How to Tell Your Story on LinkedIn, with Shelly Elsliger

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 134:

How to Tell Your Story on LinkedIn, with Shelly Elsliger

Airdate: April 11, 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, Ben Forstag. Ben is back, filling in for Jessica Black, who is on vacation.

This week, we’re talking about how to tell your story on LinkedIn.

You probably know that you shouldn’t treat your LinkedIn profile as an online resume. Instead, says this week’s guest expert, Shelly Elsliger, use LinkedIn to tell your professional story.

She says, if you do it right, you can establish yourself as a leader in your industry. Shelly and I talk more about LinkedIn’s story telling powers later in the show.

Here’s a warning Humanities majors often get in college: expect to earn less than your peers after you graduate and eventually throughout your career. Becky has good news for Liberal Arts students everywhere. A new study says that doesn’t mean you will end up as a starving artist. She tells us more in a moment.

You’re a single parent. School lets out at three. But your work day doesn’t end until five. How do find an employer who will give you the flexible hours you need to take care of your family? That’s our question of the week. It comes from Cheryl Jacoby in Vancouver, Washington. Ben shares his advice shortly.

First, as always, let’s check in with the Mac’s List team.

Becky, you’re out there every week poking around the nooks and crannies of the Internet looking for tools, books, and websites our listeners can use in a job search or their career. What have you uncovered for our listeners this week, Becky?

Becky Thomas:

I have a study that came out just recently that addresses a big question we all have in our professional lives or our lives in general. The question is: Should you choose a field of study based on the strength of the job market or should you follow your dreams?

There’s been a lot of shifting in the discourse about how people should make education decisions. My generation (cursed millennials), was told we could do anything we wanted, follow our dreams, and then the Great Recession happened as we entered the workforce! Lots of my contemporaries struggled to build careers out of college with their history and literature degrees and their “useless degrees”.

As technology has advanced exponentially in the last couple of decades, the common wisdom has been to go study something in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Learn a tangible technical skill or you’ll be ill equipped to enter the workforce. We’ve really made a big shift in the dialogue that’s happening.

But as a student, if you’re trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, what if your passion lies in the Humanities? Do you have to decide whether to be a starving artist or to do something that you might not enjoy? Find a secure career that might make you miserable in the end? We know from professionals out in the world that if you’re unhappy in your job, other things are going to fall apart. How do we decide those things?

Today’s resource really gives hope to those more Liberal Arts minded folks, whether you’re a student or a degree-holder in the Humanities. It’s a new study from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, it’s called,  The State of the Humanities 2018: Graduates in the Workforce & Beyond.” It compares Humanities graduates’ job status, earnings, and job satisfaction against those of graduates from Engineering, Business, and the Sciences (this included Health professions).

Over all, things are looking good for Humanities graduates. A few key findings from the study that I wanted to highlight:

Bachelor’s-degree graduates in Engineering and the Sciences earn roughly $10,000 to $30,000 more after graduation. That’s a big difference but Humanities majors actually catch up over time. This common wisdom that if you get your Humanities degree you’re never going to make as much as Science or Technology person isn’t exactly true. In the current workforce, Humanities majors are eventually making more. You might make less in the beginning but you will eventually make a living wage.

The other point in the study, Humanities grads tracked closely to other fields in terms of job security, job location, and opportunities for advancement. I think this last one is really key, especially for a job seeker, somebody who maybe has a Humanities degree that they’re like, “I don’t know if I can really use this.”

The study was talking a lot about another strength of Humanities majors, which is they don’t necessarily see their education tied to a specific field. It might be unsettling at the beginning to not have a really clear career path, but it means that these Humanities majors are often more agile, they’re more able to pursue a variety of jobs in a lifetime. We all know that people are changing jobs. This actually might prepare you better for that shift in the rollercoaster of a career that can happen.

I think overall this study is interesting to look at in terms of what field of study you want to pursue or looking at the degree that you’ve got. The fact that Humanities and the knowledge of culture, and the knowledge of society, and art, and all of these important things actually do still have a place in our society.

There was also another article that talked about the study in the Seattle Times. It noted a recent report from Microsoft about the future of artificial intelligence and this report called out how important the role of social sciences and humanities will have in the development and management of AI technology. I think that as we’re developing all these technologies we also have to remember that we’re all humans. The fact that we have to continue to study these things is really cool to me.

The bottom line for this, I think, is that a Humanities degree doesn’t place you in that starving artist category for life. While pay does start out lower, compensation does grow over time, and I think ambitious professionals can really use this broad foundation of liberal arts, communication skills, and other soft skills that are actually still a really important part of today’s workforce.

Ben Forstag:

I actually got into an argument with a friend about this exact article when it came out. Yeah, it was all of us Humanities students trying to figure out what’s going on.

Mac Prichard:

Should we all go around the table and quickly identify our undergraduate majors?

Ben Forstag:

Political science.

Mac Prichard:

Political science.

Becky Thomas:

English and journalism.

Mac Prichard:

And a Latin American minor studies over here.   

Becky Thomas:

Okay, nice.

Ben Forstag:

I think this totally makes sense to me, especially when you talk about the long term income equality because again, we know people switch careers. You might switch three or four times over the course of your life. If you get very specialized training in one thing, it makes it much harder to pivot out of that and do something different. It might require retraining. It’s true that somebody who’s got a Humanities background can’t jump right into a career in coding, for example. But I think it places them in a situation where it’s much easier to pivot over the course of their career, especially if their formal education was not tied to a specific career path.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

So what position were you arguing with your friend?

Becky Thomas:

Yeah?

Ben Forstag:

My friend, to put all the cards on the table, she works at a higher education institution and for them, one of their key metrics is, “Can we get our students jobs?”

Her take was, “No, students need to specialize because that’s how they get a job right out of college.” That might be true, it might be much easier to get a job right out of college with coding.

It might take, and this is classic Liberal Arts take, “Yeah, but there’s value outside of education.” The value of education is more than just job training; it teaches you how to learn and how to think, and how to socialize and all these other things. I think over the course of a career, you’re going to be in a much better position having a general degree.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, this study certainly rang true for me, Becky. When I look at people I knew both as an undergraduate and later in my career, I find that the Liberal Arts educations help people be more nimble and make those pivots as things have changed. Well it’s a great resource.

Thanks for sharing it, Becky. If you’ve got a suggestion for Becky please write her; we’d love to share your idea on the show. Her address is becky@macslist.org.

Now, let’s turn to you, our listeners. Jessica Black remains on vacation, good for her. Ben is back for the second week in a row filling in for Jessica.  What’s in the mailbag this week?

Ben Forstag:

This is a really good question. I like this one. This one comes from Cheryl Jacoby of Vancouver, Washington. Cheryl asks:

“I’m a single mom. Regular work hours are 9-5. But regular school hours are 8-3. How can I find employers who will provide the flexibility I need to take care of my family?”

This is a question that a lot of people have and you don’t need to be a single mother to empathize. My wife and I, we’ve got two little ones and the greatest question we ask each other every week is, “Who decided that preschool starts at nine o’clock and ends at two-thirty?” It doesn’t jive with either of our jobs. It’s a struggle.

Cheryl, I’m going to suggest two different, but mutually supportive, approaches to think through this:

The first one is, target “family friendly employers”–in other words, companies that are most likely to provide flexibility for working parents like yourself.

Some companies are really open about this. They’ll say right in their job description that they’re family friendly. I think this is a trend; you see more and more employers do that especially as the labor markets get tighter. But even if the companies don’t explicitly make this claim, you can sometimes read between the lines. Certain code words, like “work-life balance” or “flexibility” can indicate an employer can accommodate your family needs.

Also take a look at the benefits the company offers if you can find that information. An employer that provides parental leave or paid childcare is probably going to provide support to working parents in other areas of your life, including time and flexibility. I’ve even heard of some firms that offer things like financial assistance for IVF or adoption services. If they’re trying to get you pregnant, they’re going to be flexible about your work once you have a kid.

That’s targeting specific types of employers that can help you.

The second approach involves being proactive and creative about how you can mold your work-life balance around your parenting schedule.

Look… in most organizations, the bottom line is that the work gets done on schedule. How it gets done, or when that happens, is often up to your discretion. That’s more and more true the farther you get in your career, generally. If you can’t work within that normal 9-5 timeframe, it really behooves you to explain to the hiring manager exactly when and how you can make up the time and get the work that needs to be done.

Don’t leave it up to the hiring manager to figure this out. Be proactive about it. Maybe you  propose that you’re going to work from home for a couple hours before and after your kids go to school, so you can be there to help them with that transition. That you’re going to find some other solution around that 9-5 schedule. If you do this well, a lot of employers will be willing to meet you in the middle there and find a way to make it work.

I’ll add that the best time to do this kind of negotiation around flexibility is probably closer to the end of the hiring process than at the beginning. We always have the most leverage–the most bargaining power–when an offer is on the table. Of course, waiting that long in the hiring process can be really stressful if family flexibility is a must have, and it sounds like Cheryl, if she’s the one parent at home, she must be there when her kids go to school and get picked up. It can be angsty to wait until a job is literally on the table before you have that discussion.  Be strategic about it, but again, waiting is probably going to get you the best results. Mac, Becky, any additional thoughts here? The two non-parents in the room.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, I mean, as a non-parent I think you probably have better advice than I do, but that does make sense to me. I wonder…it sounds like Cheryl might currently have a job so I think that some of that advice about coming up with a plan and bringing it to, whether it’s your hiring manager or current employer, and be like, “Here’s how I can make this work. Here’s how I’m planning to get this work done outside of normal hours. Let’s give it a try with a trial period.” That seems very reasonable and hopefully it works out.

Ben Forstag:

I think that idea of you being proactive with the solution is the answer to any barrier to any job problem you may have. Instead of presenting it to the employer as a problem and say, “You guys figure it out”; it’s like, “Here’s the problem, here’s what I propose we do.” If it’s an an equitable fix and they really want you, they’re probably going to say “Yes, that’s fine.”

Mac Prichard:

I think that’s right and I also think that when you present that plan, if you’ve been doing good work, the employer won’t want to lose you. They value what you’re accomplishing, and candidly, it’s expensive to replace people and disruptive too. If you present a plan that allows you to continue to do good work and be productive, I think you’ll find that most employers will be very open to that conversation.

Ben Forstag:

Thank’s guys, and thank you, Cheryl.

Mac Prichard:

Thank you, Cheryl, and thank you, Ben for filling in for Jessica these last two weeks. If you’ve got a question you’d like us to feature on the show, please send Jessica an email. Her address is jessica@macslist.org – she’ll be back here in the studio next Wednesday. You can also call our listener line; that number is area-code 716-JOB-TALK – or post your question on Facebook, we love getting messages on our Facebook page. I believe, Becky, didn’t we break the six thousand barrier on Facebook this week?

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, six thousand folks like our page on Facebook. Go check out Mac’s List on Facebook.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, terrific.

Ben Forstag:

You could be number six thousand and one.

Mac Prichard:

Alright. Well, if we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere

We’ll be back in just a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert, Shelly Elsliger, about How to Tell Your Story on LinkedIn.

We all know that first impressions matter. The very first thing a hiring manager sees is your cover letter. That letter gives you a make-or-break opportunity to wow an employer. Yet too many job seekers squander this chance. They send a cover letter with typos, a sloppy format, and cut-and-paste text.

Avoiding those rookies mistakes isn’t enough. You also have to tell a compelling story.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?  In fact, if you follow a few simple rules, you can write a cover letter that gets you an interview!

I’ve created a guide that shows you how to do this. It’s called Simple Rules for a Winning Cover Letter. Inside, I explain the ideal content, structure, and style that appeal to hiring managers.  And you get examples and templates to write your own winning cover letters.

Get Simple Rules for a Winning Cover Letter today. Go to  macslist.org/coverletter.

Start transforming your cover letter today. Again, that’s macslist.org/coverletter.

Now, back to the show!

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Shelly Elsliger.

Shelly Elsliger is a globally recognized LinkedIn trainer and she’s the president of Linked-Express.

Shelly brings a unique breadth of knowledge, as well as fun and passion, to all of her workshops and speaking engagements.

Her signature workshop — LinkedUp: Rise and Lead Online –has helped countless professionals maximize both personal and professional brands and social media influence.

Shelly  joins us today from Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

Shelly, thanks for being on the show.

Shelly Elsliger:

Thanks for having me, Mac.

Mac Prichard:

Well, I’m excited to have you on the show because I know you’re often called The LinkedIn Wonder Woman. You know all there is to know about LinkedIn and when we were talking before the show, you really stressed the importance of telling stories on LinkedIn. That’s our topic today.

Shelly Elsliger:

Yes, stories on LinkedIn.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, now tell us, Shelly, why is that so important? Because as you know, people often think of LinkedIn as an online resume. Why should people think about telling their stories on LinkedIn?

Shelly Elsliger:

LinkedIn was never really meant to be a job search site or an online resume. I think it just developed into that realm just because it is an awesome networking site. I think people just associate it with getting a job, and finding the right people, and finding the human resource managers that they need to reach out to. I think it just became that way over the years but in reality LinkedIn has always been about really having a brand online, being approachable, and having a career story.

If you actually look at LinkedIn from the background photo to the actual story, which I call the summary, down through into the recommendations and the skills section, you can easily see where everything combines and works together as a story. From the cover page, to the title, to the content, to the stuff that backs the story up, and to the testimonials that people have and give when they enjoy the story.

Mac Prichard:

I want to dig into the elements of the story, and you’ve outlined them for us. Before we do that, Shelly, tell us about the benefits of using LinkedIn as a storytelling platform. How is this going to help both job seekers and people who are managing their careers.

Shelly Elsliger:

The most important thing for people to remember is that relationship building comes first. We don’t normally build relationships through something that’s rehearsed or something that’s cookie cutter. We tend to really build relationships through getting to know people. If we just put a copy and paste of our resume on our LinkedIn profiles and think that that’s good enough, then we’re not really thinking about relationship building. We’re not actually thinking about what’s in it for them because if we think about what’s in it for them, then we understand that they have to connect with us and the only way they can connect with us online is if they understand what we’re about. Who we are, what our value is, what we like, what makes us up, what our backgrounds are, what stimulates us, what we enjoy. That’s what really puts somebody in touch with somebody else.

I know for myself, how I have become the LinkedIn Wonder Woman, is because I allowed myself to be vulnerable and authentic. I allowed myself to be me and then that way brought on a lot of relationships, because people could see who I was about.

Mac Prichard:

I love your point about the connection that results from storytelling, Shelly, because when we tell stories, or when we listen to them, there’s an emotional connection that results, isn’t there?

Shelly Elsliger:

Absolutely.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and I think that typically people think about telling a story to try to inspire or move someone to action, but in this case we’re talking about uses stories to help in our careers. I’m reminded of somebody I know who’s an expert on storytelling and he was talking about the power of stories and he said, “Nobody ever marched on Washington because of good data. You have to have stories that engage us.” I think that’s true as well in our careers.

Shelly Elsliger:

Exactly.

Mac Prichard:

Now let’s dig into this…how do you see the people that you work with use storytelling effectively? You mentioned the elements of a LinkedIn profile. What are some ideas you can share with our listeners, Shelly, about how people can apply this story telling approach to their LinkedIn page?

Shelly Elsliger:

I think there are three things that you can take a look at.

Number one, your story that you write. The content that you give and how you write it. Because if we take a look, for example, at the tagline in your branding statement, instead of using a title, we can actually use a hundred and twenty characters to actually speak about what our worth is, what we do, what solutions we can solve. We can also indicate our level of confidence the way that we write our tagline because actually, I compare it to the title of our story. When we have a strong title, that motivates more people to want to read more. I think it’s really important, what we put in the tagline and also what we put in the content.

There are two thousand characters available in the content and I think that the most important thing is that we start off with the hook, which is the first two sentences, because that follows our profile everywhere. That shouldn’t just be about content that is the average content; this is something that should hook you, it should stand out, something that people will resonate and want to read more. Then continue on with your story.

I think what we say and how we say it is definitely important. Then the other thing about telling our story online is it’s the words that we use. A lot of people use filler words. I know that in 2018 so far, the biggest filler word is, it starts with a p and we all know it really well, it’s called passionate. If we can stop using so many filler words and start using words that matter and resonate with people, and also words that are searchable.

I think that we’ll be able to connect more with people because our stories will be more pertinent, and will matter more, and won’t be as fluffy, but more meaningful.

Mac Prichard:

Shelly, let’s pause there for a moment. Tell me, how can people identify those filler words? Because I can imagine a listener thinking, “Well I am passionate and I want to share that.”

Shelly Elsliger:

If people love to use the word “passionate”, the word “motivated”, or the word “specialized”, these are all considered filler words by LinkedIn. You can use them but I just think that people over do it and we have to watch that. With too many fluff words, our stories become less meaningful. I think that the most important thing is that when we’re writing our story, to think of words that can impact readers more so than fluff words, which can actually lessen the meaning in our stories.

I think that looking at words that actually create impact is one thing. The other thing that you can do is if you have an expertise at something, find out the words that resonate with those expertise. Fill in some of those words because that allows you to show that you know what you’re talking about. There’s some thought leadership associated with that.

The third thing is how you write. Often, when it’s a resume people cut and paste their resume. They just cut and paste it, normally it’s point form or it’s long paragraph form. It doesn’t allow people to digest the information well or get a sense of your character or your personality. When we write in small paragraphs and we make sure we’re speaking to the audience or the viewers that we want to attract, we can pretend that we’re in an actual networking session. We can think about what we would say if we were talking to somebody offline face-to-face.

Mac Prichard:

Write the way you talk.

Shelly Elsliger:

Write the way you talk.

Mac Prichard:

Always great advice for any kind of writing assignment, isn’t it?

Well, you mentioned thought leadership a moment ago. How can people both tell their story and at the same time show leadership in their industry on LinkedIn?

Shelly Elsliger:

This is the other thing I was going to mention earlier, is that we often think about our profiles as the thing that is the most important on LinkedIn, and I would say that there’s actually three parts on LinkedIn that actually work together to make a LinkedIn experience.

That would be the profile, or the story. The other thing would be how we actually control our positioning on LinkedIn. What I mean by that is how we promote our visibility on LinkedIn. How we extend our reach on LinkedIn and our visibility. The third thing would be how we create a consistent brand. That’s not only about what we market but how we’re consistent on LinkedIn.

So those are the three things that I think everybody has to take a look at because one thing doesn’t work together. If we build our story and just leave it there and expect people to come, they’re not going to come. I think we have to get into a habit of making sure that we’re visible on LinkedIn, whether that’s using our knowledge and our expertise to create information on our newsfeed, or create publications through Pulse, or to find people that are somewhat connected to our industry. Start relating with them, either actually commenting on posts, sharing their posts, liking, there are so many ways that you can actually be more visible on LinkedIn and those are just a few of them.

Mac Prichard:

Not only share your story but publish content that’s helpful to others, then engage with people on LinkedIn. Those are three great strategies. What about listening? How important is that in both being successful on LinkedIn but also in helping to share our stories on the platform.

Shelly Elsliger:

Listening, and active listening, as I call it, is important both on and offline. I think the most important reason being, online, and it requires even a higher level of listening skills…that would be because instead of jumping, and assuming, and going out there with expectations, we have to realize what our target audience really wants and give what they want.

The LinkedIn experience is really not about always focusing on our needs and wants. Really good networkers understand the needs and wants of others and the only way you can really find out that information is by truly listening. That means, what are people writing on LinkedIn? What are they asking on LinkedIn? What are some of the solutions that they’re looking for or the problems that they’re looking to solve? See if you can solve it, or if you cannot solve it, maybe you can help in some way.

Mac Prichard:

How much time do you typically find that people need to spend on LinkedIn during a typical week to make a difference?

Shelly Elsliger:

Okay, according to LinkedIn and the five hundred and forty-six million users that are on LinkedIn, the average person only spends about seventeen minutes a month. Those are not the people that are actually living the LinkedIn experience and actually enjoying and getting the most out of LinkedIn that they can. You can technically do LinkedIn in about fifteen minutes a day, because I think it’s the consistency that matters and once you have your profile built, you know exactly what you want to do, and what you haven’t done already, and what you need to do tomorrow. It becomes a routine.

I tend to spend about thirty minutes on LinkedIn a day. I mean I go back on there to see what my connections and my network are up to but I spend thirty minutes a day providing things, and providing support, and providing help for my network. Everyday I wake up, it’s my morning time with my coffee, and I decide, “How can I help somebody in my network today?” Or maybe even multiple people, and that’ll either be because I think that someone is presented with a problem, or I think I can provide a solution. Or I see that somebody has written something and I just want to support them because I know that what goes around comes around. I know that at the end of the day, when I wake up with that kind of spirit, that kind of desire, it’s going to come back to me in some way and usually much more than I’ve ever expected.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific advice. Shelly, tell us what’s next for you.

Shelly Elsliger:

Well, my signature workshop is Rise Up and Lead Online. That’s for everybody. But my other signature workshop is LinkedIn In High Heels and it’s really devoted to women leaders, women executives. These women can go into an online networking event and have presence, have a voice, but then they get online and it’s a completely different world. There’s nothing more exciting to me than to work with women and aspiring leaders who aim to go far in business. To just see them rise. Their level of expertise on online, and their voices online, and their visibility.

Mac Prichard:

Well, that’s exciting work. I know people can learn more about you and your workshops by visiting your website, which is linkedexpress.ca. They can also find you on LinkedIn as well.

Shelly, thanks for being on the program today.

Shelly Elsliger:

Thanks for having me, Mac.

Mac Prichard:

You’re welcome, take care.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Becky and Ben. What are some of your thoughts about my conversation with Shelly?

Becky Thomas:

I really like the storytelling focus. I think it’s so key to elevating your LinkedIn profile from something rudimentary to something that’s compelling. I liked all of it but I guess I would say that the point she was making about paying attention to the headline and summary, and making sure that you’re telling a consistent story but also really hooking  your audience. Thinking about what is it going to stop your audience in their tracks and what types of things that you want to be known for. I think it’s really important.

Mac Prichard:

Ben, what are your thoughts?

Ben Forstag:

I liked her emphasis on using it on a day-to-day regular basis. That’s really where you’re going to extract the most value from LinkedIn. You might remember back at the turn of the century there was this product called the Ron Popeil rotisserie oven. It was advertised on tv all the time.

I’m getting to my point, Becky, don’t look at me like that.

Becky Thomas:

Are you sure?

Mac Prichard:

There’s a quizzical look on Becky’s face.

Ben Forstag:

The motto was set it and forget it.

Mac Prichard:

Right.

Ben Forstag:

Just turn it on, walk away and ten hours later you had a cooked ham. LinkedIn is not set it and forget it.

I think a lot of people just spent so much time focusing on their profiles. If they can just get their profile perfect, then they can walk away and the hordes will come to them. I think that’s generally not how it works.

Mac Prichard:

That’s the dream for some people, that a recruiter will call and all their problems will be solved.

Ben Forstag:

You really have to supplement that profile with regular participation on the platform. Like she said, posting articles and commenting on other people’s articles. I think this speaks to this divide we talk about a lot about in job searching where it’s, talking about what you can do versus showing what you can do.

Your profile is all about talking about what you can do, which is nice, but when you start having conversations with people on the platform, or sharing resources, or having astute comments on the things they’re posting, that’s you showing what you can do. That’s when you’re going to get the greatest value from LinkedIn.

Mac Prichard:

I agree. I meet so many job seekers who say, “If I could only get in front of the hiring manager and tell my story, it would make all the difference.” In fact, you can, which is the main point I heard Shelly make. LinkedIn does offer you an opportunity to share your story. You need to do it thoughtfully and you need to do the kind of writing that you mentioned, Becky. Pay attention to the headline and the summary but to your point, Ben, you also have to pay attention to engagement, and networking, and community.

Ben Forstag:

Might I share a personal story here?

Mac Prichard:

Please do.

Ben Forstag:

Right now, we are hiring someone at Mac’s List and we just closed taking applications.

Mac Prichard:

Oh, you guys closed today?

Ben Forstag:

I think we close actually today or tomorrow. One thing I’ve noticed… I notice when candidates who have applied for the job also start looking at my profile on LinkedIn, and start commenting on things that I’ve posted, or liking things that I’ve posted. This isn’t to say that that person is going to get the job or necessarily get the interview but it gets their name on my radar. It’s just one of these things like, “Oh yeah, I know that person. That person has been active on all these other platforms. I’m going to give them more of a look than I might give an anonymous candidate.”

This argument about, “If only I could get in front of the hiring manager…” You totally can and it totally does get noticed. I’m sure Becky’s had a similar experience.

Becky Thomas:

Oh yeah, for sure. Even if they’re not doing much, you get an engagement, that gives you a reason to click on their profile and take a look. It’s subtle and it’s maybe small actions but it makes a big difference in the grand scheme of your career and how people see you.

Ben Forstag:

So much of it is just being top of mind.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah.

Ben Forstag:

Just having that name recognition.

Becky Thomas:

Totally.

Ben Forstag:

That little extra edge helps.

Mac Prichard:

I’m guessing we probably had several dozen applications and how many people took the time to visit your profiles, the two of you? I’m guessing just a handful.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, just a handful, maybe fifteen percent. A third.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, five or six maybe.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and probably as a result, you took an extra look at their page and maybe even Googled them. The point here is that everybody’s got the opportunity to do that. What I’m hearing you say is that just a fraction took advantage of that chance.

Terrific, well thank you both, and thank you, Shelly, for joining us this week, and thank you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

We want to make sure that you make the most of your job applications when you hit that send button. One way to do that is to write the perfect cover letter.

Get our Simple Rules for a Winning Cover Letter  today. Go to macslist.org/coverletter.

Join us next Wednesday when our special guest will be Marie Zimenoff. She’ll debunk common myths about applicant tracking systems.

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

You probably already know that your LinkedIn profile should not be an exact copy of your resume. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to help you tell your professional story. Shelly Elsliger says you can use your LinkedIn presence to establish yourself as a leader, shape and tell a compelling story, and make powerful new connections to advance your career. All through the power of storytelling!  Shelly visits the Find Your Dream Job podcast to share specific tips to tell your story on LinkedIn.

About Our Guest: Shelly Elsliger

Shelly Elsliger is a globally recognized LinkedIn trainer and the president of Linked-Express. Shelly brings a unique breadth of knowledge, as well as fun and passion, to all her workshops and speaking engagements. Her signature workshop “LinkedIn: Rise Up and Lead Online” has helped countless professionals maximize both personal and professional brands and social media influence.

Resources in this Episode: