Should I connect with my competitors on LinkedIn?

Should I connect with my competitors on LinkedIn?

(Advice from INC magazine)

LinkedIn is giving its users bad advice.

Especially if you want to generate more business or discover new sales opportunities using the platform.

Here’s the rub: By suggesting users only connect with people they already know, LinkedIn is actually doing the opposite of what makes the platform so powerful – the depth and breadth of your connection list.

Put simply, the more people you are connected to on LinkedIn, the more visibility and reach you have on the platform.

Show Up and Stand Out

Here’s just one example: With 433 million members in 200 countries, LinkedIn has one of the planet’s most powerful internal search engines.

And the more people you’re connected to on LinkedIn, the better chance your profile has of showing up high on searches related to the products or services you provide.

Think about it this way: If a Small Business Owner (let’s call him “John Doe”) hops on LinkedIn because he need to find a CPA in Chicago, John is likely to type “CPA Chicago” into the LinkedIn Search bar to see what results come up.

If you’re a CPA in Chicago, having those keywords (“CPA” and “Chicago”) in your LinkedIn headline, summary and profile sections tells LinkedIn’s Search Engine that your profile is a relevant result for John’s search.

However, LinkedIn will give preference to 1st and 2nd degree connections of John Doe, because in LinkedIn’s mind someone that John Doe knows (meaning a 1st or 2nd degree connection) is going to be more relevant.

So LinkedIn filters John Doe’s “CPA Chicago” search result in this order:

  • Do any of John Doe’s 1st degree connections have those keywords (“CPA” and “Chicago”) in their profile?
  • Do any of John Doe’s 2nd degree connections have those keywords in their profile?
  • Do any of John Doe’s 3rd degree connections and everyone else have those keywords in their profile?

See how this works?

The more people you’re connected to (especially other Small Business Owners in Chicago), the better chance you have of showing up on the first or second page of search results that John Doe sees when looking for a CPA in Chicago.

And keep in mind, this is just one example of the power of your network’s depth and breadth on LinkedIn. There are many others (such as publishing content on LinkedIn or appearing in the news feed of your connections with status updates, comments, likes, shares, etc.) that I don’t have time to dive into here.

Who Should You Connect With on LinkedIn

So unless the person inviting you to connect is an obvious spammer, you should accept his or her invite.

More important, you should be proactively searching for and connecting with key prospects in your niche or industry.

Long story short, the more people you are connected to on LinkedIn, the better.

And, lest you fret, you can adjust your user settings to “protect” your connections so that nobody else can see or access them (even your 1st degree connections), along with your personal email, phone and so on.

Go ahead and connect with your competitors, too – they can see everything you’re doing on LinkedIn anyway. In addition, being part of a competitor’s LinkedIn network means now all of his or her customers are one step closer (as 2nd level connections) to getting to know you.


6 Ways to improve your resume and find a better job

6 Ways to improve your resume and find a better job

Hiring managers and recruiters alike say they’ve seen more poorly written resumes cross their desks recently than ever before. Attract more interview offers and ensure your resume doesn’t eliminate you from consideration by following these six key tips:

1.  Format Your Resume Wisely “Do the Hiring Managers” Work for Them

No matter how well written, your resume won’t get a thorough reading the first time through. Generally a resume gets scanned for 25 seconds. Scanning is more difficult if it is hard to read, poorly organized or exceeds two pages.

  • Use a logical format and wide margins, clean type and clear headings
  • Selectively apply bold and italic typeface that help guide the reader’s eye

Use bullets to call attention to important points (i.e. accomplishments)

 2. Identify Accomplishments not Just Job Descriptions

Hiring managers, especially in technical fields like engineering, seek candidates that can help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within their company. Consequently, you can’t be a solution to their problems without stating how you solved similar problems in other companies and situations.

  • Focus on what you did in the job, NOT what your job was there’s a difference
  • Include one or two top line job description first, then list your accomplishments
  • For each point ask yourself, What was the benefit of having done what I did?
  • Accomplishments should be unique to you, not just a list of what someone else did

Avoid using the generic descriptions of the jobs you originally applied for or held

3.  Quantify Your Accomplishments

Q: What’s the most common resume mistake?
A: Making too many general claims and using too much industry jargon that does not market the candidate. A resume is a marketing document designed to sell your skills and strengths rather than just portray a bio of the candidate.

  • Include and highlight specific achievements that present a comprehensive picture of your marketability
  • Quantify your achievements to ensure greater confidence in the hiring manager and thereby generate interest percentages, dollars, number of employees, etc.
  • Work backward to quantify your accomplishments by asking, If I had not done X, what could have happened?

4. Cater Your Resume for the Industry

Unlike advertising and design professionals who have greater creative license in designing their resume for those fields, the mechanical engineering industry won’t be impressed and may be turned off by distinctive resume design.

  • Err on the side of being conservative stylistically

Your accomplishments, error-free writing, grammatically correct, clean, crisp type, and paper will make an impression for you

Replace your Objective” with a “Career Summary”

A Career Summary is designed to give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Most Objectives sound similar: Seeking a challenging, interesting position in X where I can use my skills of X, Y, and Z to contribute to the bottom line. Not telling at all.

  • Grab a hiring manager’s attention right from the beginning, remembering you
    have only 25 few seconds to make a good impression

Spend time developing a summary that immediately gets their attention, and accurately and powerfully describes you as a solution to their problems

 Network. Network. Network.

For unemployed candidates, handing out resumes should be a full-time job. The majority of mid- to senior-level positions are filled through networking, so contact absolutely everyone you know in addition to recruiters who are in a position to hire you or share insights. Networking can include

  • Personal business contacts, people you’ve worked for or who worked for you
  • Vendors and sales representatives you’ve dealt with in the past five years
  • People listed in the alumni directory of your alma mater

With a solid resume in hand, you’ll greatly increase your odds of earning a closer look and getting that interview.