LinkedIn is a great tool that can aid your job search and help you reach your target employer. It’s great for networking and has a strong jobs section where you can apply directly for jobs and where you can find out more about various different companies. It is becoming an important integral part of the job seeker’s world, however, as you get more involved with using LinkedIn, there are some common mistakes that need to be avoided in order to stay ahead of the game. See our 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips eBook for more ideas.
To get you started, here are 5 common mistakes that people make when using LinkedIn as part of their job search:
1. Using an inappropriate photo
It's important to make a good impression through your profile picture on your LinkedIn profile. A casual photo of you at a party or on holiday may not give the right impression and may be more suitable for Facebook and sharing with friends. For LinkedIn, a professional looking headshot photo is probably what you want to be aiming for. Something which makes you look trustworthy, approachable yet also professional looking is key.
Make sure that your face can be seen clearly and that it isn't abstructed by anything. Also make sure that the photo is of just you - i.e. without any friends or family too. Remember that people taking a look at your profile may be thinking in terms of working with you in some capacity and so your photo needs to show them someone that they can imagine themselves working alongside.
2. Not completing your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile is what you have to showcase your skills, experiences and talents. Don’t waste this prime opportunity by leaving key parts of it blank. Having said this, there’s no need to write essays either however make sure that the people who may come across your LinkedIn profile get the impression you want them to get of you. Make sure they find the key pieces of information and that they form the right picture of who you are and what you can do.
3. Playing the Numbers Game with Connections
Many people make the mistake of thinking that it's the number of connections in your LinkedIn network that is important. This isn't the case. It's actually much more about the strength of each relationship and the quality of your connections. Think about getting good quality over large numbers.
You want to be building up a network of people who you trust and who trust you, and who you can turn to in order to help you with your career, and who you will also be happy to help and support. Find people related to your field and build strong relationships with them. Don’t simply send out invitations in order to build up your connections tally. There’s no point in having lots of people on the list but none of whom you can actually go to for help or to talk to or meet with in person. Find people who can be of real value to you and who you can be of value in return.
4. Joining Groups but then Not Participating in Them
On LinkedIn there is a group for almost anything. You may have browsed through the various groups around and have decided to join a few. This is great and can be a good way to connect with like-minded individuals. However, often we forget to really participate within the group or to join in with the discussions and activities going on in the group. Don’t neglect your group by not posting anything or responding to what’s going on within it. If you want to make some good connections and you want to get the most out of a specialist group, you must be involved. Become a part of the group, become more visible to other members and build your brand through the group.
5. Becoming a Spammer
When someone has become a part of your network, it can be tempting to want to reach out and connect with them. You may feel that you have a lot to talk to them about or that they can be helpful to you. This is fine and in theory is good thinking, however, it is important not to abuse your connection or the fact that you are now able to contact them directly. Choose when you contact them carefully and make sure that you aren’t verging on ‘spamming’ them.
If you don’t slowly build your relationship and instead bombard them with requests for help, you will soon lose this contact. You will be damaging your reputation with them and they may no longer want to be connected to you. Make sure you respect each contact’s space and that you value the relationship you have with them.
For more help with using LinkedIn effectively for your job search, take a look at our 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips eBook.