Top 10 LinkedIn Mistakes

​​LinkedIn is the go-to social platform for professionals looking to develop their careers. LinkedIn helps experts network across the world, and serves as a pool for recruiters and hiring companies to draw from when they need to make a hire. 

 That means that you can never, ever take it for granted. The only thing worse than not having a LinkedIn profile is having one that makes you look lazy or like an amateur. With that in mind, here are 10 common mistakes to avoid when building your profile.

1. Using An Unprofessional Photo

Like many social media platforms, LinkedIn encourages users to provide an self-portrait. Unlike other social media platforms, however, LinkedIn is for professional networking and not for sharing pictures from your vacation. So, forget using the shot of you fishing in the Gulf of Mexico (unless fishing is your business), and include a professional headshot. If you don’t have a professional headshot, get one.

2. Writing A Short or Non-Existence Summary

The headline and summary are the first thing that people read, they are also the sections that catch the attention of LinkedIn search results. Potential recruiters or network connections should be able to get a glimpse of your skills, goals, current profession or job, and personality by reading these key items. If they can’t, then rewrite them so that at least these basics are in there. Make sure to use keywords that denote your skills, and technology you use, and any companies you previously worked (or currently work) for.

3. Using Generic Language

Avoid generic language. Catchphrases, keywords, and empty references (“excellence”, “motivated”) hurt more than they help. Much like a resume, a LinkedIn profile should convey actionable, quantifiable information about you and your professional success. This goes for the summary as well as any job descriptions. Treat this as an extended, digital resume and write accordingly. If a potential contact can’t tell what it is that you do or what you accomplished, then they are less likely to spend any time on you.

4. Forgetting To List Relevant Skills

Do not forget to list skills. Any and all that you are proficient with. This includes software, hardware, soft skills (communication, project management, leadership roles), and any certifications or licenses you have. Do not forget any of these, because some people will search LinkedIn specifically for skill sets, that show up during site-wide searches.  You don’t want to remain invisible because you didn’t take the time to list one of your hard-learned talents.

5. Providing Incomplete Job History on Your Profile

Much like a resume, LinkedIn allows you to provide a work history. Avoid gaps in employment, and clearly articulate all your positions in a chronological order. Write descriptions of your previous work in detail, using action verbs, and highlighting concrete results, positions of responsibility, and awards received. 

6. Providing Too Little Information On Your LinkedIn Profile

A LinkedIn page that doesn’t have enough information is like a resume that just has a name and phone number on it. Your LinkedIn profile will not attract potential connections or employers if they show up to your page and can’t learn a thing about you. Spend some time to really think about what it is you are writing, and include as much information about yourself as you can. Include your skills at the bottom, and ask connections to endorse you. Join communities aligned with your professional goals, because that shows up on your page as well. Write a solid, 400-500 word summary of yourself. 

7. Too Little or Too Much information On Your Profile

However, there is such a thing as too much information. A good summary can be a single paragraph or two, but after that you are asking a lot of a reader. Likewise, job descriptions shouldn’t be a page long. Brevity and precision are key for LinkedIn. Grab attention, convey your professional accomplishments, but skip the life story. 

​8. Not Making Connections On LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a networking platform. Unlike other social media, it isn’t necessary to have thousands of friends, but nor is it acceptable to have 4 connects over two years. It illustrates that you aren’t reaching out and networking, which portrays you as someone who doesn’t understand the importance of networking, or someone who simply cannot make productive, professional connections.  Set a realistic goal for adding contacts to LinkedIn.  Here are a few tips to quickly grow your network.

Send meeting invites to people you work with or have worked with in the past.  

If your in school or addending a training course or conference turn those meeting into connections on LinkedIn.

All things in moderation, however. Don’t spam connections to complete strangers. Write content for LinkedIn (or share other professional content you develop) and reach out to communities and individuals in your profession. Make a connection with you worth their while by providing value.

9. Lazy Errors On Your LinkedIn Profile

Spelling and punctuation are death to professionals. Like the resume and cover letter, read and proofread, and have someone else read. No errors. 

  10. Not Conveying Any Personality In Your LinkedIn Profile

Not everything is about dry business prose. The best LinkedIn profiles have a voice and a perspective. They are more than just the sum of their facts and experiences. They are a representation of a living professional who has goals and dreams. Your LinkedIn profile should balance between professionalism and personality, and should always speak with enthusiasm, excitement, and confidence. 

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