ed muses upon

2011/10/03

LinkedIn Quiz: How Well Do You Know LinkedIn?

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Image via CrunchBase

I did a quick search to see if there are any blogs that offer a quiz to see how well you know LinkedIn and didn’t see any on page 1 of my Google search results. That seems odd.

There are a ton of blogs about LinkedIn: how to use it for recruiters, how to use it for job seekers, how to use it for networking. But there aren’t a lot of search results for LinkedIn quizzes that assess a reader’s knowledge of this great professional networking tool. Given that dearth, it appears there’s a real need for something like this.

So I present my LinkedIn Quiz: How Well Do You Know LinkedIn! There are 10 questions, with answers to follow. Ready?

Questions:

  1. What is the benefit of a 100% complete profile?
  1. Once you have created a LinkedIn profile, what URL should you send people to ensure the greatest likelihood of their seeing it?
  1. Is there anything you can do to make that link easier for people to remember and if so, what?
  1. Apart from the LinkedIn Applications, what is the only update you can make to your profile that will have a date stamp?
  1. LinkedIn recognizes 4 degrees of separation from other LinkedIn members. What are they, and how are they distinguished?
  1. There is a part of your LinkedIn profile that will appear anywhere your name does on LinkedIn, along with your profile picture. What is it?
  1. Is it possible to have more than one e-mail address associated with a LinkedIn profile?
  1. There are 3 LinkedIn Applications that will allow a user to share content with other LinkedIn members. What are they?
  1. From viewing a LinkedIn user’s profile, what clues are there to the size of that member’s LinkedIn network if they have more than 500 connections?
  1. When sending another LinkedIn member an invitation to connect, you are required to identify the basis for sending that invitation: classmate, colleague, friend, group, etc. What is the relevance of this requirement after you have sent that invitation?

 

Once you have answered all questions, scroll down for the answers.

 

 

 

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When you are ready, please scroll down for the answers.

 

 

 

Answers:

  1. A 100% complete profile will appear higher in search results than a profile that is less than 100% complete. This is of considerable relevance to certain types of LinkedIn users, particularly job seekers, whether active or passive candidates.
  1. You should provide your public profile URL, which is visible if you go to Profile|View Profile. In the summary box, the last field is labeled Public Profile. The link that follows is what you want.
  1. When you go to Profile|View Profile, at the bottom of the summary box, you should see a link that begins http://www.linkedin.com/xx/… as described in answer 2, above. The xx is a 2 letter code identifying the primary language for our profile and what follows is one of 2 things: either a) an auto-generated number created by LinkedIn when you create your profile, or b) whatever you customized it to say by going to Profile|Edit Profile.
  1. Apart from LinkedIn Applications, the only update you can make to your profile that will have a date stamp is to make a status update. Once a status update is posted, LinkedIn posts a “freshness” date on it, with how long ago that status was posted. After one week, that date expires, as does the status update.
  1. LinkedIn recognizes 4 degrees of connectedness: 1st represents another LinkedIn member with whom an invitation to connect was sent & accepted; 2nd represents another LinkedIn member who has done that with another person with whom you too have done this; 3rd represents yet another step removed; and Group is another LinkedIn member who has no other degree of connectedness to you but shares membership in one or more groups.
  1. The part of your LinkedIn profile that appears everywhere your name does on the site is called your headline. It is a 180 character description that you can fill in any way you like. Because it goes everywhere your profile picture and name go on LinkedIn, I find it helpful to conceive of it as a billboard.
  1. Not only is it possible, but recommended, especially if your e-mail address is employer-provided. This can be addressed by going to the Settings page and adding one or more alternate e-mail addresses. This will also help ensure that when other LinkedIn members send an invitation to connect to that e-mail address, you can accept the invitation.
  1. The three LinkedIn Applications are Box.net, Google Presentation and SlideShare, all of which will allow you to upload and share content. Box.net allows your 1st degree connections to download such files, while both Google Presentation and SlideShare will display any such content on your full (but not public) profile.
  1. This is a trick question: no. LinkedIn only indicates that such users have 500+ connections. Users who are LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) sometimes will indicate in their user name or profiles the size of their network but absent that, there is no way of knowing how much more than 500 connections any given LinkedIn user’s network is, whether 501 or 30,000, which is the maximum number of connections may now have. A handful of users have more: these individuals grew their networks to such a size before the maximum was implemented several years ago.
  1. The reason for connecting becomes what is known as a tag, a descriptive label used to help organize those in your network. If you go to Connections|My Contacts, you should see all of your connections running vertically down the left. You will also see several groupings: Classmates, Colleagues, Friends, etc. This is what LinkedIn does when an invitation has been accepted, irrespective of who sent the invitation and who the recipient was: it uses the reason and groups it by this tag. An under-recognized feature of LinkedIn is the ability to add custom tags to help organize one’s network.

 

 

So let’s gauge your performance on the quiz:

10        Guru: you know LinkedIn well enough to teach a master a thing or three

8-9       Master: other than a few obscure features, you know this tool and have done a lot with it

6-7       Power user: you’ve used LinkedIn to do a lot already

4-5       Experienced user: you probably haven’t had the opportunity to explore some of its more advanced features.

2-3       Average user: you know the fundamentals of LinkedIn

0-1       Neophyte: a whole world of LinkedIn awaits you

2010/12/01

Just a Few LinkedIn Best Practices

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Image via Wikipedia

An abiding passion of mine is best practices. In fact, I think so much of best practices that I consider it one of my core values. In the past three years, I have spent a goodly amount of time learning about LinkedIn. For almost two years now, I have led workshops on it and very few days go by that I don’t learn something new about this tool.

Therefore, I want to share just a few LinkedIn best practices today revolving around profile completeness, Groups, status and Applications.

Profile completeness

This involves several things: a summary, profile picture, headline and three recommendations. A 100% complete profile will appear higher in search results when people search for LinkedIn users. A lot of these searches are being conducted by recruiters, so please do yourself this kindness.

Keyword-rich summary

When those recruiters are searching, they’re generally searching for keywords. Those keywords can be populated in your LinkedIn profile summary. You can see how effectively you have done so by doing a search for your ideal next position based on keywords. If you are not on page 1 of the search results, you may have some work ahead of you.

Profile picture

To achieve a 100% complete profile, you need a picture. It’s important to note that the LinkedIn Terms of Service specifically require a headshot. Most people know a shutterbug: someone in their family—maybe a friend—but someone who’s an avid photographer. See if that person is interested in helping you by taking a picture you can use.

I am aware some are concerned about the prospect of being the victims of subconscious (or even conscious) age discrimination, gleaned through your profile picture. I don’t believe that’s a valid fear because if you get the interview, they’re eventually going to find out how old you are anyway. If it’s going to be a deal breaker, save yourself the wasted effort. Besides, even if you got the offer, would you really be comfortable in such an environment?

Headline

If you’ve spent any amount of time on LinkedIn, you’ll have seen a lot of headlines that say “[job function/industry] professional”. Maybe that’s even what yours says right now. If so, do yourself the kindness of changing it. I ask that you change it because it’s bland, dull…unmemorable. That is the very opposite of personal branding.

Your headline appears on LinkedIn every single time your name does. It’s your own personal billboard: I can’t think of a better branding opportunity.

Give some thought to what you want that message to be. Are you an innovative thought leader in your area who lives on the bleeding edge? Maybe you’re a maven with compliance, skillfully navigating a still-evolving sea of requirements. Or perhaps you are a whiz at logistics, masterminding shipments from developing markets to guarantee expected inventory levels.

Whatever you choose, make it unique.

Recommendations

LinkedIn does not consider your profile complete unless you have three recommendations. The most meaningful, substantial recommendations you will receive are those from direct managers—but do not discount the value of customer/vendor recommendations, where that’s applicable. It’s also important to note that writing a good recommendation is time-consuming and sometimes difficult. Therefore, don’t be afraid to help a potential recommender by providing some guidance—ideally in CAR/PAR/STAR format.

Groups

Associations of disparate LinkedIn users who share a common experience, interest, or perhaps both, groups are a superb means whereby LinkedIn users can expand their reach by literally orders of magnitude. This is because with a group in common between yourself and another LinkedIn user, this can be the basis for sending a message, or even an invitation to connect. Your alma mater almost certainly has a LinkedIn group (common experience). Trade associations (common interest) definitely do: one of the largest is SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management. So do certain large employers, who maintain LinkedIn groups for current and/or former employees.

Status

This is a highly under-utilized part of LinkedIn. A status update goes out to all your first degree connections on LinkedIn. Maybe you’ll be attending a conference in your field: posting that status update might well lead to re-connecting with a friend you haven’t seen who’ll also be in town at the same time. That brings me to…

Applications

There are several applications—piece of software that integrate into your LinkedIn profile—that you can add. These are easily accessed through the horizontal menu across the top of the main LinkedIn page. Go to More|Application Directory. Several popular ones include blogs (Blog Link, WordPress), collaboration (Box.net is a personal favorite) and presentations (SlideShare and Google Presentation).

One of the newer Applications is Portfolio Display, which would be of great use to creative professionals. And a favorite of mine is Events, which allows you to view, create and potentially attend occasions that interest you. If you will be attending an event, the organizer(s) almost certainly created the event on LinkedIn: note your attendance, or at least interest. It might also be helpful to see where your contacts might be congregating as well.

Summary

There is nothing wrong with the fact that odds are there are tons of ways that you can leverage LinkedIn more fully than you are right now. Heck, I’ve been teaching people how to do this for close to 2 years now and not a week goes by I don’t learn something new myself. In fact, I literally did this morning.

Are there any best practices I missed? Comment and let me know what I missed!

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