If you’re struggling to get the attention of potential employers on LinkedIn, then consider these four common offenses that too many professionals unknowingly commit on the world’s most popular career-oriented social networking site.
LinkedIn has become the number one professional networking site in the world, which has persuaded many hiring professionals to seek out candidates using this social platform. As a result, the candidate pool has become extremely saturated on LinkedIn and qualified candidates are a dime a dozen now. If job seekers want to get noticed by hiring managers, then it’s essential that they avoid making these four mistakes.
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1. Incomplete or mind-numbing profile. If you don’t have the time or decency to complete your profile in its entirety, then spare yourself and others the time. Would you submit an unfinished resume or job application to a potential employer? Probably not … or we hope that’s your answer. Your LinkedIn profile is the equivalent of an online, real-time resume that allows employers to view your credentials, while also checking out other aspects of your professional life – connections, interests, recommendations, etc. – that they wouldn’t be privy through conventional resume submission methods. Therefore, you will want to provide hiring professionals and employers with a stellar first impression through LinkedIn that will leave them wanting to know more about the person behind the profile. To see what constitutes a star-studded LinkedIn profile and learn how to construct one, check out this post, here.
2. Unprofessional or nonexistent profile picture. This is probably one of the most common crimes that professionals commit on LinkedIn, and it’s one of the easiest to correct. As a professional, you should have at least one headshot, whether professionally done or taken with your smartphone, that you can use for your social media profiles – spare us all the college frat party photo of you doing a keg stand, please. The second worst thing you can do is leave the generic gray silhouette avatar that LinkedIn provides its users, because that tells employers a few things:
a) You were too lazy to upload a picture (so you’re too lazy to work for them).
b) You are embarrassed of your physical appearance, for whatever reason (which means you’re probably an insecure person, and employers want confident go-getters).
c) You don’t have a professional picture to upload (therefore, you’re neglectful, unprepared, and don’t follow through, so what’s the point of hiring you?)
Employers want to see who you are and what you look like – because who doesn’t like to put a face to the name? Therefore, complete your profile with a professional picture that presents you as a professional and a worthy candidate.
3. Overuse of generic keywords. Apparently, professionals favor some words over others when explaining their qualifications on LinkedIn, so much that the site releases an annual list of overused buzzwords. Here is the list of the top 10 overused keywords on LinkedIn for 2013:
If you’re looking to stand out in the sea of candidates on LinkedIn, then you’re going to have a unique edge that sets you apart from the rest, and using any of the words from the list above may cause you to get lost in the crowd. Read this post to learn how to effectively keyword optimize your LinkedIn profile.
4. Poor grammar and spelling. This one’s a no-brainer – perfect your profile verbiage and get yourself a couple proofreaders before you start gloating about your credentials on your profile. Social media has made everyday conversations grammatical nightmares, and it’s only getting worse. Poor grammar and spelling are huge red flags for recruiters when they are scouring LinkedIn for potential employees, because no one wants to hire someone who will, most likely, embarrass the company with a badly written email to a client or customer. Read more about the common grammatical and spelling errors that occur in everyday correspondence that can gravely affect your candidacy, here.
Now that you know what NOT to do on LinkedIn, it’s time to ensure you’re not committing any of these four crimes in your profile.
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Do you have anything to add to the list above? Share social media blunders you’ve seen with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.
Leah Arnold-Smeets, owner of Emiko Consulting, is passionate about helping entrepreneurs capitalize on their strengths, improve on their weaknesses, and reach their full potential. Leah obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Southern California (USC).