be with them face-to-face or in another one-to-one sharing environment.
That’s it. One thing. If relationships are important to you, then, that’s how you should be using LinkedIn. And if you ask me, nothing is more important than relationships.

LinkedIn Profile Changes, Part 5: What’s New With Insights?

All the changes I’ve discussed this week are designed to make LinkedIn more visually appealing. Another example: many of the insights that used to be presented as numbers are being replaced by images. Here’s a look:

profile strength

  • The Profile Strength graphic replaces the “profile completeness” percentage. LinkedIn also decided to have a little fun here, with measures like “All-Star.” And if you want to improve the strength your profile? Just go to the menu, choose Profile/Edit Profile, and click on the blue “Improve Your Profile” button in the summary box at the top.
  • Your Network is now visible as an infographic.
    You can view the number of
    connections you have by company, your networkgeography, school, and–as shown
    at right–industry. This is a great tool for understanding where you have strong connections, and where improvement might be needed.
  • The Who’s Viewed My Profile? module now gives you faces (depending on your settings) right up front instead of one click away. It’s a good peek into whose attention you’re attracting at any given time.

What other changes have you noticed that I haven’t covered this week? As always, if you have any questions, drop a note in the comments.

LinkedIn Profile Changes, Part 4: What’s New With Your Connections?

connections

See all those smiling faces up there? That’s the whole idea with the way in which LinkedIn displays your connections in the new profile: because we’re programmed to focus on faces, LinkedIn is making them a much more important part of our profiles instead of showing our connections as just a number. That makes us a little more likely to interact with our connections–and, therefore, spend more time on LinkedIn.

Now, what if you don’t want others to see your connections? There’s a simple fix for that. Good to Profile/Edit Profile, and scroll to the bottom. You’ll see this:

connections visibility

Click on “Customize visibility,” and (after likely being asked to provide your LinkedIn sign-in credentials) you’ll see a pop-up window that looks like this:

connections visibility pop-up

You have two options: either make your connections visible to all of your other connections, or just yourself. Click save changes, and you’re all set.

There’s one other change to the new profile relative to your connections: people you may knowthe “People You May Know” module that appears on the LinkedIn home page now also appears on our profile pages. Also, see that number 81 in the example at right? That’s the number of connections you have in common with the person whose name is displayed.

Tomorrow, the last day of this series, I’ll discuss what’s new with insights–including a couple big changes in what we can learn about our LinkedIn network and our activity.

LinkedIn Profile Changes, Part 3: What’s New With Your Background?

Some of the biggest changes to the LinkedIn profile have to do with how our background is presented–things like experience, education, and skills. There’s a lot to know, so let’s start with some things you probably noticed and then move on to a few others that you might have missed.

The somewhat obvious stuff

experience

  • The categories under Background now come have icons next to them, all in the name LinkedIn putting on a prettier face.
  • The logos of the companies you’ve worked for are included under “Experience,” if there’s a logo on that company’s LinkedIn Company Page. Here’s an example from my profile:

asher

  • Recommendations appear along with the job for which you were recommended in addition to the standalone recommendations section. The profile photo of the person who gave the recommendation is also shown.

The not so obvious stuff

  • You may be wondering where your applications went–plug-ins like SlideShare, blogs, and Box.net. I’ll cover this in more detail in a future post, but they’ve been incorporated into other parts of your profile as “rich media” instead of standing alone. Here’s LinkedIn’s official explanation (which, quite frankly, I didn’t find all that helpful), and a post by Viveka von Rosen that’s much more detailed.
  • new sectionsLinkedIn has added some new sections, including Projects, Languages, Publications, Patents, and Certifications. (You can add these under Profile/Edit Profile in the menu. This may prove especially useful to college students and recent grads since their academic work can fill gaps that may exist given limited work experience.

That’s an overview, and as I mentioned, I’ll take a closer look at adding rich media to your profile in a future posts. If you have any questions about anything you’ve seen in the new profiles, drop a comment below–and if you’re wondering what’s new with your connections, I’ll cover that tomorrow.

LinkedIn Profile Changes, Part 2: What’s New With Your Activity?

The new LinkedIn profile design makes our latest activity much more prominent. This information, which used to appear in the right hand column of the profile, is now right under the summary box.activityThe goal here is pretty simple: by moving the activity summary near the top of the page, our profiles become more dynamic. Whenever we take action on LinkedIn–make an endorsement, post a status update, follow a company, etc.–our profile changes. Those actions take place much more frequently than changes to our experience, education, and skills.

How can you make the most of this real estate? Be sure to update your status at least once and week, and as often as once a day. You’ll have good content in this prominent area instead of just recaps of actions you’ve taken that might not say much about your work.

That’s today’s look at the new LinkedIn. Tomorrow, we’ll cover a big topic: all the changes to the background section.

LinkedIn Profile Changes, Part 1: What’s New With You?

This week, I’ll be talking about the new LinkedIn profile. Here’s a preview of what to expect the rest of the week; today, I’ll discuss the new profile summary box.

Some of the changes to LinkedIn profiles are pretty distinct, but the new profile box is only a slight departure from what LinkedIn users have come to expect. As the example below shows, however, there’s one important difference:

you - profile box

It’s hard to miss with that big ol’ noggin of mine: our profile photos are now MUCH bigger. That’s all part of a larger effort to make LinkedIn more visually appealing as social media becomes more image intensive overall.

This change makes our photos more critical since they take up so much more real estate. LinkedIn claims that profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed than those without, and heat mapping has shown that the photo is the first thing people look at. So if you don’t have a photo, it’s time to add one–and make sure you like it, because it will be pretty big. (Watch for an upcoming post about best practices for LinkedIn profile photos.)

There are a few other changes to the summary box worth noting:

send a msg

  • When others view your profile, or when you view someone else’s profile, a menu of options appears when you click on the down arrow next to “Send a message.” The options include making a recommendation, saving the profile as a PDF, sharing the profile with another user, even flagging the profile as inappropriate (don’t get too creative with those profile photos). All of this was possible with the old profile but the new menu is compact, albeit somewhat hidden.

edit menu

  • When you view your own profile, a menu appears when you click on the down arrow next to “Edit.” The options include asking for a recommendation from one of your connections, creating a profile in another language, sharing your profile, saving your profile as a PDF, and managing settings.
  • When you click on the “Contact info” box, you’ll see the information your connection has chosen to share. Here’s what mine looks like:

contact info

  • Finally, there’s a link in the lower left-hand corner. If you click on it, it takes you to that person’s public profile. It’s worth clicking on your own to see what those who aren’t connected to you will see when they look at your profile. (It looks a lot different than the standard profile page, at least for now. I expect that LinkedIn will modify the public profile page design at some point to unify it with the standard profile design.)

So that’s what’s new with you. Tomorrow I’ll take a look at what’s new with your background.

This week on The LinkedInstitute: Introducing the New LinkedIn Profile

new profile

This week on The LinkedInstitute, we’ll take an in-depth look at the changes LinkedIn is making (or has made, for some of us) to our profiles. Here’s what to expect:

  • Monday: What’s new with you? What will others see in your summary?
  • Tuesday: What’s new with your activity? Why is the new profile more current and dynamic than ever before?
  • Wednesday: What’s new with your background? How have your experience and other profile elements changed?
  • Thursday: What’s new with your connections? What will you see regarding those to whom you’re connected?
  • Friday: What’s new with insights? What can you learn about your network and your activity?

As always, questions are welcome. If there’s anything you’d like me to address specifically, drop a comment below or follow along this week and add your thoughts later.

LinkedIn is rolling out the changes to profiles in waves. Some users got the new profile a couple weeks ago; others got it last week. To sign up for the new profile, go here.