Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Skip ahead to:

1:13 – TOP TIP: How To Turn On The Recruiter ‘Button’ On LinkedIn
8:45 – Show Me the Data
22:30 – Adding Value To Employers When You Don’t Have Value To Add w/A.J. Jacobs
40:00 – Live LinkedIn Profile Review w/Isaiah & Mary
52:38 – Stop Being Invisible On LinkedIn w/Donna Serdula

Do you know the one thing you must do after an interview?

Is your LinkedIn profile visible to recruiters?

In this episode of Cheeky Scientist Radio, we are talking about how to add value to employers even when you feel like you don’t have any value to add. A.J. Jacobs, author of the book Thanks a Thousand, discusses the incredible value a ‘thank you’ can add and how it will help you build professional relationships. Then we’re bringing on Donna Serdula, the world’s number one LinkedIn specialist to help you stop being invisible on LinkedIn and discusses some incredible new ways you can leverage LinkedIn in your job search. 

About Our Guests

A.J. Jacobs is a New York Times bestselling author, whose titles include Drop Dead Healthy, The Year of Living Biblically, My Life as an Experiment, The Know-It-All, and It’s All Relative.

Jacobs is a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife Julie and their children. Visit him at and follow him on Twitter @ajjacobs.

Donna Serdula LOVES LinkedIn. She is the author of the popular book, LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile. It was back in 2009 she decided to break free from corporate America and set out on her own path. She started Vision Board Media with the goal to help business and individuals leverage the Internet in their quest to market themselves.

Donna is the foremost expert in LinkedIn profile optimization. She founded where she helps individuals from around the world brand themselves successfully using LinkedIn.

Key Takeaways

1. Partake in delusional optimism about yourself, by convincing yourself that you have something of value to offer. Re-frame your job search as being part of a greater whole that will help the world.

2. Hand written notes are incredibly powerful. 

3. Keep a list of all the people who have commented on your LinkedIn posts. Then when you create content and are ready to ramp up, you have tons of people to tag in your posts. 

How Gratitude Can Make Your Life (And Job Search) Better

According to a study in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology people who practice gratitude, are more satisfied with their well-being and feel more connected to other people. In the study, the authors asked participants to complete the following action every night, they were asked, “There’s many things in our lives both large and small that we could be grateful about. Think back over your week and write down some things you are grateful for.” When the participants did that, they actually ended up feeling significantly more satisfied or happier about their lives. 

Practicing gratitude also had more concrete effects, where participants who completed the gratitude activity got more sleep and felt more well rested than those participants who did not do the gratitude practice.

Additionally, a study in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that people who expressed gratitude were better at coping with stressful situations in productive ways. For example, gratitude was significantly correlated with using social support as a way of coping with stress as well as with coping by re-framing the stressful situation so that is can been seen as a way to grow. On the other hand, gratitude was negatively correlated with harmful coping strategies such as self-blame and social disengagement.

As a PhD looking for a job, you are in a stressful position. Practicing gratitude can be a great way to find positive ways to cope with the stress and will allow your to get more sleep and feel more well rested.

Adding Value To Employers When You Don’t Have Value To Add: A Conversation with A.J. Jacobs

Isaiah: So why did you want to write a book on gratitude?

AJ: Well, it was partly because I had read all these studies, how important gratitude is to fighting depression, to your sleep, to eating better, all sorts of positive correlations. So I thought one way to do it would be to go to the extreme and try to thank everyone I could. Because we take so many people for granted in the little things in our life. So I chose a cup of coffee, and I said I’m gonna thank every single person who actually makes that coffee possible. And if you think about it, that’s a lot of people, that is hundreds, thousands of people. Because you don’t just have the farmer, and the barista. Oh, you have to thank them of course. Well, it’s like six degrees of gratitude. Yes, there’s the guy who drove the truck but he couldn’t have driven the truck with the coffee beans without the road, so you gotta thank the guy who built the road, the guy who painted the yellow lines on the road so the truck didn’t veer into traffic. And it just goes on and on and I loved it, because it was revelatory to realize the connections and the networks we live in.

Isaiah: AJ, what have you found from writing this book and other books that has changed your perspective in terms of going broad, in terms of the networks of gratefulness? What were some of the surprising things that came up?

AJ: Well, I am a big fan of going broad and interdisciplinary thinking, not that I’m very good at any particular discipline but I do enjoy, and I think some of the most creative ideas come out of it. And speaking of scientists, Isaac Newton, well-known scientist, his theory of gravity was partly inspired by his work with alchemy which is a total pseudoscience, and it’s crazy. But in alchemy, they talk about magical forces working at a distance. And it opened his mind to, maybe that’s something that could be what happens and that’s how we came up with gravity. So even if the other discipline is kind of hooey, I’m quite open to that.

I want to be practical as much as I can, gratitude and connections are super practical. And one study that jumped out at me that you didn’t discuss yet, I don’t think is that, it was by a Harvard researcher. That something as simple as writing a thank-you note to the person who interviewed you and being really specific with the praise and mentioning what you guys talked about in the interview, that doubled the response and it’s just one study. And I know to be skeptical, but still, it’s such a… I love it because it’s such… It suggests that this thing that our parents always told us is true, could be scientifically true. A simple act of writing a thank-you note.

Stop Being Invisible On LinkedIn: A Conversation with Donna Serdula

IsaiahWhat can you tell us? What’s up to date now? What’s working on LinkedIn in terms of just getting noticed?

Donna: I gotta tell you, one time, you just needed a good-looking profile and that was it. Those were the days, my friend, but they’re long gone. You’ve got to splash around. LinkedIn is this like ginormous ocean. And if you want to get noticed, you’ve gotta splash around and what does that mean? That means you’ve got to like, you’ve gotta comment, you’ve gotta share and you’ve gotta post. You’ve gotta use LinkedIn as that social networking site. And so that’s going to be really really really important. And I always say, a lot of us get overwhelmed at the thought of being the creator of content, it’s scary. So don’t be the creator of content out of the gate, because it is hard. Instead be the curator of content, of good content.

Isaiah: I think especially as PhDs, we overthink it a bit. We’re like I have to write a peer-reviewed journal article on LinkedIn to be taken seriously, and we make it too big. But you’re just saying if I like some people’s posts, if I comment, this person’s gonna recognize somebody actually commenting on their post, actually caring, right?

Donna: Yeah, and then if you share it? Oh my goodness, you are then promoting them to your network. That’s huge. And then if you want to take that extra little bit of step, just find some interesting links to articles and post that with a little, maybe a little blurb that says why you found it interesting. Maybe find a really interesting quote and use that quote as the context. Simple things like that are great. And then, here’s the biggie now.

Alright guys, pen and paper, this is this, I’m gonna come up with some gold right now. So you start doing this, little by little, you’re gonna start seeing that people are reacting. People start to interact. Now, what most people do, is they just accept it as awesome and they don’t do anything but you guys are gonna do something different. You’re going to have, maybe it’s a notebook, maybe it’s analog like this. Or maybe it’s digital, like an Evernote Journal. And everyone who starts to comment on your posts, people who start to share, you grab their name and you put it into a list. Then once you do start to create some interesting content or when you really want to get something going, you now have a list of people that you can tag into your posts.

Isaiah: What else is fresh and new out there for LinkedIn, especially when it comes to moving from your profiles optimized to now getting attention on your profile?

Donna: So, I’ve got something I’ve never talked to you guys about before. This is exciting stuff. And it goes really well with this idea of gratitude. And that is I hope you guys haven’t already talked about this but it’s the kudos. Have you guys seen kudos?

When on LinkedIn, right up here it says share an article photo, video or idea. If you click there, do you see the little medallion icon? No one ever touches it, no one does anything with it but it’s there. We click on it and it says, who shall we send this kudos to? And you can send someone a personalized kudos showing your gratitude for what they have done. 

Watch the full podcast episode above to get even more insight into: how you can use gratitude to boost your job search success and how to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

To get advanced access to the full length versions of these podcasts, as well as access to our live training webinars, exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the waitlist for the Cheeky Scientist Association now.

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