LinkedIn gimmicks. You can… but should you?

by | Sep 3, 2020

Should an average job seeker be using LinkedIn gimmicks to spice up their profile?

The driving question should be what benefit will adding LinkedIn gimmicks to you profile and how will it be received by your target audience

 

This is a question I get asked regularly. Job seekers see people using LinkedIn gimmicks and wonder if they should apply them too. They ask if they would stand out better and have a more successful job search than if thy stuck with the standard text.

Very often the big users and advocates are LinkedIn experts who are trying to stand out in a very crowded market place. I have 200,000 in my network alone. They might also be trying to sell a product rather than themselves.

Would it be better for you an average job seeker to do the same?  I am not convinced.

 

Spice up your LinkedIn Profile... or not

The goal as a job seeker on LinkedIn, is to make it as easy as possible for someone to identify you and to stand out in searches. How you show up on the platform has to be in line with your career goals, your networking strategy and within that your specific plan for LinkedIn. This means you need a strategy. If you have a funky, extroverted personality and work in a field like digital media or art and design, LinkedIn gimmicks could be appropriate. If you are a corporate lawyer, maybe less so. If you are a freelancer and want to stand out visually in your sector with a strong digital image, then it could also work. But even then there are caveats.

The driving question should be what benefit will this strategy add and how will it be received by your target audience. You want to stand out for the right reasons and for people to understand who you are and where and how you add value.

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Issues

Research from JobScan indicates that some of the main tools such as Unicode symbols (see below) can break and certain compatibility issues mean that some symbols and special characters frequently "corrupt code, cause errors, or display incorrectly."  Some readers will see them differently and some won’t see them at all depending on their web browser, device, and/or settings. Fun emojis might be visible on one device but appear as a black box on another.

It could also impact the text you have formatted being found in search results. You could also experience optimization issues with your profile content within LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” system. In the job application process, you can’t afford to lose data or be cut because of parsing issues.

LinkedIn gimmicks

Name section

In your name section you could also potentially see some difficulties. Experts use them so they stand out when they are being tagged on posts. Even that has a downside. Today I wanted to tag someone and for some reason she didn't appear in the prompt list that LinkedIn offer. I realised later it was because she had put an emoji in front of her name. I would definitely not recommend that.  As a job seeker it's unlikely that you will be looking to be tagged although as an entrepreneur you might so pay attention.

One advantage has been found to identified automated and spam connection requests.

JobScan flag up potential problems with InMail. Every InMail to another LinkedIn user generates a normal email notification. This may be the only way some users know they have a mail in the LinkedIn system. Many don't check. Any special characters placed in your name fields will go into the subject line of the email which could send your mail straight to their spam folder.

To differentiate yourself you could add your professional qualifications.  I did that once with a client who had the same name and appeared on page  one of Google name search next to a pole dancer. She added MBA to her name to avoid confusion and being invited to apply for night club dancing gigs. Some LinkedIn members are using all capitals, but as those numbers increase, that strategy is not going to be a big differentiator for much longer.

Professional headline

I definitely wouldn't play around with emojis in your professional headline because they take up space when you could be using the characters for key words.  Standard text on your profile, headline and summary are also used as keywords within search engines such as Google as well as LinkedIn itself.

You could use them as text dividers, but may encounter the corruption problems identified by JobScan. I have seen it done and the icon whatever it was just looks like a blob.

Unemployed? Use a LinkedIn Place holder

Summary

Your LinkedIn summary is now 2600 characters with spaces, so an icon can be useful if used sparingly. The first top lines (approximately 300 characters) is the piece before people hit "see more" are your top priority. This section is your "hook" and has to be compelling. I personally would avoid using any LinkedIn gimmicks at all here, because it could end up working against you.

The bulk of this text is for your compelling narrative, highlighting your achievements and skills. This is where you can mix it up in moderation,  but test to see how it appears.

  • You can use an icon to indicate sections  (▶✅)
  • Use bold or a different font for section headers. ᴛʜɪs ɪs ᴀ ʜᴇᴀᴅᴇʀ, or 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫

If you want to add a bit of your personality in a few closing lines you could add a few emojis.

You may play⚽ ⛳  or⛵

Perhaps you are a blogger ✍

Tools

These are tools that you could try. Start with Google "unicode text converter." Copy paste your text and pick one you like. It's quick and easy to use.

  • 🅸 🆆🅾🆄🅻🅳 🅻🅸🅺🅴 🆂🅾🅼🅴🆃🅷🅸🅽🅶 🅸🅽 🅰 🅳🅸🅵🅵🅴🆁🅴🅽🆃 🅵🅾🅽🆃
  • 𝕴 𝖜𝖔𝖚𝖑𝖉 𝖑𝖎𝖐𝖊 𝖘𝖔𝖒𝖊𝖙𝖍𝖎𝖓𝖌 𝖎𝖓 𝖆 𝖉𝖎𝖋𝖋𝖊𝖗𝖊𝖓𝖙 𝖋𝖔𝖓𝖙
  • 𝓘 𝔀𝓸𝓾𝓵𝓭 𝓵𝓲𝓴𝓮 𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮𝓽𝓱𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓲𝓷 𝓪 𝓭𝓲𝓯𝓯𝓮𝓻𝓮𝓷𝓽 𝓯𝓸𝓷𝓽

Check on other devices how it looks.

You can also look at:

Don't over do it

d҉o҉n҉'t҉ o҉v҉e҉r҉ d҉o҉ i҉t҉

OR

✔ gᴎiꙅUꟻᴎoↄ ⛔Tɘg ᴎAↄ Ti ❤ ɘꙅUAↄɘd Ti ob ᴙɘvo T'ᴎob ⚠🛂

There comes a point when it simply looks overwhelming and even a little bit tacky. If a job seeker's profile is full of LinkedIn gimmicks it will be of no use if your content is not up to standard and you don't have a clear and compelling message, in line with your career goals.

Make sure you:

  • Use the media section and add links to your projects
  • Engage with intention
  • Interact with meaningful content on a daily basis.
  • Optimize your profile using key words.
  • Add a personalised banner

No amount of emojis will cover that up for you. It's really best to get attention without relying on gimmicks.

 

Check out: How to make the most of LinkedIn for career and business success.

.

Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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