Executives, Are You Rejecting LinkedIn Connection Requests?

Declining requests to connect because you “don’t know” other users? It’s time to reconsider.

LinkedIn isn’t a tell-all social media site (like Facebook, where you’re often judged by the quality of the company you keep).

Instead, think of the site as a massive, ongoing business networking meeting, where the more people you reach, the more exposure you’ll receive as a leader and executive job seeker. Online networking can be a boon for your executive job search – and the sooner you change your approach, the faster you could land a new job.

Here are 5 reasons to quit rejecting connection requests on LinkedIn, particularly if you’re in the market for a new leadership opportunity:

1 – You could miss out on valuable industry intel.

LinkedIn now contains more than 500 million user accounts. If you’re routinely turning down requests to connect, you’re missing out on a valuable resource for industry knowledge, current-event updates in your field, and peer contacts.

In fact, many of your executive colleagues are using social media to present themselves and their talents to recruiters, as well as to position themselves as thought leaders.

One of the best benefits of LinkedIn is competitive industry intelligence! By connecting to other users, you’ll be able to view status updates, articles, and posts showing career promotions, industry-related questions, and white papers of interest  in your field.

A caveat:  ensure new connections are authentic by clicking on the user’s photo to enlarge it, then right-click and select “Search Google for this image.” If you find the picture has been used in multiple LinkedIn Profiles with varying names, it’s best to report the Profile to LinkedIn as fake. Otherwise, it’s typically safe to accept the request.

Remember, LinkedIn keeps growing… adding millions of members each month and further expanding your opportunity to stay in touch with the right person for the right job. By ignoring new connections, you could be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

2 – You run the risk of looking antiquated.

If you haven’t searched for a job in the past 5 to 10 years, you’re in for a surprise: social media has overtaken many phases of the job hunt, from initial connections to how candidates present employers with their qualifications.

While you can (and should) still follow up a job application with a phone call or even snail-mailed correspondence, many employers are receptive to receiving a short note of interest on LinkedIn. This is true whether they’re actually finding you on the site, or verifying your information after first receiving your resume.

And here’s the simple math:  You’ll have an easier time locating employer contacts if you’re more well-connected, since LinkedIn’s search algorithm relies heavily on your “degree of connectivity” to other users.

Plus, if it looks like you’re not a reasonably active user of social media (with at least 500 connections), hiring authorities might wonder how “current” your skills are and whether you’re staying on top of your field.

3 – You might lose the opportunity for a recruiter’s call.

Many prospective connections exist just on the other side of a recruiter – and that recruiter could be the one who’ll make a difference in landing your next job. LinkedIn is, essentially, a database that allows you to continually edge closer to important resources in your industry. Again, simple math applies here, with more connections leading to more relationships in the site’s burgeoning database.

Since recruiters use paid LinkedIn subscriptions to find and approach talented executive candidates, they’re constantly on the hunt for new leadership job seekers. By becoming more connected to influencers and leaders in your field, your Profile will more readily appear in employer searches on the site.

4 – You won’t be able to gauge your qualifications against competing candidates.

Admit it: one of the reasons you may be intrigued by social media is the opportunity to see what everyone else is doing. (This is certainly true of Facebook.) But if you refuse to participate in what many analysts call the most active site for job seekers, you might miss the chance to see how your credentials stack up against the competition.

Since many users of social media tend to overshare information online, you can gather valuable competitive intelligence from your new connections. Especially if you’re striking out in your job search, you’ll benefit from taking a look at peer candidate Profiles.

Here’s where much of LinkedIn’s value comes into play: if you’ve analyzed common career paths, education, job progression, and skills in your field, you’ll be better able to evaluate how you rank against other job seekers.

Perhaps you’re aiming too high in your job search, or you should be pursuing a different type of executive role. This information can be used to refine your search tactics, career goal, job search activity, and even your Profile information.

5 – Prospective connections could be employed in your target companies.

Even if you’re not familiar with a new connection, you could soon be in need of their assistance – especially if they’re in a hiring role. By graciously accepting a request to connect and even sending a quick thank-you note to your new contact, you could be cultivating a high-value resource of use either now, or at a later point in your career.

By watching your status feed on your LinkedIn home page, you’ll often see connections earning new positions and promotions. Consider that these contacts might be just one degree or two away from hiring managers at their respective companies. A user you reject today might even BECOME your new hiring manager at some point.

Keep these points in mind the next time a new LinkedIn connection request pops up.

Rather than immediately rejecting the invitation, you might reap significant rewards by accepting the opportunity to welcome a valuable new contact.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, using powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

LinkedIn Profile SEO

How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO

In case you haven’t heard, LinkedIn has now attracted more than 500 million members – becoming a hotbed of job search activity, with recruiters pursuing desirable candidates and job seekers vying for attention from hiring decision-makers.

With such fierce competition, you’ll need to employ aggressive keyword and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies in order to be found for a choice job.

Here are the best ways to boost your findability on LinkedIn and optimize your Profile for SEO, including search algorithm strategy and keyword adjustments: Continue reading “How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO”

How to write your LinkedIn Headline

A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline

Far from being just a placeholder, your LinkedIn Profile Headline has an important job to do. If you’ve adjusted it to market you effectively, it can represent your personal brand and become an online promotional workhorse.

The most highly indexed part of your Profile (next to your name), your Headline allows recruiters and employers to locate you, based on the search terms or keywords you specify… so if you’ve filled in only part of the Headline or let LinkedIn populate it with your current job title (the default value), you could be missing out on valuable traffic to your Profile. Don’t let that happen!

Instead, use as many of the 120 characters available in your Headline – ensuring that it represents your career level and personal brand, while distinguishing you from your competition. Try the following formula when you’re stumped for an effective LinkedIn Headline that leverages your industry expertise, achievements, and keywords: Continue reading “A Fast Formula for a Powerful LinkedIn Headline”

Did You Fall for These Resume Myths?

No matter how much advice is published on the subject, some myths still circulate about the best way to write your resume. Fortunately, a lot has changed in resume writing and job search – and you can benefit from these new trends.

For example, you might have been told to keep your resume to a specified length or to always exclude certain types of information. Given how much has changed in the job market, many of these “rules” have fallen by the wayside.

Take a look at the longstanding myths and misconceptions about resume writing, then see which of these apply to your own resume: Continue reading “Did You Fall for These Resume Myths?”

5 Keys to Winning Your Next Executive Job

Moving up to the corner office – or seeking a change in your executive role?

If you haven’t stayed on top of the latest trends in the competitive world of executive job search, prepare to be surprised! A strong social media presence, keyword-rich executive resume, cutting-edge search methods, and intensive follow-up are now required to land a choice leadership position.

Here are 5-must-know trends and search tips to help you access and win your next executive opportunity:

Continue reading “5 Keys to Winning Your Next Executive Job”

3 Phrases That Kill The Effectiveness of Your Executive Resume

Want to distinguish your leadership brand among competing candidates?

Then ditch the boring language you’ve seen on other executive resumes.

Just because other resumes (professionally created or self-written) employ a blend of monotonous, overused words doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.

Shake things up and inject some power into your personal brand message by refusing to add these mundane descriptors to your executive resume: Continue reading “3 Phrases That Kill The Effectiveness of Your Executive Resume”

The 5 Most Worthless Phrases in Your LinkedIn Headline

LinkedIn HeadlineYour LinkedIn Headline is arguably the most important piece of real estate within your Profile.
Yet, many LinkedIn users remain confused how to best use the Headline or how to optimize it for maximum site traffic.

LinkedIn’s search algorithm ranks your Headline as the top indexed field in your Profile (second only to your name). In other words, out of all the data on your Profile, this field is weighted most heavily in user searches.

Therefore, you’ll want to consider carefully what you use in this field (and avoid using the default value, which is your current job title).

In addition, your Headline is first piece of information others will see when communicating with you! You only have to navigate LinkedIn briefly to see other Headlines displayed prominently under their names in nearly every part of the site.

Here, then, is a list of the most meaningless words you can put in your Headline (unfortunately, these were found in actual Profiles), plus some suggestions for stronger alternatives:
Continue reading “The 5 Most Worthless Phrases in Your LinkedIn Headline”