10 Mistakes to Avoid When Job Hunting on LinkedIn

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Job Hunting on LinkedIn

Rethink, refresh, rejuvenate

What would you do, if you saw in your Linkedin feed this morning, a request to connect by someone whose headline indicated they were either “jobless” or “unemployed”? Chances are that you would likely ignore the request or the profile. Understandable.

“I’m jobless”

In the last few years, I’ve seen anywhere between seven to twenty connection requests or profiles that pop up. It does make me take a step back – it strikes me as odd that someone would highlight something that could be perceived negatively. It’s likely that they believe they are just stating the obvious.

You’re getting people to focus on what is relevant rather than what just is a current state.

You may be jobless but you don’t need to highlight it. This is not a case of hiding or lying – this is simply good positioning. You are putting your best foot forward. You’re getting people to focus on what is relevant rather than what just is a current state.

“I’m looking for a job, please help”

There’s nothing particularly wrong with reaching out to people to get help finding a new job. But job-hunting is often a full-time job in itself. It takes significant time and effort to discover the roles that are available, conduct the background research prior to applying and then managing the entire process  – from the cover letter, resume updates and communication with the recruiter or hiring manager.

For that reason, be selective about who you reach out to and tailor your outreach. You simply do not have the time to reach out with blanket messages to everyone you are connected to. Generic outreach efforts will often be ignored and the effort you put into each outreach will then be a waste of your time and a drain on your positive outlook.

Changes are not updated regularly

You’d be surprised to see how many people change positions or organisations yet fail to update their contact information on LinkedIn, making them unreachable. I know that some of these changes are held back on purpose – some people will intentionally not update their profile with new roles until many months in their role. The reasons are many-fold.

But for others, the lack of change is due to not using the platform often and not setting themselves up well.

Take notifications, for example. When you have a LinkedIn account, you can access it on your computer and through the mobile app. If you are always signed in, you get the updates as they come in across either device, which is preferable. If you set it up so you have to login each time, you’re less inclined to be up to date on your messages. Another way to handle this situation is to set up email notification which means that you can get an email for a variety of things – new connection requests, new messages received, updates on your feed and so on.

Typically, if you do not load the app on your phone, you would not be an active user. Any messages you send may be periodically viewed or not at all. If you signed up for email notification and then fail to update your email address (if it’s a work email and you change jobs), you will not realise that you are missing messages. Adding further complexity is the fact that LinkedIn does make changes to the platform from time to time and not understanding how these changes work or how they affect you can provide a lot of hassle and stress over time. Periodic settings checks will ensure that the system is working for you as best as it can.

Not checking your LinkedIn account often

Whatever channels you have indicated you’d like to be contacted on, should be ones that you have regular access to. Sometimes, as you move between jobs and take on more projects, you can lose track of the various apps and messaging platforms you are choosing to use. Make it easy for yourself by having these updates delivered to you via email.

Not being open to new connections

LinkedIn is a business networking platform as much as it is an online resume service. That said, you want to be actively reaching out to people who you believe are relevant to you. You want to be open to receiving connection requests.

Under your headshot and name, there is one clickable button. For people you’re not connected to, this button is typically the “Connect” button, which gives you an option to reach out to connect to that person. For some, you can change the Connect button to a Follow button, typically those who have many connections or who are famous may do this. If you are connected to the person, then the button will be a “Message” button.

Next to this button, there are more options available. You can choose to follow the person, share the profile to pdf, remove the connection, unfollow or report. You also have the option of putting restrictions on new connections by making the person requesting the connection enter your email address. This means that person is only interested in receiving connection requests from people he/she already knows.

If you’re working to build your network, this is probably not a very good idea because building a network takes time. If you place many restrictions on people who choose to reach out, you may make it difficult for yourself to broaden your network. There’s comfort in knowing the type of person who may be choosing to connect to you but at the same time, you don’t want to lose out to others who may potentially add value.

Not trying to grow your network

You are not likely to find any new roles especially on a platform like LinkedIn if you are not connected to others ie you have no network. With a very small network or worse, no network, you are as good as invisible. So allow your self the opportunity to find new people, brought together by common interest and/or values and grow your network effectively. Each time you connect with someone, you not only grow your direct connections but you also grow the network of 2nd degree connections available.

People are not interested in what you want, they are interested in finding what they want.

It’s not only about what you want

In a way, looking for a job is about finding a role you want. You’re looking for something particular, perhaps you have an idea of the kind of organisation and culture you’d like to embrace. However, when creating a profile or when reaching out to a potential organisation, it is less about who you are and what you care about and far more about who the organisation is, what they do and what goals they have.

As such, you do not want to discuss what you want or which industry you’re keen to work in. You want to position yourself in terms of what you can do, what you’ve accomplished and what you believe you can bring to the role instead. People are not interested in what you want, they are interested in finding what they want. The quicker you realise this, the better you will be at positioning yourself.

Think outcome, not responsibilities

The last thing any recruiter wants to read is a list of the things you are responsible for. These do not focus on what you’ve accomplished, they focus on what you’re supposed to get done. Hiring organisations are looking for results, outcomes and a differentiated service. To ensure you get their attention, focus on what skills you’ve picked up and experiences you can call upon.  Find ways to demonstrate that.

There are many others in similar fields and roles. You want this differentiation to stand out and showcase what you say you can do. And you want to do so in an authentic, refreshing manner. How do you do this? Through how you present yourself both in person and digitally. Through your body of work which you make visible.

Failing to leverage what is already available

We have moved largely from print resumes toward online ones. More and more providers provide a breathtaking array of options for you to develop a simple one-pager presence of yourself online through personal branding websites. All of this can be done quickly and for free. LinkedIn, as a resume and networking platform allows everyone to publish today. This refers to the use of article writing as a means to position yourself or a way to share your insights.

You don’t need to get a premium subscription on LinkedIn, although for certain types of people, there are distinct advantages to having one. You can simply use the free version and reach out to make new connections. If you’re starting from zero, you have a potential network to access whether you realise it or not. Past organisations you have worked at, friends, colleagues current and past, schoolmates and contacts you’ve developed at clubs, associations or volunteer work you’ve done. It starts with one and multiples from there.

So remember that your failure to use all of these options which many others are not only using but leveraging sets you behind significantly.

Not having enough clarity

One of the biggest setbacks, however, would be a lack of clarity in terms of who you are, what you want, the kind of organisations you’d like to work for and the kind of work you’d like to do. It means you’re open to anything but also, nothing. There is no direction, no desire, not outcome.

So spend enough time to figure this piece out. Remember, it starts with you.


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Man and woman handshake photo courtesy rawpixels

#linkedin #career #job #recruiting #recruitment

One Reply to “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Job Hunting on LinkedIn”

  1. […] general rules – avoid these job-hunting mistakes, leave out jargon and acronyms, spell things out because not everyone reading your profile is from […]

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