A deadly LinkedIn mistake can be very damaging. These errors make a job search more difficult and career success more challenging than it should be.
Avoid being one of these unfortunate people by avoiding these 5 common LinkedIn mistakes.
Picture a recruiter, who has the perfect job or opportunity for you. This recruiter is desperately looking for you, but they cannot find you. Here’s why…
LinkedIn Mistake # 1: Ignoring the SEO Power of LinkedIn
Google trusts LinkedIn. So entries from LinkedIn are often at or very near the top of any search on a person’s name. This is a significant position that leverages both LinkedIn’s reputation and reach.
Recruiters and employers search LinkedIn and Google relentlessly (and they search LinkedIn using Google, too). The searches happen usually for two primary reasons:
- To find qualified candidates with a keyword search | The recruiter is looking for a candidate qualified for their opportunity. Consequently, the terms used in a Profile determine a candidate’s position in the search results. It will also determine how high up they appear in the search results (page 1 is better than page 25).
- To confirm the candidate’s qualifications by doing a search on the candidate’s name | Recruiters research candidates to verify the facts. That includes making sure resumes and applications are correct. They also want to get a sense of the candidate’s “fit” with the organization. This is why “Defensive Googling” should be practiced. It is also why the same version of your name should be used for all of your professional visibility. From resumes and applications to other online professional social networks — your name is a very important keyword for you.
The Importance of Keywords
The right keywords are essential! And LinkedIn provides almost endless opportunities to include keywords. People often overlook the Location (current or your target, if you want to move) and Industry fields at the top of their Profile, too. Which are both excellent keywords as well as important bits of information for people viewing your Profile.
Your Summary, Work Experience, and Posts sections are perfect places to include your keywords. Same with Projects and Skills and Endorsements. Simply scanning the list of LinkedIn Profile sections gives you a complete list of keyword categories.
LinkedIn Mistake # 2: Keeping Their LinkedIn Profile “Private”
It amazes me how many people have taken the time and effort to build a LinkedIn Profile, but then they keep them private. For most professions, a LinkedIn Profile is not optional. That Profile is an essential and credible foundation for your personal online reputation management.
LinkedIn is the most respected professional social network, and the goal of having a LinkedIn Profile is to be visible to potential clients/customers, network members, and recruiters/employers. NEVER confuse LinkedIn with Facebook!
If you go to the effort of creating a good LinkedIn Profile, what is the point of keeping it “private”? Having a private LinkedIn Profile is like buying airtime on a TV network to run your commercial, and then NOT giving it to the network to run. So, dead air, and major wasted opportunity!
The reality is that using the LinkedIn privacy setting only blocks search engines from seeing your Profile (one of the major benefits of a LinkedIn Profile is the search engine visibility). That Profile is still visible inside LinkedIn, primarily to recruiters who purchase the LinkedIn Recruiter service.
LinkedIn Mistake #3: Being Inactive
Next to a skimpy Profile with no keywords, inactivity on LinkedIn is another major mistake. As a social network, LinkedIn offers many opportunities for visibility but they do require a bit of effort and attention:
- Leverage LinkedIn Groups | for visibility, to learn, and to expand your network. LinkedIn members can join up to 100 Groups (out of over 2 million). Join Groups for your field, industry, profession, location, schools, former employers, hobbies, and other interests. Groups provide excellent opportunities for expanding your visibility and helping others. They are great for building your professional reputation.
- Share updates on LinkedIn | “like” someone’s discussion, make a reasonable (not nasty) comment on someone’s discussion or post, share a great article you or another member found. Don’t make dozens of posts a day, but do have more than two a week. This activity keeps you visible and reminds people of your existence. Sharing good, solid information confirms your status as a professional.
Do pay careful attention to your grammar and spelling. Your professionalism is being demonstrated. LinkedIn is not Facebook.
LinkedIn Mistake # 4: Being Negative or Nasty
Don’t be negative about a person (even political) or an organization (especially current or former employers).
If you don’t like someone’s post or comment, ignore it. Move on. You may think that you are demonstrating your high IQ and your command of the subject with your response, but you won’t be. Rather, you will be showing people your less pleasant side, even if they agree with your points.
As a result, you may be viewed as someone who is always negative (because that is what is being demonstrated) and who would not be good to work with. Most employers are looking for someone who will “fit” into their organization and work “nicely with others” (just like in grammar school).
So, unless your target job is a critic or nasty comedian, skip the snarky, rude comments.
LinkedIn Mistake # 5: Not Including Contact Information
One of the main reasons people join LinkedIn is to expand their network, including with potential employers. So many times, when I’ve searched LinkedIn for someone with specific skills I wanted to hire, I would find a person who appeared qualified. But, their LinkedIn Profile had no contact information, not even an email address. So, they were unreachable unless I wanted to purchase an InMail or spend time researching Google.
At a minimum, make your personal (not work!) email address visible in your LinkedIn Contact Information. Lose your job and access to your work email? Using your personal email address ensures that you won’t lose access to your LinkedIn Profile.
Best, because many recruiters are in a hurry, is to include a phone number. Again, a work phone number is less than ideal in case someone calls you with a job opportunity. Google Voice is also a good option. It allows you to have a phone number (at Google) which can then be directed to whatever phone you wish. That way, you can receive calls on your personal cell phone without making your number public.
Don’t Give Up!
Paying attention to your LinkedIn presence will pay many dividends. From new friends across the world to job offers. Your next job may even find you!
Stay professional. Be on your best behavior. And good things will happen.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe.
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.