You’ve decided to look for a new job and want to make updating your social profiles part of your strategy. That part of your plan is right on: 93% companies look for candidates on LinkedIn. Plus, recent updates to the platform make getting on their radar even easier.
However, despite your best intentions, it is possible to do more harm than good. In other words, through all of your efforts to perfect your online presence, you may be making these common LinkedIn mistakes.
1. Leaving Your Activity Feed On
True story: I have a contact who starts a new job, on average, three times a week. OK, not a full-time role, but that’s about how often she adds a new side gig or freelancing role. I know this because I regularly get notifications asking if I’d like to congratulate her.
This doesn’t make her look ambitious. Instead, it makes her look like she’s finding new jobs and quitting them with lightening speed.
If you’re someone who’s adding new projects and information all the time, toggle the activity feed off so your network isn’t notified of every change. Save that feature for when you have something particularly distinct or prestigious to share so that it stands out.
Log into your profile, then scroll down to Settings at the bottom of the page. From there, click to Privacy, then scroll down to Sharing Profile Edits. Make sure that for “Choose whether your network is notified about profile changes,” you select “No.”
2. Repeatedly Changing Your Headline
Your activity feed is off, so does that mean you’re in the clear to update any part of your profile whenever you want? Unfortunately, no.
You want your page to be reflective of your brand—so what does it say if your headline is constantly changing?
I have a (different) contact who went through a phase where she was constantly redefining herself. Her headline would say she was a “ninja” in her field, and then the next week it’d be her formal job title, and then the next, she was a “rock star.”
When you take this approach, it looks like you aren’t confident in how you describe yourself. And that’s not good.
Come up with a long list of every possible headline you can think of. For inspiration, look at profiles of people you admire or people who have the job you want. Highlight the options you like most, sleep on it, and then choose one. (Oh, and for the record, never go with “ninja” or “rock star.”)
3. Using Your Company Bio as Your Summary
The bio on your team page most likely translates to something like: “[Your Name] is a [job title] who specializes in [whatever you currently do]. He graduated with a degree from [University] and also [some other fact].”
That means it’s in third person, contains information that’s already on your profile, and is likely a bit formal to boot.
The best LinkedIn summaries, are in first person, share something new, put the emphasis on your talents (and, perhaps, how they’d fit that new job you’re looking for), and sound much more conversational than robotic.
Imagine how you’d describe yourself—and your dream career—to a new, professional contact. You’d not only speak in first person, but you’d probably also use a lot of fun and exciting language. (If you’re still feeling stuck, check out these five different templates from Muse writer Aja Frost.)
4. Putting All of Your Focus on Adding (and Not Deleting a Single Thing)
It’s true: There can be a lot to add to get your page recruiter-ready. Recruiters search by keywords so you’ll want to work in any terms they might search for when looking for someone with your skill set. (Plus any relevant media and recommendations)
But LinkedIn isn’t all more-is-more. As Muse columnist Erica Breuer explains, “Cutting distracting content might feel odd at first, but it’s vital to refining the message you deliver.”
Breuer recommends deleting four things: old jobs and recommendations that aren’t relevant to your current career trajectory, unendorsed skills, and accomplishments that are really just taking up space. When you look at the items in your profile, ask yourself if they’re complimenting—or unrelated to—your brand and the message you want to get across.
As a job seeker, there are often times when you feel like all you need is a break. And while you can’t always invent ways to make things go more smoothly, you can make sure you’re avoiding making mistakes—this way your efforts will only count toward your goal of finding that awesome new job.
Photo of person on LinkedIn courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.
Sara McCord is a freelance writer and editor, who most frequently covers the career beat. For nearly three years, she was an editor at The Muse, and she's regularly contributed career advice to Mashable. Her advice has been published across the web (Forbes, Newsweek, Fast Company,TIME, Inc., Business Insider, CNBC and more). Sara has experience managing programs; recruiting, interviewing, and referring job applicants; building strategic partnerships; advising executive directors; and supporting a national network of volunteers. Learn more and send her a note through her website, or follow her on Twitter @sarajmccord.More from this Author