Once a student graduates from college, they’re usually more than ready to start their career. They may have even done everything right up to that point. After all, many young professionals have completed a degree program in a high-demand industry, adequately polished their resume, and networked with like-minded professionals, all in preparation for landing their dream job.
However, the job hunt isn’t exactly what it used to be. Instead of focusing on a neatly printed resume, new graduates are increasingly turning to social media to improve their job prospects. In fact, a new report by Jobvite concluded that 88 percent of job seekers have at least one social networking profile set up to help with their search. Such widespread use of social media appears to be for good reason. According to the same survey, one in six job seekers actually credit social media for helping them land their current job as well.
With statistics like that on the books, it’s no wonder that young professionals have turned to sites like LinkedIn for help on the job front. And while setting up a profile on LinkedIn is definitely a good move, there are still plenty of ways that your social media strategy can backfire. Using LinkedIn for your job search can be rewarding or devastating for your career, depending on how you execute your plans. Here are five of the biggest LinkedIn mistakes to avoid:
- No picture or the wrong picture – A LinkedIn profile should never be anonymous, so why bother setting up a profile if you’re not going to show your face? Whether it’s true or not, a picture-free profile sends the message that something isn’t quite right. And according to Yahoo Finance, having the wrong picture can be just as bad as failing to post a picture in the first place. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn should only be used to post professional pictures. In other words, stay away from pictures of your baby, your boyfriend, or your dog, and stick to updated professional headshots or pictures that portray a professional image.
- Typos in your profile – Although an internet profile is much less formal than a traditional resume, it’s still important to properly proofread for errors and misspellings. Unleashing a LinkedIn profile filled with typos and grammatical errors has the potential to drive employers away. After all, why would they want to hire someone who can’t be bothered to use spell check?
- Ignoring the privacy settings – LinkedIn can be a great resource for professionals looking to move up in their industry. Unfortunately, too many fail to adjust their privacy settings for their own benefit. According to Forbes, doing a complete profile overhaul and suddenly acquiring new contacts tells your current employer that you have one foot out the door. To combat this issue, all LinkedIn subscribers should update their privacy settings with this in mind.
- Neglecting to update your profile – Joining LinkedIn is free and easy. However, many new graduates forget to update their profile as their specific situation changes. Social media, including LinkedIn, isn’t made to “set it and forget it,” according to AOL Jobs. Failing to update your profile after the initial set-up can be as detrimental to your job prospects as not setting up a profile to begin with. A stale, flat, and outdated profile can send the message that you’re not engaged and not prepared for new career opportunities as they arise.
- Keeping your profile generic – A recruiter searching for potential job candidates may come across hundreds of professionals in your niche or industry. Unfortunately, many LinkedIn users don’t bother to take the required steps to make their profile stand out. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to add depth and personality to a profile without spending too much time. For starters, LinkedIn users should create a customized URL for their profile and take the time to write personalized connection requests. Those who want to go the extra mile should also write a captivating summary and update their listed skills and experience as circumstances change. Although these aren’t drastic steps, they can certainly pay off if a profile catches the eye of the right employer. And for most people, that is the whole point of joining LinkedIn in the first place.
First published: onlinedegrees.com