There is no question that being on LinkedIn is the best social media outlet when you are searching for a job. While having an active and up-to-date profile is a must, if you are making the mistakes below, you may be doing more harm than good. (To recap the basics you need, go here).
Stop Making these Errors on Your Profile
Error 1: Calling yourself a consultant when you’re really just unemployed.
It’s obvious when you have a consulting company name and then… no link to a website or other type of landing-page to talk about what you are actually doing as a consultant. Not to mention that this use of “consultant” harms the people out there who are making a living consulting.
If you are unemployed, your profile should gently reflect that – not show a made-up/fake “company” to bridge your time while you are seeking a new position. You can claim being a consultant, if you are making income from your business, on a consistent basis. At the very least, you need to have a place for recruiters to go when they look up your business – so make it official, or leave it off altogether.
Error 2: Listing awards that have no meaning outside of the company.
I should have been keeping track of all of the hilarious awards I’ve seen across various LinkedIn profiles – the names can be entertaining. If the person viewing your profile has no idea what your award means, it adds zero value – in fact, all it may be good for is a nice laugh.
The awards section is a great place to show your performance and the ways you’ve been honored, but be very clear about what you have been awarded for. No one *really* cares if you had perfect attendance, but they will be very interested if you were the top performer. In other words, not every award is created equal.
Evaluate your awards and see if it is crystal clear to a third party bystander, what the award actually means. If you have to alter the name to be more descriptive – then do that (just be sure to a. not lie, and b. place the company’s name for the award in the description section). Be very clear and specific how awesome the award is – so anyone can easily see and judge your achievement levels.
Error 3: Not updating your headline.
LinkedIn keeps updating their design which is incredibly annoying, but one of the biggest changes as of late, is the information you are able to view while hovering over someone’s name. You used to be able to see their headline and current position. Not so much anymore. You get a snippet of the headline only.
As someone who is constantly on LinkedIn, this is incredibly frustrating – especially when you are trying to place a person or see if someone would be a good fit for a role. So hover over your own name – is the viewable information descriptive enough to tell a potential recruiter/employer what you’re about? Are you enticing them to read more and actually clicking on your profile?
Error 4: Sending an email to your entire contact list.
I know, this isn’t something on your profile per se, but if you are hoarding connections (stop that!), you risk offending someone on your contact list. I have been invited to completely irrelevant events, asked to participate in random surveys, and been “sold” to about products that are so outside my scope of work. In other words, those contacts totally missed the mark – and lost me as a connection.
LinkedIn is great for getting/having direct contact information for your connections, but don’t abuse that power/information by treating all connections the same. If you do need to reach out to your contacts, I’d recommend doing it outside of the LinkedIn messaging platform and send them individually… or at least to applicable audiences.