How to Create a Life Worth Living: Interview with Kevin Delaney, VP of L&D at LinkedIn (Episode 18)

In this episode, I interview Kevin Delaney and dive into his book, A Life Worth Living: Finding Your Purpose and Daring to Live the Life You’ve Imagined. Kevin is a VP at LinkedIn where he leads Learning and Development. Prior to that, he was an HR exec at VMware and several other companies. He’s a former colleague of mine, and someone I consider to be a mentor and friend. 

In our conversation, we discuss his lessons from a serious health challenge, his approach to balancing annual planning with daily rituals, his unique perspective on dealing with setbacks, and, of course, how to create a life worth living. Kevin is one of my all-time favorite people and someone who truly walks the talk. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

You can read Kevin’s book here

Surprise, LinkedIn Endorsements Do Matter! Here’s What You Need to Know

Whenever I teach a session on how to improve LinkedIn profiles, I almost always get asked one of the following questions:

  • Is there any value in adding skills to my profile?
  • Are skill endorsements important?
  • What should I do if a connection endorses me for a skill he knows nothing about?

For context, the site allows you to add up to 50 skills to your profile, and those in your network can validate that you have those skills by “endorsing” you. This feature was rolled out in 2012 and there are now over 10 billion endorsements on the platform.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

 

6 Super Common LinkedIn Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

You finally got around to building that All-Star LinkedIn profile. You’ve updated your past jobs, triple-checked for typos, and uploaded a photo that’s a far better choice than the awkward selfie you used to have in its place.

With your profile in good shape, it’s time to start building and strengthening your network with intention. But before you get too excited and start connecting with everyone, make sure you know how to reach out the right way— that means not making these six insanely common mistakes.

1. Not Personalizing the Invite Message

When you click “connect” on someone’s profile, the default message will likely say: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” That may be fine if you’re inviting a good friend, but sending that standard line should not be your go-to approach for connecting with a person you don’t already have a history with.

Sending a personalized, polite message that briefly explains your reasons for connecting is a must. Muse columnist Sara McCord suggests you answer three questions: “Who are you? How did you find me? Why do you want to connect?” She also provides a specific template for reaching out to an alum—and staying within the character limit:

Hi Sara,

I see we both went to F&M (Go Dips!). I am a graduating senior interested in editorial and would love to connect with you because you write for some of my favorite websites.

Thanks so much,

Jill Brown

If the other person accepts the invite but doesn’t respond (which is common), you can then follow up with a direct message. Just note that if the majority of your connection requests get rejected, LinkedIn may limit the number of invitations you can send, so make sure you’re targeting people correctly.

2. Inviting People to Connect on Your Phone

The mobile app’s default invitation doesn’t present you with a customized option before sending; fortunately, there’s a simple solution.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

The Stealthy Guide to Getting Your LinkedIn Profile Recruiter-Ready

Did you know that 93% of companies use LinkedIn to recruit new employees? You heard that right. Every day recruiters spend countless hours scouring profiles on the site in search of great candidates to hire.

Needless to say, whether you’re an active candidate (“I can’t stand another minute of my job”) or a passive candidate (“I’d leave, but the role would have to be amazing”), you want a presence on the platform.

But how do you start preparing for your next move without letting your co-workers know? If your boss finds out you’re looking for a new job, you risk damaging your relationship, consequently, missing out on key projects, or worst-case scenario: losing your job. While many companies wouldn’t react so harshly to the information that one of its employees was job searching, you’d be wise to keep your intentions under wraps, if only for the sake of avoiding any awkwardness with your team.

Here are four concrete steps you can take to get your profile recruiter ready without letting anyone at your company know what you’re up to.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

10 LinkedIn Influencers That’ll Instantly Make Your News Feed Worth Looking At

For those who think LinkedIn is just a place to post your resume and send connection requests, think again. Pulse, the platform’s publishing hub, has turned into a place where influential thought leaders share their thoughts on various industries, the latest news, best hiring practices, and so much much more.

Yes, that means these heavy hitters, or Influencers, as they’re known on the platform, are doling out free advice to you—all you have to do is follow them. As an avid reader of Pulse, and an employee at LinkedIn, I’ve identified the top 10 Influencers to follow, based on what you’re hoping to learn.

1. If You’re Interested in Introverts, Follow Susan Cain

Susan Cain is the author of the New York Times’ bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She argues that introverts aren’t as clearly understood or highly valued as they should be. She started her career in corporate law and consulting, and later decided to become a writer. Cain focuses her articles on introversion and how anyone can unlock the value that introverts bring to the workplace.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

 

LinkedIn, Microsoft, and the Never-Ending Need to Adapt

Two months ago I was invited to speak at a career conference in Provo, Utah. I was excited to return to my alma mater and teach career advisors how to help college students thrive in today’s workplace. I concluded my remarks with a quote that one of my undergraduate professors kept posted outside his door:

It is not the strongest that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

I remember walking by his office, reading the quote, and wondering why he put it there. But a few months after graduation, when the company I joined declared bankruptcy and I was struggling to find work, I realized why my professor felt so strongly about the need to adapt.

Like many people in their career, I planned on one thing, but events outside of my control forced me to pivot. I think Mike Tyson said it best: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

On Monday I woke up to the announcement that LinkedIn had been acquired by Microsoft. Like many of my west coast colleagues, I heard the news through a flurry of text messages and emails. Experiencing a range of emotions, I couldn’t help but think back to the presentation I had recently given on the need to continually adapt. Now I had to practice what I preached.

Having had a few days to process what this all means for LinkedIn and our future, I am genuinely excited for the acquisition. Of course, having worked in M&A, I know that acquisitions are never easy—the devil is always in the details. But I’m optimistic about how this new partnership can help LinkedIn realize its vision of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.

Shortly after the deal announcement, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner addressed the company. After discussing the opportunities that lie ahead, he shared a story about Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) of the Duke Blue Devils. In Jeff’s words:

“Every time (Duke) goes up and down the court and they complete a sequence, offense or defense, Coach K yells out the exact same thing, every time. He yells out “next play,” because he doesn’t want the team lingering too long on what just took place. He doesn’t want them celebrating that incredible alley-oop dunk, and he doesn’t want them lamenting the fact that the opposing team just stole the ball and had a fast break that led to an easy layup. You can take a moment to reflect on what just happened, and you probably should, but you shouldn’t linger too long on it…”

When change happens, we must be willing to adapt. We can’t dwell obsessively on what once was or what might have been. We must look forward.

The past is to be learned from, but not lived in.

Next play.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

 

How to Write a LinkedIn Article if You’re Not a Writer

Want to write for the same publication as Richard Branson, Jack Welch, and Arianna Huffington? Good news, you can.

LinkedIn launched its publishing platform in 2012 by inviting 150 of the most influential thought leaders to write original content. Today, all members can use Pulse to share their unique knowledge and professional insights with the 433+ million members who interact there.

At the same time that it’s exciting, it’s also a bit intimidating—especially for non-writers. While you might see the potential to strengthen your brand and build out your profile, you also want to go about it the right way. The last thing you want is for people to roll their eyes when they see the subject you chose or approach you took.

Well, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective article, even if writing’s not “your thing.”

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

How to improve your LinkedIn profile from top to bottom

If you only have a LinkedIn profile because you’re supposed to have one, get ready to have your world turned upside down. OK, maybe not turned upside down, but there’s a whole lot more to the platform than uploading your resume and forgetting about it.

Whether you’re a C-level executive, an entry-level wannabe, or, like most of us, somewhere in between, using LinkedIn to its full potential can help you become more successful in your career.

Want proof?

Professionals who have an All-Star rating “are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.”

How do you get that rating?

As a LinkedIn insider, let me tell you: It takes seven essential elements to have a completed profile. To qualify, your page must contain the following:

  1. Industry and location
  2. An up-to-date current position (with a description)
  3. Two past positions
  4. Education
  5. Skills (minimum of three)
  6. Profile photo
  7. At least 50 connections

Filling in these fields is only the first step, but it’s a good one because only 51% of members have a completed profile. Once you cut out half the competition, your next move is to separate yourself from within the All-Star pack.

Click here to view the full article on The Muse.

Five Ways the LinkedIn Internship Exceeded My Expectations

This article was originally published on LinkedIn. 

I recently hit the halfway point of my summer internship with LinkedIn and I’ve been reflecting on how the experience compared to my expectations.

The difficult part about making an internship decision is that regardless of the steps taken to learn about a company, it’s really difficult to gauge what a company is like until you actually get there. This is my first time working at a tech company, and although I had many LinkedIn employees telling me it was an awesome place to work, my experience at past companies has left me somewhat skeptical.

In short, I hoped for the best, but wondered how different it would be from prior companies. Thankfully, it’s been an awesome experience. Here are five ways interning at LinkedIn has surpassed my expectations.

Exposure to Executives

Despite having over 5,000 employees, LinkedIn still feels relatively small. Since joining I’ve been able to meet both our CEO (Jeff Weiner) and co-founder/chairman (Reid Hoffman). I’ve heard them speak on multiple occasions, and they are very approachable. Our head of Talent (HR), Pat Wadors, has made it a priority to get to know the interns and even took a selfie with us at our most recent All Hands meeting.

Needless to say, the executives don’t take themselves too seriously.

The Food

It’s amazing. I really don’t know what to say other than that. Having a central café brings people together and I get to meet new people and interact with colleagues outside of my workspace.

Passion for the Company

While on the subject of food, I’ve had lunch with a number of people throughout the company. When asked how they like working at LinkedIn, they inevitably respond enthusiastically saying that they love it here. The passion my co-workers have for LinkedIn makes it a really fun place to work. They seem genuinely happy and that happiness has become infectious.

Relationships

One of LinkedIn’s values is Relationships Matter, and I quickly learned that this isn’t some trite expression. The importance of relationships is visible in how my manager interacts with me, and how employees work with one another.

The campus recruiting team has put together a lot of cool activities to facilitate networking among the interns and we’ve quickly bonded as a group. Last week I was on my way out when I started chatting with a few of the other interns. We ended up talking for almost two hours.

While I’ve only been here a short time, I’ve built real relationships with great individuals.

Impact

LinkedIn is a fast growing company with a relatively flat org structure. Because of that, intern projects make an immediate impact. Last week I presented to nine HR leaders and shared a tool that I’ve been developing. I was told by the head of the group that my project is critical for the organization. There’s still a lot to be done over the next six weeks, but knowing that what I do has real value keeps me motivated to deliver quality work.

Most companies say they provide interns with big, meaty projects, and they probably do. I can only speak for LinkedIn and the impact I’m having at the company. I love it.

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