On this episode of The GenTwenty Podcast, we’re interviewing Rosie McCarthy, founder of Badass Careers, who is breaking down exactly what it takes to get seen on LinkedIn and level up your career. We learned so much from Rosie and hope her valuable tips can help you set your LinkedIn up for success!
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This transcript has been gently edited for clarity.
Nicole Booz: Welcome back to the GenTwenty Podcast I’m Nicole…
Marina Crouse: And I’m Marina! Today we’re speaking with Rosie McCarthy, career fulfillment coach and founder of Badass Careers. Rosie’s mission is to help millennials and Gen Z make dream careers their badass reality and help them feel happy and fulfilled in what they do. Rosie, thanks so much for joining us!
Rosie McCarthy: Thank you so much for having me and I have to admit I have a little bit of imposter syndrome being 31 but here we are.
Nicole Booz: Oh I’m 31.
Marina Crouse: Yeah, I’m 30 so it’s all good.
Nicole Booz: Exactly exactly.
Marina Crouse: Exactly we’ve made it through the other side.
Rosie McCarthy: We’ve lived through our twenties and we’ve learned.
Nicole Booz: Right. So today we’re chatting with Rosie about online presence and specifically how to make your LinkedIn work for you and have recruiters knocking on your digital door. We all know that the job market is changing again. So Rosie, how can job seekers really put their best foot forward online?
Rosie McCarthy: This is so important, isn’t it? Because what we know about the job market is that there are so many opportunities out there that are being filled directly, as in through networks through, internal referrals, or through recruiters going out and proactively searching for talent on LinkedIn. So if you don’t have a strong personal brand online and you can’t be found then you may be having opportunities slip through the net. There’s many, many different ways that you can show up online and I do encourage all of the listeners out there to google yourself and see what comes up because you may be surprised at those Facebook pictures from 2008. So definitely go and give yourself a google.
But I’d really love to focus on LinkedIn because I think that’s a platform that people have so much untapped potential on and they’re really not necessarily leveraging. I think we can all put our hands up and say at some time we’ve been direly ashamed of our LinkedIn profiles, just pretending it doesn’t exist right? Head in the sand. The first thing to do is just really make sure that your LinkedIn is looking really sleek and sharp and a really great representation of you because the fact of the matter is that it is the world’s online professional directory, you have over 700 million monthly users.
If you think about how many of those are senior level managers, decision makers, people working at your dream company that you could connect with and recruiters. It’s really a shame if you’re not leveraging LinkedIn. It’s really like being in the corner of the best professional networking party ever and just deciding to not say a thing right? So it’s really important to focus on your profile. Give it a little bit of love. Also realize that it’s not just there to be a static tool.
It’s not just you know, sit and forget, it’s also a place to show up…it’s social media, right? So get social. It’s a place to build quality connections and to find that mentor, and to tap into the hidden job market and to showcase your personal brand. So, I would really start there and giving your LinkedIn profile a little bit of love.
Marina Crouse: I think a lot of times young professionals don’t realize what type of tool it can be because now especially with social media changing you can make deeper connections with people who have similar career paths to you. Also you can establish yourself as a key leader in your r role as you grow because you can post articles and you can really connect your social media to LinkedIn with your website and things like that. So Rosie when you are helping people build their LinkedIn page and their brand, what are some “don’ts” that you would recommend people stop doing.
Rosie McCarthy: I’ve got I’ve got quite a few! But as you just touched on the main ways you’re using LinkedIn to your advantage, you want to have a search optimized profile. So you want to have a profile that’s optimized so that when recruiters are looking for incredible opportunities your profile is going to show up in the search results. We’ve got to think about the words you’re using. We’ve got to think about how you’re portraying yourself and all of that kind of stuff and then once they land on your profile you want it to be intriguing. You want it to hook them in and draw them in.
You’ve also got the opportunity to show up on LinkedIn to comment on people’s things to share your perspective, to share that article, to write that article, and there are so many ways that decision makers and recruiters can be finding you. It’s just really, really, exciting and a really cool place to be. In terms of the no-nos that I see over and over again, I mean firstly, obviously, is not having a complete profile. Your profile looking a little bit empty. No effort put in and I want to ask the listeners: if how you show up on LinkedIn is how you show up in your career?
What would you say about yourself, you know is that an accurate reflection of how you show up because if I’m looking for a role or you’ve applied for a role… if you’ve actively applied for a role and I’m a recruiter and I give you a stalk, because I will, and I land on your LinkedIn, what does it tell me about you? Does it show that you’re putting in the effort? Does it show that you’re well-connected? Does it show that you’re collaborative and that you’re a part of your industry and you’re part of that conversation? Or does it all look a little bit sad?
LinkedIn does offer you free personal branding in that way. It has very high search engine authority which means that if you google your name your LinkedIn profile is likely to show up at the top of the search results because Google loves it. People pay for ads to come up at the top of google search. That’s what you get with your LinkedIn and so you’ve got that opportunity to really shine if recruiters is giving you a stalk.
That’s the first thing is not having a presence and a personal brand infused presence that you’re proud of. What I mean by that is does it tell your story? Does it show off your strengths? Does it show off your values? Does it articulate your why? So that’s the first thing. The second thing is not working on what I call your clickbait and your follow through. So if you think about if you’re on youtube and you’re scrolling through and looking at some videos to watch. You’ve got the thumbnail and you’ve got the channel name and you’ve got the title of the video… all of these things work together to get you to think “am I going to give that a click? is this worth my time? does this pique my interest?” and that’s exactly the same on LinkedIn.
So you’ve got your clickbait: that’s your photo, your name, and your headline. Just to break those down a little bit and give you some concrete tips…obviously for your photo, it doesn’t have to be professionally taken. But it’s you know a nice clear photo you’re making eye contact. And it represents you professionally, you’re wearing what you’d wear. You know you’re just feeling comfortable and good in your photo but something that you can do that’s a small hack that can actually make it really pop is remove the background of your photo for example a website like remove.bg and then upload it to a free site like Canva. That’s canva.com and you can play with that. Just choose the Instagram post template in terms of sizing and change the background color and make it pop. Make your LinkedIn profile look that much more you know spicy.
When it comes to your name, you might be saying “okay my name’s my name” but there are things that you can do with that to mix it up. For example, what I do is I put my full name in my first name box. So the first name says Rosie McCarthy and then in my surname box I’ve put career fulfillment coach. Because it’s all search optimized so you could put your job title in there or aspiring whatever that looks like. You could put an MBA for example in and your surname field… you can mix it up so that you can use those characters to pop a little bit more.
When it comes to a headline…as a recruiter this is what I see. I’d go on to LinkedIn and I’ll type in social media manager and as I scroll through the results every single headline (the area just below your name) says the same thing which is: social media at company, social media manager at company, because that’s the LinkedIn default now. How would I feel if I came across someone whose said “social media manager: I show startups how to manage their social media presence and build communities of raving fans.” You know they’ve just gone that extra mile in that headline and told me you’re passionate about how you can help instantly I’m like “who is this person?”
So that clickbait area is really important again. That’s your photo, your headline, and your name as well. But it’s not just about the clickbait. You better have the follow through. A big mistake I see is people not using a banner on LinkedIn. You’ve clicked through to the person’s profile and what are you greeted with? If you’ve just got the gray default LinkedIn area for the banner and you’re not making the most of that again, that’s a real shame. Your banner can show off a photo of you at work, maybe a speaking event, maybe film if you work on production. Whatever that looks like…it could be you in your zone It could be actually created so it could be a little graphic design template and again you don’t have to be a graphic designer. That website called Canva has LinkedIn headline templates with heaps of them to choose from.
You could put your why on there. For example, you could have a banner saying “on a mission to drive social and community change through advocacy and social innovation” or “building a happier and healthier workforce” or “finding stories in the data” and then have your zones of genius. Like Data Visualization, Infographics, Visual Journalism. There’s so many things that you can you can play with for that banner. Then lastly I would obviously the “about section.” The about section should tell a story. It should show off your why, it should highlight some of your career highlights. It should give us a taste of who you are, what you’re good at, and what you want next. There’s so many ways that you can tell a story with that as well.
Marina Crouse: I’m already trying to pull up my LinkedIn page just to see what mine says, this is so helpful. LinkedIn’s been around for a while and I graduated from college 10 years ago…let’s not say 10 years, it was probably 8, I didn’t do that math.
But I remember that was when LinkedIn was really starting to be encouraged and my career center was like “you just need to put your skills on there and you’re good to go” and that was I’m sure great advice at the time but standing out is getting harder and harder. So I think this is great advice because my name Marina Crouse and I would say that’s pretty unique, but I’m actually not the only Marina Crouse. When you google my name the other Marina Crouse pops up. She’s a jazz singer in San Francisco… I’ve actually talked with her on Facebook, she’s very nice but we are constantly in each other’s SEO space because we’re both very active online.
I think these are great tools for how to set yourself apart because there are a ton of people in the world. There are going to be people who are doing similar things. But if you know what you want to do and how you want to do it, that’s really important. One thing I want to touch more on too is LinkedIn used to be more static where it was just a website for resumes and now people are having conversations on LinkedIn with articles and posts and all these things. So what recommendations do you have for people who want to make more meaningful connections on LinkedIn, and maybe even be part of a conversation?
Rosie McCarthy: Yeah, absolutely. The thing is that the LinkedIn algorithm is very generous in this space. What that means is that it’s sort of like old school Facebook. It’s sort of like if you comment on someone else’s post and leave a really enriching and thoughtful perspective on their post, not only are they going to see it and be notified of that, but their network is going to see that you’ve commented on their post. What that means is that there’s such huge opportunity on LinkedIn to be seen. And to get eyeballs on your on your profile.
In fact, there are over nine billion impressions of content on the LinkedIn newsfeed per week but only three million people are consistently creating content, so less than one percent of LinkedIn users create content regularly. Again, a huge opportunity to be seen. Now that can feel quite daunting and overwhelming for people. Obviously we start picking ourselves apart and saying things like “oh what would I have to say” and “how could I possibly share anything of interest” but it’s about sharing what’s going on for you in life.
I think if you can start small I would start by the commenting, just as I was speaking about reading other people’s content or or other people’s conversation starters and posts or articles and leaving engaging content. And comments in the comments section. That just offers something a little bit different. Offer your perspective, not just “great job” or “fun article”, but really something of value. Give your opinion. That’s a great way to start.
You can also graduate to sharing other people’s share, other articles, and posts, and again on your own feed, offering your perspective to your connections and so on and so forth. But then obviously as you go and you feel more and more comfortable, you can start posting on your feed yourself with posts. With LinkedIn now you can add carousels. You can add video, you can write articles, all sorts of things. I would recommend practicing starting with posts. The more you do it the easier it gets and the better you get at telling a little bit of a story.
You can share anything from your personal story, a book you’ve read, a training you’ve attended. Share the the key learnings with us. Have you just completed the course recently? What did you learn? Can you take us behind the scenes at your job? Can you share a story about how one of your biggest passions relates and has given you big life lessons for your work? Anything like that is going to be really interesting to people let alone adding your perspective on your industry.
For example, if you’re working in clean beauty and you’re originally from Hawaii maybe you’ll want to pin an article on the top five Hawaiian clean beauty brands to follow at the moment. There are so many things that you can do that you’ve got to remember your interests, your experience, your passions, they are all unique and people can learn something from you and you can add value. Just to give you a concrete example.
When I was working for L’oreal over in Paris I had this amazing project. Which was developing a world first mobile application on company culture. So I developed a mobile app that allowed newcomers to navigate the company culture. We gamified that onboarding experience. We really got people connected and just up to speed within the L’oreal world and of course I asked permission to the coms team but I ended up writing an article about it on LinkedIn. It was my first article that I’d ever written and it really took off. It had over 28,000 views and I was getting contacted by recruiters, I was getting offered paid speaking events to come to conferences, and I actually ended up taking my manager to London for an incredible HR digital summit. It was just insane and I was like “wow”. For one article the attention and the eyeballs I had on my profile was crazy.
A client of mine was posting on LinkedIn regularly. She’s in the tourism industry which as you know obviously right now is a really tough industry to be in. She was showing up and posting and sharing her passion for tourism and her dreams for the future of the industry. And she actually got an inbox message on LinkedIn from the CEO of a tourism company here in New Zealand and he said “hey we’ve been seeing how passionate you are. We’ve been seeing your posts on LinkedIn for the past six months and we haven’t been in a position to be able to hire you but we would love to meet you and if it’s a fit. You know we’re not even opening this up to interviews like we want you on our team.”
So it’s pretty insane what can happen when you put yourself out there! The last example I just wanted to touch on, especially for those of you listening who don’t have necessarily professional experience yet. There’s someone I follow on LinkedIn called Basant Shenouda. She’s incredible. She was an immigrant student in the U.S. and she was just posting about her experience with visas, with trying to land a job when you need sponsorship, with mental health struggles and she was just really sharing her experience of what that looked like trying to get that graduate role after studying and she actually ended up accumulating over 50,000 followers on LinkedIn. LinkedIn ended up offering her a role, so she landed an amazing graduate role at LinkedIn and on the side now because of her strong personal brand, she’s a paid speaker. She’s a career coach. She helps immigrants land their internships, those key professional internships. She’s developed a whole side hustle…a very lucrative side hustle as well. Just because she decided “I’m going to share my journey”
Nicole Booz: That’s really amazing. I feel like how Marina was saying when LinkedIn first started for us no one was really using it. It was kind of just a digital landing page of your resume right? And now it’s almost like a whole career social network really giving all these people these amazing opportunities from the followings they’re cultivating on there and I think that’s incredible. What do you think Marina?
Marina Crouse: I don’t go on LinkedIn much anymore now that I’m self-employed. But I’m going to start using it because I’m realizing that’s another platform I can share my story. I think it’s also so helpful to see, especially when you’re in your early twenties, it’s helpful to see what other people’s career paths look like because I think with our parents’ generation you got a job and you stayed in that job and our generation if you want to grow and within a role you sometimes have to move companies.
But we’re not getting that advice from our parents. So for seeing other people do it successfully and thoughtfully we realize this is helpful and so with like Basant’s experience and how she’s used her own story and experience to propel her job… It’s very inspiring and encouraging.
Rosie McCarthy: Absolutely and you touched on an important point there which is LinkedIn is such an incredible place to find people to connect with and have those career curiosity conversations and get to know people and understand their story and how they made that move. How they changed countries just like you want to do, or how they changed industries just like you want to do, or how they got into that dream company and having these conversations that’s where you build real relationships and it’s like the worst time to network is when you need it.
So, get networking, get connecting with people and build genuine relationships and then when that role at that dream company pops up, guess who’s going to think of you? Who is going to say “hey head’s up, this role is coming up Would you’d like to send me your resume off to the HR manager?” You know the most incredible part of LinkedIn is that for career changes for breakthrough roles and making those really career defining moves these conversations can be the game changer.
Nicole Booz: Absolutely so when you are working with your clients, what do you think are the top 3 most important things we should communicate with our LinkedIn pages?
Rosie McCarthy: So number one is definitely how you can add value. It may seem a little bit ironic but your LinkedIn profile is not all about you. It’s all about them and what I mean by them is your your target audience. That dream industry, that dream company.
That’s when you say “I’m on a mission to help this kind of company to do this so that they can do this,” or you know let us know what you’re wanting to do and let us know what your core strengths are, what you’re known for, what makes you different. I don’t want to hear anything about “I’m a passionate team player with a great attention to detail.” No, no, no. We want to really to hear genuinely what makes you tick. What are you good at, how are you going to come in and add insane value. So That’s number one.
Number two is really your big why or what you stand for. LinkedIn doesn’t always have to feel as cold and static and boring as we think. It really is now a place where people can share their personality, their convictions, their beliefs. So if you want to change the world in some way, if you want to make an insane level of impact in a certain area of life, I want to hear about that. Because if I’m working for a company where I feel the same and I see that I’m like “okay you’re my person” right? We will connect. We will get on. So I want to know that about you and what you stand for. If you have those convictions, those beliefs, something that gets you out of bed in the morning, something that you care about, I want to hear about it because if I’m a recruiter working in your dream company and I come across your profile and I believe what you believe, we will instantly have that human connection and the reaction will be like “wow this is my kind of person.”
And the third thing that you really need to get across on your LinkedIn strategically is what you want next. So I work with high achievers from all around the world and what sets them apart is they have a vision for their career and they can articulate that. But also what they want next started their career. It doesn’t have to be a job title but it has to have a general kind of direction and when you’re clear about what you want next and you know going forward, what you hope to achieve, and what kind of impact you hope to make, it’s going to be a lot easier as well for recruiters or decision makers to know what to do with you and to know who to connect you with. So being able to articulate “what’s next” is also really important.
Marina Crouse: Wow that is insanely helpful. I’m thinking back to the last couple of times I was interviewing for jobs a couple of years ago and I would get asked those questions and I didn’t know how to answer them. I didn’t know that I could be so forthcoming with “this is who I am and what I’m doing.” I think so much of our upbringing and training was answering the question correctly and so, at least for me, I remember thinking “I don’t know how to answer this because I don’t know what you’re looking for.” So this is this is insanely helpful advice, Rosie, on to how to move forward.
I’m excited for our listeners to take action on that. So if you’re listening and you’ve used Rosie McCarthy’s advice please email us and let us know how it goes!We want to share that with her and Rosie thank you so much for sharing this with us. Where can people find you? I know people are going to want to ask follow-up questions and connect.
Rosie McCarthy: Yeah, absolutely! I’m most active I would say on either LinkedIn, surprise surprise, or Instagram. On Instagram it’s @badasscareers and on LinkedIn and you can find me just by searching Rosie McCarthy or Badass Careers.
If you want the full URL it’s www.linkedin.com/in/rosiecareercoach and then I also have a Youtube Channel under Badass Careers where I share in-depth trainings. I actually have an entire LinkedIn playlist where you can learn how to set up your profile, how to optimize it for search, how to start networking on LinkedIn. I have video trainings on all of these topics.
Marina Crouse: Amazing. We will also link all of that to our show notes too. So for anyone listening you can just click on those on your phone or computer.
Rosie, thank you again, so much. We’re so happy to have you and look forward to sharing all of the forward thinking that comes out of this. I’ll go ahead and sing us out because Nicole is on mute with her toddler. This has been another episode of the GenTwenty podcast. Thanks so much for listening, please leave us a five star rating and review and we’ll see you next time. Bye.