This article came about because of a LinkedIn update I posted recently that included tagging people and hashtags.
What my update accomplished reinforces the importance of this practice and other LinkedIn strategy for executive job search, as well as overall career management and business development.
Are you posting updates on LinkedIn regularly to engage conversation and build brand evangelism?
This may be one of the best ways on LinkedIn to connect with people and keep your personal brand top-of-mind with your network.
Get all the details in my blog post, Posting LinkedIn Updates vs Updating Your LinkedIn Profile.
As of this writing, my update (below) received 40+ comments (including my responses to each person’s comment), and more than 6,400 views . . . pretty impressive!
LinkedIn Experts Discuss the Biggest LinkedIn Executive Job Search Mistakes
Here’s the LinkedIn update I posted (after some time, the post may no longer be accessible):
A question to esteemed colleagues in the careers industry: What is the biggest mistake you see people making with LinkedIn? [Here I tagged several colleagues, some of whose contributions appear below.]
Here’s one of the biggest mistakes I see: Not optimizing your profile headline with relevant keywords.
The LinkedIn profile headline is the most important place to pack the right keywords. Executive recruiters and hiring decision makers find candidates by searching LinkedIn using keywords.
Don’t stick with the default headline which is your current or most recent job title. It may not contain the right keywords. And, this is NOT the place on your profile to state “Actively seeking opportunities in ____”.
Space in the headline is limited. Use it wisely.
[I included an image and link to an evergreen blog post of mine, 29 Biggest LinkedIn Mistakes Most Job Seekers Make.]
Here’s just a sampling of the LinkedIn experts who chimed in with valuable advice:
I waver between faux pas with the profile, connecting, and engaging on LinkedIn. I’m seriously in the camp of failure to engage with one’s connections, at the moment. I think too many people think “liking” a post here and there is all they need to do to get traction on LinkedIn. Real engagement, as oppose to being active, provides a sense of fulfillment for all concerned. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of liking posts here and there, and after I do it, I think what a lamo I am.
There are many ways to engage besides commenting on a post. To name a few, sharing a relevant article with your network, asking an illuminating question, joining the dialog generated by a post, direct messaging people, group messaging people, etc. The first comprehensive list of ways to engage I saw was from Hannah Morgan. I share it with my workshop attendees, crediting her of course.
Lastly, it disappoints me when job seekers do a great job of engaging and once they get their next job…crickets.
The biggest mistake is to have a bare bones profile. You have completely wasted your time and the time of all others who have gone to your profile hoping to find some insight into who you are and what you have to offer. On top of that, you have wasted any chance at marketing your personal brand, reaching out to tell your firm’s story, your personal story etc. What at waste of space!
I see these major mistakes most often: 1) Bare-bones profile, with no summary section and nothing but a job history (no details). 2) Resume simply copied into LinkedIn. It’s a different medium, needs a different style and tone. 3) Sloppy presentation – hard to read, formatting glitches, language and spelling errors. These seem to be basics that everyone can/should attend to! All of the other enhancements and activities are great once you have a profile that matches your professional image.
The biggest (as in big no-no, credibility killing) and most common mistake I see daily is not the no photo (#5 on your list) but the BAD photo profile. Selfie, evening wear/bowtie, cleavage, distracting background, poorly lit, shiny forehead, me and a celeb, me and the kids etc. etc. So many bad choices which effectively harm your chances.
A professional headshot is one of the best investments you can make in yourself on LinkedIn. It’s also one of 3 ‘identifiers’ that people see before they even think about checking your profile. Important to get it right!
I agree that optimizing the headline is an excellent place to start, and like Andy Foote, I agree that a high quality professional headshot is always a great investment. Louise Kursmark covered a lot of territory in her response. So I’ll chime in on the importance of a well-crafted SUMMARY — the best place to tell one’s personal business story.
If you look only at job history and you see that the person changes jobs every 12-20 months, you could conclude that they can’t keep a job. But if you read from their summary that they actually specialize in “turn-around” and that in a very short amount of time they achieve astounding results, that puts the job history in a whole new light.
Likewise if you see that they seem to have dabbled in a number of industries, you may consider them to be unsure of their career path. But a summary that shares that they have a specialized skill that they enjoy using in any industry puts the career history in a whole new light. Without a summary, we can jump to the wrong conclusions about a person’s career path. A great summary sets one up for success.
A #LinkedIn mistake I often see is generic profile content. I recommend taking content beyond basic job tasks / keywords to share WHO you are and WHAT you offer that is unique. Infuse a bit of personality. Engage readers.
The addition I would make is that too many people go to the trouble of building great profiles, being active to build their credibility and visibility. But, when you click on the “Contact information” link, all you find is their LinkedIn URL. They haven’t included an email address and phone number (Google Voice is good), so actually contacting them requires more searching, more time, less direct contact (via employer?), or a premium account which allows an InMail to be sent. ALL of which take time and luck!
The “actively seeking…” thing is especially dangerous, since LinkedIn loves to announce “anniversaries” including the “actively seeking” thing – which usually translates to “unemployed.”
As an extreme example of how this can go very wrong, I saw an announcement a while ago from LinkedIn saying to “congratulate so and so for 23 years of ‘unemployed'”