Recruiters love LinkedIn. If we’re not looking for applicants on LinkedIn, we’re definitely checking all our applicants’ profiles. We want to make sure applicants look as great on LinkedIn as they do on our ATS.
We definitely know our way around LinkedIn, so we also know when applicants are making mistakes that can hurt their chances getting hired or red flag them with colleagues. Here are some LinkedIn mistakes applicants—or anyone else for that matter—cannot do on LinkedIn if they want to be taken seriously:
1. Add people willy-nilly. Only add people you KNOW will know you or can be a beneficial contact. If enough people deny you—and report you to admins at LinkedIn—you could wind up in LinkedIn jail. Make sure you choose carefully those you connect with on LinkedIn so that when you really need to make a connection, you can.
2. Stalk companies. Remember, most of us get an alert every time someone looks at our profile. It’s good to be interested in a job listing, but stalking the recruiter will make you look pathetic. Resist the desire to revisit the recruiter—or even other employees at the company or department you’re interested in—over and over. Even worse is messaging them and asking them to put in a good word for you—unless you know them personally, of course.
3. Treat LinkedIn like a dating website. Don’t look up and connect with people you may want to “meet for a drink,” unless you’re interested in a mutual business venture or job opening. We already have Internet dating sites or Facebook, so let’s keep it professional, please!
4. Endorse people for things they don’t do. So it might seem funny to endorse someone you’re trying to play a practical joke on for dog-grooming (you know who you are) or janitorial when you work together in the marketing department. Remember, they have to approve said skill so unless you mean it only for them to see, don’t do it. Plus, you just may end up in LinkedIn jail again. (Also, don’t endorse people for things you’re not completely sure they’re good at. I’m a writer and I hate public speaking, so when someone endorses me for public speaking, I just shake my head.)
5. Say you have a skill or work somewhere you don’t. Almost everyone is on LinkedIn. Just follow the same rules about resume honesty. Don’t add stuff that’s not true or that you wouldn’t put on your resume. In the same vein, be sure to update in a timely manner so it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to pull a fast one over anyone.
6. Ignore privacy settings. Did you know you can adjust privacy “settings” on LinkedIn? Let’s say you want to get yourself back into the job pool but you haven’t yet secured a job, so you don’t really want your current employer to know. A bunch of updates to your resume—which if you leave your settings on private will be sent directly to every one of your contacts, including your employer and coworkers—will tell them you’re leaving before you decide to.
7. Not be on LinkedIn at all. Lots and lots of recruiters are turning to LinkedIn to find great applicants. You could miss out on a lot of opportunities if you don’t think it’s worth your time to set yourself up on LinkedIn. While you’re at it, make sure to update your work history and skills information to make you even more valuable to recruiters.
Any other recruiters out there want to weigh in on LinkedIn pet peeves?