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8 Mistakes We Continue to Make on LinkedIn

by Eric Kraus

Almost all recruiters now use LinkedIn as part of their employee search program. However, trying to line up a company’s need for an employee and your need for a new job is a little bit of a game of luck. Waiting until you need a job to update your LinkedIn profile is by far the worst thing you can do. Keeping your profile current, building connections and building a personal brand is a theme through these 8 mistakes that people make on LinkedIn.

1. Not including a professional photo.

LinkedIn is not Facebook…or MySpace or any other personal social networking tool. Let’s just get the naughty list out of the way:

No selfies, No alcohol, No picture of you with your girlfriend cut out.

As far as tips for a good picture: Hire someone to take it and dress professionally. There’s a reason why it’s never good to submit a photo with your resume (unless of course you’re a model). Don’t give a recruiter any reason to dismiss you before they even know you.

2. Failing to complete your entire profile

You may not want to share your University or volunteer activities, but think of the possible connections that you may have with other people. Great networkers are always thinking of possible connections. (and they leverage them)  Anything positive that might connect you with another person is worth sharing.

3. Not using it to network.

LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool. It gives you the ability to connect with other professionals and, more importantly, connect with your connections connections, and so on. If you are not using LinkedIn to navigation relationships and ask for introductions, you are missing out on the power of a professional networking tool.  Don’t wait to network until you NEED it.

4. Failing to be strategic with your headline or leaving your profile outdated

Somewhat old advice, but still something that is frequently overlooked. Your LinkedIn profile is like yard work. It’s not much work to keep it updated and fresh. But leave it go for a while and it will take some effort to clean up. In the meantime, think of all the people that drove by and said, “Eh, look at that…he obviously doesn’t care”. For many people, updating a LinkedIn profile is something they do after they leave a company. Like a resume, it is something you should always keep ready and up-to-date.

5. ANY grammatical errors

This should be self-explanatory… Grammatical errors are the kiss of death for a professional job. I can’t tell you how many resumes I review with severe grammatical errors on them. Personally, do I care? Eh…  However, how can that person represent the company I work for? I can’t assume a potential client will have the same forgiving perspective.

6. Focusing on quantity of recommendations and not quality

Ten mundane recommendations will never beat out three rockstar recommendations. If you are soliciting recommendations from colleagues, ask them to send you their recommendation ahead of time. You don’t want to tell them what to say, but you can get a glimpse of what they would post and encourage them to be more specific or use examples. Without telling them to write, it may not hurt to remind them of the work you have done together and always offer to return the favor (LinkedIn or privately).

7. Listing generic qualities

How does this sound?  “I am a self-motivated team player with exceptional communication skills that learns quickly and is very professional.” You would hire that person, right? Words are just words. This advice is universal for your LinkedIn profile: be specific. Use examples to show how you “earned” everything you claim about yourself on your profile.

8. Not engaging your connections.

These days, 50% of my LinkedIn request are from people I have never met. I do filter who I accept as a connection, but I do not immediately say ‘No’. ABN: Always Be Networking. After you’ve mutually agreed to connect with someone, then what? Hopefully not “nothing”.  Reach out and introduce yourself especially if it is someone you have never met before. If there is an area you can offer expertise in or something you need help with, share that. At a minimum, start a relationship. You never know when you might need it.

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