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Seven LinkedIn First-Time User Mistakes

Posted by Dawn Boyer

Recruiters are just as discriminating when reviewing LinkedIn profiles as they are when they review resumes.

Those using LinkedIn for the first time can be in a rush, make minor or major mistakes, and don’t realize they have set themselves up for failure. Here are a few mistakes that can be easily corrected and will assist job seekers in putting their best foot forward. 

1)    Typing a full name and initials in mixed upper and lower case for name and profile information. Assume the profile is your resume. Would you send a resume to a recruiter with all lower case text?

2)    Failing to check your LinkedIn account at least weekly for messages. How many messages have you missed because you haven’t checked your in-box for urgent messages from recruiters or other contacts who found your profile and want to connect and chat? 

3)    Never revisiting the profile. Many job seekers sign up for an account but then never go back because they don’t know what to do with the LinkedIn platform. You must explore the tabs, get professional training, read a book or ask others what more you can do. The free version of LinkedIn should be an integral part of your job search arsenal of tools.

4)    Not realizing what a tremendous data-mining tool LinkedIn is for job seekers or business developers. Type in a company name and you’ll get a listing of hundreds of employees or past employees names, and in many cases their direct POC data. If you don’t ask, you won’t get, Information about the company, work environment, names of hiring managers, etc., are easy to get if you simply reach out and ask.

5)    Not completing your profile. The character length for most of the text boxes in a profile is huge and can provide a ‘story’ about capabilities, if written properly. Don’t waste the white space – write about your accomplishments to the fullest capability. Use bullets to make the text easily readable. Don’t ignore the options for bragging about current projects, publications, recognitions and awards, as well as membership in trade groups. These tell a more complete story about you.

6)    Filling in only a few skill sets for your profile. You are allowed to ‘brag’ about 50 skills you have to shop to future employers. If you haven’t added all 50 skills, you risk skills unrelated to your career being added by complete strangers or the LinkedIn system. This section is critical because LinkedIn uses it as the SEO for your profile.

7)    Underutilizing groups. You can join up to 50 groups, and add up to 50 sub-groups in a LinkedIn profile. These allow users to reach out in the community, industry, and trades to interact, have conversations, and data-mine for more information. Not joining all your available groups is wasting precious commodities.

LinkedIn is one of the best social media platforms on the Internet for job seekers and business development. Joining is an important factor, but enriching your profile with vital information about your skills and capabilities is the second most important factor. Don’t treat it like a ‘toy’ – do put the effort into it to make it the best ‘resume profile’ you can for your career. 

Recruiters make judgments about your professionalism when reviewing your LinkedIn profile, just as they do studying your resume. Make sure your profile is up to the test.

Dawn Boyer is a career services coach, social media management, human resources, and business development consultant. Follow Dawn on Twitter @Dawn_Boyer.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 22, 2013 7:00 am

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