Most job seekers know to update their resume when it’s time to look for a new job. But what about your social media footprint? One of the first places recruiters look for talent in the social sphere is the professional networking site LinkedIn.
You might have a LinkedIn profile, but are you making the most of this social network when it comes to the job search? Job seekers are often willing to turn to writing professionals to revamp their resumes, but not when it comes to a LinkedIn profile. Yet most recruiters are looking you up on LinkedIn to gain additional information, or even evaluating you entirely on what you chose to share on this social channel.
Turning your nose up at professional help when it comes to your LinkedIn profile isn’t exactly a smart move. Professionals reviewing your LinkedIn profile will often catch some big blunders you’re not even aware you’ve made. Simply searching “LinkedIn profile writer” on Google or LinkedIn itself can get you in touch with a professional. But if you don’t have extra cash to enlist their help, here are some of the biggest mistakes job seekers make that can turn a great candidate into a LinkedIn profile disaster:
You Skipped The Picture
Who needs a picture, right? After all, your qualifications should speak for themselves. But before you put your camera away, know that it’s never advisable to skip adding a profile picture. Putting your smiling face beside your professional experience is actually an essential part of LinkedIn, something too many job seekers fail to realize.
A professional looking over your profile would know what TheLadders study recently confirmed: recruiters actually spend more time looking at your profile picture than your qualifications. Don’t worry, finding a job isn’t a beauty contest. There are plenty of reasons recruiters look at your profile photo first and qualifications later.
For instance, if you’ve recently attended a networking event and add some of the great contacts you met, it’ll be hard for others to recall who you are without seeing your smiling face. Plus, humans in general are visual creatures, which explains the rise of visual-based social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest for socializing, job searching, and personal branding.
However, you want to be careful what you’re saying with your images. Make sure the profile picture you choose is professional. Don’t put up a picture of your dog, your baby, or that photo you snapped at the bar during half-priced margarita night. Don’t choose a photo with another person in it, and make sure the image is brightly lit with high resolution. A professional reviewing your LinkedIn profile could help ensure you chose a photo that puts you in the best light.
You Ignored Keywords
You might know about recruiters using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort through resumes based on keywords, but are you ignoring keywords in your LinkedIn profile?
Too many job seekers don’t think to make their LinkedIn profiles as keyword-rich as their traditional resume, but skipping keywords could mean a recruiter misses your profile altogether when conducting a search. Professionals looking over your LinkedIn profile will advise you to make sure you pack your profile with keywords relevant to your experience.
This is especially true when it comes to your headline. Many LinkedIn users ignore the headline altogether, but it can work as a smart elevator pitch for your candidacy. Make headlines short but descriptive, giving recruiters a feel for your professional experience in less than a sentence. Another keyword feature to take advantage of is LinkedIn’s “Skills & Expertise” section, which allows you to endorse others for their specific skills and receive endorsements in return.
You’re Not A Joiner
Perhaps you’ve always been a lone wolf, but when it comes to LinkedIn it’s time to start mingling. According to statistics, 81 percent of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group. More than half participate in group discussions, while 42 percent update their information regularly. Unfortunately, too many job seekers throw together a LinkedIn profile, slap on a profile picture, and then call it a day.
This isn’t a smart plan, and any professional adviser would recommend you put a little time and energy into populating your LinkedIn profile over time. You might feel bad bragging about your work achievements or linking your industry-related writing on your Facebook, but LinkedIn was created to show off what you can do. Brag away! Update your status and keep your professional network informed about your professional achievements.
Don’t be afraid to rub virtual elbows with people in your industry or who share your interests. Joining groups and taking part in discussions offers a great way to expand your network, adding to the list of people who will remember you when a position opens up at a great company.
If you add substance and value to a group as opposed to just spamming, you’ll be thought of in high regard. A professional adviser might be able to help you isolate the groups and organizations you should target in order to grow your network and get in front of industry movers and shakers.
Maybe your LinkedIn profile isn’t a total disaster, but it could probably benefit from a professional tune-up. Finding someone who understands how recruiters think and what they look for on this unique social media platform is a good way to go from job seeker to star employee.
What do you think? What are some common mistakes you see on LinkedIn? Share in the comments!
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.