Ed Han, an author, technical recruiter, and instructor at the Princeton Adult School, has become a master at using the business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn over the years. Han is now sharing that expertise with job-seekers.
Han teaches how to become power users of the site’s built-in search tools at a free talk on Friday, July 13, at 9:45 a.m. at the Professional Service Group of Mercer County at the Princeton Public Library. For more information, visit www.psgofmercercounty.org.
Han, who graduated from Albright College in 1993, has worked in management positions at MCI Barra, Vivien, and McMaster-Carr. In recent years he has been a recruiter for Johnson Controls, Mercury Systems, and Grom and currently is employed by Alltech Consulting Services. He has also been involved with the PSG since 2010, helping professionals find new jobs.
In addition to giving presentations at the PSG, Han has written multiple articles on LinkedIn for the website job-hunt.org. In a recent article, excerpted below, Han describes how LinkedIn’s new “status” feature works and how professionals can leverage it to find work:
With over 2.1 billion “active monthly users” as of the end of 2017, Facebook is the undisputed 800 pound gorilla in social media. Of the four sites typically considered major social media sites, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are vying for second place behind the giant. It is only natural that each are taking cues from Facebook as they seek to continue growing the expansion of their user bases.
Taking a page from the Facebook playbook, LinkedIn added status updates to the options available for LinkedIn members to communicate with each other and the world — LinkedIn’s version of Facebook’s news feed.
To create a LinkedIn update, LinkedIn suggests that you “share an article, photo, video or idea” on your LinkedIn “Home” page. You can see what LinkedIn views as your updates by clicking on the “See all activity” link in the “Your Articles & Activity” box near the top of your profile. On someone else’s profile, this section is simply “[first name]’s Articles & Activity” unless they haven’t written any articles or been active.
Main Benefits of LinkedIn Status Updates: A LinkedIn public profile — the profile visible to anyone — can tell a viewer your experience, list your skills, and announce your professional effectiveness through recommendations. Updates provide additional essential elements in your online visibility. Updates will:
1. Demonstrate That You Are Reachable on LinkedIn. The one thing your profile cannot do is show how often you are actually on LinkedIn. That’s crucial information for recruiters in a hurry.
If a recruiter wants to contact a LinkedIn user about a position, he or she has no idea whether or not the candidate is going to see the message, to say nothing of when.
For a recruiter, there are often many possible candidates for a client requirement on which they are working and the responsive prospects are the ones more likely to be considered.
2. Increase Your LinkedIn Visibility. Updates simply remind people of your presence and your field (expertise and interests). Check out the updates from others to “Like” or “Share” them with your network.
When you share someone else’s updates, LinkedIn sends them a message about your actions, which helps you to expand your network.
Another benefit of the status update is that it’s an easy, non-pushy way to stay top of mind for those in your network who are inclined to render assistance in the form of introductions.
Reinforce Your Professional Image: Obviously, the things one posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are typically not ideal for sharing on LinkedIn. This goes back to the core purpose of LinkedIn, why founder Reid Hoffman created it: professional networking.
Therefore, status updates should be focused on career-enriching steps: shared news articles; skills development; and actual networking events.
These updates reinforce your image as a professional.
Sharing LinkedIn Professional Status Updates: Facebook offers a critical lesson for the savvy job seeker looking to maximize the effectiveness of his or her LinkedIn profile: the status update.
The LinkedIn status update can be up to 600 characters in length, perfect for letting your network know what you are doing or introducing something you are sharing. If you limit the characters you use to 140, LinkedIn will also publish your update on Twitter, too, so you can update both simultaneously.
A word of caution: If you choose to do the simultaneous LinkedIn and Twitter updates, please proceed judiciously. Most people on LinkedIn are not looking for many updates from a single person on the site. While it’s perfectly normal to update a dozen (or several dozen!) times on Twitter, that is not the norm on LinkedIn.
Updates typically stay “live” for 14 days before they disappear from view.
How LinkedIn Updates Are Generated: Share your thoughts and interesting things you find several ways:
1. Use the “share box” near the top of your LinkedIn home page. Simply click on the words “Share an article, photo, video or idea,” and a box will open where you can type in your update, including a URL, if appropriate.
As new updates are made by others in your network — particularly those you “follow” — LinkedIn provides notification here, too.
The same thing happens for others when you post an update.
2. Create updates by liking, commenting on, or sharing someone else’s update. Build your reputation as a good source of information by liking or sharing good information other LinkedIn members (those you follow) have published on LinkedIn as updates or articles. If you use the originator’s name in the text of your update, LinkedIn will usually notify them that you have shared something they created.
Be very careful making comments. Don’t share something just to make fun of it or highlight a mistake. Stay professional or your updates will create a negative image for you.
3. Like or share someone else’s update in a group. When you find good information in someone else’s update, “Like” or “Comment” on it. LinkedIn will notify them of your action, which can be the start of a discussion or at least put you on someone’s radar for possible future connections.
Make appropriate LinkedIn status updates: If you’re in a job search, what should one say in a status update on LinkedIn?
Consider the logistics professional who shares a new article discussing another way of viewing costs associated with daylight saving time and minimizing disruptions in truck deliveries or train schedules: “I found this article about the change in DST and a hidden impact on costs and scheduling eye-opening.”
Imagine an aspiring project manager pursuing the PMP certification. Perhaps he or she has two peers who also plan to sit for the exam in three months. A status update our project manager could share is: “Looking forward to catching up with John and Mary tonight to prepare for the PMP in 3 months. The discussion is always informative!”
Maybe another professional is attending a networking event later in the day. The update could be: “Should be a good time tonight at my local Toastmasters chapter, I think I’ve turned the corner on projecting my voice powerfully.”
Updates about training you may be receiving, furthering your education, or other proactive steps to help enrich your professional value are all valuable and tell people viewing your profile something important about you. Each of the examples communicate that you are engaged in professional development or self-improvement, in addition to letting people know that you are on LinkedIn.
Facebook sharing is inappropriate on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is fundamentally different from most other forms of social media. LinkedIn is professionally oriented. This means that many of the things one might do on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook are not suitable for LinkedIn.
Yet each of these sites has adopted new capabilities originally introduced on Facebook. Instagram is on the cusp of introducing advertising, Twitter has targeted ads, and on LinkedIn there’s skill endorsement.
However, these Facebook activities are not appropriate on LinkedIn:
• Discussions of politics.
• How you binge-watched a television show over the weekend.
• Cheering for your favorite sports team and/or making nasty comments about other teams.
• Personal information like birthday parties, dating, and other family news.
• Discussing religion and other non-business issues, etc.
While LinkedIn is definitely social media, the focus is not on sharing everything you are doing and thinking, particularly when the subject is not relevant to your professional image.
Bottom line: The LinkedIn status update is a powerful tool, and the savvy job seeker can use it to great effect. It can help communicate your ongoing professional endeavors and interests, skills development, and further networking by sharing content with your network, all while telling people that you actually do spend time on the site. And it helps keep your name and headline in front of the people in your network.