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The 5 big mistakes you should never make on LinkedIn

No duck-face selfies, please.

Probably not the best pic for a LinkedIn profile.
Probably not the best pic for a LinkedIn profile.
Image: davejdoe

WHILE ONCE A well-polished resume was one of the most-powerful tools in a jobhunter’s arsenal, the recruiter’s favourite hunting ground has fast become among the profiles of LinkedIn.

But many would-be employees are stalling a climb up the career ladder with presences that are unprofessional, incomplete or just boring.

survey last year from US recruiting software firm Jobvite found nearly three-quarters of recruiters had hired a candidate through social media, with LinkedIn far and away the dominant platform for finding staff.

There has even been a call from one employer for everyone to burn their CV and turn to the professional networking site for a “more personal” way of going about the job hunt or hiring process.

LinkedIn1 Source: Jobvite

All of which means it makes good sense to polish up that professional profile. With that in mind, TheJournal.ie spoke with two experts on some of the most common pitfalls people were falling into on the networking site.

1. No pics and duck-face selfies

Your profile picture is the first thing potential employers or clients will see so you need to make it count. According to LinkedIn’s Darain Faraz, first impressions were vital and profiles with photos were 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without an image.

“It goes without saying … that you should make sure that your photograph looks professional – no duck-face selfies,” he said.

Paul Mullan, a careers expert from Measurability, agreed having a professional headshot was key but even a “dodgy picture” was better than none at all.

Anime Expo Los Angeles Source: AP/Press Association Images

2. Too many buzzwords

While terms like “motivated”, “enthusiastic” and “passionate” litter the profiles of Irish LinkedIn users, they are a turn-off for employers.

“If a recruiter looks at that they will see you as the same as everyone else,” Mullan said. “It’s about grabbing their attention in a short space of time so rather than talking about generic things, show people how you have added value – use facts, figures, results.”

Faraz said rather than scouring the thesaurus for alternatives to words like motivation, users should post examples of how they had produced results.

Earns LinkedIn LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner Source: AP/Press Association Images

3. Faking it

People who fudged their achievements were usually caught out and that could lead to a critical breach of trust, Faraz said.

“What is far more effective is to have your colleagues or customers tell the world about your work,” he said. ”A simple way to do that is by asking some of your connections for recommendations to include on your profile to help you stand out from the crowd.”

Mullan said a LinkedIn profile should be viewed as a sales pitch. ”It’s great what we say about ourselves, but people are more impressed by what others say about us,” he said.

Linkedin profile skills set Source: Alisher Hasanov

4. Doing nothing

“One of the critical mistakes people make on LinkedIn is they think by creating a profile and linking with a few people, then their job is done – that’s only a fraction of the process,” Mullan said.

Users should be doing as much as possible to draw people to their profile by joining and contributing to groups, or making regular updates to their networks.

Faraz said because one of the first things people often found when Googling a name was their LinkedIn profile, it was essential to keep everything up-to-date.

LinkedIn Centipede Participants in the 2010 ING Bay to Breakers Source: A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive

5. The scattergun approach

While many LinkedIn users took the scattergun approach to building networks, the experts favour only connecting to those with whom you have a real-world link. And if you want to approach a stranger, take the same approach as you would at a meeting – ask for an introduction, if possible.

“My attitude is about quality, not quantity when it comes to connections,” Mullan said. ”Try to communicate with people you know – there has to be a more thought-out strategy than connecting with random strangers if you are looking to grow your network.”

This month, as part of TheJournal.ie’s ongoing startup and small and medium enterprise (SME) focus, we are looking at recruitment and building your career.

To view other stories from our collection, click here.

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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