When Someone Helps You Look Better On LinkedIn (or Anywhere Else), Say ‘Thank-You’

I’ve given plenty of unpaid help to people looking to improve their professional communications over the years, mostly to my students looking for feedback on their resumes, but also to friends and colleagues who wanted to improve their resumes, cover letters, academic manuscripts, and other important written communications.  I’ve received such help myself as well from many people over the years, and I’ve always been grateful for it.  All I’ve expected for my help is a simple “thank-you,” either oral or written, and most of the time, I have received such thanks.

That is why I get so irked when people don’t express any gratitude, and the more help I’ve given without any thanks, the more irritated I become.  Earlier this year, I spent over an hour helping an MBA student in his job search over coffee, and then introduced the person to several people in my various networks so that the person could request informational interviews and advice about his job search.  I did this as a favor to a good friend, as I had never taught the MBA student and indeed he attended a university with which I wasn’t affiliated.  I never once received any thanks from the student, and recently learned that the person had received a permanent job offer.  I’m glad he got the offer, but I would have also appreciated learning this from the person himself rather than from someone else (who also had provided help to the student and who also had never been thanked as it turns out).

Then today, I learned that someone had viewed my profile on LinkedIn.  Curious person that I am, I checked out this person’s profile to guess as to why they might have wanted to learn more about me.  In reading the person’s profile, I noticed a grammatical mistake.  She had written “works good under immense pressure” when she should have written “works well under immense pressure.”  (Obviously, she doesn’t write well under pressure, even though she has a bachelor’s degree in “mass communication/media studies,” but I digress.)  I thought she’d want to know this, and so I sent her and InMail message on LinkedIn letting her about the mistake.

Several hours later, I was back on LinkedIn, and received a notice saying another person had checked out my profile, and so I went to see who it was.  It turns out it was the same person.  Again, being curious, I decided to see if she had fixed her profile.  Well, indeed she had, but she never bothered to thank me for letting her know about her mistake.

I’m certainly not going to let these two people keep me from helping others in the future.   Their lack of gratitude, however, means that I’ll probably first consider consider whether a person is the type to “pay it forward” to others in the future before I take the time to provide help, solicited or unsolicited.


Meet Brenda Bernstein: The Essay Expert!

If I had a nickel for every time I’m asked to provide help on resumes, I could retire easily.  Karen and I have provided feedback to more students, friends, and alumni than we can count over the years — all for free.  We’re both simply too busy to keep doing this as much as we’re asked, and besides, there’s an expert out there who’s really the best person to provide this feedback and guidance:  Brenda Bernstein of The Essay Expert LLC.

I “met” Brenda through the Ivy League Referral Network on LinkedIn.com, and was impressed with her website and answers to questions on LinkedIn.  I asked her for some input on some of my business writing in order to see if she would be an appropriate referral for my students and others requesting help on their business writing.  She gave excellent feedback, and so I’ve routinely been referring individuals to her for the past several months.  Those who have used her services have raved about her and her team of consultants.  I’ve also seen firsthand the huge improvements she and her staff can make on resumes and other business documents.

Here is my interview with her about her firm and its services.  I highly recommend you hire her if you are need of improving your resume, cover letters, or any other important business communication.


What services does your firm provide?

We provide writing and editing services in the following areas:  Resumes & Cover Letters; LinkedIn Profiles; Job & Scholarship Applications; Bios; B2B writing, Web Copy & Production; and Academic Writing (including Legal Writing Samples).

How do you do this differently or better than your competitors?

We give extremely personalized service to every customer.  We have a team of writers and editors with various specialties so when you contact us we will match you up with an expert in the type of writing you need.  We work fast and on your deadline.

What results can you/have you achieved for your clients?

Many clients tell us they were stuck for weeks trying to get something written, and after speaking with us it’s done in a few days.  The result is peace of mind; one client wrote, “Wow!  This looks great.  I will sleep well tonight.”  A consistent and concrete result is that clients who had not been obtaining interviews suddenly start getting multiple calls from interested employers.  Our first resume client, an architect who had been unemployed for 7 months prior to working with us, just obtained a job as a Senior Architect and Project Manager in his location of choice.

Who recommends you?

After our first 9 months in business, we have dozens of happy customers from around the country.  Many people post recommendations on LinkedIn even before we ask them to.  Our clients speak to the clarity of our writing, the insight we provide, and the success we have in helping them express themselves in words.  Recommendations are posted on The Essay Expert’s testimonials page http://www.theessayexpert.com/testimonials.html and on my LinkedIn profile (http://www.linkedin.com/in/brendabernstein).

How does someone contact you?

Call 608-467-0067 or email me at BrendaB@TheEssayExpert.com.  I’m happy to speak with you about how we can help with your project.











For more information view our website at www.TheEssayExpert.com

Northwest Airlines/Delta Says it’s Sorry and Does so Quickly

Update 4-22-09:

In another post on this blog,  I stated that flying stinks.  Well, last night on the flight home from Detroit to Raleigh/Durham, this was literally true.  I once again contacted Northwest Airlines/Delta about it, and they responded even more quickly than they did when I provided feedback back on October of 2008.  Even thought the automated reply said that they emails they had been receiving were heavier than usual, and that it would take up to five days to receive a response, I heard back from them in just over an hour:


I was on the flight from DTW to RDU last night, flight number 1694. The flight was about an hour late in departing, as the arrival from Philadelphia as delayed, for bad weather I can assume. Such delays are understandable. What is not acceptable is that the gate agent could not locate the cleaning crew for over 15 minutes,despite several inquiries from her to other NWA/Delta personnel, resulting in a further delay in our departure. Whether the cleaning crew ever did show up is in question, as the plane smelled quite badly, and it didn’t appear to have a decent cleaning in quite some time. Even the first class cabin was filthy, and the bad smell never left the cabin.

I was too tired to complain to the flight attendants, who couldn’t have done anything about it. Nobody asked to take my blazer to hang up either.

As you will be able to find from your files, you will note that I am someone who both praises exemplary performance from your employees, and duly notes when service/performance is substandard. I would like to see you provide feedback to the cleaning crew and the first class cabin attendant.

Thanks very much.

Aneil Mishra, Ph.D.

Submitted: 04/22/2009 10:06:06

SENT Wed 4/22/2009 11:18 AM

Dear Mr. Mishra,

RE: Case Number 7450734

Thank you for contacting Northwest Airlines; your feedback is greatly appreciated.

I am truly sorry to learn that the condition of our aircraft cabin did not meet our high standards and that the cleaning crew was not available when needed. We want our cabins to provide a clean and inviting atmosphere for our passengers and I apologize, again, that your experience was to the contrary. I have forwarded your comments to our Inflight and Airport Customer Service leadership teams for internal follow up. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

As a gesture of apology for the delay as well as the lack of cleanliness, I have added 5000 WorldPerks bonus miles to your account.

Please allow three business days for the miles to appear in your account.

I want to thank you, again, for writing. We appreciate your candid feedback and your interest in Northwest.


Raye Ann George

Customer Care

Northwest/KLM/Delta Air Lines

Northwest Airlines is now part of Delta Air Lines

I have to say, I am very impressed by their timely response, which to me is more valuable than the frequent flyer miles I received, which are not worth very much these days.  What is much more valuable is that Northwest Airlines/Delta truly listened to me, and did so in a very timely fashion.


Original Post, October 2008:

Here’s how I responded to a customer service survey I recently received via email from Northwest Airlines:

Customer Satisfaction Survey Comments

I am a frequent flyer on NWA (Silver Elite for 2008)…I understand that there are minor differences to be expected among airlines in terms of food, service, and airplanes.  Nevertheless, I was apalled at the behavior of both the gate attendant and the flight attendants during my flight back from DTW to RDU.  The gate attendent was very sarcastic when I asked if it was time to board (I was in first class, but didn’t hear the call), and she then attempted some humor which I failed to get (it was after 9 p.m., and I was too tired to want her to explain it).

On the flight home, the first class flight attendant and two other flight attendants talked loudly non-stop at the front of the cabin, next to the pilot door, mostly about inane subjects as recent shoe shopping experiences and what I assume was gossip, as every few minutes they erupted in very loud laughter.  Keep in mind that it was 10 p.m. and later during our flight, and that many passengers in first class were trying to sleep, which I doubt they were able to do.

(Before I received your survey,) I was going to email you regarding this flight, as it is easily the worst I’ve been on with NWA since attaining Elite status, which hardly feels like it at all when I have to deal with such unprofessional behavior by your crew.

Aneil Mishra

Here’s how Northwest Airlines responded today, which was only a few days after I sent back my email survey:

Dear Mr. Mishra,

RE: Concord Case Number XXXXXXX

Thank you for completing our Customer Satisfaction Survey and sharing your concerns regarding the service provided while traveling with us returning from Detroit.  On behalf of everyone at Northwest Airlines, I sincerely apologize for the unprofessional behavior of our flight attendants and gate agent.

After reading your comments, I certainly understand why you wanted to bring this matter to our attention.  We expect our employees to be helpful and professional at all times.  I am sorry that in this instance you did not receive the service you expected and should have received.
I can only imagine how annoyed you must been when our flight attendants talked in loud voices and acted in an unprofessional manner on our recent flight to Raleigh/Durham.  In the same way, we are genuinely apologetic that you also did not receive the service that you expected and should have received from our gate agent.  Admittedly the behaviors you describe are not reflective of the level of service that we are striving to provide.  Please know feedback like yours will help us to improve our customer experience.  Be assured that I will be sharing all of your comments with the appropriate leadership teams for internal follow up.

As a sincere gesture of apology for our service failures by our gate agent and flight attendant, I have added 3,000 WorldPerks bonus miles.
Please allow three business days for the miles to appear in your account.

Mr. Mishra, thank you for your support as a Silver Elite WorldPerks member and for trusting your business to us.  Be assured, we will make every attempt to serve you well by providing you with the level of service that you expect and deserve.  We are focused on the future and look forward to our continued business relationship.


Ginny Benson
Associate, Customer Care
Northwest/KLM Airlines

Kudos for NWA for apologizing so quickly, and for taking action based on my feedback as well.  I’ll keep flying them, and I hope my next trip is quieter.

How is the “Game” Played in Your Organization?

One of the issues we’ll be discussing in our forthcoming book is how performance evaluation systems in organizations either build trust or destroy it.  We profile a leader who made work a fun, motivating “game” in his company, and in the process has achieved tremendous growth and profitability.   Here are some questions for you to think about with respect to the “game” that is played in your organization:

  • How is the “game” played?
  • What is the score/metric for your game?
  • •Who is rewarded for playing well?
  • •Who is watching your game?
  • •When is your game over?
  • •Why do people stay/quit your team?



Time for a Fresh Perspective? Talk to Your Coach

We all need help once in awhile to reach old goals or to set new ones. Sometimes it is useful to bounce ideas off of someone who is a bit disconnected from your immediate situation to give you a fresh perspective.

We have coached folks in a variety of situations, including those who are job hunting, setting new job goals, or teams who are in need of someone to facilitate their team goals.

I just received a Christmas card from a professional I coached earlier in the year–she thanked me for helping her through a tough time in her job and said things were feeling much better, now. It’s good to remember that even though we might feel “stuck”, we will eventually get “through”.