5 Ways Students Can Sabotage Their LinkedIn Profile

Getting a great job after you graduate college is difficult – especially when your resume is competing against hundreds or thousands of others.

This is why you need to create an optimized LinkedIn profile while in college and begin building meaningful business relationships as early as possible.

And you want to make sure you don’t sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by making these 5 mistakes:

1. You’ll sabotage your job search by lying on your LinkedIn profile.
A recent study found that 70% of college students surveyed would lie on a resume to get the job they want, so just graduating from college can make you a prime suspect of lying on your resume.

Lying on your resume (or on LinkedIn) is not only unethical, but you’ll get fired once the lie is exposed. Recently, Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson lost his job after only four months on the job since he lied about his educational background and Teresa MacBain lost her job at Harvard because she misrepresented her education.

Avoid the guilt and worry by just being upfront and honest on LinkedIn.  Besides, Human Resource professionals will conduct a background check on you – and may conduct a more thorough investigation after you’re hired if they suspect you’ve lied and/or aren’t qualified for the job.

2. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by making spelling and/or grammatical mistakes.
It’s easy to make a typo or grammatical error when completing the different sections on your LinkedIn profile.  This is why it’s important to have one or two colleagues proofread your profile for any errors.  Ask him or her to give you suggestions on how you can make your LinkedIn profile even better.  The more people reviewing your profile for errors, the better. You don’t want to make a poor impression online simply because you accidentally misspelled something.

3. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by linking to unprofessional social profiles.
At the top of your LinkedIn profile, you can add links to your web content (social profiles, blog, etc.). How do you appear on  social profiles like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even Yelp? What is your attitude like? What are you sharing?

34% of employers found content that has caused them not to hire a candidate due to social media activity (e.g. making discriminatory comments, evidence of drug use, poor communication skills, bad mouthed previous employers, etc.). Realize that the content you share on public social platforms can hurt your chances of getting your dream job. Be mindful of what you’re doing online and think ahead about the consequences. If you’ve made mistakes, delete those posts if possible.

4. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by writing vague descriptions about your job history.
Don’t simply write that you” helped increase sales” or “increased the bottom line” describing your accomplishments.  Be specific and add detail for what you actually did.  How many projects did you complete each month? How much revenue did you help the company make? What percentage of increase did you achieve for a specific metric? Be specific so that recruiters know exactly what you accomplished for the company. Boring and vague LinkedIn job descriptions will hurt your chances of getting recruited.

5. You’ll sabotage your job search on LinkedIn by not having any endorsements or recommendations.
LinkedIn recommends that you have at least two recommendations on your profile (and that is a minimum).  If you want to show companies that you’re a highly driven and productive, make sure to have colleagues (or even college professors) recommending and endorsing your skills on LinkedIn.  Even if you’ve never had a “real” job because you’ve been focused on getting through college, you probably have some professors that can recommend your expertise in a certain field.

Often, you won’t get recommendation unless you ask, so start asking now.  And make sure to return the favor by recommending people you know do excellent work.

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