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October 20, 2015


Learn Secret LinkedIn Strategies to Leverage Your Career

Are you one of the 11 million Canadians who use LinkedIn? If you are, do you feel that you’ve maximized the branding of your LinkedIn profile? Chances are, you probably haven’t. How do we know? Because Shanna Landolt, a LinkedIn and career expert, who has appeared on NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, CityTV and the Life Network, told us so at this evening’s event! Shanna is also the author of two books, “Secrets From a Headhunter: LinkedIn Secrets for Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Professionals” and “LinkedIn Secrets From a Top Executive Recruiter”. Shanna works closely with entrepreneurs and senior executives to create compelling LinkedIn profiles that get them found for their expertise. She has over 15 years of recruitment experience and has interviewed thousands of candidates and placed hundreds of people in 6-figure jobs. So, needless to say, her advice is valuable!

Shanna began by saying that branding yourself in the digital age is important. Why? Because, in a survey of recruiters, 87% said that they use LinkedIn and 55% use Facebook to search for job candidates. As such, Shanna cautioned the audience to be careful of what they post on Facebook, because recruiters can potentially see it, which could limit job opportunities. She also mentioned that recruiters also post links to jobs on Twitter. There are new social media apps that are good “self-branding” tools, such as Periscope and Blab.

Shanna said that having a good LinkedIn profile is so important because people are looking at it for business opportunities. She said, “[Your profile] is a one page website that’s a snapshot of who you are and you need to have it be a match for the professional that you are.” She said that your profile should communicate what you’ve done and accomplished, as it’s where people go for networking, new business development, speaking opportunities, promotions and job offers.

Did you know?

  • Worldwide there are 380 million LinkedIn users, which has increased from 84 million in the last 2 years
  • Of Canadian social media users, 25% of females have a LinkedIn account and 37% of males have one
  • 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn
  • 40% of LinkedIn users earn more than $100,000/year

Shanna then led the audience through the steps on how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile that meets the LinkedIn “algorithm” that will put you at the top of its search results. The following is a summary of the steps to follow:

  • Name field: only include your name, no titles or any other information
  • Photo: including a photo on your profile increases the chances that your profile will be viewed by 11-fold, so it’s important to include one
    • Tips for the best photo: dress for the job you want, smile, shoulders toward the text and face forward; 4 MB in size; white background
    • Do not use a wedding photo or formal wear photo, and the photo should be of you and you only!
  • Headline field: appears right under your name and it can be 120 characters in length
    • It defaults to your current job title, but don’t use only that, as job titles can mean different things in different organizations
    • Include titles from previous jobs, or those of jobs that you’d like to have, and include industry terms that give a sense of what you can do
    • Think like a recruiter when writing your headline
  • Contact information button: only first-degree connections can see this information; include your email address and cell number
  • Professional summary field: this can be 2000 characters in length and should be a summary of who you are and what you have to offer, written in the first person; viewers need to be able to look at it in 3-4 seconds and get the information they want
  • Work experience field: LinkedIn requires that you list at least two positions, one of which must be current
    • Include headlines for each position and make the formatting look good
    • If you’re between jobs, create a new position entitled “actively searching for a new role” or “consulting”

LinkedIn publishes its top 10 over-used buzzwords each year, and this past year they were: motivated, creative, passionate, driven, extensive experience, organizational, strategic, track record, responsible and problem-solving. Shanna suggested avoiding these words, as they do not differentiate you from others. She suggested writing articles and publishing them on LinkedIn, as this helps you to stand out. She recommended posting on LinkedIn a couple of times a week, and a post can simply be an article that you’d like to share. She mentioned the website “Hootsuite”, which allows you to schedule posts on LinkedIn. The site will even search for content and give you article suggestions based on key words that you input. She also encouraged the audience to include information in sections like awards, volunteer experience, certifications and languages, because they paint a better picture of who you are.

Asking connections for recommendations is also important, as it takes your profile to the next level. Shanna also said that including skills and other key words in areas of your expertise are important, because they are searchable from a search engine optimization perspective. Including skills in your profile increases the likelihood that your profile will get viewed by 13-fold.

Shanna mentioned that you should follow companies that you’re interested in and your competitors on your profile. She said that everyone should follow at least 50 companies, because LinkedIn connects you with everyone in the groups to which you belong. Therefore, if you want to be highly searchable, you should be in as many groups as possible, because it increases the number of people who can search for you. She also mentioned that people on LinkedIn don’t become “relevant” until they have 500 connections. She said that a good way to dramatically expand your connection network is to send a request to all recruiters and reach out to all the people currently working at your company, as well as former colleagues.

Shanna said that the most important thing on LinkedIn is to have a complete profile. A complete profile includes the following:

  • The industry you work in and your location
  • Details of your current position and 2 past positions
  • Education
  • A minimum of 3 skills
  • Profile photo
  • Minimum of 50 connections
  • Occasional profile updates and regular status updates

She closed the meeting with the following comments: “Remember that you have control over your brand and what you say on LinkedIn is how other people will start to see you. It creates who you are in other peoples’ eyes. You can write the story of who you are and what you want for the future.”


Presentation (PDF 4.331 MB)


Lara Holmes
Medical Writer
Cell: 514-425-4977



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