The Keys to Critical LinkedIn Job Search Questions

Today’s blog continues with Jan Wallen, an expert on selling online who literally wrote the book on using LinkedIn, answering more LinkedIn job search questions about how to use this social networking site for job search (and here’s a link to the previous day’s seven LinkedIn job search questions).

Final Five LinkedIn Job Search Questions

8. The #1 Mistake on LinkedIn: Every so often I hear someone say, “I’ve been on LinkedIn for a while and haven’t gotten a job (or any business) from it. Do people really get jobs from LinkedIn?”

Many times they are making the #1 mistake on LinkedIn. That is not having a plan or strategy for using it. They haven’t thought through what they want LinkedIn job search to do for them.

With no strategy, their profile is a copy of their resume rather than a welcoming message that makes the reader want to spend time with them. They accept every invitation they receive rather than being strategic about whom they want to have in their network. There are two philosophies of networking:

  • One is the quantity philosophy. People with that philosophy want everyone in the universe to be in their network.
  • The other one is a quality philosophy where you know everyone in your network or they’ve been referred by someone you know.

The network that gets the best results, whether you’re conducting a job search or looking for more clients, is the one where people are really connected, know each other, and refer other good people to each other.

What can you do to better your LinkedIn job search or other LinkedIn actions? Write down your goals for LinkedIn. For example, “Look up my target companies on LinkedIn and identify the person who will interview me” or “Reconnect with 10 colleagues a month” or “Set up a meeting or phone call with 5 industry leaders and influencers.” Then do what you say.

9. Another LinkedIn job search question is, how should I write my profile and sell myself when people in different areas will read it?

When you’re conducting a LinkedIn job search, people with different perspectives will look at your profile. They are likely to include: executive search professionals, HR people, and junior people in a company which is doing the initial screening for candidates and C-Suite executives. They’re looking for different information.

The best way to write your profile is to talk about what I call your “Expertise DNA.” That’s the unique combination of skills and qualities you have—what sets you apart from other executives who may be considered for the same position. That way, each person sees the relevant information about you that fits their perspective.

10. LinkedIn Endorsements—what’s the story? How can someone endorse me if they don’t know me?

Many people have called to ask about Endorsements—what they are and what to do about them–and how important are they to a LinkedIn job search. There are mixed opinions about Endorsements. When someone endorses you, their photo is displayed next to the skills they endorsed you for. Endorsements are not the same as Recommendations. Recommendations are thoughtful descriptions of how someone worked with you. Even people you don’t know can endorse you, and some people are asking how meaningful that is.

Endorsements are part of “social proof,” which is becoming increasingly important. Companies and organizations are looking for people who have a lot of followers. They perceive someone who has a lot of followers as an expert (or celebrity) more than they do someone who doesn’t have a lot of followers. Some companies want to work with someone who has a lot of followers because they can bring those followers along to their program, speaking event, or project.

For example, when someone looks at your profile, they see your Endorsements. If you don’t have many, their perception is that you aren’t good at what you do (which may not be true). It’s the perception that counts.

The dilemma is that people who don’t know you can endorse you, and they can add skills that they don’t already see on your profile. Make it easy for them to endorse you for the skills for which you want to be endorsed.

11. Can I categorize my connections?

Yes, you can categorize your connections into specific groups. LinkedIn automatically categorizes alumni, colleagues (you worked at the same company), and classmates. You can also create your own categories to make it easier to work with them:

  • Go to your Contacts (Network, then Contacts).
  • When you see the photo and information for a contact, hover your mouse over it, and you’ll see the icon and word Tag.
  • Click there, and you can put that person in categories that you already created or add a new one.

12. The final LinkedIn job search question is how LinkedIn shows us information about our networks: In Common and InMaps

LinkedIn shows us information about our networks that we might otherwise not know. It’s easy to see how many connections we have. What LinkedIn also shows us is skills & expertise, groups, companies and locations we have in common with someone in our network. You’ll see this when you look at the profile of one of your connections.

You can also see a map of your network with InMaps, or your network visualized. To see your map, go to: You’ll understand the relationships between you and your connections. For example, you’ll see who you know from different times in your career, who you went to school with and met there, and people you met through companies where you worked.

About 80% of companies and recruiters are using LinkedIn first to find candidates for available positions and opportunities, so following these LinkedIn job search answers can be helpful to you. In fact, some executive search firms no longer use resumes—they use LinkedIn profiles. So it’s critical for your visibility that you have a strong profile—one that’s optimized to come up in searches and positions you in a way that differentiates you from other executives that may be considered for the same opportunity.