“Seven Mistakes Job Seekers Make Online and How to Avoid Them” by Lindsay Cummings

In an era of Jersey Shore, Lady Gaga, and Twitter, our idea of professionalism can get somewhat misconstrued and hazy.  Where do we draw the line between our personal lives and our business lives when it seems everything we do is readily available for viewing on the Internet?  50% of employers rejected a prospective employee based on a Snooki wannabe picture found online while Googling his or her name – and they WILL Google you.  In his book, Job Seeking with Social Media for Dummies, Joshua Waldman addresses these Internet faux paus and how to avoid them.  He provides his readers with this crucial information for job seeking in the 21st century by using LinkedIn, the world’s most powerful professional network.  Here, Waldman identifies the top seven mistakes job seekers make on LinkedIn and how they can be avoided.

1: Not having a well-defined brand across platforms

Branding starts with you and ends with them.  Identify your values and then do research on your target employer’s top two problems. How can you help solve these problems?  Align all messaging and images with that.

2: Using your job title in your professional headlines

You are NOT your job. Move away from commodity and into personality by using your personal branding message in the 120 characters available in LinkedIn’s headline space.

3: Rambling on and on in your Profile Summary

The profile summary of your online resume is a place to differentiate yourself in 20-30 seconds. Deliver your elevator pitch in 5 lines or less.  Keep it to “Hello, my name is….I’m a….specializing in….”

4: Not using LinkedIn’s applications

Tell your prospective employer what motivates you by showing them what books you are reading and recent blog posts or slide shows you’ve created using LinkedIn’s applications.

5: Not having 100% LinkedIn profile

Just like you would dress up for a job interview, you want your LinkedIn and online profiles to be as clean and professional as possible. LinkedIn guides you through the process of getting to 100%.

6: Looking like an axe murderer

Like it or not, people make split-second decisions about us based on the way you look. Make sure your profile photograph is professional and welcoming.

7: Leaving your online relationships online

You want to get the meeting, phone call or appointment as quickly as you can.  Although networking can feel somewhat uncomfortable, don’t hide behind your computer monitor.  Take these relationships off line and buy them a cup of coffee while you ask them industry-specific questions. 

Twitter can also be an extremely helpful resource.  Jobs are posted to Twitter in real-time and can be applied for in seconds.  You are 40% more likely to get hired if you apply to the job within 30 minutes of it getting posted.  Twellow, Twitter Yellow Pages, is another way of searching for specific jobs in your respective location.  Just remember, if you are using Twitter to network and contact prospective employers, do not tweet what you had for breakfast unless it was life-changing.  That’s the fastest way to get un-followed and moved into the rejected pile.  Keep your personal life off line and focus your online attention on the fast track to success.  The best way to do this is by branding yourself BEFORE going online, polishing off your profiles, and deepening your relationships by taking them offline.  Combining all of these tools will make you a success both on and off line!

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