Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

This week I'm going to address another one of those frequently asked questions: How many characters can I use in my headline? Summary section? Job titles?

And in typical Wayne fashion, I'm not going to stop with the raw numbers. Rather, I'll comment on the most important character limits and why you may want to use all the characters LinkedIn allows.

(Note: All numbers in parentheses represent the maximum characters allowed.)

Individual Profile

Headline (120)  This is the most important real estate on your profile. Include the keywords people typically use when searching for someone in your space. Tell your story. Impress your target audience. As of this writing, you may be able to increase your headline to 220 characters if you enter it via the LinkedIn mobile app.

Summary (2,000)  It’s like a cover letter—or your 30-second elevator pitch. Here’s how I can help you. Tell your story. And don’t forget to include your most important keywords.

Website descriptions (30)  Be sure to use all three slots and describe them accordingly.

Experience Title (100)  Go beyond your standard biz card title. Be creative with keywords.

Experience description (2,000)  You can mention your past experience, but focus more on demonstrating your capabilities. Describe not only what you are doing but also what you can do to help customers/clients. Include keywords, of course.

Education/degree (100)  Rather than simply putting BBA, MBA, etc., add descriptive phrases that might help people discover your profile when they do a search; for example, BBA with an international accounting emphasis or BBA with a minor in Spanish.

Education/Fields of Study (100)  Highlight classes you took that relate to what you are doing in your current position or the position you are seeking.

Education/Activities and Societies (500)  Be descriptive. If you were the president of Beta Alpha Psi, the viewer of your profile will recognize your leadership ability. If you were the captain of the field hockey team, a kindred spirit may reach out to you.

Recommendations (3,000)  Your two most recent recommendations are prominently displayed. Encourage people who write your recommendations to share specific details about you so viewers of your profile will be inclined to do business with you.

Organizations (1,000)  This is a good place to share organizations that may or may not have their own official LinkedIn group.

Honors & Awards (1,000)  If you don’t toot your own horn, nobody will. Be proud. These entries are important differentiators and build credibility.

Skills (80)  You can list up to 50 skills, and you have 80 characters to describe each skill. So don’t shortchange yourself. This is great for SEO of your profile.

Phone number (25)  If you choose to list your phone number, only your first-level connections will be able to see it.

Address (1,000)  If you include your address, it will only be visible to your first-level connections.

Other Limits

Invitation-to-connect message (300)  You'll have to be creative to stay within this limit when you compose your customized invitations.

Direct message to first-level connections (1,900)  This is a very generous limit. Take full advantage of it, as well as your opportunity to include hyperlinks and attachments, when messaging your connections.

Direct, first-level connections (30,000)  Believe it or not, some people actually reach their limit.

Outbound invitations (5,000)  You can request more, and LinkedIn seems to give them out pretty freely at 100 per request.

Company name (100)  If your company name is less than 100 characters, I suggest adding a few of your most important keywords here.

Company About Us (2,000)  Use all of these characters to fully tell your company’s story, and don’t forget to include keywords, too. It’s a good idea to also include your company’s phone number and e-mail address.

Maximum number of groups (100)  You know the drill here. The more groups you're in, the more people who can find you. There are over three million groups. I'm sure you can find 100.

Status updates per day (no limit)  I suggest doing a couple each day.

Status updates (1,300)  You can use all 1,300 characters when sharing a status update. However, only 280 will transfer over to Twitter.

A robust network, fully optimized profile, and regular communication with your network will project trustworthiness and inspire confidence. This will increase engagement and ultimately lead to improved business and career success. So take full advantage of all the characters LinkedIn allows, and you'll be on your way to reaching (and exceeding) your goals.

Do You Know the LinkedIn Business Growth Formula?

Posted on September 1, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

"I have been on LinkedIn for a long time now and still can't say that it has led me to any new relationships that have generated any new business."

I hear comments like this all too frequently when I meet with new consulting clients or speak at conferences and corporate events. LinkedIn is the largest database of decision-makers on the planet, but the majority of businesspeople have yet to figure out how to make money with it.

That's why I created The 5 C's: Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Business, and I've been sharing this proven strategy with my clients for the past five years.

I will be sharing this step-by-step process at my LinkedIn Extravaganza events this fall in the Midwest (click here for schedule and registration) and also at the Industrial Inbound Summit 2018 on October 3 in Milwaukee (use discount code WAYNE25 to save $25 off your registration).

But here is an overview of the 5 C's along with some of the specific Linkedin steps/features that you can begin implementing in your business right away.

5 Steps to LinkedIn Business Success

CREATE a customer-focused profile

  • Use special profile sections and add media to your profile Summary and Current Job Experience sections to highlight your area(s) of expertise.
  • Add your preferred contact information in your Summary and Current Job Experience sections.
  • Include calls to action throughout your profile to encourage readers to engage with you.

CONNECT with your prospects

  • Use Advanced People Search, Company Search, Alumni, Groups, People You May Know, and Who's Viewed Your Profile to find new prospects.
  • 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.
  • Always be on the lookout for quality connections. The larger your network, the more opportunity for business growth.

CATEGORIZE your connections

  • Download your connections database. You can then filter and sort the names for use outside of LinkedIn.
  • Consider upgrading to one of the premium LinkedIn accounts to receive additional profile sorting and saving options.

COMMUNICATE with your network

  • Stay in front of your audience by making daily status updates and publishing long-form articles.
  • 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.
  • Increase your exposure by engaging in group discussions and "liking," sharing or commenting on other people's status updates.

CAPITALIZE on existing relationships

  • Connect with all of your existing clients/customers.
  • Search their networks to find out who they know.
  • Get referrals, recommendations, and endorsements. It's easy—just ask!

To learn more about how the 5 C's formula can help you grow your bottom line, mark your calendar now and attend the Industrial Inbound Summit 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 3 (use WAYNE25 to save $25 off your registration) or one of my fall LinkedIn Extravaganza workshops: Grand Rapids MI (9/24), Chicago IL (10/1), Milwaukee WI (10/4) or Madison WI (10/17).


Get Your Free LinkedIn Grade Now!

Posted on August 25, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

It's back-to-school time here in the United States, and that means lots of new beginnings—teachers, friends, activities, and, of course, a new grading period. So, what does this have to do with LinkedIn?

Well, a few years ago LinkedIn came out with a new, FREE grading system for all users. This was previously only available to their largest corporate users. It's called the LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI)Even though this tool has been available for free for three years now, most people have not taken advantage of it. 

Don't be turned off by the word "selling" just because you're not a salesperson. Let's face it—we're all selling something. If you're not selling products or services, you're selling yourself or your organization every day. And with the rise of social media, this has never been more true.

Get your score by simply clicking the Get Your Score button on this page: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index

What's your score?

Yes, 100 is a perfect score, and I doubt anyone has achieved that score other than maybe Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) or Jeff Weiner (current CEO of LinkedIn). But be sure to look past just the raw score and see how you rank in your industry and your network, both in total and in each of the four scoring categories (maximum of 25 points for each category). Also, take note of the trend line for your score. These spots are where the information gets particularly helpful for you personally.

What is SSI and why should you care?

LinkedIn came up with SSI to score sales professionals and their company teams and track improvement and results, thus proving the ROI from upgrading to their most expensive premium sales upgrade called Sales Navigator. So, of course LinkedIn has a motive for spending time and effort to generate this information. They're hoping companies will upgrade all their salespeople to Sales Navigator.

However, now all users can learn and improve by tracking their Social Selling Index (SSI). It's easy to set goals after you receive your score from LinkedIn.

LinkedIn surveyed over 5,000 sales professionals, and they've shared the following fairly significant results that demonstrate the importance of becoming an SSI leader:

  • SSI leaders create 45% more opportunities per quarter than SSI laggards
  • SSI leaders are 51% more likely to hit quota than SSI laggards
  • 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don't use social media

How does LinkedIn determine your SSI score?

Your SSI score is based on what LinkedIn refers to as "The Four Pillars of Social." Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 7.06.14 AM

1. Establish your professional brand. Complete your profile with the customer in mind. Become a thought leader by publishing meaningful posts.

2. Find the right people. Identify better prospects in less time using efficient search and research tools.

3. Engage with insights. Discover and share conversation-worthy updates to create and grow relationships.

4. Build relationships. Strengthen your network by connecting and establishing trust with decision makers.

You can view LinkedIn's SlideShare presentations with additional Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 7.21.38 AMinsights on how to improve your score in these four areas. I would highly recommend you take the time to click through these presentations, especially the ones related to the areas where your SSI results indicate you have the most work to do.

I am in total agreement with LinkedIn that these are the four critical elements for getting results from all your social media channels—and not just for selling purposes but also for growing your brand, improving your business and personal marketing, and finding your next great job.

I think we should give LinkedIn a big "high five" for creating this tool and then start our own benchmarking efforts right away.

And just in case you're wondering, my SSI is currently 75, and I rank in the top 2% of my industry and network—but I won't be happy until I get to 100. I only scored 18 out of 25 in the "Engage with Insights" category, and I'm going to work on that.

Speaking of engaging, if you'd like to discuss how I can help you and your organization get your SSI numbers up and improve your LinkedIn results, then take advantage of my specially priced $197 LinkedIn consultation.

This consultation will take place on the phone, and I'll share my desktop screen with you. I will perform a detailed critique of your profile and email your marked-up profile to you prior to our session. Click here to book your time.

Here are a few comments from my recent clients:

"Great job offer received via LinkedIn only two days after consulting with Wayne!"

"He made the learning experience fun, interesting, and was a big help to me. It has increased my exposure almost two-fold in a couple weeks."

"I highly recommend Wayne's 1:1 LinkedIn coaching session. Per Wayne's guidance, I reached out to the SVP of Client Success for a company I saw a suitable role. I used language Wayne provided in our 1:1 session to initiate the contact...Since then I've had an initial interview and interacted with the SVP multiple times."

Don't miss your chance to get results like these. Book your time now by clicking here. Space is limited.

Is Opportunity Calling You on LinkedIn?

Posted on August 17, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

When you answer the door or the phone and aren't sure what the person wants, you undoubtedly say, "How can I help you?"

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.

Simple ways to decide whether or not to reach out to strangers

Start by going to your Pending Invitations page. You'll find this page by clicking the My Network icon on your top toolbar. Choose Manage all, and LinkedIn will then display all of your inbound invitations in the order you received them.

If people include a personal message with their invitation, you'll see the message in a message box both on your mobile app or on your computer. Personally, I always look at these invitations first because they may require a prompt response.

To improve your chances of receiving a favorable response when you ask someone how you can help him/her, follow these three simple steps:

  • Check out the person's profile in detail, looking at his/her jobs, volunteer experience, education, and accomplishments.
  • See who you have as mutual connections, 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.
  • 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 Message or Reply to [name] in the person's Pending Invitation box. You can then reply without accepting the person's 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 calling you on LinkedIn, too—so why not give it a try.


Are You Missing Important Information on Your LinkedIn Profile?

Posted on August 12, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

I field lots of questions each week about LinkedIn, but one of the most-asked questions is:

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 an educational entry even if I didn't finish and get the degree I was aiming for?

Yes, as long as you are truthful and don't state that you completed the degree. Having that entry on your profile could help others find you in a search since you'll be one of the people who shows up in a search if someone uses the "Schools" filter or the Alumni search feature.

Should I include my Rotary Club membership (or similar civic type organizations)?

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 the awards I won ten years ago at a prior job?

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 or courses?

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/course.

Should I include the certifications I hold?

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 all the jobs I've ever had?

Of course, because when adding connections, many people look for people 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.

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!


If you'd like help creating an engaging, highly visible LinkedIn profile and a meaningful LinkedIn strategy that will skyrocket your business and career, then take advantage of my specially priced $197 LinkedIn consultation.

This consultation will take place on the phone, and I'll share my desktop screen with you. I will perform a detailed critique of your profile and email your marked-up profile to you prior to our session. Click here to book your time.

Here are a few comments from my recent clients:

"Great job offer received via LinkedIn only two days after consulting with Wayne!"

"He made the learning experience fun, interesting, and was a big help to me. It has increased my exposure almost two-fold in a couple weeks."

"I highly recommend Wayne's 1:1 LinkedIn coaching session. Per Wayne's guidance, I reached out to the SVP of Client Success for a company I saw a suitable role. I used language Wayne provided in our 1:1 session to initiate the contact...Since then I've had an initial interview and interacted with the SVP multiple times."

Don't miss your chance to get results like these. Book your time now by clicking here. Space is limited.

It only takes about five minutes on LinkedIn to put together a perfect list of people you might want to meet—and you don't even need a premium membership to do it.

But I'm always amazed at just how many self-proclaimed experienced LinkedIn users do not know how to do this. Therefore, I'm going to show you just how simple it is to do it with the current free LinkedIn user interface.

At this time there are fourteen available filters (e.g., title, locations, current and past companies) when using LinkedIn on your desktop and seven available filters when you're using the LinkedIn mobile app. These will help you quickly narrow down the 600+ million person LinkedIn database to the exact right list for you.

Building a highly targeted LinkedIn prospect list

Whether you're looking for new customers, donors for your nonprofit, or a great new job, these simple steps will help you build the perfect list of prospects to reach your personal or professional goals.

1. Put your cursor in your top toolbar search box and select Search for People when the drop-down menu appears.

2. Click the words All Filters in the white toolbar that appears below your top toolbar.

3. Put the words you'd like to search for in the appropriate filter boxes or check the box if your desired word(s) already appears under a filter category. Use LinkedIn's Boolean search rules so you get the best possible list. For instance, if you search for executive vice-president, you'll get people who have executive and/or vice-president on their profile. If you search for "executive vice-president" (with quotation marks), you'll get only people who have executive vice-president on their profile. When you've entered all your words and checked any applicable boxes, click the blue Apply button.

For example, if I am looking for people who work at Harley-Davidson with a current title that includes the word purchasing or sourcing, my entries would look like this.

LinkedIn then gives me a list of 78 people who meet those search criteria. Everyone who does this search exactly as I've done it will get a list of 78 people, but the order of the list (LinkedIn calls this relevancy to the searcher) and access to full profiles (currently you can view the profiles of 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree and fellow LinkedIn group members) will be different for each person who performs the search.

Getting your perfect list is just that simple and only takes about five minutes, but what should you do next? Check out my recent article How to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Response on LinkedIn to learn tips and tricks for capitalizing on the list you receive.

LinkedIn Tips for the Discreet Job Seeker

Posted on July 28, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

Are you stuck in a dead-end job? Not making the money you deserve? Just need a change but afraid your boss will find out if you start looking for a new job? LinkedIn to the rescue!

Obviously, you don’t want to use words like seeking, pursuing or looking in your LinkedIn profile—that’s the quickest way to the unemployment line. But sprucing up your profile, joining the right groups, and “following” companies you’d like to work for are a few of the easy steps you can take when looking for a new job “under the radar.”

Spruce up your profile

If you have used your LinkedIn account sparingly and all of a sudden there’s a flurry of activity, this might be a red flag to your boss. Therefore, if you plan to make edits to your profile, be sure that the Share with network button is toggled over to "No" to turn off the notifications to your network about the profile changes you are making.

Keywords. Use plenty of the keywords hiring managers and recruiters might use to find people with your specialties and skills (e.g., job duties, titles, industry certifications, software expertise, etc).

For help on this, download my worksheet Keywords: The Key to Being Found on LinkedIn from the free resources page of my website.

Summary. This is tricky. You need to look like a happy employee while at the same time touting your expertise and accomplishments. Keywords are definitely important. For example, “Johnson Company always puts the customer first, and my attention to detail and ability to provide excellent customer service make me a good fit at Johnson.”

Experience. Include a detailed description of your accomplishments for every job entry you include in this section. You’re trying to differentiate yourself from other job applicants, so don’t skimp here.

Headline. You only get one shot at a first impression. Make it a good one. It’s short—only 120 characters on the desktop—so you’ll need to be creative. But if you input this section using your LinkedIn mobile app, then you get 220 characters. A note of caution: Most people can use this trick, but occasionally people find that LinkedIn won't let them do this. I hope you're one of the lucky ones! Also, be sure to include your best keywords.

For additional help on this critical section of your profile, download my free worksheet The Definitive Worksheet to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Headline on the free resources page of my website.

Skills. LinkedIn members will give you endorsements for your skills, and you’ll want to focus on including the skills you hope to use in your new job.

Accomplishments special profile sections. Options include Publications, Certifications, Patents, Courses, Projects, Honors & Awards, Test Scores, Languages, and Organizations. These are a terrific way to impress readers of your profile and differentiate yourself from other candidates.

Education. In addition to your general educational background, include any specialized courses you’ve completed. Describe them in detail and use lots of keywords.

Recommendations. Outside corroboration of the information on your profile is extremely important. Your two most recent recommendations will be prominently displayed on your profile, so try to get at least two current, impactful recommendations. You probably don’t want to ask your boss for a recommendation, but customers, vendors, and college professors (for recent grads) are great options.

Be proactive

Once your profile is in tip-top shape, you’re ready to start actively looking for a job.

Jobs Tab. Be sure to set your career interest preferences. Also, use the job search function here to laser focus your search for job postings that fit your desired positions. You can set up to ten job search alerts. It’s like having a 24/7 virtual assistant. LinkedIn will alert you when jobs are posted that meet your criteria.

Create search alerts. With a free LinkedIn account, you can create up to three Advanced People Search alerts. Use these for your target companies—the places you’d most like to work.

Groups. Join industry groups, and check each group’s Jobs tab for job postings. If you join job-hunting groups, don’t post discussions or show the group logo on your profile. Do participate in industry groups and demonstrate your thought leadership.

Alumni. Access this by clicking the name of one of the schools you attended on your profile. Then click the blue See alumni button from that university's LinkedIn page. Use the available filters to find out if any fellow alumni work at the companies where you're interested in exploring a new opportunity. This is a great way to get the inside scoop on jobs posted and not yet posted.

“Follow” companies. Go to the company page of your target companies and “follow” them. You'll then be notified of job postings and employment changes at the company.

If you follow this advice, HR professionals and recruiters will start discovering your profile. But don’t just sit around and wait for a job offer. Be an active part of the almost 600 million member LinkedIn community, and before you know it you’ll have landed the job of your dreams.

Is LinkedIn Actually Hurting Your Chances for New Relationships?

Posted on July 22, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

Even though LinkedIn seems to have eliminated the silly default message that was sent when you invited someone to join your network, they may have made matters worse by now including no message at all in your invitation unless you choose to include a custom message.

If you send LinkedIn's basic invitation to join your network, you'll be lowering the chances of having your invitation accepted. You are trying to encourage important professionals to become part of your valuable first-degree network; so show them some respect by including a personalized message, and they'll be more likely to accept your invitation.

How do you make a five-star connection request?

LinkedIn has a 300-character limit, so it takes a little creativity, but follow these simple suggestions, and you'll be on your way to developing a powerful network of dynamic business professionals.

1.  Use the person's name in your greeting.

2.  Mention where you met him/her (in person, on the phone, online) and/or which mutual friend of yours suggested you connect (with advance permission, of course).

3.  Suggest a face-to-face or phone meeting if you want to develop a deeper relationship with the person.

4.  Offer something of value based on your review of the person's profile or your personal knowledge of the individual.

5.  Explain how you can help the person or how he/she could help you.

6.  Help the person feel good about the connection. I usually say, "I would be honored to have you join my LinkedIn network."

7.  Include a friendly closing statement. "Sincerely" is a little bit stiff in most circumstances. For instance, I might say "Go Pack Go" to a fellow Wisconsinite.

Of course, you won't be able to include all seven suggestions in every invitation, but choose the most relevant ones in each situation.

What does a five-star connection request look like?

Here are a couple examples of well-written invitations to connect:

Jim Smith, a client for over 15 years, suggested that we connect. He said you might be interested in having a chat about how I can help your company maximize its use of LinkedIn. If that’s the case, let me know. In the meantime, I'd be honored to have you join my network.

I noticed from your profile that you attended Marquette [or are a member of a group, used to work at a particular company, etc.].  I am also an MU alum.  Based on your job responsibilities, I thought you might be interested in having a chat about voluntary benefits for your employees. If that’s the case, let me know. In the meantime, I would be honored to have you join my network.

Don't let LinkedIn hurt your chances for building new relationships. Avoid their basic invitation. Instead, follow the simple suggestions outlined above, and more people will say "yes" to your invitations.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Response on LinkedIn

Posted on July 15, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

LinkedIn is always the best research tool to find the right people, but it may not always be the best tool for communicating with them.

I confidently share this statement with most of my audiences, and here's why.

Most people have a LinkedIn profile by now, and we can find those pretty easily. But based on user statistics that LinkedIn used to share often (but haven't shared since their purchase by Microsoft) and also reports from others who track actual usage of social media sites, the majority of people who have profiles don't access the site monthly—yes, that's right, not even monthly.

Thus, you need to think about your options (on and off of LinkedIn) for taking the next step and communicating with someone in your target audience who has a LinkedIn profile. You'll need to decide which option is most appropriate for your situation and whether the person's profile tips you off to whether that person is on LinkedIn consistently (profile photo, number of connections, complete profile, posting information, etc.) or may not even remember his/her password.

LinkedIn communication options

Send a direct message. This option is available to you if you're already connected or if you're in a group with the person you want to contact. LinkedIn lets you send an unlimited number of direct messages to your current connections and 15 direct messages per month to fellow group members.

(Note: LinkedIn users can change their settings so no one can direct message them in the group, but it is not the default, so you can usually do this.)

To message a connection, just go to the person's profile and click the Message button.

To message a person within a group, click the Groups icon in your Work tab in the top toolbar, and then click My Groups and pick the group to which you both belong. Click # members, and enter the person’s name in the Find a member... box. When the person’s entry comes up, click the Message icon to the right of his/her name and type in your message.

Send an InMail. InMails are direct messages to people you're not connected to. This option is only available to premium LinkedIn members. When you're on the person's profile, simply click the More button (2nd degree) or the three dot icon (3rd degree), and then select InMail from the drop-down choices.

As a premium member, you get a specific number of InMails each month as part of your premium membership. You can purchase additional InMails at $10 each.

If someone responds to your InMail within 90 days, you get a credit from LinkedIn for another InMail. In other words, LinkedIn gives you credit for sending InMails to people who are more apt to respond. This helps control spamming.

LinkedIn power user tip: If you want to message someone who isn't one of your first-level connections, join one of the person's groups, and go through the steps outlined above. This will save you $10 or one of your allotted InMails.

Get introduced through a connection. This step not only enables you to have your first-level connection introduce you to your target but also gives your connection the opportunity to write something nice about you, your services, or the products you offer.

Although LinkedIn's official Introduction feature was eliminated several years ago, you can still forward to one of your first-level connections the profile of a person you're interested in getting introduced to. Simply go to your target's profile, click the More... icon, and select Share Profile. Then put your connection's name in the Type a name or multiple names... box and enter the details of your request in the message box, which now has been populated with a link to your target's profile.

Include your message in an invitation to connect. If the person is someone you want in your network, this is probably the best option, because if the person accepts your connection request, you can direct message him/her forever, assuming (s)he doesn't disconnect from you.

Because it's advantageous to customize your invitation, go to the person's profile. For 2nd degree LinkedIn members, click the big blue Connect button. For 3rd degree members, click the three dot button and choose Connect from the drop-down menu. If you don't see either of these options, the person may have changed his/her setting and will not accept invitations. Once you click Connect, select the Add a note button and craft your best 300 character invitation to that person.

Non-LinkedIn communication options

Call the company and ask for the person. Duh! Believe it or not, this still works with some people, especially with people who grew up using the phone as a phone 😉

Send an email. Some people provide their email address on their profile or you can use any one of the many internet tools for tracking down emails—or now that you know where the person works, check out the email format the company follows and take a guess at the person's email address.

Send the person something by snail mail. Since the dawn of email, most of us receive less physical mail. Personally, this causes me to open most of the snail mail I receive. An envelope with a handwritten address is even more likely to be opened.

Stop at the person's place of business and drop off some goodies. This will surely surprise the person. When I worked at M&M Office Interiors, we would drop off a bag of plain or peanut M&M’s.

LinkedIn is a great tool for researching and finding people and also communicating with them, but sometimes the best communication method might be one of the traditional methods.

Good luck engaging with the important people you find on LinkedIn!


Want to Know How to Plan a More Productive Trip Using LinkedIn?

Posted on July 1, 2018
Wayne Breitbarth

It's summertime, and that usually means you hit the open road and do a bit of traveling. Whether it's travel for fun, work, or maybe a little of both, you want to make sure you get the best bang for your travel buck. For me, that means trying to spend time with as many important people as I can fit into my schedule.

LinkedIn has some great ways to help you find those potential candidates who just might make a big difference down the road.

So grab your itinerary, your map, your calendar, and your LinkedIn account, and let’s go searching.

Find your connections

Click your cursor in the big, white search box in your top toolbar. From the drop-down menu, choose Search for People. Then click the words All Filters in the white filters toolbar. Next, click the 1st box in the Connections filter and also enter the largest city you will be traveling to in the Locations box. When the city shows up in the drop-down menu, choose that entry. Then click the blue Apply button.

LinkedIn will display all of your first-level connections in that city or area. You can then message these people through LinkedIn and let them know you'd like to make a real, old-school connection with them on your upcoming trip.

Find your connections' connections

These are your second-level connections, and this step requires a little help in the form of an introduction from your friends (i.e., your first-degree connections). However, many times this introduction is exactly what makes the meeting so effective.

Follow the same steps as mentioned above, but this time click the 2nd box in the Connections filter. Before you click the blue Apply button, you may want to filter this list further by using the additional search filter boxes like TitleCurrent companies, Past companies, etc. This will help you find exactly the right people.

Once LinkedIn serves you up this list of “friends of friends,” look through the profiles and decide whom you want to meet. Then contact your shared connection and ask whether he/she will virtually introduce you to this person prior to your trip. Once you've been introduced, you're on your way to starting what will hopefully be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Find your classmates

Type the name of the school you attended in the white search box in the top toolbar. When you click the name of the school from the drop-down list of results, you'll be forwarded to the school's University page. Click the blue See Alumni button. Then go to the Where they live column and either click the name of the city you're visiting or type the name of the city in the search box that appears when you click the magnifying glass.

You can narrow the list even further if you filter by the company they work at, date of attendance, year of graduation, or what they do.

Find people at your targeted companies

In the white search box in the top toolbar, type the name of a company you're interested in. Choose that company from the drop-down results, and you'll be forwarded to their Company page.

If you click the See all XXX Employees on LinkedIn, you'll be forwarded to the Advanced People Search page, which is a listing of all the employees. Type the large cities you'll be visiting in the Locations filter box, and choose the city from the drop-down search results. LinkedIn will then display all the employees at the company who have LinkedIn accounts and live in that city. Feel free to use additional filters for titles, schools, etc.

After doing all this work, you may need to extend your trip a day or two!

Happy travels!

If you want to learn more LinkedIn strategies like these and also have your LinkedIn profile critiqued by me, then take advantage of my special one-hour, $175 LinkedIn consultation. This consultation will take place on the phone, and I'll share my desktop screen with you. I will email your marked-up profile to you prior to our session. This offer is only good until July 31, 2018. Click here to book your session.

Here are a few comments from my recent clients:

"Great job offer received via LinkedIn only two days after consulting with Wayne!"

"I highly recommend Wayne's 1:1 Linked In coaching session. Per Wayne's guidance, I reached out to the SVP of Client Success for a company I saw a suitable role. I used language Wayne provided in our 1:1 session to initiate the contact...Since then I've had an initial interview and interacted with the SVP multiple times."

"He made the learning experience fun, interesting, and was a big help to me. It has increased my exposure almost two-fold in a couple weeks."

Don't miss your chance to get results like these. Book your session now by clicking here. Space is limited and time is running out.