Endorsements are pointless, and other ways to use LinkedIn to get a job
We spoke to an employment expert about LinkedIn etiquette
You can guarantee employers will be heading straight to your LinkedIn every time you apply for a job. But unless you’re in a soulless recruitment career, no-one really knows how to use it or what it’s for. Expert interview tutor Ajeet Minhas (who charges £200 an hour for an interview masterclass) is claiming that if you use it properly, you can land a job. He told us what he thinks employers want to see.
Don’t brag about your qualifications
It looks like putting down all your A-level A*s and phenomenal GCSEs is pointless, but mentioning that you got Duke of Edinburgh Gold in the Peak District when you were 17 is good.
Ajeet said: “There is absolutely no expectation from employers for you to upload your grades – that’s not what LinkedIn is about.
“It’s perfectly acceptable for you just to put your place of education or training and any relevant qualifications that you attained from there. Any interesting stories which make your profile more interesting are better.
“Grades, in the traditional sense, I would leave off. I wouldn’t put up GCSEs, A-levels or even to many details about Masters degrees.
“Whether you got an A* or a 2:1 – nobody really needs to know online. Once you are engaged in the application process and your CV is requested, it will be on there and the employer can find out your grades then.
“D of E or any sort of extracurricular activity or scheme which wouldn’t normally be on your CV – I would definitely highlight on LinkedIn.”
Always be honest about your experience
Just like an interviewer can spot a lie on your CV, they can easily find a snake on LinkedIn too. Not telling the truth will always come back to bite you.
Ajeet said: “I would always be cautious and never lie. It could damage your chances of career progression, even if you do get the job. You just look like a liar and can’t be trusted.
“It’s not difficult for an employer to follow up with any institution you studied at or any work that you did at another company beforehand.
“They might not check, but why would you want to put yourself in that position? You’re putting your career and personal reputation on the line.”
Endorsements are basically a waste of time
Getting an endorsement on LinkedIn is like a virtual pat on the back. I think you’re good at communicating your ideas and thinking so far outside the box you’re on a different planet – so I’m going to click a button to say so.
Endorsements always make you feel good, but that’s apparently their only use.
Ajeet said: “There are two features you need to distinguish between. Endorsements and Recommendations. When it comes to getting them, it’s all down to the caliber of the person who is endorsing or recommending you.
“There’s no point just getting your friends to endorse you or if a random contact adds you then starts endorsing you out the blue.
“Companies are very aware of how LinkedIn works. If you get an endorsement from someone it just becomes a numbers game. How many endorsements can you get for a specific skill like leadership – even if you have no experience in that.
“If the person you’re endorsing isn’t likely to have any direct experience, it completely debases the endorsement altogether and does look transparent.
“In my experience, endorsements as a rule are treated with a great level of skepticism and it’s not really a respected feature.”
Recommendations are better
Getting the personal touch always goes a long way, and this couldn’t be more true on LinkedIn.
Ajeet said: “You are likely to have a better chance with recommendations. Unlike endorsements, they’re more of a credible source.
“Your LinkedIn contact has gone out of their way to write something about you and that’s important.
“It has to come from someone in a good position to provide a recommendation, then it will be taken seriously.
“But if they come from a friend or a colleague then it’s going to look contrived. You want to avoid giving this impression wherever possible.
“I always make sure my recommendations come from industry leaders or credible individuals.
“Its difficult when you are young and you haven’t had much exposure. It’s about finding someone who is willing to say something about you – a manager or owner of the company is better than having nothing at all.”
Don’t look stupid in your LinkedIn profile picture
This might seem obvious, but LinkedIn is where you’re meant to look as professional as possible. When it comes to photos, it’s mostly the same as Facebook or Twitter if you’re on a job hunt.
Speaking more generally on using pictures on social media, Ajeet said: “The obvious thing to avoid would be anything that looks illegal – playing around with guns.
“Also anything that looks unethical like obvious drinking.
“If one person is likely to find it offensive then you should think about hiding that content.”
Your LinkedIn picture should just be of you in a professional setting. A headshot of you in smart clothing will usually work best.
Keep it up to date
Employers care what you’re doing right now and are less interested about the work experience placement you did three years ago.
Ajeet said: “LinkedIn is like an online resume. That’s the unique thing about it. You can get a pdf version of your profile and email that to other people who could be interested in working with you on some level.
“I’d seriously recommend keeping LinkedIn up to date. You wouldn’t want to present yourself offline as tacky, and online is exactly the same.
“This is your window display. Windows displays are made to look appealing and the same should apply to you.”