Back when LinkedIn was mainly a site where you could post your CV and look for jobs, there wasn’t a whole lot that you could do wrong. But with the various updates that have been made to the site over the years, getting your profile just right has become a bit of a minefield.
Whether you’re looking to show off your achievements, find a new job or simply network, LinkedIn is a valuable tool. Here are a few common mistakes that will help you get the most out of it.
LinkedIn has several templates that you can use for things such as connecting with a new person or thanking someone for endorsing you. While these can save time, they are also quite impersonal and may deter potential connections. Take the time to write individual messages, or make your own templates, and you’ll get more positive responses.
Don’t congratulate or endorse strangers
It’s not unusual to connect with people on LinkedIn who you don’t know very well. There’s that guy you met at a networking event, or the client you accepted so you wouldn’t offend them. While it’s fine to connect with people like that, it’s also best to keep your LinkedIn interactions to a minimum. Avoid congratulating them on job anniversaries or endorsing them for skills. The former will come across as little more than spam, while the latter can seem odd or disingenuous.
LinkedIn isn’t Facebook
Every social media site is different from the next, and it’s important to keep the purpose of each in mind. LinkedIn is not the place for memes, happy birthday posts or anything unrelated to work – by the same token, you wouldn’t post your CV on Facebook. Remember that you’re trying to show your professional face on LinkedIn, so keep the personal posts to Facebook.
Don’t ignore LinkedIn messages
While it may not be your preferred method of communication, more and more professionals are using LinkedIn messages, especially recruiters. Make sure you check your messages regularly and be sure to respond to them in a professional manner.
Ensure your profile matches your CV
It’s important to remember that many of the people visiting your profile, aside from friends and family, have either already read your CV or may do so in the future – so you don’t want to have any discrepancies between the two. Double-check that your job titles, dates of employment and company names are consistent and correct.
Turn off activity broadcasts
This is now as easy as flipping a switch. You don’t need to add unnecessary spam to your connections’ feeds every time you adjust a job description or change your photo. Turning this off will mean that you can update your profile as much as you want – without your whole network being notified.
Don’t skip the summary
One of the main places that your LinkedIn profile differs from your CV is in the summary. This should be a quick recap of your experience and skills. A good tip is to frame it as a story to make it more engaging and memorable. You want to make sure that some of your personality comes through – this is your chance to show off who you are beyond your job history.
It doesn’t matter how long your selfie stick is, people can spot such images a mile away. Make sure you have someone else take your profile picture. You can even get a group of friends or colleagues together and take some headshots for each other. It doesn’t have to be professional, but it definitely shouldn’t be a selfie. Read more about what makes the best LinkedIn picture.
Don’t ask for immediate introductions
One of the latest features on LinkedIn is the pathway that shows which of your connections can introduce you to other people. However, you should be cautious with this – don’t connect with someone just so you can immediately ask them to introduce you to someone else. More than likely, you’ll make them feel like an irrelevant go-between.