You’re in executive job search or expect to be sometime soon. Are you making serious LinkedIn mistakes that can keep you from reaching your career goals?
Let’s say 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. In other words, 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:
LinkedIn Mistakes You (Probably) Made When You Built 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. Change it to “yourname” or as close to it as you can come, as I did with my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megguiseppi
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 job search and profile content.
High on the list of LinkedIn mistakes is neglecting to do the essential initial targeting and research work.
Know who you’re targeting and research to determine what it is about you that makes you valuable to those employers. After that, 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. In addition, the content needs to generate chemistry by showcasing your personality, and how you make things happen.
Add visuals to the Featured section of your profile. Videos that demonstrate your subject matter expertise and unique value work especially well here.
4. Neglecting Personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Of all the LinkedIn mistakes you can make, not being mindful of Personal SEO and keyword density in your profile content ranks as one of the worst.
5. Not including a profile photo.
Branding and career marketing are about creating emotional connections. People will 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 profile headline with relevant keywords.
Another thing high on the list of LinkedIn mistakes is ignoring your profile headline. The 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 ____”.
Help recruiters and hiring decision makers find you when they source top candidates by searching keywords on LinkedIn.
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 About section with value proposition, differentiating positioning statements and visuals.
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.
Add images, relevant documents and kinetic animation videos in this section.
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.
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.
LinkedIn Mistakes You (Probably) Made with Personal Branding and Executive Job Search
15. Not posting updates regularly.
This one also rates high on the list of worst LinkedIn mistakes.
Post 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, demonstrate your subject matter expertise, 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, you should 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.
Take the time to compose a brief 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. 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 – asks you out of the blue 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. You can also get kicked out of the Group.
23. Not writing recommendations for others.
Writing recommendations for others 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. In addition, blogging let’s you show 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 by liking, commenting on, sharing and otherwise reacting to their updates and Pulse articles. 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”.