Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

Warning: Your LinkedIn Profile May Be Missing Valuable Information

Posted on August 1, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

I field lots of questions each week about LinkedIn, but one of the most-asked questions is: Multi-Ethinic Arms Outstretched To Ask Questions

What information should I include on my LinkedIn profile?

As a general rule, if your answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” then you should include the information on your profile:

  • Does putting this on my profile add to my story or increase my credibility?
  • Does putting this on my profile make it easier for people to find me?
  • If I do not put this on my profile and my competitors have it on their profiles, will I be at a competitive disadvantage?
  • Does this information help people understand what I do and how I can help them?

Other frequently asked profile questions

Here are some of the answers I typically give when asked specific questions about profile details.

Should I include my high school?

Yes, because people will find you when searching for your school, and people love doing business with fellow alumni.

Should I include my Rotary Club membership (or similar civic type organizations)?Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.31.55 AM

Yes, because people will find you when searching for other Rotarians, and people do like to do business with like-minded fellow club members. Also, others in the community will respect you for helping others.

Should I include all the jobs I’ve ever had?

Of course, because when adding connections, many people look for individuals they’ve worked with in the past. This will obviously help your past colleagues find you. Also, your job experiences help you tell your story, and the information you share might be just what a viewer of your profile is looking for.

Should I include the awards I won ten years ago at a prior job?Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.29.28 AM

Yes, because awards enhance your credibility and add to your story even if they are unrelated to your current job duties.

Should I include specific industry training programs?

Yes, because it will obviously enhance your credibility and increase your chances of being found when someone is searching for people with that specific type of training.

Should I include certifications I hold?Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.27.39 AM

Of course, because certifications are instant proof of credibility, and people will search for professionals with those credentials.

Should I include local groups or associations I currently belong to or have belonged to in the past?

Yes, you should. Because people like doing business with others who have the same interests and affiliations, including your groups and associations could open the door. This is also another way to enhance your credibility.

Should I include personal hobbies or interests that are totally unrelated to my current job?Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.33.53 AM

Yes, and here’s why. When I was looking for an architect to join me in a charity bicycling event my company was sponsoring, LinkedIn helped me find an avid biker. So believe me when I tell you a few personal items may help you be Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.37.08 AMfound and lead to a productive business relationship or your next great job.

Also, entries in this section are one of the “In Common” fields for viewers of your profile.

Bottom line:  If you’ve done it, you’re proud of it, and you want the professional world to know about it, put it on your LinkedIn profile!

Is Your LinkedIn Tank Filled with the Right Gas?

Posted on July 26, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Connections are the gas in your LinkedIn tank, and every time you connect with someone on LinkedIn, it affects the quality of your network–just like the quality of the gas you purchase affects how your car runs. In other words, not all connections are created equal.Gas Prices

Most people add connections haphazardly, but to be highly successful on LinkedIn it’s important to develop a strategy for growing a dynamic network that will help you reach your most ambitious goals.

Everyone’s situation is unique, but here are some general suggestions that will help you understand what types of people you should connect with to strengthen your network and help you enhance your brand, find a job, assist your favorite nonprofit, or grow your business.

Who can help you enhance your personal brand?

  • People who have had similar career paths to yours
  • Leaders in your industry associations
  • Individuals who have large networks (LinkedIn or otherwise) concentrated in your region or industry
  • People who work for some of the well-respected companies in your region and industry

Who can help you find a new job or advance your career?

  • People who work in your industry and region
  • People who work for companies you are interested in
  • Recruiters who specialize in your industry
  • Consultants and experts in your industry
  • Human resources professionals who work at your target companies

Who can help your favorite nonprofit thrive?

  • People who volunteer for or sit on boards of similar nonprofits
  • Individuals who work at large corporations, foundations, etc. and tend to support nonprofits like yours
  • People who are involved in groups that have large volunteer pools (e.g., religious organizations, schools, clubs, etc.)
  • People who work for media outlets

Who can help you generate sales leads, market your company’s products and services, and grow your business?

  • Individuals who are the direct decision-makers for the purchase of your products and services
  • People who are indirectly involved in the decision to purchase your products and services (strategic influencers or people from the company who weigh in on the decision)
  • High-ranking officers at the companies that purchase your products and services, even if they are not the direct decision-makers
  • Individuals who hang around with the people listed in the first two bullets (probably deliver similar services to the same purchasers)
  • People who are recognized industry experts
  • Leaders of your industry associations and/or people who manage industry events
  • Individuals who are well networked in your region or industry
  • Experts who provide educational content for the industry

Connecting with the above-referenced people will definitely improve the quality of your network.

For insights on the quantity part of your LinkedIn connection strategy, check out the article below, which is part of my LinkedIn online course “Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.” And for a limited time, the complete course can be yours for only $147 (list price $297). Click here for details.

Download (PDF, 344KB)


Is Your LinkedIn Headline REALLY Helping You?

Posted on July 19, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Everyone knows headlines are important. But what exactly is a headline?

 “Headline: [noun] a head of a newspaper story or article printed in large type and giving the gist of the story or article that follows”  (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)


But if headlines are so important, then why do most LinkedIn profile headlines (maybe even yours) simply state a person’s current title and current company name? Because the user hasn’t updated his/her headline.

Until you craft a first-class, 120-character descriptor of who you are and what you do, LinkedIn puts your current title and company in your headline so you don’t embarrass yourself by simply having a blank headline.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.46.52 AMWhat goes into a great headline

Your headline should:

  • Provide viewers of your profile with a short, concise statement of who you are and how you can help them
  • Include your most important keywords so you are at the top of the search results when people search for someone like you
  • Encourage people to look at your entire profile, where they can see your full story and find a reason to engage with you

So, how are you feeling about your headline?

If you’re feeling great about it, stop reading and share this article with a friend who needs it.

If there’s room for improvement, get busy and start crafting a killer headline.

Free resources to help you improve your headline

To get you headed in the right direction, here are two valuable resources that are also part of my online LinkedIn course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.

If you’re interested in improving your headline AND learning lots of other simple ways to grow your business and advance your career, check out my newly updated online course at the significantly reduced price of only $147. Click here for details.

The Definitive Worksheet to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Headline

Download (PDF, 135KB)

How to Edit Your LinkedIn Headline Video


I look forward to seeing your new and improved headline on LinkedIn soon.
And don’t forget to check out my newly updated online course (now only $147) if you’re ready to take your business and your career to the next level. Click here for details.

How Can You Help Your Company With LinkedIn?

Posted on July 12, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Mitch Joel in his ground-breaking 2010 book “Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone” said:

A company is no longer made up of anonymous people building one brand; rather, it is made up of many personal brands that are telling your one corporate-brand story in their own personal ways. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.40.47 PM

This week I want focus on how you can get your company’s story in front of everyone who views your profile and sees what you’re doing on LinkedIn.

Five ways to promote your company on LinkedIn

1.  Maximize your profile headline, summary, job experiences and banner. Unless you work for Harley-Davidson, Ford Motor Company, etc., don’t assume people know what products or services your company provides. Use your headline, summary, and job experience sections to tell people exactly what you do–and use your most important keywords. Too many people simply list their company name and miss out on this tremendous marketing opportunity.

Here’s a portion of one of my job experiences in which I use lots of keywords and clearly describe what the company does.

At M&M Office Interiors we give you “The Space You Want and The Experience You Deserve.” This means that when you embark on the journey of changing, remodeling, moving or downsizing your interiors, including your furniture, we will provide the solutions (office furniture, moveable walls, raised floors and related products), but in addition we will consult with you so that your space not only provides for your present and future needs but positively represents your brand and image as well. 

Also, make sure your company logo is showing up on your profile as part of your current job experience entry. If it doesn’t show up, it could be because your company doesn’t have a LinkedIn company page or doesn’t have a logo attached to their company page. Perhaps you are attached to the wrong company page or you added this job entry before your company had a logo on their company page. Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.43.18 PM

To fix the latter two problems, go into your profile and re-enter your current company name. When LinkedIn prompts you with a list of company names, be sure you click the correct company.

Another great way to promote your company is to display their wares on your profile banner. In paragraph 5 below, you’ll see a good example of this.

2.  Add media to your current job experience entry. It is very simple to add Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and pdf files as well as videos to highlight company accomplishments, projects, customer testimonials, awards, history, and products. I suggest you decide as an organization or sales team which of these documents/files will make the most impact, and then have all team members share those documents on their personal profiles. You can also reference these documents in the Summary section with something like “See the media link below to view our full line of products and specialties.”

To learn more about adding media to your profile, read “Does Your Profile Need a Boost? Add Media!”Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.47.34 PM

3.  Take advantage of the Contact Info section of your profile. You can put three hyperlinks in this section. In addition to your company website, you could include product videos, email sign-up sites, surveys, etc. To encourage people to click the links, write an enticing description of each one (30 characters per link).

4.  Share Status Updates. LinkedIn power users consistently share company happenings, articles, white papers and expertise, and they also ask Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.51.17 PMtheir network about potential new products and services.

LinkedIn has shared its research of what company page followers want to hear about, and here are the results:

  • 60% of members are interested in industry insights
  • 53% are interested in company news
  • 43% are interested in new products and services

Even though this research related to company page status updates rather than personal status updates, I think you can make the leap that similar information is important to your network, especially people who connected with you because of your business relationship with them.

For more information on personal status updates, check out “LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow.”

5.  Capitalize on the Published Posts feature. You can now share full-length articles. If you write articles that show your audience how your products and services address their needs, you will be positioning yourself and your company as thought leaders in your industry. When you hit the Publish button, your article will be automatically shared with your connections, and it will be permanently displayed on your profile.

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 4.11.07 PMCheck out my friend Mike Ausloos. He specializes in concrete–yes, concrete–and he’s using Published Posts to make it very clear that he and the company he represents, Northern Concrete, are thought leaders in their industry. He’s also making great use of his LinkedIn banner.

Let me remind you that LinkedIn is mainly a personal branding and networking tool, but, when used strategically, you can obtain substantial results for your company as well.

Does Your LinkedIn Profile Need a Boost? Add Media!

Posted on June 28, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Media can be the great differentiator. It can take your LinkedIn profile from ho-hum to phenomenal–and compel viewers to contact you about your products and services, job opportunities, and more.

My recent LinkedIn User Survey showed that only 39% of the respondents are taking advantage of this powerful profile feature. Infographic 2015 Power Point-05Don’t tell anyone at LinkedIn that I said this, but I think it’s so good that they could probably charge for it.

In a nutshell, prominently displaying media or links to media on your profile is an awesome way to share your professional brand with the whole world. And if you’re part of the 61% of users who aren’t taking advantage of this incredible feature, I doubt that’s because you don’t think it would be helpful and pretty cool but because you can’t figure out how to do it or you don’t know what you should share. So let me help you with both.

How do I add media to my profile?

You can add media to three sections on your LinkedIn profile–Summary, each Job Experience entry, and each Education entry–and it will be displayed at the bottom of the selected section. These entries not only add additional information about you, but they add a certain level of visual appeal and interest to your profile.Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.44.08 AM

It’s as simple as clicking the Add Media icon and then cutting and pasting the link or uploading the media file. For more detailed instructions, follow the steps outlined in the LinkedIn Help Center by clicking here.

What type of media should I share?

Like most of the information you share on your profile, it depends on your specific LinkedIn strategy. Here are some suggestions of what you might want to include, and I’ve categorized them by some pretty typical LinkedIn strategies.

Improving your overall branding and market presence

  • Pictures, slide presentations, pdf files of some of your work samplesScreen Shot 2015-06-26 at 11.00.49 AM
  • Articles or videos where you are mentioned
  • Certificates or awards you have received
  • Articles you have written or coauthored
  • Link to your personal blog or other social media pages

Generating sales leads

  • Slide presentation of your company’s capabilities, products and services offered, and markets you serveScreen Shot 2015-06-26 at 11.03.00 AM
  • Articles or videos of your products in action
  • Case studies or testimonials from your customers
  • Registration page for upcoming events
  • Link to sign up for your company newsletter or other free resources (ebook, tip sheets, white papers, etc.)
  • Link to your company’s blog or other social media pages

Finding a job

  • Upload of your resume (traditionally written or video)
  • Pdf upload of letters of recommendation
  • Video links or uploads of examples of your work
  • Detailed list of references
  • Personality test results or strengths-related information
  • Slide show summarizing your career or job experiences

Helping your favorite nonprofit or school

  • Videos or articles that mention the Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.46.20 AMorganization
  • Links to register for upcoming events
  • Articles highlighting accomplishments of members, alumni or students
  • Uploads or links to examples of student projects
  • Link to sign up for the organization’s mailings
  • Link to a form for updating alumni contact information

Now that you know how to add media and what types of media you should share, take a few minutes right now and add some media to your profile so I can not only read about your accomplishments and interests but I can also see them. Trust me–a few keystrokes can greatly enhance your professional image.

Are You Wasting Your Valuable Time on LinkedIn?

Posted on June 21, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Do you ever jump on LinkedIn to check your messages, and the next thing you know you’ve spent thirty, sixty or even ninety minutes, but you’re not really sure if you’ve accomplished anything?  Time Management Concept

Today I’d like to address time management, because people are constantly asking me how much time they should spend and how can they make sure their efforts get results.

How much time should I spend on LinkedIn?

There’s no cookie-cutter answer here, but let’s see how almost 1500 people responded in my latest LinkedIn user survey when asked, On average, how many hours per week are you spending on LinkedIn?

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 6.25.39 AMHalf of the respondents spend no more than two hours a week, and the other half spends three hours or more each week, with 10 percent of respondents spending eight or more hours a week on LinkedIn.

What should I be doing with my time on LinkedIn to optimize my effectiveness?

Like most things in life, the more time you put in, the more results you get–as long as you’re spending your time doing the right things.  So, what are the right things?

Without having a one-on-one LinkedIn consulting session with you to learn more about you and your business, it’s hard for me to answer that specifically, but here are the top three activities that will produce results, regardless of your individual objectives and strategies on LinkedIn. They have been extracted from my free 20-question LinkedIn self-assessment titled LinkedIn Success Scorecard: How do you measure up? Download your free copy below.

In an average week, how often do you post an individual status update? [0 = 0 points, 1-5 = 5 points, 6-10 = 7 points, 10+ = 10 points}

To learn more about posting status updates, read LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow. 

Have you saved at least one Advanced People Search? [10 points]

To learn how easy it is to amp up your results by using saved searches, read Easy Ways to Generate Leads With LinkedIn.

When people in your target audience show up on your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” list, how often do you send them a message or an invitation to connect?  [Never = 0 points, Sometimes = 2 points, Frequently = 5 points, Always = 5 points]

Read Who’s Viewed Your Profile: LinkedIn’s Top Rated Feature to learn how this LinkedIn feature can pay big dividends. 

These three activities are best practices with most of my consulting clients, but it’s important for you to evaluate the features and activities you’re spending your time on each week and make sure they’re giving you the results you desire.

If you’d like to schedule a personal session with me to learn more specific ways to generate results for your company or your career, contact me here.

LinkedIn Success Scorecard: How do you measure up?


Download (PDF, 314KB)

Does LinkedIn Really Get Better When You Pay For It?

Posted on June 13, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Is it worth it to start paying for a premium LinkedIn account?

I can always count on hearing this question during the Q&A portion of my LinkedIn presentations. Since the pricing and options changed in January 2015, I think it’s time to address this once again.

How many people are currently paying for LinkedIn?

The results from my latest LinkedIn user survey show that only 18% of us are paying for our LinkedIn experience. Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 2.12.46 PMThat number has been consistently rising since I began my survey five years ago, but the majority of users are still taking advantage of the world’s largest database of business professionals for free.

LinkedIn premium options

There are a number of options available when you decide to upgrade from a free account to a paid account.

Note: If you already had a premium account when LinkedIn updated the premium options, at least for the time being you can continue with that plan even though it may not be currently offered to new subscribers.Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 2.15.07 PM

There are three premium categories, with multiple options within each category.

General:  Job Seeker ($29.99), Business Plus ($59.99), Executive ($99.99)

Sales:  Sales Navigator ($59.99), Sales Navigator Professional ($79.99), Sales Navigator Team ($129.99)

Recruiter:  Recruiter Lite ($119.95), Recruiter Corporate ($899.99)

Each plan offers different features and additions to your free account. Check out the side-by-side comparisons of the additional features you get at https://premium.linkedin.com. If you’re interested in a free 30-day trial of a premium account, get the details here

Is it time to upgrade?

For most people, probably not. I base that opinion on what you get with a premium account and the fact that most people I encounter are barely scraping the surface of the free account’s powerful features. It’s kind of like handing your 15-year-old, who just got his driver’s permit, the keys to your new BMW when he isn’t even ready to drive the 12-year-old Honda Accord.

iStock_000042971244_SmallMy advice is to buy a copy of my book and follow my suggestions for optimizing your profile. Next, spend some time getting into a good LinkedIn routine (Chapter 17), and then maybe you’ll be ready for the BMW.

LinkedIn has a simple way to let you know when it may be advantageous to start paying. I call it running into the “free wall.” When you’re consistently using a LinkedIn feature (Advanced People Search, Saved Searches, InMails, Who’s Viewed Your Profile, etc.), a message will pop up asking you if you want to upgrade and receive greater access to that feature. LinkedIn realizes full well which features help users get the best results, and thus those tend to be the features they limit in some way. If you want more of those goodies, you’ll need to get out your credit card.

Why I upgraded to a premium account

Two years ago, after more than four years on a free account, I started paying. Currently I’m on Sales Plus for about $48/month. However, this option is not currently available for new premium users.

The main reason I upgraded is because I wanted to see all the people who looked at my profile, and with the free account you can only see the last five people who checked you out. For a full discussion, read my post “Why I’ve Finally Upgraded to a Premium LinkedIn Account.”

Whether you’re using a free or premium account, I hope you’re getting great results!

If you were one of the nearly 1500 people who took the time to participate in my 2015 LinkedIn user survey, thank you!

2015 Power Formula for LinkedIn Infographic widget

In the next few weeks I will share with you my observations about the results and give you some strategies to help you capitalize on what I’ve learned.

Let’s start with the LinkedIn features people have found to be the most useful.

The number in parentheses is the percentage of respondents who selected the feature when asked, “Which of the following LinkedIn features have you found to be helpful? (check all that apply)”

#1.  Who’s Viewed Your Profile (76%)  For the third year in a row, this was the top-rated feature. I have to confess Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 5.53.34 PMthat I was not taking full advantage of this feature until it won the top spot in the survey. I then started to investigate its importance by talking with users who were getting results. I’m now a believer and have documented results–not from simply checking out who “stalked” me but by reaching out to the people who are in my target audience.

For additional strategies and thoughts on this year’s top-rated feature, click here.

#2.  People You May Know (61%)  This is always a great way to find more people to add to your network. This never-ending listScreen Shot 2015-06-05 at 5.43.54 PM served up to you by LinkedIn brings you people from your past, people in your LinkedIn groups, people in your industry–and who knows what else goes into LinkedIn’s secret formula.

This feature is a little hard to find since LinkedIn updated the home page. Hover over the Add connections icon and click People You May Know. Then start looking for people who ought to be in your network. Happy hunting!

#3.  Reviewing profiles before or after meetings (56%)  The more you know about a person before a meeting or phone call, the better prepared you will be–and this step should be standard operating procedure for everyone. To gain the best insight about people before meeting them, check out:

  • How You Are Connected
  • In Common With
  • Summary
  • Current Experience
  • Education
  • Interests

I think the day is coming when you say to someone, “Tell me about yourself,” and they will look at you and say, “You mean you didn’t check out my LinkedIn profile before we got together?”

#4.  Search for companies (48%)  Even though LinkedIn was designed as a database of business professionals, Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 5.48.47 PMthe company page is a great way to get an overview of a company. Also, if you click # of Employees on LinkedIn, you can see a list of all the folks on LinkedIn. This will help you prepare for your big meeting at the company. It’s always good to see who you already know at a company and who your connections know–or, better yet, who you want to get to know. This feature makes it easy to get that done.

#5.  Messaging first-level connections (43%)  Once you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you can direct message him/her through LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s research shows that you will have a higher open rate from a message sent within LinkedIn than if you simply use someone’s email address. I think the open rate is higher because an affiliation is already established, and the message lands in two email boxes rather than one (their LinkedIn inbox and whatever email service the user’s LinkedIn messages are sent to).

This truly deserves to be one of the top-rated features. I hope you are taking full advantage of this.

#6.  Follow companies (41%)  If you click the yellow Follow button on a company page, you will start receiving in your home-page feed the status updates that company shares, includingScreen Shot 2015-06-05 at 6.16.52 PM job openings, new products or services, company events, industry insights, promotions, and lots of other goodies. There is no limit to the number of companies you can follow, and companies do not preapprove their followers.

I suggest you consider following these types of organizations:

  • Current clients
  • Prospective clients
  • Competitors
  • Industry associations or groups
  • Nonprofits you have an interest in
  • Your next great employer

#7. Advanced People Searching (39%)  This was the most popular feature for the first few years of my user survey–and in my humble opinion, this is the real power on LinkedIn. After all, LinkedIn is the world’s largest database of business professionals, and Advanced People Search is your key to accessing this incomparable database.

To learn how you can capitalize on the Advanced People Search feature, click here.

In the coming weeks, I will share additional insights on the survey results. In the meantime, here is the complete infographic. I hope you’ll use the share buttons below to share this important information with your friends and business associates.

2015 Power Formula for LinkedIn Infographic User Portrait sm


8 Fast Ways to Generate More LinkedIn Leads

Posted on May 30, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

You’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile. You’ve mastered the art of searching on LinkedIn. But you’re still not getting the dramatic Word Cloud Lead Generationresults that other people are reporting. What else can you do to tap into LinkedIn’s goldmine of opportunity?

Here are eight fast ways to improve your LinkedIn lead generation.

1.  Status updates. Share status updates regularly, and include links to resources from your company and other industry leaders.

2.  Landing page. Design a separate landing page on your website with resources, guides, checklists, etc. Use your LinkedIn profile, status updates, and group discussions to direct people to these helpful documents.

3.  “Who’s Viewed Your Profile.” Check out this Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 4.28.12 PMhelpful LinkedIn feature every day. These people are checking you out for a reason. If you find potential customers, contact them. This is money! On my latest user survey, this is the #1 rated feature on LinkedIn.

4.  Groups. Join up to 50 groups, and listen, share and connect. The bigger the group the better.

5.  5-star connection request. After searching for people in your extended network using the technique discussed above, be sure to use what I refer to as a five-star connection request. After they connect, be sure to send them a thank-you note with an invitation to get together or set up a phone call.

6.  “People You May Know.” Check this handy LinkedIn feature often. Remember–connections are the gas in the tank on LinkedIn; the more you have, the further you go.

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 8.28.46 AM

7.  Strategic connections. Connect with the best and smartest industry experts. Monitor their status updates and “share” them frequently with your LinkedIn network.

8.  Company page. Create a LinkedIn company page, and make sure you begin sharing status updates with your followers. After all, that’s why they chose to follow you in the first place.

Here are eight of the best ways LinkedInExplode Home Page Widget-01 can help you generate leads and grow your business.

If you want to capitalize on other LinkedIn features that will provide dramatic results, check out my online training course “Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.” This comprehensive, video-based course will help you master my five-step process for LinkedIn success. Click here for details.