Considering the popularity of LinkedIn, I am sure you must have merged it with your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr accounts already. A wise move for a global social networking experience, but LinkedIn has a special purpose which is very different from personal networking.
Not to be mistaken with a job portal, LinkedIn is basically employed for professional networking purposes wherein you can interact with recruiters or expect calls from organizations looking to hire for a particular job position.
Since it is a portal with a different set of logistics, the mistakes made are one-of-a-kind too.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have proved that social websites like LinkedIn and Facebook play a vital role in procuring jobs in Germany and America.
Hence, LinkedIn faux pas can pretty much damage your career.
With over 200 million users worldwide, it’s exceptionally important to construct a well-organized, neat profile in order to stay on top of the recruitment charts. Here is what you are not supposed to do:
1. Flimsy Profile
No display picture: According to LinkedIn career expert Nicole Williams this is one of the biggest mistakes made by new-comers. A display picture gives credibility to your profile, attracting more number of views as opposed to one with no imagery. The normal assumption is – no profile pic means that something is wrong. Moreover, in case you attend a networking event you are likely to meet a lot of people. How do you expect to locate them on LinkedIn if they have no picture?
A simple attribute like an image can act as a profile initiator, enabling interested individuals to click on your URL
Random display picture: A LinkedIn profile page needs to show your professional, and not your personal, best. Images of dogs, landscapes, spouse, or a child is a complete no-no. It not only reflects on your poor organizational skills, but displays a complete lack of motivation as well. According to HSN Beauty, 19% of the recruiters form an impression by simply looking at the profile picture.
Also, refrain from uploading a picture that displays a younger version of you. It is highly deceptive – a practice frowned upon by viewers. Just like a resume (on a job portal in India or abroad) is incomplete without the proper details, a LinkedIn profile page too requires all the elements in place.
2. Unnecessary Endorsements
So you have no profile picture, but too many endorsements embellish your account, from people who themselves have no display picture.
It cannot get worse than this!
Anonymous endorsements mean that people who are ready to testify your services are themselves ashamed of showing who they are.
So how is this a positive attribute for your profile page?
Ensure that you accept endorsements from people with a well-maintained and active LinkedIn profile. Trust me, potential employers and business clients do look at who has endorsed you to get a better idea about your connections. So make sure that they are some good ones.
3. Casual Profile Layout
Incomplete profile: Do not take the “status update” option on LinkedIn for granted. This is where you can talk about your professional progress and accomplishments. Williams suggests that you could talk about a recent promotion or share a great article that you recently wrote, through this medium.
Also, never skip the summary option on your profile. Although the “objective” has become obsolete in a resume, it continues to hold value on LinkedIn. Here you have more space to pen-down your thoughts, thereby effectively expressing your voice and personality. Fill out the summary for that added edge and write in first person to keep it conversational.
Vague profile: Writing a summary is important, but no one is interested in reading long winding paragraphs about the kind of individual you are. Be precise and give to-the-point information. Wherever possible, show actual achievements by linking to a sheet of paper, slide presentation, or a certificate, or display quantifiable results supplemented with a timeline.
4. Too much information
Being personal is not going to make your profile any more desirable. Status updates that give a tad too much information are frowned upon by LinkedIn. Post about a book you just read, latest employment trends, or an interview that you recently gave. Please do not talk about the dish you ate last night as it’s downright inappropriate. If you have nothing useful to post, share a fellow employee’s content.
LinkedIn forms the basis for informal recruitment. In Germany, 40% of the jobs are filled through informal recruitment and 27% are filled by the same process in the United States.
5. Incessant Pitching
Sending pitches for offers all the time can get very irritating. It shows that you aren’t interested in building relationships, but simply pitching your sales. It is something like cold calling, which is never appreciated. Be prepared to get removed from people’s contact list if you continue to behave like this.
Moreover, recruiters sometimes pester their contacts to apply for jobs that they aren’t even interested in. This is nothing but a ruse to shine in the eyes of a boss.
LinkedIn is a place to network, not spam. Recruiters who swear by this behaviour are simply hurting themselves and the brand that they represent.
6. Connecting the Default way
In order to build valuable professional relationships that can be leveraged into career opportunities, do not use the standard option for sending requests, even if it’s for somebody you have never met. The rationale behind this strategy is, that if you conduct a little research on the said individual and customize your request, more are the chances of being noticed and appreciated by the recipient.
People keep connections that make them look good. A recruiter might check the same and hire you on the basis of the industry connections that you have already forged.
7. Stagnant Profile
Having a profile just for the sake of it is never going to accomplish anything. Simply glimpsing at blog posts, status updates, and group discussions without getting involved is definitely going to hurt your chances of building some great contacts.
It’s time to step-up and compel yourself into action.
Update your status regularly.
Publish your content pieces, designs, articles, etc. as and when possible.
Comment on other people’s posts.
Follow companies to see who leaves and who joins. This way you can instantly contact the HR department when a relevant opportunity comes your way.
Last but not the least, join a group. LinkedIn gives you the freedom to become a part of 50 groups at one time. Discussions that take place here can really work in your favour. For example, I am a content writer who joined a creative writers group. This has not only given me the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals, but has helped secure lucrative projects as well. I am sure you constantly update your resume on a job portal. So why not stay active on LinkedIn as well?
8. Deleting Past Experiences
A LinkedIn profile page is very different from a resume. Instead of targeting one page towards a particular job profile, you should mention your entire work history. Since your profile is going to be viewed by hundreds of individuals with different criteria’s, it’s wise to make your page look as active as possible.
Maybe a recruiter is looking for an editor with a science background to proofread a scientific document.
Also, do not forget to give details of odd jobs from your teen years or any volunteer work that you did in your lifetime. Although LinkedIn is not a portal to describe your every hope and dream, recruiters understand that with the growing economy, volunteers too can be given real responsibilities to test their mettle.
So do not forget to list all past experiences.
An easy thing to ignore, making grammatical mistakes in a professional profile is one of the biggest faux pas ever. It not only shows your lack of attention to detail, but reflects on your careless attitude as well.
A mistake that could easily cost you the job, something as banal as a typo should be avoided at all times. Take 5 minutes from your busy schedule to proofread the profile page before saving any changes.
10. Zero Recommendations
Not having any recommendations can make people wonder about you. Why is it that nobody feels like writing something commendable about you? Without any recommendations, viewers will wonder about your ability to play nice in a professional environment.
You cannot force anybody to write for you, but strive to procure at least one recommendation from a noteworthy person to upgrade your profile a little.
Remember to put your best foot forward online. If you feel you aren’t being approached by sufficient individuals on LinkedIn, review your profile, pinpoint the mistakes, and vie to remove the flaws as soon as possible. For those who want instant feedback on their profiles, check out the new program “LinkedIn Level + UP”.
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