LinkedIn.com is a valuable tool that is essential for your professional career. It’s not just for active job-seekers – it’s a significant resource for keeping up with industry news, networking with peers, and taking part in discussions relevant to your profession and interests.
In order for it to be effective, your LinkedIn profile should reflect your experience and skills. It needs to create a polished picture of your career story, and be kept current. Make sure yours gives a good impression! Here are some common mistakes to avoid making on LinkedIn.
Incomplete Profile There’s a great opportunity to go beyond your resume – expand on your details in your online profile! Do not simply cut and paste your resume into the sections; utilize the space available. Complete your Summary and Experience details, include your skills and expertise – and show others what you offer. Demonstrate achievements through honors and awards. Talk about your education, certifications, and special projects worked on. Include relevant courses, volunteering, and special causes which highlight you – as a unique person. Complete each section as best you can.
How many characters are available? Find out in Q&A From the Trenches: “The Sound of Silence – Too Quiet on Your LinkedIn Profile?”
Default Headline Your headline defaults to your most recent job title and company – change it! Brand yourself and your value in this section, and take advantage of the space you have. Use a concise branding statement with industry-specific keywords demonstrating your expertise.
Pro tip: including industry keywords helps you rise to the top in hiring manager searches!
Unsearchable Skills LinkedIn offers a large list of skills; make a choice from the drop-down menu. Be sure it recognizes what you write in. If not, it could be an item not frequently searched – which won’t grant much success in you getting found by hiring managers. Double check your spelling, too!
You’re Being Antisocial Share a status update every so often – post an interesting article. Comment on your connection’s updates. Join LinkedIn groups and take part in relevant discussions. Reach out to other group members and connect with peers. This is where you can find mentors, demonstrate your expertise in a subject matter, and have professional dialogues with like-minded individuals.
Using A Boilerplate Connection Request Customize your message! Avoid using the default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Make it personal; entice the receiver to want to open it and learn more. Let them know how you know them – never lie!
No Photo Or you do have a picture, and it’s from that fun day at the beach in your new bikini. Keep that on Facebook. This is not the message you want to send on LinkedIn; use a photo that communicates your professionalism. It’s more likely your profile will get viewed if you have one, so include it.
No Vanity URL Customize the URL attached to your LinkedIn public profile to make it more professional looking. When you first create it, it can contain numbers or other characters mixed in with your details. Try getting it close to your first and last name. You want to avoid using nicknames or being cutesy. Here’s how to do it:
- When logged in, go to the top right corner of your page, and underneath your name choose to review “Privacy and Settings.”
- Under the heading “Helpful Links” click on “Edit your public profile.”
- On the next screen, go to the right side of the page and locate “Your public profile URL.”
- Click “Customize your public profile URL” and a box pops up to help you create one, for example: www.linkedin.com/in/yourname
- Click “Set Custom URL” … you’re all set.
Now add it to your resume!
Review your own online LinkedIn profile and be sure these “don’ts” DON’T apply to you. Or sign up if you don’t already have one, and keep these thoughts in mind! For more LinkedIn advice check out the article “Six Key Tips for LinkedIn Success.”
Don’t make errors that could possibly cost you a job opportunity – or give someone the wrong idea of your expertise, and be sure to keep it professional!