Why Isn’t LinkedIn Helping My Job Search?

WorkCoachCafeIn the LinkedIn Group I run, I asked members to share any LinkedIn success stories they had, and many job seekers made comments that were fairly negative.  I was surprised and not surprised at the same time, particularly when I looked at the Profiles of the members who were very negative.

Posting a minimal Profile, walking away, and waiting for the job offers to roll in doesn’t work with LinkedIn — or anything else — these days.

LinkedIn works very well for the millions of people who make the effort to understand how to leverage it effectively. And those people are very likely not spending more than fifteen a minutes a day on LinkedIn, once they have a solid, complete Profile.

Done right, your next job could find you…

The 7 LinkedIn Job Search Mistakes That Might Be Costing Your Jobs

LinkedIn understands what recruiters are looking for (recruiters are the main revenue source!), so they help you feed recruiters the information they want.

1. An empty — or skimpy — LinkedIn Profile.

Cram your Summary full of the things you have done in your work life that you are proudest of and that are relevant to the job you want next. Your Summary should be a keyword-rich description of you and your accomplishments (quantified whenever possible). Describe your what you have done — related to your current job search goals — and what you want to do next.

LinkedIn offers sections for Experience — your relevant work history, including any volunteering you have done that supports your goal. Employers and recruiters often also look for Recommendations, Certifications, and Languages. Adding these sections to your Profile, as appropriate, can help make your level of expertise very visible as well as adding more great keywords.

NOTE: When you are describing your accomplishments and achievements, don’t limit yourself to your current (or most recent) job.If you helped your local food bank develop a better planning process when you volunteered there two years ago, include it! As long as those accomplishments prove that you are qualified for that next job you want, include as many as you have room for.

2. No head shot photo on the Profile.

Nothing labels you as clueless or your LinkedIn Profile as fake or abandoned like the lack of a photo identifying the member. If you think that omitting the photo will minimize discrimination, think again.

When recruiters are looking through LinkedIn search results, Profiles with head shots are eleven times (1,100 percent!) more likely to be visited. People looking for new connections also prefer Profiles with photos, too. That’s just human nature. We are all “wired” to respond to faces.

With a photo on your Profile, you’ll also be much easier for former colleagues or friends from the past to recognize. Just you — no kids, pets, or partners.

3. A generic, useless, keyword-less Professional Headline.

A vague Professional Headline provide no clues about what you do, contains few (or, no) keywords, and will attract no interest! Your Professional Headline should describe your future — your goal for that next job, not your past — when you are job hunting.

To provide those all-important keywords, it should be as specific as possible. You aren’t writing this in concrete — it can change if needed in the future (even if the future is next week)!

Too many LinkedIn Professional Headlines are vague (e.g. “Operations Manager”), and, thus, lack essential keywords that bring employer and recruiters to your Profile. On the other hand, “Data Center Operations Manager, Finance/Banking Industry, Experienced with SysTrust, OTC Support, and Cyber Security” provides great keywords (assuming they are true)!

4. Inactivity.

Post something intelligent and relevant at least once a week in the Updates section of your Profile’s home page. More often is better! Updates will be seen by all of your connections. And, remember that — unless turned off — your contributions and comments in LinkedIn Groups will also show up in your Updates stream.

5. Missing the opportunities provided by Groups.

LinkedIn Groups are available for locations, professions, industries, hobbies, employers, and countless other ideas and things that people share. Typically, Group Discussions provide opportunities both to learn and to share good information, including your own work.

More than two million Groups exist, and each LinkedIn member may belong to up to 50 Groups. (Update: the Group limit was raised to 100 in Q1 of 2016.) When you are in a job search, join that maximum. It’s very easy to “un-join” whenever you want to leave. You are much more visible to recruiters and also easier to contact (and, note, vice versa!) since Group members can send other members up to 15 free “private” messages a month, even with the free account.

6. Having a low number of LinkedIn Connections.

The more connections you have, the greater your visibility into and inside the LinkedIn community. Try to add one or two new connections every week.

With more connections comes more credibility. When you have few connections, you look like a LinkedIn “newbie” or, possibly, like your Profile may be fake. Once you hit the “500+” Connections mark, you will look like the vast majority of LinkedIn members, your credibility and reality confirmed, and the number of connections you have will no longer be visible or particularly relevant.

7. Not acting like a grown-up.

LinkedIn does require active participation to be effective, and, the more active you are, the more visible you are. Keep that activity positive and professional. Communicate clearly and well (demonstrating your skill in written communication) and nicely and politely (unless you are looking for a job as a nasty person).

A recent study of recruiter use of LinkedIn found that 93 percent of recruiters (who regularly use LinkedIn) used LinkedIn to “keep tabs on” job candidates while 92 percent used it to “vet candidates.” So, recruiters are paying attention to your LinkedIn activities

Bottom Line

Even if you are very happy in your job, stay active on LinkedIn. Know anyone who really has a “permanent job” these days? Non-existent!

Using LinkedIn, recruiters find good candidates, get to know them a bit, and approach them with job opportunities when the right opportunity develops rather than posting a job and being inundated with applications from unqualified applicants. Of course, your mileage may vary, but, for most industries and professions, time invested in LinkedIn is usually time well spent.

For more information, check out the LinkedIn Learning Webinars by LinkedIn.

For More Information About LinkedIn and Social Media for Job Search:

Why Submitting a Resume Isn’t Enough and What You Can Do

5 Very Important Reasons to Have Your Photo on LinkedIn

3 Bad Assumptions About Social Media for Job Search

How Do You Connect on LinkedIn

© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.


About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been  observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then.  Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org.  Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .



  1. Wonderful post, Susan. It may sound like a lot of work to be active on LinkedIn, but once you find the groups and activities you enjoy, it’s not that hard. And the benefit accumulates quite nicely.

    Thanks for this resource!

  2. You are correct on all counts Susan. You have to be active on your profile in order to be noticed. You cannot be a wall flower and expect everyone to come to you. Groups are an excellent way to to expand your presence.

    Thank You!

  3. Michael says:

    I am experiencing some trouble with my profile because I am not positive about what job I want. I have some experience working in archives, editing, and teaching and I am not sure which field to stay in. Is there a way to market myself to all three groups or would that be counterproductive?

    • chandlee says:

      Yes, create a LinkedIn profile summary which includes a summary of all of your areas of interest and how they relate to one another — example: being able to work in archives helps inform your teaching.

      One of the best ways to get potential ideas for writing your LinkedIn profile is to watch how others are marketing themselves. Study up on other people’s profiles — and then take some leads from theirs on how to write your own.

      Good luck,

  4. While you want to promote your LinkedIn profile, you may want to isolate online identities that you don’t wan’t potential employers to see. On my blog, for example, I don’t give my name, my primary e-mail address, and links to my LinkedIn and Flickr sites. On these sites, conversely, I don’t link to my blog. When I leave comments on other blogs, I usually don’t give my real name, my primary e-mail address, and links to my websites. Finally, if I had a Facebook site, which I would have strictly for personal use, I would not use my real name and primary e-mail address.

    Last week I heard one of the best talks about the use of social media for career advancement, presented by Laura Labovich.

  5. Cafe Patron says:

    I did something to my LinkedIn profile that may be considered radical: I listed my work-related values in my profile summary. I did so because I want to work with like-minded people.

    As Michael has, I have had difficulty composing a sharply focused profile because I have worked a variety of jobs in the past and have pursued diverse interests. I won’t enter my work history because it is erratic. As Howard Figler says in his book, The Complete Job-Search Handbook, “hide your résumé”.

  6. Excellent advice. I am planning to launch a LinkedIn development product in 2013 and this information will definitely help me to document my process and differentiate my resume writing from that of the LinkedIn profile so that they work together. Thank you.

  7. Hi Susan,

    On the subject of LinkedIn I connected with an ex-colleague. I recently saw that she had changed jobs and global head of a department in large Investment Bank. I emailed her and congratulated her on her new post, etc. She replied back to my email the next day and asked if I were looking for a new opportunity as she had a global mandate that she’s working on and looking for good people. I went back immediately, expressed my interest and thanked her for considering me and looking forward to hearing more details. I also advised her that I had recently completed a contract role and would be available mid September. The exchange of emails happened on 5th August. I didn’t receive a response from her, so I followed up on 10th September and still no response?

    I’m not sure what to make of it and whether I should follow up again, directly to her personal email rather than LinkedIn.

    Any suggestions on what to do in this situation?

    Please advise

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Vivienne,

      If you have a phone number, you might giver her a call. It is possible that your email is not making it through corporate spam filters. If she doesn’t reply to your phone call, I would give up for now.

      I hope that’s what’s happening!

      Good luck with your job search!

      • Hi Susan,

        Many thanks for your response and advice.

        I did have her mobile number and followed up with a phone call, it went very well and her offer of an opportunity still stands. She has been travelling and not had chance to respond to her personal emails. I’m meeting up with them this week.

        This is an awesome, site one of the best 🙂 Thank you.

        Kind regards

      • Susan P. Joyce says:

        Excellent, Vivienne! Good to know what you did and what happened.

        Hope that everything turns out very well for you! This is one of the reasons it is such a good idea to stay in touch with former colleagues. She may well be rewarded by the employer for referring you, if you are hired.

        Good luck with your job search!

  8. Venita Crasta says:

    Hi Susan,

    That was an awesome post. Actually, until a few months I was doing exactly the very things that you mentioned in your posts though unknowingly. Unfortunately, for me, nothing came up for me. On the contrary I had Linkedin issues crop up like connection visibility problems, unwanted pests who would try to comment on posts et al. I had a tough time whereupon I decided to limit my visibility on LinkedIn. I would really like to increase it if there is really a chance of jobs, which I don’t seem to get much. I tried connecting with much of my connection but nothing seem to happen. Wish something could really open up for me.



  9. chantaericard says:


    I had an interview yesterday that I believe went pretty well. I just had a quick question about how to interpret a response. As we were finishing up, I asked the interviewer how soon they were looking to fill the position. She responded and said that it would probably be a good while because it was the holidays and actually trying to get everyone’s schedule together could be a bit trying. She then said in all honesty, I really have liked anyone that we’ve interviewed yet. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that statement. I am very interested in the position, so I wasn’t sure what to do think. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thank you so much!


    • Susan P. Joyce says:


      In your comment, you wrote that she said, “In all honesty, I really have liked anyone we’ve interviewed yet.” That doesn’t make much sense to me.

      Are there some words she said that are missing from your comment? Because, if there aren’t, I have no idea what she meant or how to interpret it.

      If she said that she had NOT liked any candidate yet, then I would take that as a bad sign, and she’s using the holidays as an excuse not to respond to you quickly. I would say that you should definitely keep looking!

      Good luck with your job search!

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