LinkedIn is a growing social network for professionals. Hiring managers and recruiters even use it as a resource for finding candidates to fill open positions and reach out to people who look like they may be qualified for a job, whether they are looking for a new opportunity or not. What most people don’t know is that their LinkedIn profile can have a big impact on their chances of being contacted, and sometimes even landing the job.
Forbes has written many articles about the most common mistakes being made on LinkedIn profiles that people are completely unaware could be hindering their appeal to companies. I have summarized a few of the major faux pas below.
You don’t post a picture. It’s nice to see that someone is a real person that exists. The majority of people are not hired off of a phone interview, so it could be less likely you will be contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager if you choose not to post a photo. Visuals are important in the business world, and it can make you more appealing as a potential candidate if you have a polished, RECENT picture. That being said, choosing an appropriate photo is just as important. Keep it professional: leave your cats and kids out of it. Avoid glamour shots. And make sure you currently look like the person in the picture you’re posting. If a recruiter wants to meet you for coffee, they will expect the person in the picture to show up.
You don’t describe your job. Stating your title as “programmer” or “developer” doesn’t give people any real insight as to what you do from 9-5pm every day. A blank piece of paper with job titles will most likely not entice people to reach out to you. Three or four bullet points should be enough to give a quick summary of your day-to-day responsibilities for each job description. Another reason to add some detail is that buzz words can be searched for on LinkedIn. If you have one on your page, you are more likely to be contacted about the right opportunities that won’t waste your time.
You lie. Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson has proven that posting false information on your resume, or on any profile that potential employers have access to, is a big mistake. Whether it be your education or skill set, eventually the truth will come out. Sure, you may be hired up front, but over time someone will uncover the truth about your background and what it is that you are capable of contributing to the company.. and what you’re not. It is always better to be upfront about your skills, your job history and what degree you hold, rather than have it come out down the line and tarnish your reputation.
You have too many recommendations or none at all. Having no recommendations might convey that no one likes your work, you haven’t left that much of an impression on anyone, you haven’t formed any worthwhile relationships at your position, or you’re simply just not a good networker. On the other hand, it looks sketchy if you all of a sudden have ten recommendations in the same week. To make things easy on yourself, be continuously searching for recommendations, even when you’re satisfied with your job, rather than asking for dozens of recommendations only when you’re out of work.
Your page has no personality. Showing people that you have likes, interests, and hobbies makes you more approachable and helps recruiters remember that you are an actual human being, not just another cold call over the course of the day. It can make conversations more enjoyable if someone realizes they have something in common with you and can provide a bit of a personal connection. Believe it or not, some companies choose to hire you or pass on you based on whether your personality meshes with the rest of the organization or team. Bottom line: having a life outside of work makes you more interesting, as well as more marketable.
Making some of these simple changes to your LinkedIn profile could help you stand out as recruiters and hiring managers go through hundreds of candidates per day. So, click on your LinkedIn tab, and start making some improvements to your profile. It might even get you the job of your dreams!