On this show, Matt Scherer and I discuss makes people make on LinkedIn. Matt’s expertise is with helping people wih a military background so there is special expertise for veterans. Matt’s book is “LinkedIn For Military: A Guide to Transitioning from Active Duty” https://amzn.to/2OqDa87


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Jeff 00:02
So my guest today is Matt Scherer, a LinkedIn coach and the author of LinkedIn for military. With this book, he has helped more than 10,000 veterans update and improve their LinkedIn profile. He's also a co-founder of the military transition Roundtable, a nonprofit group aimed at helping military professionals in transition. Welcome.

Yeah. Glad to be here, my friend.

Jeff 00:50
Thank you. So we're going to be doing a show folks that, yes, it's going to cover issues that people leaving the military face, but it's also a broader show about mistakes people make using LinkedIn. So what are some of the biggest challenges that people face when using that platform?

I'm looking at one right now. In fact, I hadn't put it on my list. But I just had a work anniversary and I'm getting all these generic congrats on your work anniversary and that's great and I really appreciate that. But if you really wanted to connect with me, you tie back to something that I've done, and saying, hey, man, thank you so much on your work in person. By the way, I saw you did this. But LinkedIn makes it really easy say congrats on your work anniversary. What I'm going to try to do is reach back to all the people that said, done, so thank you so much. By the way, I have this that might be of interest to you, or this event that might be of interest to you. But I think it's you know, the generic well, congrats on your work anniversary, or happy birthday, which have their purpose. But if you want to be different, if you want to stand out from all the other people that are connecting with people, then take a minute to write a little message. Send a picture. Talk about the relationship you have with somebody. So that's mistake number one.

Jeff 02:11
I know, for me on my birthday, I'm linking number 7653 and I was very early on and without accepting many connection requests from recruiters. I've got about 26,001st level connections somewhat close to max. Now, in comes my birthday, easily. I get 2000 people clicking on the automatic message sent to me, wishing me a happy birthday.

Happy birthday. Yeah. But if you want to be different, right? Don't you want to take that time to say, hey, you know, I appreciate what you've done for me, or this is something that I saw you've done, and it helped you continue that work. That's gonna stand out. I'm all about helping people stand out on their LinkedIn profile and that's topic number one.

Jeff 02:59
So that's first mistake is using all those generic responses to reply about birthdays, work, anniversaries. Even connecting with people, using the generic responses that LinkedIn offers, is ordinary, does nothing to really positively distinguish yourself.

I like what you said is ordinary and I'm never ordinary when they connect with people. You get 300 spaces in a LinkedIn connection and I teach a class on that and there's a lot you can do with Breanna. So that's point number two sending me a connection request without a note. No, please don't do that. Sent me a little bit of not unify. We spoke to your group. I would really like to know. Hey, man, I really appreciate you spoke to us on this topic on LinkedIn. By the way I'm sending this request from the event that was last week last Thursday. I'm gonna remember you. Okay, you're gonna stand out in my mind.

Jeff 04:09
I'm curious. I'm sorry to interrupt you. Someone mentioned to me yesterday that the LinkedIn app didn't let him personalize a connection request to someone. Do you remember if that's true or not?

Okay. So the question is on the mobile side of things. Yeah, they make it difficult. You have to really be on top of it. Since I use the desktop most of time and I don't really do that much on mobile. I try to stay on top of it. But when you connect with people, it's kind of difficult. So you got to send a connection of like, hey, Jeff, you know, I heard you speak or you're speaking in organization or platform on zoom like something ready to go like this best to use your desktop but if not, remember to send a connection out. Yeah that's a strong possibility.

Jeff 05:06
Thank you. I was curious about because I haven't really looked at the mobile app for that purpose in a while, because I have to work at my desk, and what amount without people reaching out to me and I'm not really reaching out as much as I used to. So I was just curious about that. So make the connection request from some computer so that this way you can personalize it and they may change in the mobile app at some point. But it seems as though it's a static message that you're sending out, which no one really likes these things.

So yes, that's the point. Maybe if you send the connection out on mobile, then follow up with a message say, hey, man, I just connected with you and you know, I wasn't able to send you a connection, because a purposeful connection now can open a lot of doors.

Jeff 05:53
You betcha and just in terms of what the request might say, what do you think someone should say, in a typical connection request? I know you've been talking about. I saw you speak. I've seen you do this, but how about, it's a cold contact.

So I've done a lot of public relations in the past and looking up an editor reporter, and he's like, dear Bill, you know, I saw you were the reporter for this publication. I have a client that's interested in getting you some information. May I connect, and I give my name and phone number and usually I get a request. It depends on the purpose. Every connection has a purpose. You know, it can be for that professional context. It could be that you read something that the person wrote in, you're very impressed and say, hey, I'd like to stay in touch. You know, especially with novice people. You and I have a few 1000 connections. I don't have as many new jobs, but I've got a few, right. But I'm just hey, I saw this article you wrote. I was really impressed. I would like to connect with you. There's like a, I call it the dance of real connection. So you send that connection. After that person connects them and say, hey, let's get together for conversation. You know, zoom allows us.

We can do a virtual conversation that way, all those things, but just kind of take it like a three step process, one connect. Two find out more about what that person is doing and then three, if there's something that you can help them with, him or her with, by all means, do so and then lastly, if there's something they can help you with, then that's when we should ask. I got a friend named John Hancock, who works at a really major insurance company. John's the Social Media Manager with the ultimate job. He gets to go to all the major league baseball games, and professional football games on behalf of USA, right. Great job but a lot of guys reach out to John, because they're looking for a job on USA. Hey John, but now that we're connected, can you help me get a job? John can't get a job. John can maybe tell you where the contact is because he knows everybody in USA. But he's like, that is really a stupid use of LinkedIn.

Jeff 08:19
Great, so I'm sorry to interrupt. We've got a schedule to keep today.

Sorry, I apologize.

Jeff 08:25
That's okay. What's the third mistake that you think people make when they use LinkedIn?

They copy and paste their resume on LinkedIn and that's just great and I'm just going to be compelled to want to know more about them. So that's mistake number three. They don't put it into the first person approach. I'm looking, you know, I help people with this, or I'm looking for this. If you're in transition, you have one purpose on your profile and if you're a professional like me, you have another purpose on your profile.

Jeff 09:02
So it's that copy and paste approach. I tell people, the information should be congruent. Like what's in your resume should be consistent? What's in the LinkedIn profile? But it's not supposed to be identical.

No, and I can tell you from talking to staffing people, because I do talk to a lot of staffing professionals and to a person they say, look, we look at the LinkedIn profile long before we look at the resume and the resume to us is a legal document says you went to this school or you went to that school. We were talking about what's the matter you attended was manual that allows them to call and say, well, did you really get a degree in nuclear engineering. It was a matter of you in 1984. That's the difference between the LinkedIn profile and resume. The resume is a legal document. I speak to a lot of guys in our own transition round table and one guy was connect with people in this send a resume, please. Mike, back off a little bit, create the conversation and then if they really want their resume, because you got an impressive resume, but let's just go slow. Okay? It's hard because military guys have a different mindset and that's terrible, everybody.

Jeff 10:18
Oh, sorry, guys, I direct to the point, let's not waste any time. You know, we got to do this now.

We got to build that bridge, you know.

Jeff 10:27
That's right and it makes perfect sense given that environment. But as I've coached named, foreign military people in the private sector, and I know it drives them crazy. In the private sector there's more time wasting. There's more work avoidance, and there's more schmoozing before you get to something doing something and military is now.

It's got to happen now, yeah and so that's one of the things that the military presence round table is help people with the timeline. Just select one of the groups and the guy, it took them six weeks to get his offer and package together. That would drive me nuts if I was on active duty.

Jeff 11:12
Understood, so what's number four?

Number four, is to have a professional photo. Do not have a picture of your girlfriend, your wife, and your children. In that photo is you and you alone.

Jeff 11:27
Say wife, husband or partner because these days, we have to be clear.

Of course, wife, spouse, or, you know. I see a lot of military guys. They're all dressed up because they went to a wedding or something. There's like, okay, and you can see the significant other right there on the left or the right shoulder. No please.

Jeff 11:46
Worse than that, they cut them out of the picture and she can see part of the arm there.

Yeah. Exactly. That's exactly my point and it's always low resolution. You know, I've seen pictures of dinner plates. I got a whole collection of terrible, LinkedIn profile photos when I speak to people, but you know, I tell people, that profile photo should be current. It should be such that if I'm meeting you online, you know what I look like. In the non COVID world, here in San Antonio, most people have these means in places called gyms, restaurants. It's like I have a little bit better than I have, you know, be identifiable. So you know what that person looks like if you meet them for the first time?

Jeff 12:35
I'm also gonna say, folks update your picture every couple of years. You do change your appearance.

You know, if you've got a beard like this. If you're actually doing well, of course, you know, you can't have a beard in the military like this. That's always a sign that people are leaving the military.

Jeff 12:55
It sort of comes out.


Jeff 13:03
Turn off the phone. People love you in their call and turn off the phone. I deserve your attention.

I apologize. Let me do that.

Jeff 13:13
That's okay so old photos, no photos, bad photos.

One of my favorites, I caught the Facebook photo. I got a young lady that looks like she's a boudoir photo. I was like okay, for your Facebook page, maybe or the dating site but no.

Jeff 13:36
Agree. What else do people do that really damages themselves on LinkedIn?

They overlooked a banner. The banner is that photo behind your profile picture. There's a specific style to it. It's just like planning a billboard. It should be simple. It should convey quickly what you're all about. You have to understand that what looks really good on the desktop doesn't always look good on the mobile. I got a picture of a two star general as the commander of Air Force recruiting and on the desktop version, it says engaged in list and then on the mobile side, and I show this in presentation. It's like he is picture polls over half of the word engaged. So you need to understand how that works. There's a real grid to it. But just keep it simple and know that if you don't have my grid, that you want to keep that bottom third, to the left and covered up with nothing so that your mobile photo will go on top of that. That's that would be the next one.

Jeff 14:46
So, just to be clear about how that banner should be laid out if you're going to put text on it, where should the text appear on the desktop so it positions correctly on the mobile?

Can I show?

Jeff 14:59
Well the issue is going to come down to when we get to the podcast version. They're not going to be able to see it.

Okay, so the point of it is, if they are to reach out to me, okay, I will send them the little video that I did on the banner photo, and it shows the grid. So there's a really specialized grid and my God, Bruce go for training for me and I can look at somebody's profile, and say, yeah, that's nice. Looks okay, on a desktop, but I got to tell you, it really want to look at the grid. So there's a real grid to net, but it's also simplicity of okay. Now, next part about the banner right.

Jeff 15:38
Hold on one second. I want to make sure that they get your email address, or however you want them to message you, in order to get that grid. Do you want them to contact you through LinkedIn?

Yes, please.

Jeff 15:48
So I'll have his URL in the show notes, folks. So just pick it up from there. Message him through LinkedIn and he'll send it to you through the platform. Now, let's continue.

So the other part about the banner is everybody gets all these really cute headlines. I mean, fonts, the ones that use when daughter gets married. Don't use it in your banner. You want to really use small fonts. Don't use it in your banner. You want to have something that's clear, that tells people what you're thinking, and you want to use really nice, bold sensor plus write something that really stands out because what people don't understand is when you're looking at it on desktop looks really good. But then take them smallest blown you got like this, think that small phone and look at their and tell me what you think after you've done that. If it works there, then you've got a really stellar.

Jeff 16:49
So what you're saying is, you have to have a font size large enough that it's readable on both.

And to me the font size is 20 points or higher.

Jeff 16:59
Excellent. Thank you. That's a great tip. So font size 20 points or higher folks. You can message him and again, I'll have that in the notes at the end. For the video and for the podcast and I'll just simply say, and, Matt, why don't you just tell them the URL for your right now. So it's recorded at this moment, and then we'll reiterate it later on.

Okay, so you can find me at wwlinkedin.com backslash In backslash MATT SCHERER. That's SS and Sam season, Charlie. Aitchison, Henry, Echo Romeo. I'm fortunate to be the first man share on the block to have his very own custom URL.

Jeff 17:45
Excellent, so I think we've gotten through five so far.


Jeff 17:50
So what's number six?

Number six is trying not to overkill me with your about section. Thank you is this you? Charm, I believe in short, sweet expressions. Number one, what's your short mission statement? And two, what's your goal? Three a call to action, right. I want to have a call to action that has contact points where people can reach me and then four is at the bottom of that I put all the key skills that people should know about me. I've got about 15 key skills in my LinkedIn about section because I know from talking to my colleagues in the search industry. They'll be able to find me if they're looking for a crisis public relations manager. Done that, and be willing to talk to you about it. Nothing that motivates me the most, but I can do that. I can advise you on that. I didn't buy too many aeroplane accidents back in my military career responding.

Jeff 18:52
Yeah. So you're saying put in, I don't wanna say keywords, but put in. Let's call them keywords that represent what your capabilities are, what your experiences and folks remember, LinkedIn sells a product to recruiters, both corporate and third party recruiters that lets them search the entire database so they can find you.

And then that's one of the things that I have a lot of discussions with, and the staffing guys. They're lazy. They'd like to get those key skills in the headlines, but I'm saying, look, I get what you're saying. But I also know that you can find that if you say I'm looking for this kind of skills. It'll also be in the above section. So that's one of things I disagree with. So the next one's the headlines so write a headline that tells people what is unique about you. Tell them what your unique value proposition is. Tell them what makes them stand out. So if you want to be different than everybody else, when they're screening and they do screen you on LinkedIn, then you want to have headline that kind of conveys with the 220 characters. They get a lot of characters. It's about the same as Twitter posts 220 characters.

Jeff 20:10
Twitter was 280 if memory serves me right.

240. But you know, you can get a lot done with 240.

Jeff 20:20
They increased it from two lines to four recently and that makes a huge difference in terms of what you can share.

On LinkedIn?

Jeff 20:29
Yep, headline is bigger now. I know, I had like a two line hidden. Maybe I got a couple of letters and to a third line and now mine has four lines.


Jeff 20:40
Yeah, big difference

A big believer in the use of the headline because you have to understand 65% of us when I'm looking at somebody's profile for the first time, where are they going? They're going to the mobile. So the headline plays a big world, just like the banner. Okay, so you have done. That's mistake number eight. Just because it looks good on your desktop it will look on your bubble and many times it doesn't because of the fact that we just talked about.

Jeff 21:08
So true and I'll also say on the about area, if you're actively looking for work, put your email address in there.

And the phone number

Jeff 21:22
I don't know how it is with you. I don't take phone calls anymore. That's just too many robo-callers.

I use a scheduling app called calendly. Set things up. So they know, you know.

Jeff 21:32
I use a different one. But I do the same thing. But the idea becomes, you know, I don't want to have robo calls and if I put my phone number in there, I never take calls unless the person's in my phone already. So you wind up going into phone spam. But for email, if you don't want to put your email address in there, especially for women who get hit on all the time, even through LinkedIn, I politely suggest put a phoney email address or a new email address for your job search that forwards to the real one.

That's a good one. That's a good point.

Jeff 22:11
So this way, you can cut it off at the end of the search. Pull that email address from your about areas since you don't want to be contacted anymore and the people who are worthwhile will have the real one from you and the rest are just cut off.

Good point.

Jeff 22:30
Thank you. So what else do people do wrong?

I think they forget about the magic of attribution. Attribution is like you say you're the best. But if you would say that other people would tell you that you are the best at what you do when I'm working with non trained professionals and it's even with others is looking back on the experiences they had with previous employers and supervisors and so attribution comes in two ways. You can actually put it into the experience section and the other one is to get recommendations. Real recommendations are magical things. It tells people this is what makes them unique. So asking for a real recommendation is something that I think really gives people attribution. It said hidden part of LinkedIn that they don't tell you about. But you know, if you use it properly, you'll get a lot of recommendations. I have 50 plus recommendations. Now, I've had people surprising some recommendations, because I really don't ask for any more. But I got a couple recommendations for people I've helped kind of find jobs and it's like, thanks. Appreciate that. You know, it's magic about recommendations get approval.

Jeff 23:45
On what? I'm sorry.

You get to approve them. I like it. I'm gonna put if I don't, I might just keep it back, but you get to prove it and honestly, I think affirmation is a misunderstood part of LinkedIn.

Jeff 24:00
And on the channel on a secret, the algorithm wants to see recommendations. They next wanna see endorsements, but recommendations are gold to the algorithm.

And I know there's a thing with endorsements. I'm still trying to figure out how to do that and sells navigator and I understand the business process for LinkedIn. Endorsements help them build a database so that I'm endorsed for public relations crisis management. Then people know that. I'm that people will see that. But as my friend and I would say, if I haven't seen you do it, that's not much of an endorsement. You know, I'm saying,

Jeff 24:36
At least from the LinkedIn side. If someone's doing a search on LinkedIn factors in not just simply geography, or the key word. It tries to serve up amongst the 700 million people on the platform. They're trying to figure out who should be the top recommendations that they make and search and they use skills and endorsements to some degree, but more is about the recommendations. The more recommendations you have, the more the algorithm likes it. So one other thing I'll just mention on this subject is, this is like a bugaboo for me with folks on the searching side that they sell to recruiters. One of the fields that they have is a title field and thus, when you are filling and your title on LinkedIn folks, and you start typing something in, try to select one of the titles that they suggest to you because that fits the LinkedIn data dictionary on the search side. So that this way, if someone's working with that field, they'll find you and if you have one of those hybrid titles, that doesn't quite fit, pick one that does fit and then in the first line, as you describe what you do, you might say functioning as and put the real title in there, but work with LinkedIn and how they serve things up to the search firms. So this way people can find you which is the whole goal.

That's the goal is to be about, but the other part of LinkedIn and that's something I think is misunderstood is building the professional network. Having the professional network I think people misunderstand that's the professional network. How do I get an answer to something to a problem that I'm facing? You know, I'm in an organization like professional Military Institute in Tampa, Florida. But I'm looking in LinkedIn, maybe somebody in my connections know someone that can answer a question for me. So looking at LinkedIn as a research tool, that's another great tool, but it's also one that most people don't really understand.

Jeff 26:57
So true and you know, one of the interview questions I prepare people for is how do you use LinkedIn? And the correct answer is to say, other than the obvious, I also use it as a way to save time when I'm researching things that I don't know particularly well. So that this way, and then you give an example of a project that you worked on, where use it, and you were able to cut the learning time by X number of weeks, so that this way, by talking to people already doing this getting. Their recommendations and discussing a paper with people, you were able to research it faster, and get into production that much faster. So use it as a research tool, folks, and there's so much that they provide you with. What else. I know there's more.

Well, there is the socialization on LinkedIn. I don't want to know about your puppy. I don't want to know what your political preferences. I want it to be professional. I've kicked people. I've blocked black people with their political preferences seem to be a lot of it right at the end of the last election was like, no, I don't want to know that. If you want to know what I'm thinking about politics, you can visit my profile on Facebook only if I let you. But I don't want to know that. I hate this is my last one is my favorite pet peeve. I call this the Barbie doll. Barbie and Ken doll. Look where they're posing. You know, it's like, really, you're posing with something. You give somebody a check for 500 bucks and you want to post a picture of that. That's not real relevant to me. That's okay for Facebook if you want to feel good about yourself. But what I want to do is if you get solid information about what you do, and people want to know, LinkedIn is the place to share.

Jeff 28:58
I am gonna add one in myself and that is LinkedIn is a great resource for continuing education.

Of course. Yes.

Jeff 29:08
In purchase Linda Hawaiian da some years ago, the LinkedIn learning opportunity allows you to stay current, which from the standpoint of looking at your future is the way I did it in a YouTube short today. Things have changed a lot in the last five years, right? Trust me the next five years are going to be changing too and thus, it's a venue where you can continue your education for free so you can maintain professional relevance because one of the things that no one cares about, and I speak for myself, no one cares I have 40 years of search experience and years of coaching background. What they care about is that I can help them and thus stay current with your knowledge through LinkedIn learning and many of the other free places on the web is an important way that you can stay up to date as things evolve professionally.

That's my list. Jeff. I think that's a pretty good list. I mean, there’s probably a couple of bugs but you know, is looking at every conversation as an opportunity to engage people. Okay, that is my last one.

Jeff 30:29

Likes. Likes are so easy. Okay, they're like, comments, take a little thought. But if you really want to be cool, share the best content with others in your group and the more you share, the more people will appreciate and then, of course, when you're sharing something, put the add sign. So at Jeff all been you know, thanks for sharing this, or this is something Jeff Altman share. This is what I think about this, and here's why you should pay attention. So that's another one.

Jeff 31:05
I thought my phone was off. My apologies so Matt, how can people find out more about you, the work that you do and other stuff?

So obviously, they go to my LinkedIn profile. I do have a website for my book is LinkedIn for military.com. You can order the book there. You can also go to the military transition Roundtable. We have a website with military transition roundtable.com and I'm also in the process of working with people like Jeff Zigman on skill builders course and I want to help military guys and the people of all talents to look at how to put together profile and got louder. So I'm working on that. That's my extra project.

Jeff 31:54
I'm gonna ask one additional question, because we talked about it before, and we didn't cover it here. When should people in the military begin the process of looking for a new position?

Two years out, at least? At least two years and this is the timeline. I will tell you that my friend Jeff Carter, who went from being the executive agent base commander Randolph Air Force Base, to his current roles that Amazon. He started looking and talking to people about job opportunities, about 18 months out. In fact, I met Jeff when he was still the executive agent. In my day names we call him that base commander and we had a nice conversation. We started talking about his goals. He defined his goals. Then he started building a series network that could help him understand what his capabilities were, where the opportunities were. What's amazing about Jeff's story, and we do have a video on this was that Jeff is the executive base commander Randolph Air Force Base. He's also the commander of 700 security policeman, also in San Antonio, and then covered yes, right and he was working all that, and still working his interview process. I love his story. But he's driving home from working a command post dealing with all the COVID stuff, and his wife with the interview and impossible questions. So getting ready, burning job. So that's two years, at the very least, and a good starting point and we keep that. We help people with that in the military transition round table.

Jeff 33:35
Matt, thank you and folks, we'll be back soon with more. I'm Jeff Alton, the big game hunter. I hope you enjoyed today's interview with Matt Scherer. If you didn't, you're watching on YouTube, share it, leave a comment, click the like button, do something. Let people know it was worthwhile. If you're listening to this as a podcast, share it. I’d love them to see shares. I really do. Also want to encourage you visit my website, TheBigGameHunter.us. There's a lot there that can help you. If you're not quite ready to go there minimally put the URL in your phones or at the right time, you can get in touch with me. Lastly, connect with me on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/thebiggamehunter. Hope you have a terrific day and be great.

Take care.


JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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