You’ve seen a hundred articles telling you that LinkedIn is a great tool for job seekers and career-minded executives, but can using LinkedIn hurt your job search or your career? Yes. While it’s pretty easy to use LinkedIn as a great tool to get noticed by hiring influencers, you CAN do it wrong. When can LinkedIn hurt you?
- When you leave it unfinished. Hiring influencers use LinkedIn as a searchable database of potential candidates. When you leave your profile unfinished, it becomes a frustration for hiring influencers rather than a help. Your skills may match, but your contact information is nowhere to be found. Or you’re missing a crucial skill…which you learned 2 years ago but forgot to list. The solution here is to fill in your profile completely and update it every six months. Put it in your calendar and make it a regular part of your resume and career maintenance routine.
- When you leave it untouched. If you haven’t updated your information since you were out of work three years ago, you’ll look like you have been out of work for three years and you are lacking some of the latest skills your industry requires. Hiring influencers can’t tell that you’ve been working at a great job for three years and learned 6 new skills unless you list them. So, list them!
- When you’re unresponsive. If you regularly ignore LinkedIn messages and notifications, you’re losing out on connections that could benefit you. A recruiter who checks in to see if you’re looking for a new position may actually delete you from their list of contacts when you don’t respond to several messages in a row. That college buddy who tried to connect with you? You forgot to follow through and he filled the VP position that would have been perfect for you. LinkedIn works great if you’re involved. Checking your messages and connection requests once a week or even every other week can be enough to stay current.
- When it doesn’t match. If your resume and LinkedIn look as though two entirely different careers are represented, what are hiring influencers to think? When you update your profile, use the latest version of your resume to ensure the details and dates are correct. Don’t guess or estimate. For years, I’ve been pointing out to clients that dates, job titles, and even job sequences should match between online profiles and resumes. Hiring influencers DO google your name when looking at you as a potential candidate, and you don’t want them to question if you’re being untruthful or just careless! The simplest solution is to update your profile when you update your resume, that way they’ll always match.
With a very small, regular investment of time, LinkedIn can be a great tool in your career toolbox for maintaining network connections, staying in touch with colleagues in the same field, and staying visible to hiring influencers.