LinkedIn creates a huge opportunity for jobseekers to find new roles, connect with employers and build a professional network. However, like any opportunity, there are a few potential pitfalls.
Make sure you avoid these mistakes to get the most out of job seeking on LinkedIn.
Your profile photo will affect your ability to get a job through LinkedIn. Rightly or wrongly, it can be difficult for recruiters to see past an unprofessional photo. Take a photo specifically for LinkedIn; don’t just crop your friends out of a photo from your last night out. Even if you think you look great in it.
The first piece of information about you LinkedIn gives to an employer is your name and your headline. Keep this to your current job title or descriptive phrases like ‘Digital marketing professional’; avoid buzzwords like ‘social media guru’ as these might put off some recruiters.
This is a common problem for graduates. Headlines that don’t match up with the role you are applying to, or conflict with your education, make you appear sloppy and/or unclear on your professional goals. If you are qualified as an engineer but work in a supermarket; make sure your headline says ‘Engineering Graduate’ not ‘Sales assistant.’
Too much information
Like your CV, your LinkedIn profile should highlight the best of your experience, it doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list of every job you’ve ever done. Most people perform a very quick subconscious cost/benefit analysis when deciding whether to read a webpage; all that useless detail on your profile will only add to the ‘cost’ in the eyes of a recruiter.
For most people, the ‘Skills’ section on LinkedIn is just something you’re made fill out when you set up an account. However, these skills will affect how you are found by recruiters and how employers judge your abilities. Avoid including skills that aren’t relevant and make sure that your most important skills are listed at the top.
Too few connections
LinkedIn is all about connections and, while it may not be vital at the beginning of your career, recruiters will make assumptions based on the number of connections you have. It will reflect negatively on you if you have a very few connections. Use the ‘People You May Know’ suggestions to the right of your update feed and connect with people you know. This will broaden your network, get you noticed by recruiters and add weight to your profile.
No attention to detail
Just like CVs, far too many LinkedIn profiles are riddled with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and misplaced capital or lower case letters. It’s basic, but it happens all the time, and it never looks good.
Unprofessional email address
Another typical first time jobseeker error is the use of an unprofessional email address, recruiters will be able to see your email address on applications so make sure you use an appropriate address. No matter how much you love Star Wars, ‘bobafett77’ is not a username that should appear anywhere near a professional profile. Use your first name, surname and/or initials and keep it as professional as possible.
LinkedIn is often referred to as a social network but you can’t afford to treat it like Facebook. Don’t add updates about your personal life, share personal photos or post inappropriate links. As a rule of thumb, treat LinkedIn as if your boss is reading every update; your next boss might be doing exactly that.
The same goes for comments. By all means get involved with conversations but don’t be abusive or overly-critical. Most recruiters who message you will connect with you, and your connections can see all those abusive comments.