LinkedIn Mistakes: 4 Small Things That Will Kill Your Chances

Linkedin mistakesLinkedIn is fast replacing the traditional resume as the main tool used to impress hiring managers. In fact, recruiters are skipping the job boards and proactively searching on LinkedIn for passive candidates (aka, people who they think would fit the job they need to fill).

Which means your LinkedIn profile needs to make an excellent first impression -- or you could be screened out for a fabulous new job and never even know it. The following are common mistakes many people make unknowingly. See if you are guilty of one or more of the following:

1. Not using a profile picture.

A recent study of people viewing LinkedIn profiles revealed that the picture gets a lot of attention. In fact, an eye tracking heatmap shows that recruiters spend 19 percent of the total time they spend on your profile looking at your picture. According to career expert, Miriam Salpeter, "not having a photo on your LinkedIn profile will make others assume that you're either "really ugly" or "don't know how to upload a picture."


2. Including a summary that is way too long.

A summary is supposed to be short and relevant. Unfortunately, many novice users of LinkedIn see it as a chance to tell their professional life story in an epic novel format. In dating, it's advised that you keep some information to yourself on the first date to avoid scaring off a new potential partner. Well, the same applies on LinkedIn. Your goal isn't to overwhelm the recruiter with every last detail, but rather, to entice them with a high-impact, quantifiable, and most importantly, condensed overview of your career success highlights.


3. Writing in the third person.

Unless you are a mega rap star or pro sports player who prides themselves on talking in the third person during media interviews, then stay clear of writing your LinkedIn profile in this manner. It's common knowledge that you own the profile, and therefore, wrote it. So, when you say, "Bill Jones has spent the last 15+ years as the director of widgets..." you sound full of yourself. While some LinkedIn experts will tell you using your name repeatedly will get your profile ranked higher in recruiter searches, I'll tell you writing a profile in that format may guarantee it will be read -- but it also ensures you won't get contacted for a job.


4. Providing incomplete profile information.

The day you decide to put yourself on LinkedIn is also the day that you should commit to getting your profile completed. Failing to complete the profile sends one of the following messages:
  • I think I'm too cool to be on LinkedIn, but I put my profile up just in case somebody really important wants to find me.
  • I am not technology-savvy and gave up finishing the profile because it took two hours just to figure out how to put my picture up.
  • I'm too busy with my current job and don't have time to network with anyone, so don't try to connect with me here. Especially, if you need to contact me about something important.


When it comes to social media, my mantra is, "Brand or BE branded." You must take control of your LinkedIn profile messaging by completing all the necessary fields and getting the required recommendations.

As you can see above, lack of messaging, too much messaging, and even the wrong voice for your messaging can have negative consequences. Don't risk missing out on career opportunities because you didn't invest some time in optimizing your LinkedIn profile. The two hours you spend getting it updated could pay off in the future -- and you'll never know unless you do it.



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J.T. O'Donnell

J.T. O'Donnell

Contributor

J.T. O'Donnell is a career and workplace expert who founded the top-ranked career advice site, CAREEREALISM.com. In 2009, she launched CareerHMO, the first on-line career care membership site which specializes in curing chronic career pain.

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14 Comments

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MartinL

OK, i'll bite: what about TYPOS?

Have someone else Check Everything! Spell Check is NOT ENOUGH!

June 02 2012 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gen Y

No I disagree. Any employer who uses Linked In to "check out an employee" is a joke. You never know the person unless you see them live.

Facebook spying is way more than privacy invasion enough. And you should really only need a public profile if people need to contact you for sales or recruitment.

I'm NOT paying extra to "network" with yuppie bimbos unless it provides coupons for happy hour. It's not bandwidth friendly.

And there is so much spam on Linked In that I refuse to to finish my profile.

June 01 2012 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wassup

What about if recruiters are anti- Hispanic, etc?

June 01 2012 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hamiltonca

I like this article and that may be because I've already done these four things. The heat map of the picture is news to me but I do understand it. You can't be a good web developer (or lead or manager) without understanding and learning as much about the web, who uses it and how they use it as you can.

Good article. Thank you.

June 01 2012 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
leavesbound

I don't do social media. I already have the best possible job working for the best possible employer so unless somebody wants to pay me double and hire me as a bikini inspector in Hawaii I have zero interest in in posting a resume on line. What I would like to know is how to stop the insipid spam that Linkedin keeps flooding my in box with. I have written to the company and to the idiots who keep sending me links and all that gets me is more spam. Not even AOL will do anything about it and I just don't have time to deal with this crap? Is anyone else getting linkedin spam email 300-400 a day?

June 01 2012 at 6:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to leavesbound's comment
hamiltonca

Keep in mind that the picture is most often going to be view by professional recruiters. If your picture screens you out because of your age, then good it happened quickly and without bothering you with phone screens and interviews that would lead nowhere anyway.

That said, if you are going to put a picture of yourself on LinkedIn, make sure it is a good picture that represents you in a professional way. I'm in IT and my picture is a head shot with a white shirt, tie and suit jacket. No one knows (until now) that I was wearing shorts when I took the photo.

In fact if you aren't all that good at photography, consider getting or using a photo taken by a "professional." I put that in quotes because a head shot from the photo studio in Wal-Mart is probably good enough for this.

The point about managing your brand or be branded is also very good advice. This is the 21st century and if you don't do this type of thing you will lose out.

We are defined more by what we do than what we say. Being diligent with regard to your professional career is important. Take the time to get it right

June 01 2012 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hamiltonca's comment
hamiltonca

Oh. And don't use one of those phone photos where you hold the phone out and take a picture of yourself. OK for Facebook, but not professional enough for LinkedIn.

June 01 2012 at 9:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
longde

Putting a picture on your profile just gives a high-tech way for employers to discriminate.

June 01 2012 at 1:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
swhitmon

My mistake is being too old. How do I fix that?

May 31 2012 at 10:43 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to swhitmon's comment
sandrab110

With age, comes experience and that is no mistake. I do agree that some recruiters/company discriminate against age.
If you haven't done this already, try just listing the last 3-4 jobs on your resume as most company just require that or the last 10 years of employment. Also, you might want to delete the date of your HS or college graduation so you're not dating yourselft.
Good luck!

May 31 2012 at 11:21 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to sandrab110's comment
JT

1. Put up a photo of yourself that’s you - but a little younger ;)
OR
2. Find a professional photo of yourself that you like. (If you aren't sure what that means, read it this way "find a serious photo" of yourself that you like)
3. Use Photoshop or PS Express, or apps like Perfect Photo, or Instagram to change your photo from color to black and white - if you can't do this, someone you know probably can help, and it doesn't take but a minute or so to do
4. When you change the picture you'll see that a lot of what you think (or are pretty sure) makes you appear older in others eyes will diminish greatly
5. Try it - but keep it realistic
6. Keep in mind even with no picture up, eventually they'll want to meet you. If they discriminate against you, you don't want to work for them anyway
7. You'll never be too old, don't let anybody fool you and don't fall for what you see on tv - chances are the person behind the person is an older guy/gal who's percentage from the job is obscene - or the person behind the guy is his parents
8. Alternative to aging = dying. And you don't wanna even go there!
You rock, go get 'em! Cheers!

August 14 2012 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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