Maybe you’ve heard or read about people raving about LinkedIn as a job search tool – mentioning recruiters have contacted them through the site, or that they’ve been approached by hiring managers, just on the strength of their profiles.
Is this happening for you? Had any thoughts of why not? What’s wrong with your profile?
The following LinkedIn Gaffes could make the difference between having all the action pass you by or appreciating the full power of the site:
1. Adding Non-Work Info to the Experience Section
LinkedIn organizes and files the data in your work history in reverse chronological order, meaning that your most current experience will be shown first.
Therefore, if you added experience on a Board (or a consulting gig, or any venture that doesn’t represent your work experience) in this section, readers of your profile will see this activity first – listed as if it WERE your full-time job.
Besides confusing recruiters, showing this chronology can convince recruiters that you’re either unemployed or “fudging” your experience.
Move your Board roles all the way down under Additional Information, where there is a category called Associations.
If you feel you are burying this experience too deep, then mention the organization and your role in the Summary as well.
2. Divulging Too Much Information
Did you take LinkedIn’s requests for data too seriously? This is one of the most common LinkedIn Gaffes made by job seekers.
If an item does not belong on your resume, do not add it to LinkedIn! This goes for dates of degrees (especially if earned in the 1980’s or before), or positions held you normally would not show on a resume (because they were too short or are now outdated).
While date fields are used throughout the site for all kinds of career information, you can simply omit the years on everything from education programs to awards, certifications, and so on.
If you are unsure what should be included, remember the last 15 years of your professional life will be of most relevance to employers – then edit your profile accordingly.
3. Remaining Invisible
Are you, lurking in the weeds while others are updating their Status, posting blogs, and contributing to discussions? If you are like me, you may even think you have little to contribute. “My career life isn’t that dynamic.” “I do not have any significant updates and contributing to a discussion…I’m not sure anyone would appreciate my ideas or comments.” You might be surprised…I have been.
It’s time to try, even a little updating. Today take 10 minutes and accomplish one of the following.
Try updating your status; mention an event you’re attending, a book you’re reading, you can issue short “press releases” that note new product introductions or news items that you find complelling and relevant to your profession or career (assuming that these items aren’t confidential). Status updates may enlighten others of what you do in your day-to-day work, and they help you promote specific accomplishments or personal honours that might otherwise go unseen. Updates stay listed on your profile when others find it, displayed like a personal newsreel that continues to work for you 24/7/365.
You can comment on other blog posts (or publish your own) on LinkedIn, use Status Updates to post a link to an online article. All these activities inform your network on your area of expertise and interest.
LinkedIn Groups offer discussion boards that work in a similar fashion to Updates. You can post your comments on a relevant industry topic, or simply comment on others’ discussions.
Join some Groups, if you have not already. Occasionally LinkedIn will send you suggestions, see if any appeal to you and your career goals. Get going – LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50.
4. Not Accepting Invitations or Requesting Invitations
Do you have former employees, colleagues or friends send invitations that you have not accepted? Reconsider that logic. Think back, have you secured most of your previous jobs through a network? Likely you have and statistically so have most people. Think of LinkedIn as a very powerful networking tool. It does not replace authentic relationships but it does prove a valuable tool to professionally introduce yourself and interact with potential employers.
Sincerely consider the Invitations you have received, you can check in the Messages and Invitations tab. Look at each invitation and consider how you could be a support to the individual and what you could contribute to his/her network. If you think you could add value for them, it’s likely a great network connection.
LinkedIn also sends you People You May Know suggestions that you could send an invitation to. Look through the list and send at least one (1) invite today.
In summary, LinkedIn will not magically produce results in your job search – unless you have taken the time to review your profile carefully, with a solid strategy to display your experience and cultivate a following.
So, if others are not connecting with you on LinkedIn, be sure to go back and review your profile in detail for these mistakes – ensuring you have put your best foot forward online.
Article influenced by http://www.careerealism.com/linkedin-profile-back/#chitika_close_button