There’s no getting around it — LinkedIn has become an integral component of the job search process in the modern world.
Since most recruiters and hiring managers will check your LinkedIn profile before deciding whether to contact you for an interview, using the platform correctly could very well mean the difference between getting a callback and staying in job-search limbo.
In conjunction with the many things you can do to improve the quality of your LinkedIn profile, there are several pitfalls newcomers often fall victim to. Thankfully, with a little awareness, these pitfalls can easily be avoided altogether.
Here are 5 of the most common mistakes to avoid on your LinkedIn Profile:
- Name capitalization — It might sound minor, but believe us it isn’t. Recruiters and Hiring Managers want to see a clean, compelling and professional profile, and overlooking proper name capitalization gives off just the opposite impression — it can come across as sloppy, haphazard and even unprofessional.
(AVOID: John smith, john smith, or JOHN SMITH — USE: John Smith)
- Home-shot profile photo — It’s true that not everyone has access to a studio, a top-quality camera, or a professional photographer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a professional looking profile picture. While a professional headshot is ideal, when this simply isn’t possible, be sure to dress the part (wear what you would wear to an interview), choose a simple setting and background, and frame-up a well-lit headshot in order to make the right kind of impression.
- Listing credentials next to your name — This might seem like a good way to cut to the chase and show off your accomplishments, but in reality, it’s more likely to look cluttered at best, and pretentious at worst. After all, LinkedIn has created the Licenses and Certifications section specifically for this purpose.
- No profile summary — The “About” section provides the space to highlight your accomplishments, a bit of your personality, and what distinguishes you from other candidates. Leaving it blank will be an omission that will keep Recruiters and Hiring Managers in the dark as to why they should take the time to read the rest of your profile.
- No details under work experience — In many ways, your LinkedIn profile should function as your digital resume. You wouldn’t submit a resume without your work experience, nor should you leave this section of your profile empty. Adding a few to-the-point bullets under each role to highlight your accomplishments and contributions will help to demonstrate what qualifies you for the role at hand.
In addition to avoiding these pitfalls, there are several ways through which you can effectively utilize LinkedIn to its full potential and increase your chances of catching a potential employer’s eye.
Here are 5 bonus tips to effectively leverage LinkedIn for your job search:
- Post content at least twice per week — Choose a topic that relates to your experience or the potential opportunity you are seeking and share your point of view or some tips/tricks/trends on that topic. Don’t be self-critical; be honest and vulnerable. 2 – 10 lines will suffice.
- Hashtag influencers and professionals within your domain — Choose a topic that relates to your experience or the potential opportunity you are seeking and share your point of view or some tips/tricks/trends on that topic. Don’t be self-critical; be honest and vulnerable. 2 – 10 lines will suffice.
- Connect with recruiters and professionals working in the same role as your target role — Locate these people and send them a personalized connection request to let them know who you are and what role you’re targeting in order to tap into their well of knowledge and their network. They very well might have a valuable tip or lead that could result in you landing your next job.
- Write a catchy headline — A striking headline can be enough to compel someone to continue reading through your profile. These tips on how to write a catchy resume headline can just as easily be leveraged for LinkedIn.
Note: It is OK to cater the headline towards your being a newcomer to Canada and what you offer — this is honest and could distinguish you from other candidates as someone with a unique perspective to bring to the table.
- Like/share/comment on posts — Engaging with posts by potential Hiring Managers will prompt a specific message to the poster indicating that you have interacted with their post. This will help you get onto their radar while demonstrating your enthusiasm, knowledge and point of view.
While some of these suggestions might be intimidating at first, this is very much part of networking in the digital age, so do not hesitate to put yourself out there. You are very likely to make mistakes along the way, and that is just fine! The more you engage, the more you will learn from others in order to refine your style and approach.
And remember: LinkedIn is but one component of your job search tool kit. Use it in conjunction with Job Searching Tips for Newcomers and you are sure to land the role you’re targeting.
Need help developing a professional LinkedIn profile? ProViso Consulting is here to support your career success! Our expert team can help you follow best practices and avoid common pitfalls for digital networking tools like LinkedIn. View jobs now!