In order to score (and keep) jobs with top-notch employers, job seekers need to “network”. LinkedIn offers a great platform for doing just that, but if used incorrectly it can actually hurt your image – not improve it.
Here is a list of things you should never, ever do on LinkedIn:
Having bad profile photos
You shouldn’t use selfies, personal photos, or anything that you think makes you look cute -– so no pouty lips, please! LinkedIn is a “professional” network that should be used to promote your outstanding business acumen, not make you look like you’re a teenager on Facebook. Only use professional photos in business attire. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it. If your budget is tight, get a friend to use their iPhone camera and stage the pic just right.
Spamming generic messages on LinkedIn
Think about this: Let’s suppose you’re a CEO or high-net-worth individual and you get an InMail message from a LinkedIn user who wants a job in your company, but the email is some impersonal mass message that’s very generic (and maybe even poorly worded). Are you going to hire that person? You already know the answer. Think twice before you hit the “send” button.
Mass connection requests
Some job seekers on LinkedIn want to reach that coveted “500+” milestone on their profile, as some sort of bragging rights (like having a lot of friends on FB). Don’t request to connect with people just for the sake of doing it. Think of quality, not quantity. Not only will it help you in the long run, but you won’t get banned from the LinkedIn staff as a spammer (Yes, you can get your profile deleted or locked on LI).
Degrading your personal brand on LinkedIn
Under your name is a place for your title, like “Executive Personal Assistant”. It’s NOT a place to post commercials and advertisements. Some LinkedIn users have abnormally long titles that include words like “trailblazer,” “extraordinaire,” and “legend.” Try to emulate the Thought Leaders on the platform and see how they use their personal brand to their advantage.
There is nothing wrong with “highlighting your strengths,” but there is definitely a line that’s crossed when you get into promoting yourself too much. LinkedIn is not Facebook; it’s a place for professional networking, so think carefully about how you are going to be perceived. Again, look at the people you admire. Go to the profiles of celebrity CEOs and other industry leaders. If the top brass aren’t doing it, then you probably shouldn’t either. The “about” section should grab someone’s attention right away. Having a narrative is fine but keep is short and sweet -– not too verbose.
No ranting on LinkedIn, please
Yes, the job market is difficult. We know; but you shouldn't turn to LinkedIn to say how ridiculous and unrealistic some employers are. If you start posting messages about how absurd the interview questions were in your interview, then it hurts your personnel brand.
Some of the questions are meant to be totally ridiculous because they want to see how you will respond. This is standard operating procedure for some of the world's best and most respected companies. We recently read one article about a famous company who used the following question: "If you were a pencil and you were thrown into a blender, what would you do?"
Again, our apologies; we know that some of these messages seem incredibly obvious to many and may even sound patronizing, but these mistakes are being made every day by users who are completely unaware of how they are being perceived. Our hearts are in the right place, and we want people to score the jobs they want and deserve.
Written for assistants and estate managers working for celebrities, CEOs, UHNW families, billionaires and royalty