You’re in executive job search or expect to be sometime soon.
You put up a bare-bones LinkedIn profile a while ago because people told you it’s the thing to do.
Now you’re thinking about job search and waiting for LinkedIn’s value to kick in.
But nothing, or very little, is happening. Few people are viewing your profile. Few people, if any, are connecting with you or reaching out to you.
Executive recruiters and employers sourcing candidates aren’t contacting you with opportunities.
LinkedIn isn’t helping you accelerate your job search, like everyone told you it would.
Are you doing something wrong? Could be.
You could be missing out on executive job opportunities because you’re making mistakes like these:
Things You Did Wrong When Building Your LinkedIn 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. Change it to “yourname” or as close to it as you can come, as I did with my LinkedIn profile:
And be sure to go back and change the URL anywhere you may have posted it, like in your email signature and resume.
2. Not targeting your search and profile content.
Know who you’re targeting and build keyword-rich content designed to resonate with them and position you as a good fit to help them meet their current needs.
3. Not reinforcing your executive brand and ROI to your target employers throughout your profile.
Develop brand-driven content that contains the relevant keywords and phrases people search to find candidates like you, but also generates chemistry by showcasing your personality, and how you make things happen.
4. Neglecting Personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Be ever-mindful of Personal SEO and keyword density in your profile content.
5. Not including a profile 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.
6. Not adding links to websites or web pages.
Include up to 3 links – choose things like your personal website/blog, other online profiles, or white papers/articles you’ve written. Lead people to more on-brand information about you and what you’re up to.
7. Not optimizing your professional headline with relevant keywords.
The LinkedIn professional headline is the most important place to pack the right keywords. This is NOT the place on your profile to state “Actively seeking opportunities in ____”.
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.
8. Having no recommendations, or only one or two.
Ask the right people for recommendations that reinforce your brand and the best you have to offer your target employers.
9. 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.
10. Not filling in and regularly prioritizing your Skills and Endorsements section.
Add in your top skills (or areas of expertise) in order of importance. These skills will probably be your most important keywords and keyword phrases.
A skill endorsement is a one-click way for your connections to endorse the skills listed on your profile. An endorsement is not the same as a “Recommendation”, which is a written narrative submitted by a connection in support of your expertise and value.
A high number of endorsements for skills representing your best talents supports your personal brand and adds credibility to your candidacy in job search. And, this section should boost your search ranking.
11. Not having a fully fleshed out profile.
Improve your profile visibility and findability by fully populating any applicable profile sections. The more content in your profile, the more relevant keywords will be in your profile, and the more likely your profile will rise to the top of searches on those keywords.
LinkedIn suggests that you “make sure you can be found by your current position, past positions, the schools you attended, what you studied, etc. Profile completeness not only helps you show up in more searches, but also improves how you are matched in our system.”
12. Packing the content too tightly on the page.
Include plenty of white space throughout your profile, so it’s easier for people to read, and encourages them to read down the web page.
13. Not proofreading and re-proofreading your profile content before posting it.
Be diligent in your search for typos and grammatical errors. They make you look bad and can impact the SEO for your profile. Have someone else proofread the content, too.
14. Your profile isn’t visible to everyone.
Check Privacy and Settings to be sure every section of your profile is open to search.
Things You’re Doing Wrong When Leveraging LinkedIn to Build Your Personal Brand and Accelerate Your Executive Job Search
15. Not posting updates regularly.
Share 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.
16. 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.
17. Being afraid, or not knowing how, to reach out to people you don’t know.
Develop a strategy and scripts to connect with people you don’t know, who will be important to network with.
18. Automatically accepting invitations to join someone’s LinkedIn network.
I believe in accepting most invitations to connect. The more people you’re connected with, the wider your network, and the more likely good-fit opportunities will come your way.
But check their profiles first, to be sure they are real people and not spammers, scammers or someone else you don’t want to be associated with.
19. Not personalizing the default invitation to connect message.
Change the “I’d like to join your LinkedIn network” 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. So few people take the time to personalize their invitation. Your note will go a long way.
20. Asking for a favor within 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.
21. Not including a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume and in your email signature.
Your LinkedIn profile, if done correctly, will probably be the most robust web page associated with you, unless you have a personal website. Send people to your career hub, where they can learn a lot about you and your value.
22. Promoting yourself too heavily in LinkedIn Groups.
Don’t post to Groups several times a day. Don’t overly promote yourself in Groups. You can easily turn people off and make them want to ignore you.
23. 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 include a link to your profile, offering you more exposure.
24. 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, due diligence and employees. Connect with employees at your target companies.
25. Letting your profile content get outdated and stale.
Refresh the content in your profile regularly to align with your current job search/career focus, and to upgrade with current relevant keywords.
26. Overlooking LinkedIn Jobs.
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, and job listings may provide market intelligence and information on their hiring practices.
27. Neglecting LinkedIn’s Pulse publishing platform.
Publishing articles on Pulse is like having your own blog, with none of the headaches.
Blogging is one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate your subject matter expertise, and communicate your good-fit qualities for the jobs you’re seeking along with something of your personality . . . that is, your personal brand.
28. Not reaching out to your network and supporting them.
Reach out to your network regularly to see how they’re doing and pass along something of interest to them. Support them with “Likes”, and comments on their Pulse articles and updates. Share their Pulse articles on other social media outlets.
29. Being too cautious on LinkedIn because you’re employed and searching undercover.
You may be concerned that you’ll be found out, but 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.
But you’ll need to be careful about how you use LinkedIn and what you include in the content. Obviously, don’t say on LinkedIn (or anywhere online) that you’re “actively seeking opportunities”.
Executive Job Search and Personal Branding Help
Need help with personal branding, your LinkedIn profile, resume and biography, and getting your executive job search on track . . . to land a great-fit new gig?