by Molly Cain
Some years ago, I was chatting with a prospective employer, sharing tales of my experiences and selling him on the many reasons he should hire me, and doing it by using very specific examples. At one point in the conversation he turned quickly around in his chair and started furiously typing. As it turned out, he was Googling me mid-interview to learn if what I was telling him was true (it was true, and I snagged the job).
If this hasn’t happened to you in an interview, don’t think it hasn’t happened in one shape or form. Because even if you don’t witness them doing it, I can almost guarantee they do indeed, Google you.
What are they looking for? Not your Facebook page (although if you don’t have that blocked, they will definitely enjoy the read). Not your dating profile (if they did, that‘s actually über creepy). Instead, what they’re looking for is your online professional presence. And in today’s world, you need to have one out there for them to find.
For many (and I dare say, most) professions, an online professional profile will only help you. And until someone rolls in with something better, the best place to go to build one is LinkedIn.
If you have a profile on LinkedIn already, kudos! But this isn’t really about that. You should have already created one of those years ago. If you haven’t, you should Google around for some tips and tricks for building a great page. Then circle back over here.
This is about using your profile correctly — and to your advantage. Because in the corporate world, people read into things. Including the things you’re doing on sites like these. So here are the top eight things you might be doing wrong on LinkedIn.
1) You don’t have any recommendations. If a hiring manager is scoping out your LinkedIn profile and doesn’t see a recommendation, they might think, “Hmm…no one likes their work,” or “They must not have impressed anyone,” or even, “Umm, this is a dud networker.”
The Fix: Get some recommendations, duh. If you haven’t tried it yet, that’s your homework for today. Send out a request for a recommendation to at least five people you’ve worked with or currently work with (check your company policy). You’ll be surprised at how willing, honest and complimentary people will be of your work (granted, that’s if you’ve impressed them in the past – I don’t recommend you sending a request to an enemy).
2) You get a flood of recommendations. One word. Shady. If you get a flood of recommendations one day, we’re all going to know you’re looking for a job. More often than not, job searching occurs under the radar. Well, broadcasting a bunch of recommendations all at the same time is the complete opposite of that.
The Fix: I know what you’re thinking, “I need recommendations to get a job, but you’re telling me not to get a bunch of them!” The trick is to always be looking for recommendations, even when you’re satisfied with your job. That way, when you’re not satisfied, you’re already set. If you’ve done great work for a client, ask them for a recommendation via LinkedIn as soon as the project is completed. If you leave a job for another, ask all your former colleagues to give you a shout out. There are lots of ways and reasons to get recommendations, get creative.