The 6 Biggest Mistakes Jobseekers Make on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a fabulous resource for jobseekers everywhere and, when used correctly, can make all the difference in a job search. But if you don’t use LinkedIn effectively, you could be missing out on great opportunities or even do your job search more harm than good.
Here are the biggest mistakes that I see jobseekers make on LinkedIn:
1. Having an Incomplete Profile.
Aside from the obvious disadvantages of looking inactive, unprepared, technically challenged, or worse – lazy!, having an incomplete LinkedIn profile can really hurt you since LinkedIn’s search algorithm sorts results by “relationship” (1st level connections, then 2nd level, 3rd level, group members and everyone else) as well as “profile completeness.” If you want to show up at the top of those search results (and, believe me, you do!), then you need to have a robust network (see #2 below) as well as a complete profile. Being buried on Page 19 of a recruiter’s search is the same as not showing up at all!
To do: Definitely include a profile picture. Customize your headline with something relevant, memorable, and keyword-rich. Include relevant details throughout your profile, making sure to complete each section in its entirety. Add some of those nifty new visual components to your profile. Make it look nice! What’s the point of creating a LinkedIn profile if employers can’t find you or there’s not much for them to see once they get there? This step is a must.
2. Only Having a Handful of Connections.
Aside from the distinct disadvantages from a search perspective (see #1 above), if you have a small network and aren’t connected to every possible lead, then you are greatly limiting yourself and your networking abilities. Every connection is a potential lead to any number of job possibilities. It’s all “who you know” and, with LinkedIn, you are not only connecting with those people, you are also gaining access to everyone they KNOW and everyone THOSE people know!
To do: Connect with everyone you know, even if it’s just peripherally. This includes friends, family, coworkers past & present, clients past & present, neighbors, professors, classmates, etc. And remember, this isn’t Facebook. It’s not as personal as a Friend Request and it’s perfectly acceptable to connect with business contacts, even if it was a coworker from another department or someone you met once at a conference or networking event. Be strategic and grow your network!
3. Waiting Until it’s Too Late.
We’ve all seen this one before and it’s probably the Number One Mistake I see jobseekers make. All of sudden, somebody you used to work with has invited you and 85 of your former coworkers to connect on LinkedIn. They’ve gotten 6 recommendations in the last week (yes, those ARE date-stamped). They’re updating their profile, following companies left and right and joining umpteen groups. Ding ding ding! We have a jobseeker! It’s painfully obvious what’s going on, whether you’ve gotten a pink slip, seen the writing on the wall or simply decided that you hate your job and can’t work there another day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t build an engaged LinkedIn network overnight either.
To do: Dig a well before you’re thirsty! Build your network when times are good so that it will be there for you if times get bad. Don’t wait until you’re in need to suddenly engage on LinkedIn and take, take, take… asking everyone for help with job referrals, references, recommendations, etc. Be engaged on LinkedIn beforehand, helping others, giving recommendations, making introductions, giving back. Your network will see how helpful you’ve been and will be that much more receptive to helping you in your hour of need.
4. Being Indiscreet About Job Search Activities.
Blasting every move you make during a job search (see #3 above) is never ideal, ESPECIALLY if you’re still employed and don’t want your current company to know you’re looking. It’s okay to let others know that you’re looking but you don’t want to do so by blasting your job search activities publicly to everyone in your network. I’m cringing just thinking about how many people do this without even realizing it!
To do: Go to your LinkedIn Settings and make these activities private until your job search is over or the bulk of those “job search prep” activities are complete. There are TWO different places to do this. (#1: Settings > Profile > Who Can See Your Activity Feed > Select “Only You” from the dropdown.) (#2: Settings > Profile > Turn On/Off Your Activity Broadcasts > Uncheck the box.) This mistake is so common that LinkedIn even has a reminder on this page that says “Note: You may want to turn this option off if you’re looking for a job and don’t want your present employer to see that you’re updating your profile.” Yep!
5. Not Having a Public Profile.
Many recruiters are quite savvy about using the internet to find viable candidates. Even if you are outside of their network, sourcing recruiters can find your LinkedIn profile by doing some deep dives in Google and other search engines. BUT that only works if you’ve made your profile publicly visible… and about 20% of all LinkedIn profiles are not. Oops!
To do: Check your LinkedIn settings and make sure that your public profile (the one that shows up in Google/Yahoo!/Bing searches) is viewable. (Settings > Profile > Edit Your Public Profile > Make My Profile Viewable To Everyone.) Check all of the possible boxes to make all parts of your profile publicly viewable, not just some sections. Remember, LinkedIn profile searches hinge on keywords and you are at a greater advantage if you include more sections with more keywords.
6. Resting on Their LinkedIn Laurels.
Last but not least, it is imperative that you take your job search into your own hands. You can’t just create a LinkedIn profile and expect it to do all the work for you. Failing to network with your connections and make use of all of the varied features on LinkedIn is a big mistake. Even worse? Applying online and waiting to hear back. This is the worst possible job search strategy out there, but probably one of the most common. The early bird gets the worm, folks!
To do: Use LinkedIn to network and reach out to your connections. Be proactive. Ask for help. Don’t be shy…. that’s why they’re there! And I know I’ve said this last point many times before but it bears repeating. After you apply online at a company, you need to stand out from the pack. Follow up with the recruiter or hiring manager via LinkedIn. Let them know that you’ve applied online for Position #XYZ and would like to reiterate your strong interest. Let them know that you possess the top 3 requirements for the role (be brief but be specific) and you look forward to hearing back at their convenience. Done. The ball’s still in their court, but now you stand out from the other 200 people who applied for that same role and you’ve greatly increased your chances.
Are you making any of these mistakes?
I hope not! But if so, now you have a wake-up call (and a To Do list!) to make those necessary changes so that LinkedIn can be a powerful tool during your job search. Good luck! You can do this!
by Stacy Donovan Zapar
|Stacy Donovan Zapar is a 15-year recruiting veteran and CEO of Tenfold Social, providing social media training for recruiters, jobseekers, and business professionals. She is the Most Connected Woman on Linkedin, where she has 30,000+ first-level connections making her the #8 most connected person in the world. She served as Technical Editor for Wiley’s LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is a regularly-featured blog contributor on Jobsite.com. Feel free to connect with Stacy on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.|
|Rayanne Thorn welcomed Stacy Donovan Zapar as her guest on a recent Jobsite Talk. Stacy shared many LinkedIn tips and insights: What Jobseeekers Need to Know about LinkedIn.
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