Avoid Looking Like A Hack On LinkedIn (+ A Recipe For Success)

Over the last few years LinkedIn has really become a ‘go-to’ resource for networking for many, many people. During that time some have mastered its use while others are doing good just to login.

From a recruiters perspective it’s an absolute goldmine and there are a few sure-fire ways to make sure you look like a good candidate and not a ‘hack’.

Never tell someone that LinkedIn is a job-board or that your afraid your boss will see that you are on ‘there’. This is rule numero uno. If you tell people that you do not have a profile on LinkedIn because you don’t like job-boards or that your boss could possibly find out there you will never grasp the concept of online networking and should probably spend the next five minutes reading another article.

Learn how to use LinkedIn without having to ask someone. If you have to ask five different people how to input a job into LinkedIn you are probably starting off on the wrong foot. Go to Google and Youtube and type in ‘using linkedin’ and then ‘using linkedin for job-search’ and run the search. You will be amazed how much information is out there.

Make sure your profile is 100% complete. That’s a picture (of you, not you and your family), a summary, three jobs, education, and three recommendations (and yes, the people who recommend you have to be on LinkedIn as well).

Create a vanity URL. LinkedIn gives you the option of customizing your public profile URL to www.linkedin.com/in/ANYTHINGYOUWANT – all you have to do is view your profile and you will see the edit button to customize it on the top third of the screen next to ‘Public Profile’.

Get to 500+ connections. No matter what type of job you are in you look like you have more credibility and are more likeable if you get to the point where you are connected to a bunch of people.

Install AND USE some of the applications that LinkedIn offers. From WordPress to Slideshare there is an app for just about you could want to do. Make your profile more interesting and worth looking at with a few of them.

Join AND PARTICIPATE IN Groups. There are 450,000+ groups on LinkedIn that you can join (LinkedIn allows you to join 50 and then an additional 50 subgroups) AND PARTICIPATE IN. It’s great that you are a part of a group but until you join in and start discussions you are nothing better than a wall flower.

Answer questions. People ask questions all of the time about every imaginable topic and you should try your best to answer them (and look good in answering them). Recruiters do look at answers to see who experts are in the areas in which they are recruiting.

DON’T Advertise That You Are Unemployed. Surveys show that many employers favor ‘passive’ employees and even many more prefer engaging a recruiter to find those candidates happily employed. If the first thing someone sees advertised on your profile is that you are between gigs (ie in the headline, in a network update, etc) you could put yourself at a disadvantage.

Now that we have gotten past looking like a ‘hack’ on LinkedIn here are a few thoughts for some ingredients for success.

Use Keywords. The easiest way to get found on LinkedIn is to use a good mix of keywords are ‘in vogue’ in your functional area and industry. The best way to find those keywords? Check out our earlier post to learn.

Three new connections, three old connections, one discussion, one answer. If you are really wanting to use LinkedIn in an effective way a simple formula to follow is to add three new TARGETED connections, message three current connections, start or comment on one discussion and answer one question EVERY DAY. You can do that in no more than thirty minutes per day and ensure that you are maximizing your LinkedIn profile.

Add your LinkedIn vanity URL to your email signature. Self-explanatory – allow people to find you on LinkedIn and view your professional experience.

Say something interesting. Again, self-explanatory. The more INTERESTING things you say in your status updates the more people are going to want to see what you are all about.

In closing, Rome was not built-in a day and neither is a great LinkedIn network. If you spend a few minutes everyday within a short period you can go from LinkedIn ‘Joe’ to LinkedIn ‘Pro’.

If we have not connected on LinkedIn as of yet I would enjoy the opportunity to do so. You can find my profile at www.linkedin.com/in/mattleblanc.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!


12 responses to “Avoid Looking Like A Hack On LinkedIn (+ A Recipe For Success)

  1. Matt,
    Thank you for this post. I was unsure about how to go about this networking site and you have given a precise description of a process and I will begin using your methods.

    Thanks again.

  2. Very helpful tips.


  3. I’m curious about the advantage of acquiring 500+ links. Sure, I could do that, especially if I accepted all the link invitations I receive from total strangers, but wouldn’t it be better to be linked to people with whom you share common interests and goals? I recently went through my lists and un-linked about a hundred contacts with whom I no longer have much in common or could not identify.

    Oh, and another thing: “Linked in Joe…” ? What’s wrong with being LinkedIn Joe?

    Thanks for the useful ideas.


    • Joe –

      Thanks for reading!! In my opinion we align ourselves with those that are well known and well liked and having 500+ connections as opposed to 150 says to me (at least at a subconcious level) that you are well liked and respected.

      There are no statistices (at least that I trust) that back that up but there are plenty of people who back that up as well.

  4. Very helpful tips.

  5. Excellent post! Very succinct and to the point, with specifically helpful tips. I will surely share this with our students.

    I will offer another perspective on the 500+ connections question, though. Yours is a valid point for sure, but there are some people out there who may view a person who has 500+ random, superficial, connections as a connections monger. They may question the person’s true intentions behind connecting with so many people, and the actual value behind each connection. I have come across people on LinkedIn who want to connect with me simply to have access to my network for the purposes of selling something or drawing traffic for their own personal gain. All of them have had 500+ connections, so there may be some negative associations with one’s perceived reputation that may come into play. Just a minor thought on an otherwise spot-on article.

  6. Stephen D. Poe

    Three additions:
    – Post a status perhaps twice a week. Make sure it is interesting to at least a portion of your readers and appropriate. Even for those that aren’t interested in that status, it keeps you name in their mind. Don’t post a status 2-3 times a day and spam your connections; this isn’t FB.
    – Look at the other plug-ins. Add events you’ll be attending, create an Amazon Reading List, and move those old presentations into SlideShare. All these add depth to your profile and provide you with more opportunities to provide people with information and attract attention.
    – To manage keywords, under ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile?’, click on ‘your profile has been viewed…’. This gives you a breakdown of what keywords have been used to find you. This can be invaluable information to help you tweak your profile.

  7. Great Tips, Matt! Thanks.

  8. I agree with Joe and Erik on the 500+. I delete more requests than I accept. There should be a compelling reason and personalized message for anyone wanting to link. However, LinkedIn is used by different people for different reasons and personal networking is different than cyber networking. One discussion completed, 3 messages and 3 targeted connections to go.

  9. Genevieve Billy

    Very helpful. Thank you,

  10. Mary Huelsman

    Great advice! Nice to know you are willing to be helpful. Thank you.

  11. Carol McClure

    Thanks for this post. Just the information that I need.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s