LinkedIn has evolved into a top social networking site where jobseekers can get found by hiring managers searching for top talent. It is also a tool for jobseekers to build credibility with their networking contacts who can recommend them for potential employment opportunities.
Your biggest challenge on LinkedIn is to position yourself as a valuable candidate, without looking like a desperate jobseeker. If you are not attracting job opportunities through LinkedIn, see if you're making these three serious mistakes with your profile:
Mistake #1: "Job Search" Language in Headlines and Current Employment Status
Common, generic examples are: "<fill-in-the-blank> Professional looking for <entry, mid, senior>-level position" [Headline] and "Actively exploring direct hire, contract, and consulting opportunities" [Current Employer].
This type of message will be a turn off to hiring managers, like the useless resume objective: "Seeking a challenging position in a progressive organization." Employers don't care about what you want; they are interested in knowing what kind of problems you can solve for their company.
Use a professional headline that conveys who you are, what you do professionally, and in which industry; but lose the "job search" wording. Instead, edit the "Opportunity Preferences" and check the box that indicates you are open to "Career opportunities."
If you are unemployed, put some entries into your current employment status, to show that you're not just sitting idle, waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap. You can list that you're a consultant in your area of expertise (even if you've just started your practice) or describe a volunteer project you're involved in.
Mistake #2: Redundant / Repetitive Network Updates
If you have "Status Updates" enabled, your network will be alerted every time you make the slightest edit to your profile. While these pings might improve your search engine ranking, your contacts will be annoyed with these repetitive updates, when they see that nothing major in your employment status has changed.
A better strategy is to temporarily turn off "Status Updates" when editing your profile. Go to https://www.linkedin.com/settings/, scroll to "Privacy Controls" then click "Turn on/turn off activity broadcasts" and uncheck the box which says: "Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies."
When you have made an important change, click the "Share Profile" button to the right of your profile. This opens a prewritten email you can send to your contacts, notifying them that you changed your profile and would like their input. Doing so will create meaningful interactions with your contacts, without boring them with minor edits to your profile.
Mistake #3: Status Updates Unrelated to your Profession
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective employer. When they visit your LinkedIn profile page, what will they see about what you have to offer? Will they see whatever career advice you've been reading, or some religious or political commentary? These types of posts or "likes" will do nothing to support your professional value, unless you are a career coach, clergy member or politician.
A better strategy is to post information which conveys your expertise to your network, recruiters and potential employers. These can be your own blog posts or links to industry-related articles. Here's an example post from someone in sales: "New sales lead tracking software to replace ACT is here: <article link>". Hint: use http://bit.ly/ to shorten links.
LinkedIn can help you make the best impression on both your network and the hiring community. If you avoid these three mistakes and follow my suggestions, you'll go from desperate jobseeker to savvy online networker.
© 2011 Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach. All Rights Reserved. www.career-success-coach.com