Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular social channels which can be merged for convenience, LinkedIn is a stand-alone entity which is designated specifically for professional networking.
LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool for professional connection – if you use it correctly and to its fullest capacity.
It’s imperative that you are proactive with this platform if you are going to reap its rewards in any way.
To achieve this, you need to apply some valuable LinkedIn profile tips.
When used correctly, LinkedIn can boost your professional profile, build high value connections, and enhance your career in an unparalleled number of ways.
Yet there are some common faux pas, which are committed by LinkedIn users time and again, and these can not only make you look foolish; they can also cause harm to your career.
Why use LinkedIn?
Whether you are a university student looking for internship opportunities or a seasoned professional with many years in a career you love, LinkedIn can be highly valuable for you in a vast array of ways.
You can make connections with potential employers, employees, and clients; you can remain apprised of the latest industry trends; and you can keep an eye on your competition.
Yet the mistakes you can make on the platform which can damage your career are many and easy to make. They are also easy to rectify.
From not having a LinkedIn presence in the first place, to checking it rarely, to using it in the same way as you’d use a personal social networking profile, you can actually do more harm than good.
Simply filling your profile in a concise way with pertinent information and some personality, making considered connections with relevant people, and participating actively on the platform can make the world of difference.
LinkedIn faux pas to avoid
- Failure to customise your headline – this is the first thing that others see when they see you on the platform.
You need to briefly explain what you currently do and wish to be doing in a professional capacity. Expand on this information in your summary.
- Failure to use an appropriate picture – you need to include a profile picture to enhance your visibility and prove you are a real person.
Faces are more memorable than names. You also need to make sure you use a professional-quality image – not photos with partner, children, or pets.
This platform is about showcasing you at your professional best – your personal life is irrelevant on LinkedIn. You need to use a current photo too – if you eventually go for an interview, your use of a photo that is decades old will make you look vain, foolish, or deceptive.
- Failure to personalise your invite message – sending a generic invite to connect is not going to stand you in good stead.
Unless you’re inviting an established real-life friend, you need to include a personalised invite message. Be polite and briefly outline your reason for wishing to connect – tell them who you are, how you found them, and why you wish to connect with them.
You need to target correctly and remember that unlike other social platforms, it’s the quality of connections, not the quantity that matter on LinkedIn.
- Making requests of strangers – when somebody accepts your connection request don’t quickly launch into a spiel requesting a job or try to push an agenda.
If you seek something like career advice, be polite, show gratitude, and lose any sense of self importance or entitlement.
You should perceive the benefits of connection on LinkedIn as not being purely for how they can be of benefit to you; you need to also consider how you can be a help to others.
- Ignoring the Alumni tool – this is a very valuable but much underused tool offered by LinkedIn. It is located in the “My Network” section as “Find Alumni”.
It allows you to search for people who attended your school or university, filtering searches by location, year of graduation, industry, and more.
- Not following up – if a connection has provided you with assistance of any kind, be sure to thank them and keep them apprised of how things are going.
There is nothing worse in business (and in life) than doing something for someone and then having them disappear completely.
- Not using privacy settings – these are important on LinkedIn – you don’t want a current employer to know that you’re looking for newer or better opportunities!
- Not including past job positions and volunteer work – even if your work history bears little relevance to what you’re doing now or the future direction you wish to take, your past employment history is not irrelevant in the bigger picture.
Employers look for wide and varied criteria and even jobs dating to your adolescence should be included. Volunteer work is also looked on favourably by many employers – it’s all life experience and skills are acquired in myriad places.
- Using LinkedIn like other social platforms – we’ll say it again – LinkedIn is a purely professional social networking site.
It is not the place to share your vacation plans, memes, or anything that is not related to your industry or occupation. It’s not the place to have a rant about your boss or a co-worker. Keep it professional at all times. Never post negative comments.
- Not updating regularly – you need to update your status with relevant professional information on a regular basis. Share what you’re doing, blogs or other articles you’ve written, events you’ve attended, and industry news.
Your status should keep your profile fresh and demonstrate that you are engaged with the platform.
- Being inconsistent between your resume and profile – these need to support each other – make sure all information is accurate.
- Failure to use keywords – relevant keywords make you easier to find. Use keywords and accomplishments in your summary, headline, skills and job descriptions. Use hashtags sparingly.
- Failure to use the blogging platform – LinkedIn’s blogging platform is a great tool for publishing articles highlighting your authority in your niche – to influence and lead, as well as to advertise.
- Using too many buzzwords – overused buzzwords on your profile are cliché and you won’t stand out from the crowd if you use too many of these.
Avoid overuse of words including “passionate”, “innovative”, “creative”, “motivated” and “driven”. Choose synonyms to get your message across, or better yet, show these qualities in your profile rather than just talking about them.
Using LinkedIn can help you access and acquire higher paying jobs, better professional opportunities, and create connections that are mutually beneficial.
It is the go-to for informal recruitment; a first step for managers looking to fill positions with the right candidates.
It’s worth applying the abovementioned LinkedIn tips to your profile and your use of the platform to benefit to the highest level from the advantages the professional platform presents.
Have you read our two-part series on social media engagement … and how to get more of it?
Here it is:
Using social media for business marketing and branding is incredibly effective, BUT… it won’t be worthwhile unless there is a high rate of engagement for your posts from social audiences and consumers.
Engagement and interaction with your social media offerings is the key to success, and you need to know how to engage audiences in a positive way otherwise you will either be completely wasting your time, or worse yet, annoying your audience.
Read more here
Social media marketing and its value for branding require you as a marketer or business owner to be well apprised of the various tactics for boosting engagement over this medium.
Following on from last week’s post, here are more clever social media engagement ideas: tips and tactics that you can use to maximise the effectiveness of your social marketing campaign and encourage more shares as well as higher rates of conversion.
There’s more on the blog here
And did you know we have a FREE LinkedIn course?
If you are a regular on LinkedIn or fairly new, this course will help you get more leads and inquiries from your profile.
*** Get our LinkedIn course for FREE
Is LinkedIn your preferred social media platform? Learn how to leverage it to get more hot leads.
Not only do we share a bunch of valuable, relative and useful info on our blogs, but we’ve got a free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of this platform especially for B2B enterprises. If LinkedIn is your preferred social media channel, take a look at this course to raise your profile, generate leads and boost your business – so LinkedIn can start working for you.