Here are the six fatal LinkedIn mistakes that are costing you jobs

Recruitment expert reveals the six mistakes most people make on LinkedIn that ruin their chances of getting hired

  • Do you refer to yourself in the third person on your LinkedIn profile?
  • How long is your About section? Recruiter says it can be make or break
  • READ MORE LinkedIn expert on how to do an ‘out of office’ message

Could your LinkedIn profile be putting off potential recruiters – or even preventing you from getting jobs you’ve applied for?

Many of us make terrible mistakes on our LinkedIn profiles without even realizing it, says job search expert Rachel Campbell, Managing Director at recruiter Michael Page & Page Personnel South Regions.

According to LinkedIn’s statistics, five million recruiters actively use LinkedIn to find talent, and eight people are hired via LinkedIn every minute – so leaving a dusty, neglected profile could be cutting off possible opportunities.

Many of us make off-putting mistakes on our LinkedIn profiles

Campbell told ‘Even if you’re not actively searching, keeping your profile up to date is good practice as you never know if your dream role is just around the corner.

Campbell said that LinkedIn tends to rank very highly in search results, so it’s often the first thing a recruiter will see when they Google your name.

She said: ‘Recruiters are scouring profiles more than ever to find the right talent, with visibility being increasingly important in today’s jobs market. Ultimately, the better your profile is, the more credibility you will have in your network, leading to more opportunities.’

Don’t refer to yourself in the third person

You should never refer to yourself in the third person on your LinkedIn profile (for example, ‘Rob does’, rather than ‘I do’).

It’s surprisingly common for people to do so, and an instant turn-off for recruiters, Campbell said.

 Campbell said that referring to yourself in the third person feels artificial and pretentious and will cause recruiters to look elsewhere.

She said: ‘You wouldn’t talk about yourself in the third person in any walk of life, so don’t do it on LinkedIn either.

‘Using the third person on your profile can be off putting and feels more like a sales pitch than a profile.’

Don’t write too much in your About section

Rachel Campbell, Managing Director at recruiter Michael Page & Page Personnel South Regions (Michael Page)

The first two lines of your ‘About’ section, which appears above your ‘Activity’ and ‘Skills’ section are absolutely critical – and that means you shouldn’t write too much, because it will cut off.

Campbell said that the About section tends to be the first thing recruiters see, so you should ensure that it contains a clear and compelling sell of who you are and why someone might want to hire you.

So, for example, describe yourself as an ‘Enthusiastic sales professional with a long list of happy clients and the ambition to go anywhere,’ rather than going into a long list of skills and achievements. 

Your description needs to be simple, punchy and to the point, she said. 

She said: ‘The “About” section only originally shows the first couple of lines, before inviting the viewer to ‘see more’. People often forget this and fill their section with irrelevant information which doesn’t grab anyone’s attention. Keep those first lines short, snappy and interesting.

Don’t put the skills for your current job

Just like the old adage, ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’, you should highlight the skills for the job you want, not necessarily the ones you are using today, Campbell said.

So the skills you highlight on your profile might not relate to your current job at all – this can improve your visibility in terms of keywords recruiters might be searching for, she said. 

Campbell said: ‘If there is a role you’re aiming for, or an industry you want to break into, your profile should reflect that. 

‘Make sure to include tailored keywords and highlight the skills that are transferable to the role you want.

‘Try to get your personality across and present recruiters and potential employers with a confident self-portrait, supported by listed tangible experience.’

Don’t hide gaps in your employment

Hiding gaps in your employment could backfire badly

Trying to hide gaps in your employment will almost always backfire, Campbell warned.

‘Honesty is the best policy,’ she said.

Instead, you should highlight what you learned during these periods. 

‘Often job seekers will try to avoid speaking about gaps in their CV which can raise suspicion in interviews.

‘LinkedIn now has an option to add a career break to your work experience section, underlining a recent trend of employer acceptance that highly valuable skills and knowledge can be acquired during these periods.’

Ensure you have a good photo and background picture

A good headshot and background picture help to sell your profile to recruiters – if you’re making an effort with your LinkedIn profile, it reflects a willingness to work and learn.

Many users still forget to upload good photos on LinkedIn, Campbell said.

By ‘good picture’, a corporate-style headshot is ideal, she said, rather than a grinning selfie – you should be projecting your ‘work self’, so get someone else to take a picture if you need to. 

Campbell said: ‘Recruiters and employers like to put a face to a name, so including a sensible headshot goes a long way as it act as their first window into you as a person and a candidate. With it, the chances that someone will accept a connection request or want to share an opportunity with you greatly improve.’

Adjust who can see your profile

When people update their LinkedIn profile, they often forget that their connections can see the changes they’ve made.

Think carefully before changing your profile – and adjust who can see changes you’ve made, Campbell advised.

She said: ‘This might not be a problem to some but to those who are looking to change jobs, advertising willingness to leave may cause some unwanted friction with current employers. 

‘Remember to update your privacy settings by clicking on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner of the screen to ensure that you don’t share more than you want to.’ 

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