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Avoid Making These 13 LinkedIn Mistakes To Score Your Dream Job

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If you are a part of the job seeking population, LinkedIn can prove a real time saver, but only if you use it right.  The professional network which boasts of more than 200 million members is fast becoming the first destination of recruiters to look for experts in their field. According to a survey by Jobvite, some 93 percent of the recruiters search LinkedIn for filling up open vacancies.

Most of us are oblivious of a LinkedIn feature, the LinkedIn Recruiter. It is the core of Talent Solutions, which brings in more than half of the company’s revenue.  Companies paying to use this feature can view your profile, search for people with specific skills, and flag them without you knowing. Currently, over 16,000 clients or companies pay to use LinkedIn Recruiter, and chances are pretty much that your favorite recruiter is one of them. You don’t even need to be “actively looking for a job right now”, as LinkedIn Recruiter has this ability to source passive candidates, an incredibly important feature for its users.

Chuck Hester, a LinkedIn consultant, speaker and trainer says that “anyone considering a job change should create a LinkedIn profile before starting a search”. And once recruiters find your profile, you want them to stay there.  This is the actual reason why you should care about conditioning your LinkedIn profile and network as soon as possible. Here are 13 LinkedIn mistakes that you might be making right now, hurting your chances of getting hired.

1. Incomplete profile

None is a bigger sin in the world of LinkedIn then to have an incomplete profile staring at the face of the recruiter. As Grace Killela, founder and CEO of Half The Sky Women’s Leadership Institute puts it, “LinkedIn is speed dating for professionals.” If they find anything missing it would serve as a reason not to court you. Gaps in work history, for whatever reason, is going to make the recruiter nervous about approaching you. Make sure you have all grounds covered.

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2. Missing profile picture

LinkedIn is the older than Facebook and Twitter, and that’s why it is a thought worth wondering why so many people on LinkedIn are still without any profile picture, while the same people share so many pictures on other social networks.  Adding a picture to your LinkedIn profile can be a deal breaker in some cases as the clicks on a profile with a picture is far greater than those without. This Huffington post here details five reasons to have a profile picture. LinkedIn Expert Nicole Williams says, “One of the biggest mistakes I see is no photo. You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one.”

3.  Putting up a profile picture that’s more of a personal memory

Some people mistake LinkedIn for a social network similar to Facebook and therefore put up profile pictures that are more apt for sharing with your family and friends rather than recruiters looking to hire you. LinkedIn is for professional purposes and you should let it remain that way only.

4. Using poor English language 

Agreed that you are not applying for a copyeditor or language expert position but that is no excuse for having typos in your profile description, titles, or anything else that makes part of your profile. Besides, using an excessive boisterous tone and a number of buzzwords can turn off the recruiter. It is important to be impactful, but not boastful and big-mouthed.

5. Giving keywords a miss 

Recruiters perform keyword searching for finding their candidates. Their initial search query generally includes title, location, industry and function. To make through the initial search your bio should include the title, industry and location keywords. “If you want to work in Silicon Valley and live in Kansas, change your location to Silicon Valley on LinkedIn”, advises Nicole Greenberg Strecker. The titles should be direct and revealing and not conflict with the description.  To be on the right track carefully go through different job descriptions of positions similar to what you seek, and find out skills, or descriptors that can be used in keyword searches.

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6.  Not personalizing the LinkedIn public profile URL

By default when you set up your profile on LinkedIn, you are given a LinkedIn ID that may look like:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname/0/000/246

Many people don’t know this but LinkedIn offers a way out to clear this mess of numbers and letters at the end of the URL. It looks terrible, and hence changing it should be a top priority of the users. To customize the URL to something more professional like http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname select “Settings” in the drop down under your name on the top right corner of your LinkedIn home page. Choose Public Profile Settings and proceed to “Your Public Profile URL”. Customize the link, trying to get as close to your first and last name as possible.

7.  Ignoring LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn Groups is one place where recruiters and hiring managers lurk, closely following the discussion. If you want to get smart about the industry and get on the recruiter’s radar, LinkedIn Groups is one place you must not ignore. These groups are also a great way to network with other professionals of your genre.  However, joining a group and then not participating is actually even worse. Many of us ignore posting anything in these groups, let alone get involved in ongoing discussions or start our own.

8.  Not personalizing your connection requests

For once everyone should get this fact straight that LinkedIn is not all about quantity and no quality. It’s important to have a good number of professional connections, but throwing default connection requests in all directions just for the sake of increasing your connection count is not wise. Even when you’re reaching out to someone you have never met, the best thing to do will be to research the person and customize your connection request to make it look less spammy. The recipient will definitely appreciate your efforts.

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9.  Neglecting the summary section

Recruiters punish those who do not give enough attention to updating their Summary sections by not considering their candidature seriously. Thus, not only should you have a properly written Summary section, but it also should be able to differentiate you from at least hundreds of other candidates. Either tell a story, or write about your past achievements, and passions. Think of selling yourself when writing of summary.

10.  Not adding links to your websites or web page

Unlike a resume, LinkedIn is not written in ink and paper and therefore you have the ability to add links to your previous work, a personal website, twitter profile, blog or online certification that you have gone through. All these add to your personal brand power, which is exactly the main purpose of LinkedIn profile.

11. Listing non-relevant skills

There is currently no limit on how many skills you can list on your LinkedIn profile. However, that doesn’t give you free run over the number of skills that you should add. Add only skills that are relevant to your job search and which you can justify later on during further rounds of interview. Too many skills will end up sending out wrong signals to the recruiter. You can end up presenting yourself as either overqualified for a job or a jack-of-all-trades.

12. Not updating the profile regularly

Just as any resume writing expert would tell you,  most people think that having a LinkedIn profile is more than enough. However, in order to remain high in the search rankings it is necessary to regularly update its various sections such as skills, and projects. LinkedIn Posts is another new addition to the methods in which you can remain on the recruiter’s radar. Sharing your experience through LinkedIn posts will not only present you as an expert in your field but will also improve your search rankings considerably.

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13. Neglecting privacy options 

You always remember to lock your pictures and other profile details on Facebook. Then why so callous about LinkedIn’s privacy controls? The various options that you can exercise include showing yourself as anonymous while visiting another connection’s profile, showing or not showing your activity updates to your connections. When you are out looking for a new job while being actively engaged in your current job, a little discretion is advised by all. The privacy controls can ensure that your boss doesn’t know you are looking for new opportunities.

Building a kickass LinkedIn profile can create a world of difference between you getting the job or not even be considered for it. The choice is entirely yours.

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