How LinkedIn Are You, Really?

Brenda Meller Head Shot

Brenda Meller, LinkedIn Guru

Recently a high school boyfriend I haven’t talked to in 20+ years invited me to connect on LinkedIn with nothing but the canned invitation.

I’ve voiced my objection to this in the past. Someone once told me it’s because some phone apps don’t allow you to include a personal note with the invitation. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t fly.

With this LinkedIn complaint already rolling around in my head, I was fairly dismayed to spot this profile image of a random guy making a group comment: A photo of him hugging his wife. OK for Facebook. Not for LinkedIn.

With that, I decided I needed to call in the big guns, so allow me to introduce my favorite LinkedIn expert, the fabulous Brenda Meller, assistant vice president of marketing at Walsh College and self-proclaimed social media ambassador. Read on as Brenda drops some of her extensive knowledge about the vast, but not TOO complicated, world of LinkedIn.

Tip for Beginners

Personalize EVERY invitation you send on LinkedIn. Seriously. This tip alone will increase the rate of your invitations being accepted. Include a salutation including their name, a frame of reference, your request to connect. If you’re savvy, you’ll want to offer them your assistance, then a closing including your name. Like this:

Dear Jennifer, it was great seeing you at the Inforum Troy breakfast at Walsh last month. Let’s connect on LinkedIn. Let me know if there is anything you need. Sincerely, Brenda

BONUS: Invite Brenda to connect with you:

Tip for Intermediates

Review your profile and make updates once per quarter. To remember to do this, set a calendar reminder. Check your current job description and add any recent achievements. Make sure your profile photo still looks like you (women with frequent hair style changes, take note). Spend a few minutes scanning your profile. Does it look interesting? Have you missed anything?

BONUS: Identify a few industry leaders you admire and look at their profiles once per quarter, too.

Tip for Advanced Users

Try to find yourself in an advanced people search using keywords only. Try just a few keywords at a time. Is it easy to find your profile? Or are you relatively hidden? (Keep in mind, if people can’t find you on LinkedIn, you might need to freshen up that profile.) In the process, check out profiles of others who come up in searches. Why are they ranking higher? Let their profiles inspire you to make updates on your profile.

BONUS: Google yourself. What do you mean, you’ve never Googled yourself???

Brenda oversees Walsh’s marketing strategies and tactics for the College’s award-winning “Live. Breathe. Business” campaign, serving the Admissions, Alumni/Development, Career Services, Walsh Institute, and all campus locations. Her areas of responsibility include advertising, marketing, branding, public relations, social media, and web / digital media. She loves her job and thinks you should, too.

Brenda hosts the Walsh College social media webinar series and periodically speaks on social media for associations including Automation Alley, the Troy Chamber, Toastmasters, the Institute for Supply Management – Southeast Michigan, HRAGD (a local chapter of SHRM), and MichiganWorks!. In addition, she authors three blogs: Meller Marketing, 15 Minutes a Day on LinkedIn, and Marketing and Social Media for Walsh College. In her spare time, she’s pursuing a Walsh MBA. She credits her motivation to coffee and the occasional slice of pie.  


  1. I think you are absolutely right. That being said I am so out of date with social media. Why? I am not sure if I have a “good” reason, but I will try my best to give you one. I am typically so busy with my job that I don’t take the time to work on my social media. I know it can be a great tool to network but I work hard at personal interaction. I have a tendency to think so much is lost in translation when we don’t have personal interaction. I still believe that but I also realize that the first thing we do when we want to check someone out is a google search. I believe that we stll need to be careful about what we put out there but I also believe you are absolutely spot on with regards to being personal in our invitations and about updating our social media. I need to get better at it. I have a lot to do to update and I need to keep in mind the personal touch on invitations and salutations. Thanks for the thought provoking words.
    Great Job Jen.

    Keep on pushing us social networking slackers. Just like most of the people who are great at social networking need to probably spend a little more time with personal interaction. Those of us who are a part of the group that are good at personal interaction definitely need to learn to be better at social networking. I still think both sides are important and there is a balance between the two.

    Thanks again
    Anthonie York

    • Thanks, Anthonie, but I can’t take credit for all the cool stuff Brenda’s taught me! I know you’re busy, but you are a perfect candidate for Brenda’s 15 Minutes a Day on LinkedIn:

      Your presence on LinkedIn is also your company’s presence. Consider it just another way for your customers and potential customers to find you and initiate what will become a personal interaction.

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