You’ve heard of the seven deadly sins—Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. Two years ago I heard a podcast talking about them. Naturally, I thought about how they could relate to the job search, so I wrote an article titled, “ 7 job-search sins and what to do about them. ”
Two years later I’m writing an article focusing on the sins you’re committing with your LinkedIn campaign. They are not the deadly sins discussed in the podcast I listened to, but they can definitely hurt your campaign and, consequently, your job search.
If you’re put little to no effort in creating a strong profile, developing a network of like-minded people, and engaging with your network; your campaign will hit rock-bottom. At this point you need to determine if you should even be on LinkedIn .
Instead: LinkedIn takes work. Start by attending free workshops to learn how to write a profile that sells your value, develop a network, and engage with your network. You can find them at One-Stop career centers across the US.
Another option is hiring a career coach who can teach you the ropes. Look at paying your coach as an investment for the future. Your coach will teach you how to master your LinkedIn campaign, which you can use if/when you want to leave your next job.
The opposite of apathy, you can hurt your LinkedIn campaign if you’re overdoing the three components of your campaign (profile, network, engagement). An example is trying to optimize your profile by doing a keyword dump in order to be found.
Yet another example is taking engagement too far. I’m sometimes guilty of posting too often on LinkedIn. (Some of you who know me are thinking, “No kidding, Bob.”) When you do this you come across as a fanatic or even desperate. But here’s the thing, LinkedIn is more interested in quality, not quantity .
Instead: Understand that optimizing your profile is important but also important is branding yourself with a profile that is focused, demonstrates value with quantified accomplishments, and shows your personality. Don’t over engage; pull back on the throttle. One golden rule to follow is to post one time a day, four-five days a week.
This is one of the seven deadly sins and one that comes into play with your LinkedIn campaign. There are LinkedIn members who come across as angry and, as a result, seriously damage their on-line brand. For example, they bash recruiters or hiring managers, thereby lengthening their job search.
Do you think employers aren’t reading what you write on LinkedIn? Don’t be naive; hiring authorities are trolling LinkedIn for talent. If they see your outbursts, you will be passed over.
Instead: When you find your blood pressure rising, resist commenting something like, “All employers practice age discrimination” or “I’m qualified for positions. What more do I have to do?” Remember that hiring authorities hold the cards; keep your angry thoughts to yourself.
It is a sin to expect help from others but be unwilling to help others. In fact, helping others first should be your mindset. One of my valued connections, Austin Belcak, writes about giving on LinkedIn as his number one LinkedIn tip for 2020. I agree.
Someone who is selfish will invite a LinkedIn member to their network and immediately ask for a favor. Occasionally people will steal thoughts from other LinkedIn members—perhaps profile verbiage— and use them as their own. I’m particularly sensitive to writers who don’t recognize other writers.
Instead: Think of giving before receiving. This sentiment has become somewhat of a cliche, but it’s so true. One example of this is sending an article to one of your new connections that you think they would appreciate. Just this morning a long-time connection sent me an article that I found compelling.
To brag is sinful. To not promote yourself within reason is more sinful. As a LinkedIn trainer, I encourage the appropriate amount of self-promotion. Your profile, like your résumé, should express the value you’ll deliver to employers. Avoid using platitudes you can’t back up.
Connecting with only a handful of people because you think other like-minded people don’t want connect is counter-intuitive; LinkedIn is about developing a network of like-minded people. Similarly, feeling that because you’re unemployed and don’t have the right to write long posts is absurd.*
Instead: Many times I’ll sit with our career center customers to talk about their accomplishments. Without failure they tell me they have no accomplishments. But when I ask probing questions, the accomplishments come pouring out. You have an obligation to promote yourself on your profile.
There are two types of denial. The first is denying that you need to be on LinkedIn . I see this with some of my clients who don’t believe in the power of LinkedIn for job-search success; continuous learning; and connecting with others to develop enriching, life-long relationships.
The second is denying that LinkedIn isn’t for you . Contrary to what I say about needing to be on LinkedIn; some people who are on LinkedIn have to come to the realization that the platform isn’t for them. This speaks to sin number one, apathy. It also speaks to the fact that certain people are fearful of the Internet.
Instead: There are three considerations. First, determine if LinkedIn is of value to your job search? For many it is, for some it isn’t. Second, if you join LinkedIn, understand it will take work to be successful. Lots of work. Third, it’s a life-long process; your campaign continues throughout your career, not after your job search ends.
I’ve seen people disappear on LinkedIn after a nice run. This is a sin because you’re not finishing what you started. Yes, LinkedIn is a lifelong endeavor. This sounds extreme but let me ask you, “Do you want to abandon networking and learning?”
There are those who are diligent about using LinkedIn while searching for work, but once they land their job they do the disappearing act. This is a huge mistake that I address below.
Instead: I strongly assert that you should not only use LinkedIn to find your next gig; you should also use LinkedIn while working . There are many reasons for this.
If these three reasons aren’t enough, re-read the second paragraph of sin number 6. In other words, there’s no helping you.
Here we have seven sins, albeit not deadly, you should avoid committing. But if you are committing any of them, pay attention to my recommendations on how to fix them.
*I remember one of my former clients saying, “I have no right to write articles on LinkedIn because I’m unemployed.” No word of a lie. Ironically this person is a director of Marketing and an excellent writer. Repeat after me, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO SHARE MY EXPERTISE EVEN THOUGH I’M UNEMPLOYED.”