Executives, you might NOT be maximizing LinkedIn in a way that will help get you hired.
If you’re rarely approached by recruiters on LinkedIn, or you apply to LinkedIn jobs and don’t receive a response, or you wonder why you even need a LinkedIn Profile… these mistakes might apply to YOU.
Read on for common pitfalls to avoid when using LinkedIn as a tool in your executive job search:
Mistaking a resume summary for a LinkedIn summary.
Your LinkedIn About section (formerly called Summary) is a great tool for presenting a snapshot of your brand and value proposition. However, many people mistake this for the resume summary of qualifications, and insert a long, dull paragraph.
I can’t say this enough! Online copywriting is much different than writing for printed or emailed documents. You’ll need to create your profile so that it can easily be read online, using FIRST-PERSON language to create engagement.
Rather than use your resume summary, instead write a more personalized account of your background and qualifications, breaking up the text visually so that employers can quickly scan through for key words.
See Job-Hunt.org’s tips on adding eye candy such as bullet symbols to make your About section more interesting.
Failing to engage others online.
If you only lurk to read posts, rarely comment, and have yet to post any articles or information of your own, this applies to YOU.
LinkedIn has beefed up engagement algorithm “rankings” heavily over the past months, making it clear that direct interaction is a major factor in how often others will see your Profile.
Just like websites that continually show you the same ad after you’ve visited the company website, LinkedIn wants to reward users who fully embrace the concept of online networking (see point #3 in How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works) by showing these Profiles more often to recruiters.
You’ll still need to tune your Profile for strong content, but after you start commenting on posts of professional interest (or putting your own posts up regularly), don’t be surprised if more employers come calling.
Conveying a message inconsistent with your executive resume.
There’s no way around it – employers will be trolling LinkedIn for information about you, even if you’ve already sent your resume to them to review. The problem comes in when your job history, core competencies, or achievements appear different online than on paper. (Lest you think this is rare, I can assure you it’s very common among executives with decades of experience.)
After creating both your resume and your LinkedIn Profile, I recommend printing them out, and reviewing information such as job dates, dollar figures, education, achievements, job titles, and employer names SIDE-BY-SIDE. You’ll be able to spot any discrepancies quickly.
In addition, reviewing the profile this way allows you to see if it delivers the same value proposition message as your resume.
If you missed highlights of your career (such as metrics on revenue generated or cost savings), it’s best to add this data into your LinkedIn Profile so that it aligns with your brand.
Failing to use all the space provided on LinkedIn.
You’re guilty of this if your About / Summary contains just a few sentences, you didn’t even realize your Headline can be 220 characters, your Work Experience only includes titles (and no description of your achievements), or you skipped sections like Skills & Expertise.
Employers and recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates with specific skills or career experience. By adding information that contains key search terms, your odds of being found by recruiters can rise dramatically. (See How to Optimize Your Executive LinkedIn Profile for SEO.)
Here are the current character limits for popular LinkedIn sections:
- Headline – 220 Characters
- Summary – 2,600 Characters
- Skills & Expertise – Up to 50 Skills
- Company Name – 100 Characters
- Job Title – 100 Characters
- Job Description – 2,000 Characters
If your Profile isn’t CLOSE to maxing out each of these spots, you’re missing valuable opportunities to advertise your skills or insert more keywords.
Want proof? Take a look at my LinkedIn Profile (or search for me on LinkedIn, using the phrase “executive resume writer” in LinkedIn.) You’ll quickly see why every word counts.
Using an outdated LinkedIn Photo that detracts from your personal brand.
Have you cropped your LinkedIn Photo from a family or group shot? Used a Photo from a non-professional setting such as a party? Shown yourself behind the wheel of your car?
PLEASE use a photo representative of your executive brand! Run it through Photofeeler to crowdsource feedback on your credibility.
If you’re unsure of the right professional look, review Profiles of your executive competitors to see how their photo stacks up against yours. See What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand? for more tips.
The bottom line: every time you appear in a search on LinkedIn, or comment on a post, or show up in a group of optimum recruiter candidates, others WILL use your Photo to gauge your credibility. Choose it wisely.
Assuming you won’t be hired from LinkedIn.
It’s interesting how often this comes up in conversations with executive job hunters. Nearly 94% of recruiters worldwide use social media to source candidates, according to this survey.
Even if you’ve never been approached by a recruiter online, your competitors are receiving inquiries weekly (if not daily).
Update your Profile consistently, ensuring alignment with your most current executive roles and showing how you add value for your employers. Pay attention to new ways you can market your expertise, such as the Featured section or a newly expanded Headline. Above all, INTERACT with others and post interesting content.
You only have ONE SHOT to promote yourself on a site with more than 600 million users.
Rethink how you’re using LinkedIn and tune your presence for a differentiating, powerful leadership brand.