Mingling around in the hundreds of LinkedIn groups is a great way to network, get yourself noticed, and increase your chances of finding a job or getting a new job. Without a doubt, LinkedIn is a huge resource for job seekers.
However, there are wrong ways to use LinkedIn. Ways that, without a doubt, will cause more damage to your personal brand then you might ever imagine.
With so many people unemployed or in need of a different job, thousands are congregating to the job search-related groups on LinkedIn. In these groups (and even many other type of groups) people are telling their story. When I read through the content in these groups, I am often shocked at what some people are saying, on a public website, that some employers use to find candidates for their open positions.
I understand it is frustrating to be out of work or in desperate need of a new job, but so many people are displaying their anger and frustration in these LinkedIn groups – a place where hiring managers are also present. In addition, potential employers who Google you may also have access to this content.
Joining a LinkedIn group, and participating, is not something to take lightly. The content you put out there should reflect you in a very positive light – one that shows you are a high energy, self-motivated, positive individual who possesses skills and talents that are desired by employers.
While many groups require you to join and subsequently be accepted, that does not mean it is a private group where you are safe to vent amongst your peers. Many recruiters and hiring managers are also members of these groups! Just click on the members tab and you will see who all is reading your content.
Some of the big errors I have noticed include:
People disclosing their age as the reason they do not believe they are being hired
“I am only 23 so I have no real job experience…” “I am 58 years old and all I see is age discrimination….” People! Employers can’t ask for your birth date and age, so why offer it up and then follow it up with a non-selling statement about yourself? I do not feel that any person should mention their age in these groups – especially if you are in an age group that you feel has perceived disadvantages. Yes, in the United States, it is unlawful to discriminate against people based on their age. Do employers do it? Yes. Sadly, some of them do. Even if it’s just a silent notation that a hiring manager makes when coming across your post. I do not believe employers should ever discriminate based on age but since it can be reality of life, don’t disclose it (and other personal details about your life) no matter what age you are.
Disclosing all the reasons they have heard so far as to why they were not offered a job
“I have been told I am overqualified so many times”, “I have been told that I just don’t have the skills needed”, “I make too much money”, “I have been told I have a lack of focus”, “I am competing against people who have much better experience than I do”. Statements like these should never be said on LinkedIn! Maybe this is your reality, as there will always be reasons why people don’t get hired. But, if I am hiring and reading something like this that you wrote? You just gave me a reason to pass right by you.
Derogatory statements about HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers
“They don’t make wise decisions”, “they discriminate”, “they don’t even bother reading all the resumes”, “they just want cheap workers, not skilled ones”. Aren’t these the people they are trying to target? I would never consider a candidate who wrote something like that on LinkedIn. Not only has that person insulted the very people they are targeting (at minimum that shows really bad judgment!) but who want to hire a negative person -a complainer who make a blanket statement against their target audience?
Some of the very people who made statements like I described above also made statements like “I have been unemployed for 18 months”. It’s not hard to figure out why that might be the case!
There are many job seekers using LinkedIn to their advantage. I have also seen many people state things such as “I have great skills, I know I have a lot to offer but the job market is very tight. But, I will keep plugging along, I know it’s just a matter of time before I land the right job!” Isn’t that much better?
As frustrating as a job search might be, if you are posting on a public website (especially the biggest business networking website out there!) you must present yourself in a professional manner. You need to make an effort to show that you have all the great qualities that employers seek – every time you start typing.
The facts are, some of the people who are posting on LinkedIn are still unemployed because of what they write on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn to your advantage – do not sabotage yourself in the process!
If you are reading this and you recognize that you might have said some of these things in your groups, please, do yourself a favor and go back to your posts and delete them. After that is done, start creating some new, fresh and positive content that sells you and reflects you as the great person that you are!
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Jessica Simko is a seasoned senior level Human Resources professional with over 15 years of experience in all facets of Human Resources Management. She is a Career Coach and Consultant specializing in helping all levels of career professionals create, build, and maintain a strong career brand in the corporate work culture. She strives to help people connect their passions with their jobs and then to leverage their brand to maximize their potential throughout their careers. She offers a wide variety of career branding articles and tips at Career Branding Guide where she also offers coaching and consulting services based on the Career Branding Guide model. Feel free to connect with her on: