Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

Should You Hide Your LinkedIn Connections?

Posted on July 22, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Should you let your 1st level connections see all of your other 1st level connections? Should you let them search into the entire list?

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.25.45 PMThis question can lead to a lively debate. Typical answers include: That’s not fair! Networking is about sharing and Of course, I hide them—that’s my client list! or You want to have your cake and eat it too if you hide them.

But how many people are actually hiding their connections from their network? On my recent LinkedIn user survey, I asked this question:

“Do you let your 1st level connections see your entire 1st level network?”

63% answered “Yes,” 13% said “No,” and 24% replied “Not sure.”

If you're not sure, follow these steps to identify your current setting:Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.18.19 PM

Scroll over your photo on the right side of your top toolbar; choose Privacy & Settings from the dropdown menu, click the Privacy section, and then select Who can see your connections. Your current setting will either be Your connections or Only you.

This is one of the most critical strategy decisions you have to make on LinkedIn. However, the fact that 24% of the respondents are unsure suggests many people are not even making a conscious decision about it.

LinkedIn is a networking site, which undoubtedly is why the default setting allows your 1st level connections to view your network. I personally want to help my network in any way possible, and I look to my connections to assist me as well. As a result, I have chosen the default setting (Your connections).

There are certainly legitimate arguments that support the decision to hide your connections. This list of Frequently Asked Questions should help you make the best decision for your situation.

Q: Why are people hiding their connections from their network? It doesn’t seem fair.

A: Most of the time they are doing it because some of their direct connections (1st level) are names they want to keep confidential (typically clients). As far as whether it's fair or not, I used to feel it was unfair. However, I then realized some people would not be on LinkedIn if they weren't able to turn this off. That being said, I'm glad the control exists, because the more people on LinkedIn, the better for all of us.

Q: If my search uncovers a 2nd level connection but our common 1st level connection has hidden his/her connections, will I be able to tell who our common 1st level connection is?

A: The great news is the answer is yes. That is why people who choose to hide their connections are still important people to have in your network.

Q: What types of people are choosing to hide their 1st level connections on LinkedIn?

A: These are typically people who provide professional services, such as accountants, attorneys, insurance and financial brokers, architects. I also see some CEOs and company presidents making this choice.

Q: Can 2nd or 3rd degree connections or fellow group members ever see my 1st level connections?

A: No. If you want to share your 1st level network with them, you will need to invite them to become 1st level connections.

Q: Can I pick and choose the people in my network that I will allow to see my connections?

A: No. It’s all or nothing. At this time the setting applies to all 1st level connections.

Q: If I choose to display my 1st level connections, do you think I should connect with competitors?

A: My quick answer is are you nuts? Would you hand over your database of your most precious business connections (including clients) to your competitors? My not-so-quick answer is sometimes relationships are more complex than that. Perhaps your competitor is also one of your suppliers. So you have to weigh all the pros and cons.

Armed with this information, you should now be ready to make a strategic decision about whether or not to hide your connections.

For information about other important LinkedIn settings, check out Chapter 17 of my bookYour Account, Your Settings--Your Way.

Are You Curious What Others Are Doing on LinkedIn?

Posted on July 18, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Over 900 people took the time to share their thoughts through my 2016 LinkedIn User Survey. Thank you! I've been gathering this type of information for eight years, Infographic_2016-Widgetand it's extremely valuable to everyone who's trying to successfully navigate the site and get real results.

My awesome graphic designer, Kelly Wagner, did an amazing job of displaying the highlights of the survey results in an easy-to-read infographic titled Portrait of a LinkedIn User.

In the next few weeks I'll share more thoughts about how you can capitalize on this information, but I'll start today with my top five take-aways from this year's results.
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#1 feature: Who's Viewed Your Profile

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.31.16 AMFor the fourth straight year, Who's Viewed Your Profile was voted the most helpful LinkedIn feature. Personally, I've benefitted financially from reaching out to people on my list, and many of my clients have done the same.

The Who's Viewed Your Profile information will lead to improved results for you, too, but only if you're proactive and reach out in a professional and helpful way to those people who are in your target audience.

For easy ways to take advantage of this feature, check out Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature?
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Usefulness of LinkedIn groups continues to decline

In 2010, groups was the second most helpful feature, with 76% of the survey participants selecting it, and now it doesn't even make the top eight features on the infographic. This year only 28% of the respondents considered it a helpful feature.

LinkedIn did a major overhaul of the Groups feature last fall, and we'll see if that causes a more positive response in next year's survey. But based on my experience with the new Group setup, I'm not expecting an upward trend.Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.32.57 AM

With over 2.1 million LinkedIn groups, there appears to be some untapped potential. 59% of users are in ten or more groups, so they're obviously interested in virtually hanging out and adding value to each other's business lives. However, I just don't see much happening there.

I suggest you seek out groups that include your target audience and where helpful discussions are being appropriately moderated. Spend time in those and leave the others for the spammers of the world.
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The majority of users have more than 500 connections  Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.33.51 AM

55% of the users have 500+ connections. Just three years ago, that number was 28%. I realize that time alone will grow this number, but I'm fairly certain there's a growing trend among the smartest and best users to proactively add people to their network in a very purposeful and strategic way.

If you'd like to learn more about strategically growing your network, be sure to read Is Your LinkedIn Tank Filled with the Right Gas?

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Time spent on LinkedIn has leveled off

In the early years of the survey, the time spent on LinkedIn each week was growing Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.34.39 AMsignificantly from year to year, but in the last three years the numbers have leveled off. The majority of users (53%) are using LinkedIn for zero to two hours per week, and nearly one-fourth (22%) are spending between three and four hours per week.

If you're having trouble figuring out how to make the most of the time you spend on LinkedIn, check out Not Sure What to Do on LinkedIn to Get Results?

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It's all about research and reconnection

By far, users find LinkedIn mostScreen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.35.19 AM helpful for researching people and companies (77%) and reconnecting with people (71%). I'm disappointed to see only 22% of respondents feel they're generating identifiable business opportunities. And just for reference, these numbers remain virtually unchanged over the last eight years.

I wonder whether this is partly because some people are unable to accurately identify where new business is coming from because of long sales cycles or poor tracking. Perhaps it's because some people look at LinkedIn as just a large database of resumes, and they don't understand how to effectively use the available information to build strong business relationships that lead to increased profits.

I look forward to sharing more insights about this year's LinkedIn survey results in the coming weeks and helping you become more savvy at finding ways to turn your LinkedIn knowledge into real dollars.

Microsoft Acquires LinkedIn: Should You Worry?

Posted on July 10, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

"Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $26.2 billion." That was Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.52.35 AMthe announcement from officials at both companies on June 13, 2016.

(The graphics shared in this article come from the official Slideshare announcement of the acquisition from the companies.)

Since that date, hundreds of people have asked me what I think about the news and how it might impact them. Rather than immediately speculate on what this will mean for shareholders, the two companies, other social media sites, and especially you, the LinkedIn member, I wanted to take a little time Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 10.28.22 AMto read, absorb, and kick it around in my 58-year-old brain.

Rather than share a typical, crystal-ball prediction--and there are plenty of those floating around--it seems more helpful to outline the important ways LinkedIn has impacted the way we do business and the skills we've acquired that will propel our businesses and careers going forward--regardless of the structure and ownership of LinkedIn.
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Reliable, worldwide database of business professionals

Before LinkedIn, we paid big money to gain access to professional databases, and many times they were outdated and unreliable. Of course, Linked changed all that, and most of the information is free and up to date.

That being said, if LinkedIn goes away or seriously diminishes the power of this mostly free database, I'm quite confident another platform will fill the void.
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Virtual networking for business purposes

Think back to when you firstScreen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.55.43 AM joined LinkedIn. It undoubtedly felt a little weird to virtually connect with people you already knew and especially those you didn't know. Now successful users find new people on LinkedIn nearly every day and attempt to begin a relationship with them either by inviting them to join their LinkedIn network or gathering information from their profile and reaching out by using more traditional methods--phone, email, personal meeting, etc.
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Worldwide access to your professional resume on steroids (LinkedIn profile) 

Next time you use the Who's Viewed Your Profile feature to see who's been checking you out, remind yourself that prior to LinkedIn there was no one place where people could see just what makes you tick, what you sell, why you are a qualified expert, or the many other reasons why you'd be the perfect fit for their problem, issue or opportunity. In other words, LinkedIn has become an essential part of how we do business.

Professional career development and recruiting

I said I wasn't going to make predictions, but I can't help but think the days of  traditional job postings may come to an end, because LinkedIn and other social sites enable recruiters and companies to laser-focus their search for qualified candidates.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.49.42 AMWhether you're currently looking for a new job or not, you owe it to yourself to connect and communicate with people and companies who can help you improve your career now and in the future.

An engaging profile will cause recruiters and companies to reach out to you whether you're in job-search mode or not. Don't let a stale, uninteresting profile cause you to miss out on a great opportunity.
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New way to market yourself

Traditional forms of corporate marketing are sometimes viewed as intrusive, but today's professionals welcome helpful information from people they know and trust.Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 11.54.05 AM

The ever-expanding arsenal of LinkedIn tools--like status updates, published posts, direct messaging, group discussions--provides a very cost-effective way to build your personal and corporate brand with your target audience.
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The future of LinkedIn

As a result of Microsoft's purchase, I'm hopeful that LinkedIn will become even more useful for today's professional. But whatever happens, the knowledge you've gained from using LinkedIn will certainly result in improved business and career success and be useful with new platforms as well as current social media sites.

And of this you can be sure--I'll be your trusted companion as we watch things unfold and continue to find new ways to improve our businesses and careers.

Not Sure What to Do on LinkedIn to Get Results?

Posted on June 25, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Your days are undoubtedly filled with lots of deadlines and to-do lists, and deciding what to do when is probably a challenge. But if you spend just 20 minutes each Monday morning on LinkedIn, you can reap big rewards. Blue Monday? Meeting marked on calendar at start of weekPencil it into your weekly calendar like any other meeting--and it may become the most productive "meeting" of your week.
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5 simple tasks that lead to results

These tasks are quick, easy, and sure to help you grow an impressive network that will lead to business and career success.

1.  Review Who's Viewed Your Profile, and reach out to the people you should be connecting with or meeting [4 minutes].

When someone takes a look at your profile, it's like walking into your store; so be sure to reach out and ask the person how you might be able to help him/her. Read "Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature?" for more information about how to maximize the Who's Viewed Your Profile feature.

2.  Send customized invitations to join your LinkedIn network to people you met (in person or on the phone) during the previous work week [4 minutes].

Improving your search ranking on LinkedIn is all about connections, especially the right ones, and people you have already met are spot on.

To get the inside scoop on adding gas (connections) to your LinkedIn tank, be sure to read "The LinkedIn Connections Conundrum: Who Should be in Your Network?" 

3.  Review and respond to your pending inbound invitations to connect on LinkedIn [3 minutes].Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.24.03 PM

Because of changes to the messaging system that took place last fall, you may be missing important information from someone if you don't purposefully and methodically review the invitations that are coming into your account. For more details, read "Is Opportunity Knocking on Your LinkedIn Door?"

4.  Investigate people who show up in your saved search results [6 minutes].

Once you have LinkedIn delivering to your doorstep your well-defined target list each week, it's your job to figure out, based on the information you can gather from their profiles, what might be the most appropriate next step. This might set you up for some of the most productive traditional meetings and phone calls of your week.

5.  Post a great thought-provoking, educational status update [3 minutes].Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 9.28.56 AM

Simply put, this is the best marketing feature on LinkedIn. After all, you'll be communicating with your handpicked audience (your connections). And if you don't talk to them, your competitors will be happy to share helpful information with them (many of whom are your customers and potential customers). Follow the 6/3/1 rule to play this part of the LinkedIn game correctly.

For more suggestions on how to manage your LinkedIn account on a daily, weekly, monthly, and periodic basis, check out Chapter 19 of the newest edition of my bestselling LinkedIn book," Ready...Set...Go! A Six-Week, Two-Hour-Per-Week Road Map to Results."

Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature?

Posted on June 18, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

For the fourth year in a row, in response to my annual LinkedIn user survey, the most helpful LinkedIn feature is Who's Viewed Your Profile, a/k/a "Who's stalking you." Over 71% of the respondents gave this feature a thumbs up. But are you taking full advantage of it?

You can access this feature in the middle right of your home page by clicking the words # people viewed your profile in the past # day(s).Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 7.39.30 AM

If you're on the free account (like 79% of the surveyed users), you'll see some of the details on the last five people ("stalkers") who looked at your profile. Premium members see the same amount of details but have access to a list of all their stalkers for the last 90 days. The details you see for each stalker are based on a setting chosen by the stalker and not by you. Thus, even with a paid account, you'll see no more than the person has chosen to reveal to you.
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How to adjust your settings when you're viewing people's profiles

Go to your Privacy & Settings page by scrolling over your photo on the top toolbar and selecting Privacy & Settings>Privacy>Profile Viewing Options from the drop-down menu. There are three options to choose from.
Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 7.41.59 AM

Personally, I want my name and headline to show up in every possible place. Hey, it's free advertising. But you may have a different strategy.

If you choose full disclosure but want to be anonymous for a short time while you stalk, say, a competitor, change your setting to Anonymous LinkedIn Member while you gather your competitive intelligence. But don't forget to change it back when you're done, because on the free account LinkedIn penalizes you for choosing anonymous. While in anonymous mode, you cannot see who looked at your profile. They also remove the five people who looked at your profile immediately prior to your choice to remain anonymous. So you'll want to check out the list before changing your setting.
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Why should you care who's looking at your profile?

People typically don't look at LinkedIn profiles to pass the time when they're bored. Trust me--if someone is on your list, one of two things has probably happened:

1.  Someone has referred you. In other words, someone you know has passed along your name and maybe some information about you with a statement like, "Check out Wayne Breitbarth's profile; this guy really knows his LinkedIn stuff."

or

2.  You stood out in a LinkedIn search, a discussion, a comment you posted, or LinkedIn selected you to be listed in one of these features: People Similar to, People Also Viewed or People You May Know, and the person was interested in seeing more, so he/she clicked through to your profile.

But no matter how the person found your profile, it's a good thing they're there!
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What should you do with this list of stalkers?

There's nothing you can do if they've chosen to be totally anonymous or mostly anonymous. If any of the others look interesting to you, click through and review their profile to see if there's any reason to message them (if they're already a 1st degree connection) or connect with them.

They obviously have an interest in you, so you should probably contact them if they look interesting to you.

Remember, with a free account, you only see the last five people who've viewed your profile. So check your list frequently. You wouldn't want to miss someone who's dying to be your next customer or future employer.
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Final thoughts

The more time I spend using this feature and discussing it with LinkedIn power users, the more I understand why Who's Viewed Your Profile is the top ranked feature on LinkedIn.

And the more popular this feature becomes, the more important it is that you have a great profile, don't you think?

For help with sprucing up your profile, be sure to check out the new edition of my book, which includes a special resource titled Profile Perfection: A Checklist for LinkedIn Optimization.

Is Opportunity Knocking at Your LinkedIn Door?

Posted on June 12, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

"How can I help you?"

When you answer the door or the phone and aren't sure what the person wants, this is undoubtedly the question you ask.Businesswoman knocking on office door

But why aren't you asking the same question when strangers ask you to join their LinkedIn network?

Perhaps it's because you aren't really sure how to pose the question on LinkedIn or don't understand the benefit of asking how you can help.

Now, of course, some of the strangers are spammers or just want to sell you something you're pretty sure you don't need. With those folks, just hit the Ignore button.

But with other people who ask you to join their network, don't be so quick to hit the Ignore button on your computer or X on your mobile app, because a new, productive relationship may be just a button click away.
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Simple ways to decide whether or not to reach out to strangersScreen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.24.03 PM

Start by going to your Pending Invitations page. You'll find this page by clicking the Add People icon on the right side of your top toolbar. Choose See all on the Pending Invitations line.

If people include a personal message with their invitation, you'll see the message on your mobile app or a double word cloud on your computer. Personally, I always look at these invitations first because they may require a prompt response.Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.47.22 AM

To improve your chances of receiving a favorable response when you ask someone how you can help him/her, follow these three simple steps:
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  • Check out the person's profile in detail, looking at his/her jobs, interests, and education. The In Common feature typically provides some useful information, too.
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  • See which people you have in common, and consider reaching out to one or more of those people to get more information about the person who's asked you to join his/her network.
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  • View the person's recent activity and published posts to see the type of information he/she is sharing with his/her network.

Once you're confident you should ask the How can I help you? question, click the left-pointing arrow Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 2.26.20 PMin the person's Pending Invitation box. You can then reply without accepting his/her invitation to connect.

You might say something like:

Thanks for asking me to join your LinkedIn network. I typically don't accept people into my network until I have either met them or understand how we might be able to help each other. So let me know how we might be able to collaborate. I look forward to hearing from you."

This simple technique will scare away anyone who's simply in the spam business and will encourage the others to share what is on their mind. You may be surprised by how many people are truly interested in helping you--and some are probably requesting a connection because someone you know and trust referred them to you.

This technique has helped me and my consulting clients find many new, important relationships. And opportunity may be knocking on your LinkedIn door, too--so why not give it a try.

Are the Right People Viewing Your LinkedIn Profile?

Posted on June 4, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

When the right people look at your profile, I like to call it a marketing event with someone in your target audience. iStock_000021848925_SmallAnd if you're like me, you want lots of these marketing events, because they can turn into real opportunities if you follow up appropriately.

There are lots of ways to improve the number of profile views you receive, but the easiest way is to look at other people's profiles, because a good percentage of the people will then check out your profile.
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What profiles should you look at?

To get a list of people in your target audience, use the Advanced People Search feature. You can search by using keywords, title, company, industry, school, location, etc.

View the profiles of the people on the list who look like they have the best potential, and send them a request to connect.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 11.36.48 AM

Take note of who's looking at your profile

It's a good idea to check your Who's Viewed Your Profile list frequently to see who might be interested in you, and then you can decide whether you want to reach out to anyone on that list.

You can also use this list to see who may have looked at you in response to seeing that you looked at their profile.

When you see someone has looked back at you, click the Connect button and craft a well-written, 300-character invitation. For a full discussion of how to improve your chances of getting a positive response to your invitation, check out my blog post Are You Making This BIG LinkedIn Mistake? But you'll want to say something like:

Hi [insert first name]:

I noticed you viewed my profile. I looked at yours as well. I think we should connect and discuss how we might be able to help each other. If you agree, let me know. In the meantime, I would be honored to have you join my network.

Wayne

If the person agrees to connect, follow up in the next day or so with a thank-you note, and try to set up a time to chat or meet. Say something like:

Hello [insert first name]

Thanks for connecting on LinkedIn. As I mentioned in my request to connect, I look forward to chatting with you. I could call you this Thursday at 2:00 or 3:30pm or I will be near your office on Monday and would love to stop in and meet you in person [or any other option you’d like to propose]. Does either option work for you?

In preparation for our meeting, I've attached to this message [something of interest to his/her prospects; e.g., testimonial, case studies, checklist, articles] or I've included a link to [similar information] that will help you understand how we help companies like yours.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Wayne

You obviously won't get everyone to set up a meeting or even connect with you, but reaching out to people in your target market like this will certainly result in some quantifiable results.

So get busy and start using LinkedIn to instigate marketing events that will lead to business and career success.

Is a Bigger Network Really Better on LinkedIn? [Video]

Posted on May 21, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Recently I've begun sharing valuable LinkedIn tips via video on Periscope and on my Facebook page. I LinkedIn_Connections_Continuum_Revised_(3_12)encourage you to follow me on Periscope and/or like my Facebook page so you don't miss a single episode--plus you can participate by asking questions.

In one of my recent videos (see below), I answered the always popular question, "Is a bigger LinkedIn network really better?" The video runs for just 10:17.

If you'd like to read a detailed article covering this question and get a better look at the chart referenced in the video, just click here.

And I look forward to seeing you on Periscope or Facebook on a regular basis!

 

Several times each week I'm asked, "I currently have two jobs" [sometimes related, sometimes unrelated]. "Should I have two LinkedIn profiles?"  

The answer is simple: No. As a matter of fact, it's against the LinkedIn User Agreement.

But how you list the two jobs depends on your LinkedIn strategy. To help you understand your options, let me take you through several multiple-job scenarios and show you how you can get the results you desire and avoid confusing people who view your profile.

Varied occupations together:architect and call center

To watch a video about this topic, "Got More Than 1 Job? LinkedIn Strategies You Better Know," go to my Facebook page or Periscope. Check them out, and be sure to like or follow me on those sites so you will receive notifications of the live-streaming LinkedIn tips and strategies videos I do several times each week.
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Scenario 1: Career-related full-time job and part-time job unrelated to your career--and probably never will be related to your career

As long as you're confident that the part-time job will not be part of your future employment or career, I'd recommend you leave it off altogether.

One exception to this is hobbies that may provide a bit of income and that people in your network might find interesting--like playing drums in a classic rock band that does weddings and parties or a side gig as a photographer or artist if your work could be displayed in homes or businesses. In these cases, I would include a current job entry. Place it second on your profile, and share information that may help you get gigs for or sales to your connections or their friends and acquaintances.

You might also find it advantageous to add a short paragraph at the bottom of your Summary to tell people about your part-time job or hobby.
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Scenario 2: Career-related full-time job and part-time job related to your current career or a potential future career

Keeping your current full-time employer in mind and any possible repercussion, I would include an additional current experience entry for your part-time job. Place it in the second position on your profile, and mention in the description that this job is part time. Then explain in your Summary which job is full time and which is part time--clearly emphasizing that your full-time job is your passion.
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Scenario 3: Non career-related full-time job and career-related part-time job or side business 

Include two current experience entries, the first being your career-related part-time job or side business and the second being your non career-related full-time job. Make sure the first entry is loaded with your most important keywords relating to this job or side business. Share loads of details about your responsibilities, accomplishments, and whether you are open to being contacted about full-time employment in this field.

Your headline should revolve around this part-time career-related position or side business. Use your Summary to bring clarity to your current situation as well as where you want to end up--in all cases being sensitive to your current employer if you don't want to lose your job.
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Scenario 4: Full-time job seeker or student and part-time job unrelated to your career or any potential career

Include a placeholder current experience entry that says you're a student or job seeker, and spell out the kind of job you're looking for and what skills and experiences you can bring to your future employer. State when you're available for hire. In addition to including keywords in the description of your experience, put them in your headline and title.

It's up to you whether you list the part-time job or not. Stating that you're gainfully employed will be looked upon favorably by some employers. If you can show how the skills you're developing at the part-time job can be helpful in the job you're seeking, that's obviously a good thing. Just be clear that this is a part-time job you're doing while you seek full-time employment.
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Scenario 5: Full-time job seeker or student and part-time job related to your career or a potential future career

As spelled out in Scenario 4, include a placeholder current experience entry that includes the kind of job you're seeking, when you're available, etc., and include pertinent keywords as mentioned above. Be sure to include a statement about the part-time nature of this job and your desire to find full-time employment in this field.

When you embark upon changing your LinkedIn profile for any of the above reasons, be clear, truthful, and mindful of your career goals--and LinkedIn will help you get where you want to go.

According to my latest LinkedIn user survey, only 23 percent of respondents said LinkedIn has helped them generate iStock_000021725199_Smallidentifiable business opportunities. As far as I'm concerned, that just stinks! That's why it's my daily mission to help you start using LinkedIn to find and build new relationships that lead to more business.

To clarify, this doesn't mean simply selling more products and services. It includes:
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  • Finding more donors and volunteers for your nonprofit
  • Increasing and improving your list of suppliers and vendors
  • Identifying new strategic partners
  • Improving the pool of candidates for your latest job opening
  • Helping you secure your next great job

But how can you use LinkedIn to generate identifiable business opportunities?

You consistently follow my step-by-step process.
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The Five C's: Using LinkedIn to Grow Your BusinessFive C's

This is the same process I share with my corporate and individual clients, people who attend my public classes, and in my online course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn. Follow all five steps for maximum results.

CREATE a customer-focused profile
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  • Use special profile sections and add media to highlight your area(s) of expertise.
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  • In addition to the Contact Info and Advice for Contacting sections, consider including your preferred contact information in your Summary and Current Job Experience sections.
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  • Include specific calls to action throughout your profile to encourage readers to engage with you.

CONNECT with your prospects
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  • Use Advanced People Search, Company Search, Alumni, Groups, People You May Know, and Who's Viewed Your Profile to find new prospects.
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  • Use a five-star invitation to reach out to potential prospects. Include where you met (if applicable) and/or how you could help each other.
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  • Avoid LinkedIn's standard invitation language.
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  • Always be on the lookout for quality connections. The larger your network, the more opportunity for business growth.

CATEGORIZE your connections
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  • Use tags to group prospects who have similar buyer characteristics.
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  • Download your connections database. You can then filter and sort the names for use outside of LinkedIn.
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  • Consider upgrading to one of the premium LinkedIn accounts to receive additional profile sorting and saving options.

COMMUNICATE with your network
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  • Stay in front of your audience by making daily status updates.
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  • Add value to your relationships by sharing valuable industry information. Do this by publishing your own original content in the Published Posts section of your profile.
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  • Use direct messaging to contact your first-level connections and fellow group members--but don't contact them too often or sell too hard or they may remove you from their network.
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  • Increase your exposure by engaging in group discussions and "liking," "sharing" or commenting on other people's status updates.

CAPITALIZE on existing relationships
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  • Connect with all of your existing clients/customers.
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  • Search through your current customers' connections Explode Home Page Widget-01and ask them to refer you to specific people in their networks whom you'd like to have as future customers.
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  • Ask for LinkedIn recommendations from your most impactful and loyal customers to display proudly on your profile.

For step-by-step instructions from me on how to execute these five LinkedIn strategies, check out my online video-based course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn. And for a limited time you can purchase it for only $97 by using the promo code SALES. Click here for details and to purchase.