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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.

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Saurabh Tyagi

Career Author and Technology Evangelist

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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