[UPDATE - July 2013: LinkedIn continuously tweaks its appearance, features and functionality. Some of the features mentioned here may no longer be in use. Check out my recent 3-part series of posts, How to Use the New LinkedIn for Executive Personal Branding.]
You put up a LinkedIn profile a while ago because, if you’re in executive job search or expect to be, people told you it’s the thing to do. But nothing, or very little, is happening.
Recruiters and employers sourcing candidates aren’t contacting you. LinkedIn isn’t helping you accelerate your job search, like everyone told you.
Are you doing something wrong? Could be.
More than a year ago, I wrote the post The 20 Most Common LinkedIn Mistakes on my Executive Resume Branding blogsite. It has become one of the most visited and re-tweeted posts I’ve ever written.
Now I’ve taken a second look at it, updated some items, and added a few to reflect some newer features, and come up with 29 mistakes I see executive job seekers making with LinkedIn.
Are you missing out on opportunities because you’re making mistakes like these?
BUILDING YOUR PROFILE
1. Not personalizing your LinkedIn public profile URL. Many people leave the default mess of letters and numbers at the end of the URL. Unless your LinkedIn URL has been in circulation for a while, change it to “yourname” or as close to it as you can come, as I did with mine – http://www.linkedin.com/in/megguiseppi
2. Not reinforcing your executive brand and ROI value to your target employers throughout your profile. Use material from your branded resume and career biography to build out your profile. These two posts will help, How to Write An Irresistible C-level Executive Brand Resume in 10 Steps and How to Write a C-level Executive Career Brand Biography
3. Not using the Box.net Files application to add your resume and biography (and other career documents) to your profile. Once your documents are added, you can easily share the files with anyone.
4. Not including a photo. Branding and career marketing are about creating emotional connections. People believe content more when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo. An online profile with no photo is a missed opportunity to reinforce your brand and engage people.
5. Not adding links to websites or web pages. Include up to 3 links to your website, blog, VisualCV, or other online profiles, or white papers/articles you’ve written, so people can get more on-brand information about you and see what else you’re up to.
6. Not having a searchable professional headline that brands your unique ROI value and resonates with your target audience. Make sure your relevant key word phrases show up in your headline so that recruiters and hiring decision makers sourcing top candidates by searching keywords on LinkedIn will find you. More in my post, How Recruiters and Employers Find Candidates on LinkedIn.
7. Having no (or only 1 or 2) recommendations. Ask the right people for recommendations that reinforce your brand and the best you have to offer.
8. Not immediately generating chemistry in the Summary section with value proposition and differentiating positioning statements. Capture attention above the fold and convince people to continue reading down through your entire profile. Include big numbers and brand names of your companies and customers. Monetize the impact you made to bottom line.
9. Not including your “Interests” in the Additional Information section at the bottom of your profile. Talk briefly about your passions here and further generate chemistry to help hiring professionals get a feel for what kind of person you are. Writing a brief bit about your favorite hobbies may attract those who share the same ones. Grab a paragraph or two from your career biography that describe your community involvement.
10. Not adding a stand-alone section to highlight skills, publications, certifications, languages, or patents. Earlier this year, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature allowing you to better showcase specific accomplishments in movable blocks, so you can position them wherever you want. In “Edit profile” mode, click on “Add sections”, located right above your “summary” section.
11. Not proofreading and re-proofreading and having someone else proofread your profile for typos and grammatical errors.
12. Not having a 100% complete profile. When your profile is 100% complete, according to LinkedIn’s standards, the chances of your profile rising toward the top of LinkedIn searches greatly improves.
Here’s what you need to be 100% complete:
- A current position
- Two past positions
- Profile summary
- A profile photo
- At least three recommendations
Update: Early in 2012, LinkedIn changed its criteria for profiles to be 100% complete.
13. Not including your Twitter @username. If you’re even fairly active on Twitter, let people know that you’re there, and social media savvy. You’re Twitter “handle” will sit towards the top of your profile, in the section just above “Summary”. You may also want to add in your Twitter stream, using the “Tweets” application.
LEVERAGING YOUR LINKEDIN MEMBERSHIP
14. Not updating your profile regularly. Post status updates every week (more if you can), or at least a few times a month, as one way to stay top of mind with your network and let them know what you’re up to. If you’re on Twitter, adding the “#in” hashtag to tweets will insert them as LinkedIn updates, too. See my post, Update Your LinkedIn Network.
15. Neglecting LinkedIn Groups. Join appropriate groups, listen to what people are saying, participate in discussions, and start your own conversations. Post articles and information that will be helpful to members. Add value by contributing your subject matter expertise. See my post, Power Your Executive Brand with LinkedIn Groups.
16. Inviting people you don’t know, or barely know, to join your LinkedIn network. They may be annoyed by this, and you’ll run the risk of them reporting you as spam.
17. Automatically accepting invitations to join someone’s LinkedIn network. Look at their profile first and make sure you should connect with them.
18. Not personalizing the default invitation to connect message. Change the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message when you send out invitations. Let people know how you know them, or why you admire them, or how you can help each other.
19. Asking for a favor with your LinkedIn invitation, especially if it’s someone you don’t know or barely know. Please! How do YOU feel when someone does this to you – out of the blue asks you to make an introduction or help them with something? Good networking is all about giving value first to get value.
20. Not including a link to your LinkedIn profile within your email signature.
21. Promoting yourself too heavily in LinkedIn Groups. You can easily turn people off and make them want to ignore you.
22. Not writing recommendations for others. Doing so makes it much more likely that they’ll write one for you. And your recommendations on other people’s profiles includes a link to your profile, offering you more exposure. Read more in my post, How to Get the Best LinkedIn Recommendations.
23. Not researching the LinkedIn company profiles of your target companies. See if your current and former companies have one and if companies of interest to you have one. Find out which co-workers on your company’s profile are busy on LinkedIn and connect with the ones you know. Research other companies’ profiles for market intelligence and due diligence.
24. Not following your target companies on LinkedIn. By setting up “follows” for your target companies, you’ll receive email updates on their new developments, business opportunities, and jobs. Read more in my post, Using LinkedIn’s Company Follow.
25. Not checking out the LinkedIn company profiles of your current and former employers. Look for the co-workers you know, connect with them, see what LinkedIn Groups they belong to and join if they’re right for you, and reach out to them to help when you can.
26. Overlooking the LinkedIn Jobs tab. LinkedIn brings together many job postings – some are exclusive listings. Your target companies may have posted a job that’s a good fit for you, or they can provide market intelligence and information on their hiring practices.
27. Not diving into LinkedIn Answers. Ask questions and provide answers within your areas of expertise. Position yourself as a subject matter expert. LinkedIn Answers are open to public search, so contributing here can build up quality search results for “your name”.
28. Not using the other LinkedIn applications. Check them out and see which ones apply to you. If you blog, you really should add the applicable blog application.
29. Not getting involved with LinkedIn if you’re employed and searching undercover. If you’re concerned that you’ll be found out, don’t be afraid to update and fully complete your profile, and get active. LinkedIn is an accepted career management best practice, and an important way to stay proactive with networking, as career insurance, even when you’re not looking. Read more in my post, LinkedIn: Best Tactic for Undercover Executive Job Search.
photo by Coletivo Mambembe