When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, just putting your name, a few jobs, and titles, and where you went to school just won’t do the job. You need to put more effort into it and avoid making some common mistakes. The following highlights five mistakes people often make with the LinkedIn profile. While you may have heard some of these before, they are worthy of being repeated because they persist.
1. No/Poor Profile Picture
Not having a picture does not give a proper first impression or, frankly, any impression at all. Using a picture from a wedding or from New Year’s Eve where you dressed up and thought you looked good is not the best idea either, especially if there are traces of other people still in the picture. Vacation pictures run a close second as well because they just do not reflect a proper level of professionalism.
Getting a professional headshot is not difficult and even LinkedIn provides tips on using a smartphone to take a LinkedIn #workselfie. So what’s holding you back from improving your profile picture?
2. Talking in the Third Person
If you were at a corporate or networking event, you would not talk about yourself in the third person so why would you think it is okay to do so in your profile? Please consider writing your summary as if it went to a networking event on your behalf. If it did, it would be written in the first person, and it would be more human and not riddled with buzzwords and jargon.
3. Dull Headline, Summary, and Job Descriptions
Ask yourself, “If you had not met you yet, would you find your summary or job descriptions interesting?” Is your profile putting people to sleep? Think of what you can say that garners more interest. Talk about your accomplishments rather than your responsibilities. Tell stories about projects, roles, and your impact. Convey your value proposition rather than just job titles. Give people a reason to connect with you.
Part of the value of LinkedIn is getting discovered based on your experience and skills. That is why it is so important to make sure your headline, summary, and job descriptions reflect the keywords for which you want to be known and discovered. You can research the right keywords but make sure that you don’t overstuff your profile with them because people will see through that too. Endorsements also help because the more endorsements you have for particular skills, the higher you rank for them in search results.
5. Using LinkedIn Publisher Improperly
With the introduction of LinkedIn Publisher, we all have the opportunity to publish content to convey our expertise and build thought leadership within our network and our industry. Do not take this opportunity for granted by using Publisher as a promotional tool. It is not a blatant sales tool. It is for informative and educational content. If you include a promo code to save money, are asking people to sign up for something like your newsletter or your webinar, or you close with a call to action to hire you for your services in your Publisher post then you are probably using it incorrectly. Inform, educate and assist. Sales can come later.
There are many other mistakes that people can make with their LinkedIn profiles, but these are some of the key ones that could be hindering your ability to get more value from LinkedIn for yourself and your business. Make a few changes and see what happens.
About the Author
Andrew Jenkins is Founder and Principal of Volterra, a professional services firm that has provided social media strategy, outsourced social media management, content development and planning, and social selling training to numerous mid to large enterprises. Andrew has spent the last twenty years working in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) spanning social media, wireless, and e‐business throughout North America and Europe. He has been identified as a social selling expert and has been featured in LinkedIn marketing campaigns, most recently as one of ten Canadian success stories. He speaks regularly at conferences and events about social media and social selling. He is a member of the Board of the Direct Marketing Association of Canada. He holds a BA in Economics from Laurentian University, a BFA in Film Production from York University, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He also taught entrepreneurship at OCAD University and currently teaches Digital Strategy at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.