Are You Making These LinkedIn Mistakes? with Christie Mims

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Transcript

Find Your Dream Job, Episode 132:

Are You Making These LinkedIn Mistakes?, with Christie Mims

Airdate: March 28, 2018

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac, of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host, and publisher of Mac’s List.

I’m joined by my co-hosts, Becky Thomas and Jessica Black, from the Mac’s List team.

This week, we’re talking about common LinkedIn mistakes.

If you’re listening to this show you already know that LinkedIn is an important part of any job search. But as happens with job interviews- the subject of last week’s show- too many people keep making basic mistakes on LinkedIn. Our guest expert this week is Christie Mims. She has a list of four LinkedIn mistakes we all need to stop making now. Christie and I talk later in the show.

Words matter. Research shows, for example, that the language we use in job listings can discourage applications from qualified female candidates. Becky has found an article about this problem. It also includes a software tool for making job postings more inclusive. She tells us more in a moment.

We all know that culture fit matters when employers hire. How do you show a hiring manager that you offer a good fit, especially when you don’t know anyone inside the organization? That’s our listener question of the week. It comes from Lisa Burns in Hood River, Oregon. Jessica shares her advice shortly.

As always, let’s start by checking in with the Mac’s List team.

Becky Thomas is up first, and she’s out there every week, searching the nooks and crannies of the Internet looking for books, websites, and tools you can use in your job search and your career. Becky, what have you uncovered for our listeners this week?

Becky Thomas:

This week I want to share an article that dives into the power of language, which is one of my own personal favorite topics.

Jessica Black:

Me too, this is great.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah.

Jessica Black:

I already love it.

Mac Prichard:

I know all of us are data nerds. We talked about that last week.

Becky Thomas:

Also word nerds.

Mac Prichard:

We are all word nerds.

Jessica Black:

Language nerd for sure, personality nerd – all the nerds.

Becky Thomas:

What do we not nerd out on?

Jessica Black:

I nerd out on everything.

Mac Prichard:

Alright. Take it away.

Becky Thomas:

This is an article called How Job Listing Language Could Be Adding to Silicon Valley’s Gender Divide. It was published on KQED, a community-supported media platform that is in Northern California. They cover Silicon Valley, and the article explores the work that software company Atlassian has done to make the language in their job listings more gender-neutral. This was one part of a big diversity and inclusion effort that began for them 2 years ago, but it’s been a big driver in getting more women to apply for leadership roles.

There’s been plenty of discussion around the barriers that women face to attain and succeed in leadership roles in business. We talk about toxic masculinity, mansplaining, cultural stereotypes about powerful women, leadership women being perceived as “bossy” or “shrill”, and all these things.  There’s also been research that says more women in leadership helps diminish these problems. The problems that are causing women to not want to be in leadership…women in leadership actually make them go away. It’s like this weird Catch 22. Yay! Let’s get more women in the leadership roles.

But it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Anyway, in order to get women to apply and to get women in these roles, employers need to actually convince them that women are welcome, and that they’re making efforts to diminish these male dominated C-Suites. That really starts in the job listing, and it brings us back to this language discussion.

So Atlassian used Textio – a tool that we love and have mentioned before on the podcast – to analyze the language, the actual text in their job listings and descriptions, as well as descriptions from 25,000 other tech companies – to reveal the words and phrases that generate more male or female applicants.

Jessica Black:

Awesome, that’s so interesting.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, I was like, “Oh cool, gotta check this out.” There’s a whole chart in the article that you guys should check out.

The results aren’t very surprising to me honestly. Aggressive language like “high-performance culture”, “ruthless”,  “bull by the horns”; texts like that was attracting a lot more male candidates. Whereas collaborative messages like “building alliances”, “meaningful”and  “diverse perspectives” got more women to apply. Atlassian used Textio to fix that overly masculine job description text and they found that more qualified women started applying.

The article points out that filtering words and replacing them with more inclusive language isn’t going to solve the problem of misogynistic work cultures. I see a danger in companies like Uber that have had a bad reputation for having a toxic culture, that they will see this practice as a shortcut. But I do see it as a first step for companies who do want to acknowledge the complex problem of inclusion. It’s a signal for job seekers who are trying to see themselves in an organization that these organizations are at least taking a step towards inclusion.

This is also a great way for progressive companies to assess the ways that they use language internally and externally and how those words serve as barriers for women and underrepresented folks. For job seekers, it’s one way to judge a company. I also recommend checking reviews on Glassdoor and InHerSight, which is like Glassdoor for women. Find out what it’s really like to work at a company from reviews from people who have actually been inside, and make sure they’re not hiding a toxic workplace behind flowery inclusive language.   

I thought this was a really interesting dive into how employers can send their messages and how job seekers take them. It’s something to think about.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I think that’s a good step in the right direction. I think that, like you said, it’s not going to solve everything but it’s going to do a good job of taking that first step. Again, allowing employers and organizations to understand what kind of messages they are sending. They probably don’t know that using phrases like “bull by the horn”, and “ruthless” and those types of words, that they have had ingrained in their mission statements and in their culture from the beginning, are exclusionary. Even if they’re not directly exclusionary, they are making people feel that they are not…They don’t see themselves represented, so I think for them to just even understand what kind of messages they are sending, I think that is a good first step to how they can change and be more inclusionary. I think that that is a great first step and hopefully it will be productive. I think it’s really interesting.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I can’t wait to check out this article and I’m glad you brought up Textio. I know if you go to the site, you’ll see research with more facts documenting the points you’re making. I know we’ve talked about Glassdoor before but InHerSight is a new site for me.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I hadn’t heard of that one either.

Mac Prichard:

Thanks for bringing that up.

Becky Thomas:

As I noted this in my preparation for this episode I was like, “I could probably do a whole resource section on InHerSight because it’s basically full of resources for women who are looking for a female friendly workplace.

Jessica Black:

Cool.

Becky Thomas:

It’s reviews, but there’s other tools on there as well, so maybe I’ll focus on that in a future episode.

Mac Prichard:

I think there would be a lot of interest in that, Becky.

Becky Thomas:

Check it out guys: InHerSight. I love it.

Jessica Black:

Cool.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, cool. Well thank you, Becky. If you’ve got a suggestion for Becky we would love to hear from you. Please write Becky directly and we may share your idea on the show. Becky’s address is becky@macslist.org.

Now, let’s turn to you, our listeners. Jessica Black is in charge of the Mac’s List mailbag and answers one of your questions this week.

Jessica Black:

This week we have a question from Lisa Burns from Hood River. Interestingly, it’s also kind of about workplace cultural fit. She emailed her question and I’ll read that now:

Lisa says, “I’ve listened to a lot of your podcasts…” Thank you Lisa, “…and I’ve heard you say many times that employers hire based on fit. What’s the best way to show that you’re a good fit if you don’t know anyone inside the organization? Are there good ways to signal your “culture fit” in your resume and or cover letter?

Lisa, this is a great question.

Mac Prichard:

It is a great question.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, because this is so crucial to be able to demonstrate your cultural fit or that you are a great fit for the organization or for the job. But it’s hard to do when you’re not face to face with somebody.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, we get asked that a lot, don’t we, at our events, “How do I do that?”

Jessica Black:

We do,  “How do you do that?” It feels very daunting and I think I’m going to bring it down into a couple different sections here. I would love to hear your feedback afterwards as well.

I think that yes, there are good ways to signal culture fit in your application documents. By doing your research into the organization, you can understand what the culture of the company is, based on how they talk about themselves, what their mission statement is, going back to Becky’s resource, the language that they use. You don’t need to use official software, you can just pinpoint if they’re using the same word over and over. That’s something that’s really important to them. Dissecting that and analyzing it a little bit to be able to understand what is at the root of that. But understanding what the culture is and then if you do feel like you have a good culture fit with this organization after you’ve done this research and analysis, you absolutely should demonstrate that you have that alignment.

The ways that you can demonstrate that would be:

Number one, highlighting the aspects of your career and your volunteer history in your resume; again, matching those keywords on your resume to demonstrate that. But also just making sure that you are putting the things on there that maybe you didn’t have on your resume that you have done. You have volunteered with a radio station and you have a dynamic personality. That doesn’t necessarily correlate directly to your job experience but it does at the same time. It shows that you are going out of your way to be in a volunteer capacity and also if that’s a component that the job description finds that will add to that aspect of things. Maybe not the best example but you get my drift.

Also, I would suggest showing some personality in your cover letter. Your cover letter is where you can really speak to your culture fit and obviously…well maybe not obviously…Don’t necessarily say, “I am a good culture fit because…” That’s not how you demonstrate your culture fit. You want to show it in other ways. Use that language, use your creativity, use your personality, to really show what you offer and what your body of work is in a certain way, how that aligns with the organization.

I don’t think it’s out of line to reach out to someone in the organization for an informational interview because that’s another good way to understand the culture of that organization and also demonstrate your own personality and what you bring to the table in an in-person capacity. Just make sure that you’re not reaching out to the hiring manager of this job because that, I think, is in bad taste. Reaching out to someone in the organization just to get a little bit more of an understanding would be great. Ideally, someone who has a job either identical or similar to the job that you’re looking at just to really get an understanding of what the job is.

That’s an opportunity for you to ask those questions about how this culture fit that appears on the website or appears on their Twitter feed, or whatever, how that matches up to the reality.

Lastly, I just want to say, be authentic! Don’t try too hard to show it and that sounds counterintuitive because obviously you want to try hard to demonstrate this but just exacerbating what you have. Bring that out into the forefront.

Hopefully that’s helpful. I’m curious what you all have about this question as well.

Becky Thomas:

I think that you are spot on in that last point about being authentic because if you don’t actually have a culture fit with the organization, if you try to fake it it’s not going to work.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely. People can see that from a mile away.

Mac Prichard:

You’re right, Jessica. Yeah.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, and the other thing to think about is some people think of culture fit as like, “I need to be exactly like everyone else in this organization.

Jessica Black:

That’s a great point because that is not what culture fit is.

Becky Thomas:

Right. So to be just authentic in like, “Here are the things that I offer and here’s how I can maybe not be the same as everyone else but offer new perspective and show something new to your existing team.” I think that authenticity is key and also taking it one step further, “Here’s how I fit in, here’s how I’m going to solve your problems. I’m friendly and you’re going to love me.”

Jessica Black:

Right, absolutely.

Becky Thomas:

It is hard to show though.

Jessica Black:

It is really hard to show.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah.

Jessica Black:

But I think that the culture fit, at least to me, is when your values align. That’s the root area of it and then not everybody is going to have the same exact interests that all are the exact same. That would be boring.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, you wouldn’t learn anything new.

Jessica Black:

There would be no innovation, nothing like that. Nothing would grow. I think that’s a really good point. Thank you for bringing that up.

Mac Prichard:

I’m glad, Jessica, that you brought up values because I think that sometimes when people hear culture fit, they think it’s hobbies, interests, wardrobe.

Jessica Black:

It’s not.

Mac Prichard:

Well those are elements and you need to pay attention to them but in the end it’s about the organization’s values. What is the employer’s mission and does it align with what you want to do?

Jessica Black:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

You can learn that by doing the research, and to your point, reaching out to someone in the company, or looking for contacts you might know through LinkedIn or other alumni databases.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, also, it’s values but it’s also work-life balance. It’s also how people treat each other within the organization, communication styles, all of those types of things that are again, not hobbies, but are a key component to making sure that you are going to thrive and be happy in that space.

Mac Prichard:

You want to be in a place where you will thrive and do your best work.

Jessica Black:

That’s right, yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Excellent advice; thank you for that question, Lisa, and thank you for the astute answer, Jessica. If you have a question for Jessica, send her an email. Her address is easy to remember; it’s  jessica@macslist.org. You can also call her on our listener line. That number is area-code, 716-JOB-TALK, or post a message on the Mac’s List Facebook page.

However you reach us, if we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a free copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. We’re dropping Lisa’s copy in the mail this week.

We’ll be back in a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert, Christie Mims, about common LinkedIn mistakes.

I meet with thousands of job seekers each year. People who struggle to find meaningful, rewarding work that matters.

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What’s this critical mistake? People don’t have a clear job search goal.

You might think it’s wise to apply everywhere. But the more you narrow down your job search, the easier everything gets and the happier you will be in your next gig. Stop chasing every lead. Instead, put all your energy into the opportunities that you really want.

Of course, setting your goals is easier said than done. Especially when all you know is what you don’t want to do!

That’s why I created a new resource that can help. It’s called Finding Focus in Your Job Search. It’s a free step-by-step guide that will help you figure out what you want in your career and in your next job.

To get Finding Focus in Your Job Search, visit macslist.org/focus.

And now, let’s get back to the show!

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Christie Mims.

Christie Mims is the Founder and CEO of The Revolutionary Club, the number one destination for smart people who are unwilling to settle for anything less than career happiness.   

Her website has been named a Forbes Top 100 for careers and she herself has been named one of the top 29 coaches to follow on the internet.

Christie joins us today from Oakland, California.

Christie, thanks for being on the show.

Christie Mims:

I’m delighted to be here.

Mac Prichard:

Well it’s a pleasure to have you and we’re talking this week about a topic we return to often on the podcast, that’s LinkedIn. We’re talking about LinkedIn mistakes. You, in your work, see people make a lot of the same mistakes again and again. In fact, you have a top four list of common LinkedIn mistakes, and I want to walk through them, Christie, but before we do, that I know you feel passionate about the value of LinkedIn and how it can help people with their networks. Could you tell us more about that?

Christie Mims:

Yes, so because I specialize in helping people find their passion, I know how hard it is when you are stuck in a job that you hate, to even contemplate getting out of it. One of the fastest and most efficient ways to do that is to let other people do the work for you. I’m a big believer in making life easy and the way you do that is through your network. Whether you are trying to figure out a new job path or you’re just trying to find that next opportunity in your career, LinkedIn is such a valuable tool.

Now it has its issues, don’t get me wrong, but used correctly and used effectively it can fast-track your job search and also open you up to a whole new world of ideas for what is possible in your career. That’s why I love it as a tool.

Mac Prichard:

I want to talk about those strategic choices but I’m glad you’re bringing this up because I think that many people with LinkedIn, they think it’s like creating a resume, it’s sort of one and done, “Okay, I updated my LinkedIn profile. Now I don’t have to think about that for the next three to five years when I begin my next job search.” Why is that a mistake, Christie?

Christie Mims:

Oh, I’m so glad we’re talking about this. It is a mistake. LinkedIn is not your resume. I feel like, if your resume is a suit, LinkedIn is the casual sweater that you wear on casual Friday. That means that it’s something you’re gonna be pulling out a lot. What I mean by that is, recruiters search all the time looking for people with certain skill sets, industries change, what keywords they’re looking for, so it’s really important to be engaged on LinkedIn in order to show up in search results and to be able to connect with the right people in terms of your career. It’s something that you’re going to want to update, at minimum, once a year, but it’s probably something you’re going to want to take a look at several times a year just to make sure that you are on track with the new skills that you’ve acquired, the new trainings or certifications that you’ve recently got, with any awards that you’ve won. Just checking in and seeing what’s happening and what’s different on the platform. Because LinkedIn is changing all the time, so you want to be connected to it. It’s not a piece of paper, it’s a living entity that they’re constantly updating and editing. The way to be visible is to be on it.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s talk about that, how people should be on LinkedIn, because I can imagine listeners saying to themselves, “Well, you want me to visit everyday? An annual update, that might make sense. How often should I come and what should I be doing?” Again, bring it back to your broader point about networking and how people need to pay attention to that.

Christie Mims:

Well first of all, to me, and this is not just me saying this, this is endless amounts of research, the best and most efficient way to get a job is through your network. If you just apply, and LinkedIn has a ton of job application openings, but if you just apply, your chances of getting a job just from that are somewhere around below ten percent. If you network, just network and not apply, your chances of getting a job are somewhere above seventy percent. If you put those two figures together, you’re looking pretty good.

LinkedIn is a tool to build your network. Of course the best time to build your network is not when you are desperately searching for a job or right when you get laid off. It’s before you need it, because your network is really just about being human and having conversations and building relationships. You’re not building friendships, so don’t panic about that, but you are trying to be a person who’s out there being a human being. Not someone who is just absolutely desperate for a job. You can, by getting on LinkedIn regularly, and I would define “regularly” as probably at minimum, once a week. Just checking in on your connections and your newsfeed. Maybe posting or sharing something. You’re already starting to build that haibt and you’re beginning to not only build, but maintain, that network. I’m talking about ten or fifteen minutes here, it’s not a lot of time. That alone can go a long way when you need it.

Mac Prichard:

We’re going to get to your list of top four LinkedIn mistakes people should avoid in a moment, but let’s talk about habits which you brought up a moment ago. What are good LinkedIn habits that people should be practicing when they visit the site once a week for fifteen, twenty, or even thirty minutes?

Christie Mims:

That’s a great question. There’s a few things off the top of my head that I would recommend doing. First is just scrolling through your newsfeed and seeing if anyone’s posted anything interesting or shared anything interesting. If so, comment or like it. I have a pretty public profile on LinkedIn but there are people who just comment and like regularly and I pay attention to that. I know who they are even though we’ve never met. Just simply doing that can raise your profile.

The second thing is to check into some of your warm connections, people who you think might be a good reference for you, or who you’re very loosely connected to and just see what they’re up to. Because you’re newsfeed isn’t going to show you everything, so if there’s a few people you want to reach out to in the future or you are connected to and you want to maintain that connection, it is good to see what they’ve posted recently because again, a simple like or comment every now and again on their postings can keep you in their sphere of knowledge, if you will, so that they know who you are even if you’re not that closely connected. That’s really all you need for your network, is for people to know you well enough to have a conversation with you.

Then the third thing that I do is I work on growing my network a little bit. I would do a search on LinkedIn for people, or for jobs, or for companies that you are interested in and see what comes up. Periodically, if you see something interesting, reach out to that person and ask for a few minutes of their time to do an informational interview or to connect further or whatever it is, or just add them to your list of people that you want to follow and check up on every few weeks. To do that regular networking hygiene, does that make sense, Mac?

Mac Prichard:

It does. A lot of the suggestions are all excellent, are about asking people for help. What are your recommendations, Christie, about how people can serve their network, especially on LinkedIn?

Christie Mims:

That’s a great question. Coming at it from the other perspective, there’s a few things that you can do.

First off, just posting relevant things on the platform that you think might help your network. What relevant means depends a little bit on what you’re trying to do, but first and foremost, it would be anything related to career or business. That’s what people are looking for from LinkedIn specifically and that’s the kind of help that people want. If you share an article, if you share an update, if you share some advice, whatever it might be, that’s really great. That will only take you a few seconds to post. Even just a couple times a week will go a long way or once a week.

Second is, if you want to start developing expertise and positioning yourself as more of a credible expert, you can write a few blog posts or articles and post them on LinkedIn. They will be endlessly searchable and anyone who is looking for that can find it and that not only sets you up as helping your network, but gives you that aura of knowing what you’re talking about. Both of which are good things.

Those are two easy places to start.

Mac Prichard:

Those are great suggestions. Now let’s turn to the things you shouldn’t do. You have a list of four errors you see people make and we offer this in a spirit of humility. Candidly, Christie, I’ve made all of these myself, and I’m not trying to put my co-hosts on the spot, but I suspect they’ve done so too. None of them are shaking their heads vigorously no, so…I think this is about helping people get better.

Number one on your list is, sending the default LinkedIn connection invitation. Tell us more about this and why is this a big no-no, Christie?

Christie Mims:

Yes, let me start with why it’s a no-no. Because it tells that person you’re trying to connect with nothing about you. Therefore they have no idea who you are, they don’t know why you want to connect, and they have to then go and look you up if they want to do their research before they open up their connection to you. You’re basically asking them to do homework on you. You’re making their life harder. Which is why it’s definitely a do-not-do.

There’s a lot of people…there’s a lot of bad apples out there who ask to get connected to you and then they spam you. A lot of us have gotten really strict about who we’ll connect with and who we won’t. If you don’t tell the person anything about yourself, why on earth should they waste a second looking you up if you don’t take that time?

Make sure that you send a personal connection request. It can be as short as a sentence or two saying, “Hey, here’s how I know you and here’s why I want to connect with you. I’ve read a blog you posted, I loved it. I would love to connect with you here.” “I saw that you are doing interesting work in x,y,z, industry, I’d love to just connect with you here.” It can be so simple but that way you’re explaining why you’re reaching out.

Now, that being said, LinkedIn actually makes it really hard to send a personalized message because they prompt you to connect all the time and if you click that button, it automatically sends that one sentence email with nothing attached to it. It’s really easy to do it by mistake. The best thing you can do is if there’s someone that you really want to connect with, go to their profile and then connect with them from there and you can usually personalize the message.

Mac Prichard:

I will say from personal experience, like you, I get a large number of LinkedIn invitations and fewer than one out of ten take the time to write that one or two sentence invitation, but when they do, I click through and I look at their profile because I want to know more about them.

Christie Mims:

Yes, I usually do as well or I just accept it if what they’ve written seems reasonable to me. You really stand out in a very good way if you take the time to write two sentences. This is an exercise that should take you less than a minute. Go to their profile, take a quick look, and then write your two sentences. It’s not hard to do but you’ll just look so great and people are much more likely to connect with you. Once you’ve connected, then you can email them and you can start to build a relationship. You need to get that connection first which is why it’s so important to take the time to do it right.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, simple advice, but I hear from so many people who want to build a relationship inside a company or other organization that they hope to work in one day and that’s a great way to do it.

Now let’s move on to number two on your list of the mistakes you see which is, people ask to connect on LinkedIn with someone else but they do it through email or another platform. How does that hurt a job seeker or someone managing their career?

Christie Mims:

Anytime you make my life harder, I’m annoyed with you. That’s the short of it. If you’re making a hiring manager’s life harder or a connection’s life harder, they’re not going to want to help you. If you’re reaching out to them on a different platform, asking them to connect on LinkedIn without sending a link or making it easy, why should they take the time? You didn’t take the time to connect with them on LinkedIn yourself; why should they take the time to make an effort to connect with you?

Again, anytime you’re doing something like that, you need to ask yourself, “Why should this person do me this favor? How am I making their life easier?” Make sure that when you reach out you’re doing it in the easiest possible way for the person to say yes.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, so make it easy.

Number three on your list, and I wince because I have done this more often than I care to admit, it’s misspelling somebody’s name. Why could this potentially be a fatal error, Christie?

Christie Mims:

Well, it makes you seem like kind of a jerk, and like you really don’t care because you haven’t taken the effort to do the most basic rule of human politeness which is to get someone’s name right. If you want help from someone, if you want a connection, you want something from them, even essentially a LinkedIn connection request, you’re asking for a favor. So make sure that you do it in the most polite way possible. Get their name right.

I agree with you, Mac, I’ve done it myself. I’m more sensitive to it because my name is not a shortened name for anything. Christie is not shortened for Christine or Christina. People think that it is and they get that wrong all the time. But on LinkedIn in particular, when you’re connecting with someone, their name is usually right in front of you. It’s really hard to get it wrong and when you do it means you’re really not paying attention. You’re communicating that, “I am not caring enough to even get this right.” That tells the other person they shouldn’t even bother interacting with you.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, it is definitely a forehead slapping moment. I will say that when I’ve done it and caught my error, to try to recover, I also send a quick note saying, “My apologies, I misspelled your name.”

Christie Mims:

That is the perfect response because we all get that we’re human and if you follow up and catch your mistake, you’re forgiven ninety-nine percent of the time.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I think people appreciate that.

Fourth on your list is spam. Now how do you define spamming on LinkedIn, Christie?

Christie Mims:

I think it’s two different ways. The traditional way when you send out a blast email to all of your connections. That’s one way, the way any spammer, when you think about spam, and you can, you can send out mass emails to your connections and that’s always wrong. That is always inappropriate because there’s no way that all of them need to know what you’re up to. The best way to get a response is to be personal and tailored.

The other way to spam people is to send personal messages but you’re cutting and pasting. You’re basically pitching them on a product or an idea that they did not ask for and is not a fit. I get people pitching me all the time on products and services, where if they took half a second and looked at my website, they would realize are not appropriate to pitch me and it’s really annoying. Because LinkedIn is not set up to have a basic unsubscribe; it’s a lot harder to disconnect with people than when you join someone’s email list. It’s the rule of law, you have to have an unsubscribe button on every email so it’s easy to drop off but in LinkedIn it requires effort. Don’t do that, don’t make someone’s life harder, don’t take advantage of the system. That’s not what LinkedIn is for.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, in the end it’s about relationships and back to your original point, the value of a network and helping that network grow and also serving it before you actually need to ask for help, isn’t it?

Christie Mims:

Yes, the best time to start networking is ten years ago, but the second best time is today.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, well terrific.

Christie Mims:

You can start today and it really doesn’t take a lot of time. Just a few minutes a week and you can start to build a network. It can be that simple as long as you’re consistent.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, well Christie, tell us what’s next for you?

Christie Mims:

Well, the thing that I always like to tell people is, I know so many of us hate our jobs and struggle in our careers, and that’s where you’re going to spend most of your lives, you’re going to work  for fifty years these days. It’s important that you like what you do, so for anyone who’s struggling with that, who does not like what they do, who feels stuck or trapped, or like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, you’re going to be in this job until you die, I’m here to help. I have a free guide for anyone who needs it. It’s simple steps to finding work that you love and you can grab it right on my website, therevolutionaryclub.com. It’s right there, so if you land on the website you’re welcome to help yourself.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific. I know people can learn a lot more about you and get some wonderful advice by going to therevolutionaryclub.com. Christie, thanks for being on the show.

Christie Mims:

I enjoyed it. Thanks for having me.

Mac Prichard:

It’s a pleasure, take care.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Becky and Jessica. That was a fun, energetic conversation with Christie.

Jessica Black:

That was so great. I loved her energy. We’re big LinkedIn…nerds, should I say?

Becky Thomas:

Oh yeah, we’re nerdery.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. We’re nerdery. Data, quizzes, LinkedIn.

Jessica Black:

Just add it to the list of what we nerd out about.

But yeah, it was such a fun interview to hear.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah it was.

Jessica Black:

I loved all of her comments.

Becky Thomas:

Can I make a confession to you guys?

Jessica Black:

Yes please.

Mac Prichard:

Please.

Becky Thomas:

Mac, as you and Christie were talking, I went to LinkedIn and I sent a connection request to Christie without a personal message. Her first mistake was that and I was like, “Oh shoot.” So Christie, I’m sorry. But these things happen, I guess this is the example. I’m so embarrassed.

Jessica Black:

Can you…in your messages, you can go in…

Becky Thomas:

I tried. But it was only in my inmail and I’m not a premium member, so…

Jessica Black:

Oh…right. Well, she will forgive you.

Becky Thomas:

I don’t know if she will because she was being, you know, she was being pretty clear about, “I might not forgive you.”

Jessica Black:

That is very true.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah. It’s okay, we all makes mistakes. I think it’s about, don’t beat yourself up if you make one because it’s easy to make them.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, we’re human.

Becky Thomas:

It’s good to keep in mind some of the tips that she shared.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely.

Becky Thomas:

I really liked the point about you need to invest in your network before you need them.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely, I think that is so crucial.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah.

Jessica Black:

Update your LinkedIn constantly and consistently and not just when you’re transitioning jobs. Don’t forget about it, it’s a living document, you get to use it all the time. Like she was saying, bare minimum, once a week, but I mean, I go to LinkedIn at least every other day if not every day.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I’m glad you do that, but don’t panic our listeners.

Jessica Black:

No, no, no, it’s not a requirement.

Mac Prichard:

We’re kind of in business, the three of us. Yeah.

Becky Thomas:

Right.

Jessica Black:

Again, I’m a LinkedIn nerd, so I go and I don’t spend that much time. I go and I check, like she said, I check the post, the feed, see what my network is up to. I get to see who’s had a work anniversary, what’s new with people and check all of my incoming requests and that sort of thing. Yeah, then I go back to my business and it’s no big deal.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking.

Jessica Black:

No, but when you get a promotion or you take on a new responsibility at work, you should be adding that to your LinkedIn immediately. You should add that to your resume immediately as well so it’s constantly updated, but that way people can see what you’re doing and it shows what you’re offering, and what you’re taking on, and all the cool things you’re doing.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and I loved her suggestion that you just go once a week because sometimes when people are new to LinkedIn, or they’re unfamiliar with it, it can feel overwhelming.

Jessica Black:

Of course.

Mac Prichard:

Like you can’t get started and the idea, and I think she’s right about this, you just invest fifteen to twenty minutes a week and to your point, Jessica, update your profile a few times a year depending on new responsibilities or rewards. You will be so far ahead of everybody else. Most importantly, you’ll be solving that bigger question that she brought up which is, using LinkedIn strategically both to grow and to serve your network.

Jessica Black:

That’s right.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, great.

Jessica Black:

One more thing I really liked, she said at one point that we’re all just humans trying to be humans on this thing and so I think that that’s a really key component, too. It’s not a way that you’re being perfect or anything like that, you’re just trying to make connections on an online platform and you don’t have to be best friends with the person. But there’s this space so you can network without having to do it in person and obviously it goes hand-in-hand with the in-person networking. It’s building those connections through your online network and keeping it relevant so I think that’s really important.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, agreed, well thank you, Christie, for joining us this week, and thank you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

If you’re still working through that first step of your job search, and it’s an important one, figuring out what you want to do, I really think you’d benefit from our new goal-setting resource, Finding Focus in Your Job Search.

Don’t delay, go to our website. Visit macslist.org/focus, and you can download your own copy right now. Again, download that free, step-by-step guide by macslist.org/focus.

Join us next week when our special guest will be Donna Serdula. She’ll explain how to let recruiters on LinkedIn know you’re open. Our LinkedIn theme continues.

Jessica Black:

We have a theme, yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

We all know that LinkedIn is an important part of any job search. But too many people keep making basic mistakes on LinkedIn. Our guest expert Christie Mims shares four LinkedIn mistakes we can all avoid to improve the way we build and engage our network on LinkedIn. The key is the invest in your network before you need a favor.

About Our Guest: Christie Mims

Christie Mims is the founder and CEO of The Revolutionary Club, the number one destination for smart people who are unwilling to settle for anything less than career happiness. Her website has been named a Forbes Top 100 for careers, and she herself has been named one of the top 29 coaches to follow on the internet.

Resources in this Episode: