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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 July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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