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Avoid Making These 13 LinkedIn Mistakes To Score Your Dream Job

Avoid Making These 13 LinkedIn Mistakes To Score Your Dream Job

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

More by this author

Saurabh Tyagi

Career Author and Technology Evangelist

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included)

15 Ways to Set Professional Goals (Examples Included)

It’s hard to describe the frustration you feel when your professional goals keep falling flat. You’re floundering and you’re not where you want to be professionally, which bleeds into your personal life and causes you to get upset and sad easily.

You need a system, a way to set goals that makes them attainable 100 percent of the time. When you establish your system, it takes the guesswork out of goal achievement and makes it a matter of completing specific steps.

Where would you be right now in your life if you had followed such a system from the beginning of your professional career and stuck with it? Would you be owning and running your own business, would you be working for a company you love, or would you be independently creating great work that keeps you in high demand?

This is where it gets good. The following tips will cover the most actionable ways to set professional goals (with professional goals examples included). If you follow these tips and do your absolute best each step of the way, you’ll have no choice but to launch into a new, exciting period in your professional life.

Start with tip number 1 — this tip is essential to any and all of the other tips on this list. Although you’re starting with 1, this is not a linear list. You can take each tip by itself and run with it, or you can implement as many as possible — the choice is yours. That said, the more action you take, the closer you are to making tip 1 a reality.

Ready to grasp the very essence of what it is to succeed? Keep reading.

1. Identify What You Love — and Make a Statement

This is it — the single most important word is not career, it’s love. Your primary, overarching, life-defining career goal must center around what you love.

You figured out what you love when you were young, and then somewhere along the way you lost it in the noise, the pressure, and the clutter of everyday life.

Billions of people exist on this Earth, and things aren’t what we wish they could be because we succumb to fear instead of doing what we love.

How can you take what you love and serve this love with your career?

  • Create a statement, a single sentence that encapsulates your overarching career goal. Make it specific.
  • Write the love-of your-life career goal sentence down and pin it to the wall where you’ll see it every day.
  • Make sure this sentence informs all your other objectives.
  • Make sure your primary career goal is the result of what you love to do.

Example:

“Be a successful nonfiction author: Write nonfiction content — books, poems, essays, blog posts — to help people realize the priceless importance of love and the imagination, and get your content published.”

2. Don’t Just Create SMART Objectives — Be Ultra-SMART

Now that you have your ultimate career goal nailed to the wall, it’s time to get SMART. That is, use the SMART acronym to create objectives:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timed

Your SMART objectives are micro-goals that fit all of the above criteria. They are not nebulous, vague, and tough to complete. They are daily objectives you know you can handle, and they’re necessary.

You have to complete SMART objectives in order to meet other, tougher goals, which ultimately contribute to your main goal.

So how do you make your SMART objectives ultra-SMART? Push yourself. Don’t settle for the same level of output every day. Don’t hold yourself to low standards. Think about quality and do your absolute best.

Example:

SMART: “Today I will write 500 words about the power of love between 10am and 2pm.”

Ultra-SMART: “Today I will write 500 words about the power of love between 10am and 2pm, and will find 3 accredited, scientific sources to backup my argument.”

Note that “Ultra-SMART” is not about writing more — more isn’t necessarily better, and if you’re just starting out, may not be achievable; rather, ultra-SMART is about focusing on quality within a reasonable framework.

3. Identify an Absolutely Essential Stepping Stone and Step to It

No one realizes their ultimate goal without finding a job that will push them in that direction. Jobs pay, and you need money to survive, but you don’t want a job that has nothing to do with your career goal. Pinpoint a job that is like an apprenticeship for what you ultimately want to do.

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Example:

When famous author Neil Gaiman delivered his commencement address[1] — which, by the way, is phenomenal — to University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he said something that makes perfect sense:

“I wanted to write comics and novels and stories and films, so I became a journalist, because journalists are allowed to ask questions, and to simply go and find out how the world works, and besides, to do those things I needed to write and to write well, and I was being paid to learn how to write economically, crisply, sometimes under adverse conditions, and on time.”

Note that Gaiman’s goal was to be a creative writer, but he took a position in journalism, which isn’t creative writing; it’s about facts, writing them well, and having discipline. For Gaiman, journalism was a stepping stone towards achieving his overarching goal.

4. Get Really, Really Good at Crafting Your Resume

You’re not going to settle, and there are multiple stepping stones towards your final destination. But here’s the clincher:

Crafting a great resume is about more than landing a job.

Crafting a great resume is about learning how to think from someone else’s perspective. If you can imagine what someone else wants to see in a great resume, you can view other things from their perspective too, and that’s important in the professional world.

To do a resume the right way, consider the mistakes you should avoid:[2]

  • Avoid disorganization: Provide your name, work experience and corresponding titles, education, relevant skills.
  • Avoid irrelevant information: Consider the position you’re applying for carefully and focus on information relevant to it.
  • Avoid length: A one page resume with just the right wording is a thing of wonder.
  • Avoid showy fonts and words: Be basic but let your personality shine through.
  • Avoid sloppiness: Check for typos, misspelling, and grammatical mistakes.

Example: Here’s a great resume example, courtesy of Shayanne Gal from Business Insider:[3]

    5. Ask Yourself the Most In-Depth Questions

    Throughout your educational career, you heard teachers say, “There are no bad questions” or something to that effect.

    It’s true; however, this mantra ignored the fact that some questions are better than others.

    Asking, “How can I do x in a unique and interesting way?” is better than asking “How can I do x?”

    You can set professional goals that you might accomplish, or you can set professional goals you’re highly likely to accomplish because you went in-depth with your questions. This goes very well with SMART goals. Specificity and detail are the hallmarks of achievable goals.

    Example:

    Say, for instance, you’re at the point where you feel you can start your own business from home. The Hartford offers pertinent questions you should ask before doing so:[4]

    • Will your house accommodate your business?
    • Can you find work-life balance?
    • When you interact with customers, how will you showcase a professional image?
    • Are there city zoning ordinances you need to consider?
    • Do you have the insurance and tax liabilities covered?

    6. Use a Digital Assistant to be Insanely Efficient

    Executives and bosses have personal assistants to help them with scheduling, organization, and other time-consuming tasks.

    You may not be at the point in your career where you can afford to hire somebody, which is why it helps to have a productivity assistant to help you be more efficient.

    Use an app to keep track of mundane scheduling and other minute details so you can free up your mind for creativity.

    Example:

    See this list of task management apps . Out of all of them, Any.do has one of the best interfaces, and it will give you the reminders you need to stay on task.

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      7. Create a Vivid Mental Picture

      Discouragement can and will happen — it’s a part of life, whether professional or personal. Don’t wait until you get discouraged to visualize yourself doing well.

      Practice your mental picture of success even at the times when everything is going so well it’s unbelievable, but you’re not quite at the end-point yet.

      When things aren’t going well, it’ll be the much easier to remain in a positive mind-state because you practiced being there.

      Example:

      Social scientist Frank Niles provides a perfect example of goal visualization:[5]

      “Former NBA great Jerry West is a great example of how this works. Known for hitting shots at the buzzer, he acquired the nickname ‘Mr. Clutch.’ When asked what accounted for his ability to make the big shots, West explained that he had rehearsed making those same shots countless times in his mind.”

      Note that West visualized sinking the exact shots; again, specificity matters.

      8. Express Your Professional Goals Positively

      This goes directly with the visualization process. Goals can seem like chores, which is why it’s important to use positive, proactive wording when you’re vocalizing or writing things down.

      Through positive expression, you’re training your brain to take a certain path whenever you think about your professional goals. This translates into forward, positive momentum whenever you take action.

      You’re more likely to take action if you associate that action with positive thoughts and feelings.

      Example:

      Instead of, “It isn’t that hard to type 500 words in 4 hours,” say, “I like taking advantage of the time I set aside to zone in and really have fun with what I’m doing.”

      Note that the specific goal — 500 words in 4 hours — is implied because you already know it.

      The point of this statement is to associate a feeling of enjoyment with commitment and focus.

      9. Build Your Network with Passion and Purpose

      A professional network will help you hit those stepping stones necessary to achieving your ultimate goal. But you don’t want to network with just anyone.

      Build a network with other people who share your passion, build it based around your specialty, but also look for people from outside your usual sphere who can help you gain a different perspective.

      Demonstrate your passion by helping other people, and listen more than you talk.

      Example:

      Find a mentor — it’s perhaps the most critical networking move you can make. MileIQ provides some examples of where to start:[6]

      • The SCORE Business Learning Center
      • Small Business Development Centers
      • Women’s Business Centers
      • Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers
      • Minority Business Development Agency
      • A trade association through your SBA district office

      10. Benchmark a Competitor Like a Boss

      If you’re freelancing or running your own business, this one is particularly applicable to you.

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      Is there an exemplary freelancer or small business owner with whom you’re impressed? Analyze what this person has done to get where they are, find a metric to serve as a benchmark of their success, and aim to do better.

      Example:

      Benchmark social metrics — say, for example, you’re writing an article on cryptocurrency for a finance website. Buzzsumo[7] provides a tool you can use to benchmark the number of social shares a competitor has earned for this topic:

        11. Master Time Management

        Here’s the thing about professional goals:

        You must master time management to accomplish them. Understand how much time to set aside for each objective; and when you’re working on objectives, use your time not just efficiently, but mindfully.

        That means immersing yourself in the activities that are essential to completing objectives. Focus on what works best to achieve your desired outcome.

        Example:

        Life and business strategist Tony Robbins recommends “chunking your goals,” otherwise known as compartmentalization:

        • Write down tasks you need to get done during the week.
        • Group different tasks together based on their categories, e.g. “Consult SCORE about a mentor” and “talk to Ted about job opportunities” would be categorized under “Networking.”
        • Set aside time for each category.
        • Work on the tasks for a single category during a specific chunk of time.

        12. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses — and Get Strategic

        As you move toward accomplishing your primary career goal, you’ll note that different objectives fit into different categories, and you’re better at some categories than you are others.

        Once you know what you’re good at, focus on it. Spend as much time as you can concentrating on your strong-points.

        When it comes to your weaknesses, ask for help.

        Forbes contributor Elana Lynn Gross reveals that asking for help the right way can advance your career. “Ask targeted questions that will allow you to set your strategy,” Gross says.[8]

        Within any category, work on what you’re good at first, and then ask your network for help with blind spots.

        Example:

        Christine Wallace, VP of Branding and Marketing at Startup Institute, told Fast Company how she ended up dropping her first venture:[9]

        “I took a train from the Valley up to San Francisco and met with two mentors, who agreed that it was the end of the road for Quincy [Apparel]. After it was all over I spent three weeks straight in bed. Then after 21 days of sleeping, crying, I put on my big girl pants and rejoined the world.”

        In Wallace’s case, she needed to ask her mentors for help to understand when to move on.

        Don’t be afraid to ask for advice when something isn’t working.

        13. Take Advantage of Awesome Resources at Your Disposal

        When it comes to setting professional goals, tunnel-vision and short-sightedness are big problems for many of us.

        We think there’s only one way to complete an objective. The truth is there are multiple ways to approach any problem.

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        This implies taking a moment to step back, view your objective from a distance, and survey your options. Think differently, use your imagination, and do a thorough search — online and off — for resources.

        Example:

        Get a library card, scour the shelves, AND crowdsource ideas from social media — you may find something unexpected.

        14. Be a Brand That Stands Out

        Believe it or not, your brand is a very important part of your overall career goal. There are two aspects here:

        • How you appear via any published format
        • How you appear in person

        It’s more important to have a quality brand than it is to be prolific, so don’t publish anything — on social media or elsewhere — that you will regret.

        You will make mistakes in your endeavors, and in fact it’s important to take risks and make mistakes.

        There are good mistakes. Good mistakes are the screw-ups that show you’re striving toward your goal. Anytime you set an objective, think about how it aligns with brand and overall goal. In other words, know when to say “no” to projects that don’t compliment your brand and overall mission.

        Example:

        View yourself as a thought leader, be one, and make content that showcases your thought leadership:[10]

        • Videos: Post on YouTube, your website, and social media
        • Podcasts: Learn how to start podcasting.[11]
        • Workshops or meetups: Look for a community space and invite others to join you in discussion.
        • Blog posts and newspaper op-eds: Share your knowledge and opinions.

        15. Steal Ideas from Your Competitors

        This is the one truth that’s hard to stomach. Great ideas come to those who steal. You may not be sure of your next step, your next objective, and time is precious.

        Observe what other great professionals are doing, capture the core of their objectives, make them your own, and craft them into something new.

        Example:

        Steve Jobs, the visionary behind Apple, fully endorsed the Picasso quote, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”[12]

        In 1989, Xerox sued Apple for stealing ideas and incorporating them in the Macintosh and Lisa computers, but lost the lawsuit. That’s because Apple made something new.

        Here’s a simple way to go about this. Say you’re writing about freelancing, and the Freelancers Union blog is one of your top competitors. Pop the URL into Buzzsumo. You’ll see that the top articles are about taxes:

          In that case, you can write a “Definitive Guide to Taxes for Freelancers” or “Definitive Guide to Tax Breaks for Freelancers.”

          It’s About Passion and Practicality Combined

          Your primary career goal must be about what you love to do. Otherwise, why would you want to do it?

          To reach your goal, you must make small, practical steps. Don’t expect everything to go perfectly along the way, and don’t eschew hard work that isn’t exactly exciting.

          Too often, we get caught up in the excitement of the dream, and when the step-by-step isn’t nearly as exciting, we quit.

          Learn how to do the boring, rote tasks with joy because you’re doing them to achieve greatness.

          Always remember why you set out on a mission to begin with, and let your brain follow your heart.

          More Tips for Setting Professional Goals

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

          Reference

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