Nine LinkedIn Mistakes That Hurt Your Jobs Search.

By Leslie Ayres for Work Goes Strong.

I’m on the record that if you’re in the world of business and you are building your career, you absolutely must have a presence on LinkedIn. And if you’re actively on the hunt for a new job, that goes double.

A jobseeker who is not leveraging the magic of connecting through LinkedIn is missing the boat.

LinkedIn is the place to be for business networking. In the past years, it has grown to more than 100 million users across the globe, and any one of those people might be the one to connect you with your next great career move.

As an executive recruiter, I use LinkedIn as one of my main resources for finding and evaluating candidates, I check the LinkedIn profile of every promising candidate so that I can get a better idea of what they’re all about. If I have two similar candidates, the one with the better LinkedIn profile has the edge.

Here are some of the common mistakes people make.

1. Not using status updates.

LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook, where people share that they’re drinking a cup of coffee or that their new kitten is adorable. Status updates on LinkedIn should be about your industry or profession. Every week or so, post a link to an article about your industry that you recommend, let people know about a business event you’ll be attending, or even share a short press release about your company. When you post and update, it will stay on your profile, and you have shown the people who check you out that you are involved and engaged.

2. Not joining groups.

LinkedIn groups are a fantastic way to learn what people in your field are talking about. Join groups of people who do what you do; LinkedIn lets you join up to 50 groups. For instance, I belong to career coach groups, resume writer groups and recruiter groups, as well as groups for college and corporate speakers, and so have access to my colleagues in these fields, and even after 30 years, I learn something new every day. You can also join groups talking about subjects you want to learn about, so you get the inside view. Even better, you’re able to directly contact people you share a group with, and you’re much more likely to get a response.

3. Having the wrong jobs showing first.

By default, LinkedIn will list your jobs in reverse chronological order, which can create problems if you have part-time or volunteer work that overlaps with your professional jobs. The good news is that LinkedIn now lets you move positions into the order you want. (Don’t get too creative, though – recruiters still want a chronological story about your experience.) For part-time or volunteer work, consider putting that in the Additional Information or Associations section.

4. Not creating a solid headline.

In your Basic Information section, there’s a field for a Professional Headline. Think of this as the title on the book of you, and include a couple of lines about what you do. This headline will appear next to your name on your profile, so it’s the first thing people see every time your profile is viewed, and it’s also there whenever you are listed in search results.

5. Failing to use the magical Summary section.

The Summary section is the secret sauce of LinkedIn, because it’s where you get to write whatever you want without being tied to a timeline or company names. Use it wisely by writing a few to-the-point, friendly and personal paragraphs about what you’re all about. This section is where you get to tell the overview of your story and your situation, and visitors to your profile will read it before they ever get to the Experience section.

6. Your LinkedIn profile be a mismatch with your resume.

You absolutely have to present a consistent story of your experience. Job entries on LinkedIn should be pared down from what’s on your resume, but it’s absolutely imperative that the companies, dates and job titles on your LinkedIn profile are an exact match for what’s on your resume. If your information doesn’t mesh, then instead of a recruiter or hiring manager thinking “wow, this person looks great!” they’re left wondering “can’t you keep your story straight?” Don’t let that happen to you. Whenever you update your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, too.

7. No photo.

Recruiters and hiring managers want to know what you look like, so put your photo up on LinkedIn. Yes, even if you feel shy about it, and even if you think it shouldn’t matter what you look like. Choose a photo that is professional, shows just your face (preferably with a warm and inviting smile) and that is easy to “read” when it’s shrunk down to a tiny icon.

8. No recommendations.

The power of a personal recommendation is at the core of why LinkedIn is so valued. You need to have strong recommendations from people on your profile if you want to show yourself as connected and respected. If you have less than five recommendations, use the LinkedIn function to request a testimonial from former bosses, coworkers and clients.

9. Failing to add your LinkedIn profile link to your resume.

What’s the point of beefing up and polishing your profile if people can’t find it? Make it easy by adding a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile in the contact section of your resume so recruiters and hiring managers can find you quickly.

Managing your LinkedIn the right way can open doors and create recognition for you. Don’t sabotage your search by making these mistakes.

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About Buzz Smith

Welcome. My name is Charles “Buzz” Smith and I’m the SR Curmudgeon of Consulting Services at OPI National Outplacement. My role, in addition to agitating our sales personnel, and consultants is to take the lead on delivering outplacement and career transition services that are effective. I blog about career stuff when my wife of 40 years, Linda banishes to the garden.

Posted on January 30, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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