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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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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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