Biz Tips: Nearly Everyone Makes These 7 LinkedIn Mistakes

Biz Tips: Nearly Everyone Makes These 7 LinkedIn Mistakes

Biz Tip:

Nearly Everyone Makes These 7 LinkedIn Mistakes

LinkedIn is the largest professional social network, with over 660 million members; to say it’s a powerful platform is an understatement. In fact, to effectively position yourself as a professional, you need to have a well-defined LinkedIn strategy that is crafted to dazzle.

From awkward profile photos to vague references and bland descriptions, LinkedIn is filled with mediocre profiles that turn off most company recruiters. If you’re a job seeker looking to land your dream job, you must stand out from the crowd.

You want to show that you are head and shoulders above the rest, and even if all you do is avoid making these popular LinkedIn mistakes, you’ll already be ahead of most of the competition:

  1. Using inappropriate profile photos

On a platform where millions fight for attention, first impressions rule. To stand out, your profile photo needs to look professional and friendly. So forget about recycling your Facebook or Instagram images by cropping out your friends or life partner. You wouldn’t use those types of photos on your CV or resume, so why use them on LinkedIn?

Instead, suit up, hire a professional photographer, and sit back with a relaxed posture and a confident smile. Don’t worry if it takes an hour to take the perfect photo, because once you do, your profile will be fourteen times more likely to be viewed.

  1. Using a generic profile URL

For indexing purposes, LinkedIn gives each account its own personal URL. But if you think your URL is nothing but an address, think again. Company recruiters routinely navigate through a sea of profiles, so any tweak that makes your profile more recognizable is well worth the effort.

Better yet, using the same name you use on your other social media accounts — Twitter, Facebook, etc. — is a simple way of strengthening your personal brand across multiple markets.

To maximize your URL’s impact, you can combine your name with an adjective, title, or another word that references your job description — and should embody who you are and how you want to be perceived.

  1. Including overused buzzwords and phrases in your summary

Your summary section is a letter of introduction. It’s the first thing your visitors will read and your best opportunity to present yourself as someone proactive who thinks outside of the box — someone they’d be happy to work with.

That’s why using boring words and phrases like “motivated,” “passionate,” “driven,” or “extensive experience” won’t do anything to make you stand out from the crowd.

If you’re motivated and passionate about your career, your summary should reflect that. Don’t just say you’re passionate, show it.

Make sure that when you describe your abilities and experience, you do so in an exciting and upbeat (yet still matter-of-fact) way. This strategy is likely to attract repeat visitors and even entice a few calls from recruiters wanting to know more about you.

  1. Underusing your profile’s sections

Every day, recruiters spend hours poring over their candidates’ profiles for every bit of information they can get. So how long do you think it will take them to click off of yours if you haven’t done anything to display your accomplishments, certifications, and volunteer experience?

While LinkedIn allows you to upload your resume, it’s simpler for hiring managers and recruiters to scan a visually attractive and well-balanced profile rich with personal information.

Of all the sections on LinkedIn, the one where you list your skills is particularly important. In fact, it makes your profile far more likely to be read. Whether it’s a high-level or niche ability, leave no skill unlisted!

  1. Not customizing your invite message

Each time you press “connect” on someone’s profile on LinkedIn, an automatic message is generated that says something like: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” While straight to the point, this cold, generic message isn’t likely to improve your chances of actually connecting with anyone.

As with profile URLs, LinkedIn allows you to customize your connection messages. Instead of sending a robotic request, use this opportunity to send a short, polite, and warm message that briefly explains why that person should include you in his or her network.

  1. Not engaging with the community (or your network)

LinkedIn is more than just a place to outline your skills and upload your resume — it’s a social network in its own right. If you’re not engaging with your network (especially those within your niche), you’re missing out.

Whether it’s by publishing articles, asking questions, or participating in discussions, engaging with your community is a solid way of demonstrating your expertise and connecting with important people in your industry. Plus it’s a surefire way to get your name out there in front of hundreds of potential employers.

  1. Not letting others vouch for you

There’s only so much your summary and certifications can do for you. In the end, employers want to hear what others have to say about you — particularly if that feedback comes from previous bosses, colleagues, or clients.

To power up your profile, simply approach someone who has worked with you in the past and ask him or her to provide examples of your skills and abilities. Be sure to subtly remind them of the projects you worked together that you feel showcase your talents the most. Endorsements are great for letting others know your strengths, so any skills former colleagues can endorse on your profile is a plus.

When it comes to networking and building your personal brand, few platforms come close to LinkedIn. Just signing up isn’t enough, though. Reaping the maximum benefits requires you to put your best foot forward — sort of like a digital version of that old maxim “dress for the job you want, not the one you have” — and these seven easy tips can help you do just that.

A version of this post originally appeared here.

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