Karen Hollenbach has seen a lot of mistakes made by people on LinkedIn. Here she shares the nine most common ones.
While I’m a glass is half full kind of person, I was recently reviewing our LinkedIn Company Page analytics and noticed my article on the 3 Worst Things You Can Do on LinkedIn, got so much interest. Some readers like to know what to avoid when they are on LinkedIn and so in today’s article I’m sharing the 9 most common mistakes I see made on LinkedIn.
If we haven’t met, I help individuals and organisations get more of the jobs and clients they deserve on LinkedIn. I’ve trained 1000s of people across Australia and New Zealand and my team and I have written 100s of profiles for career professionals, so I have seen a LOT of mistakes made. I always tell clients that their LinkedIn profile is a work in progress, because we can all learn something new, and we are all in different places in their journey.
1. No LinkedIn profile photo
I still come across profiles without a photo or, worst still, a company logo instead of a photo. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. Your profile is you, connecting, starting conversations and sharing updates. You wouldn’t wear a paper bag over your head to a work event, so you should have a photo on your profile. LinkedIn informs us that “simply having a profile photo results in up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests”.
2. Mobile number in name or headline
I sometimes still see the mobile number featured in the headline of profiles. This smells of desperation and has ‘I want to sell something to you’ written all over it. Your LinkedIn Profile is your chance for people to research you. I know you want to make it easy for potential clients to reach you, but you don’t want to be, well, um too ‘easy’, if you know what I mean. There are other platforms for this type of behaviour.
3. Spelling errors
It is very easy to have a spelling error in your LinkedIn Profile, so please take the time to proof read the content in your headline, summary and experience sections. It’s also a good idea to ask someone else to proof read your profile for you. We all have typos in our work, and so it’s essential to present the most professional version of yourself on LinkedIn, without distracting typos.
4. No LinkedIn profile summary
This section is often missed and plays a vital role in giving people a sense of who you are, what you believe in and how you help. It’s a professional summary of your skills and experience and the hardest part of your profile to write, which is probably why so many people skip it! If you’re not sure where your summary section is on your profile, please take a look at the image below of my LinkedIn Profile. My summary section starts with the words “If you are seeking guidance with . . .” this section has a 2000 character limit and LinkedIn only shows the first 3 lines, requiring readers to click show more if they want to read on. You can also add website links, which is a handy feature if this section.
5. Have not taken control of skills and endorsements
The skills section is a less prominent part of your LinkedIn Profile these days, because members probably complained about being prompted so often by LinkedIn to endorse other members. Having said that, people will have endorsed you for skills at some point in time and so you want to make sure they are consistent with your professional brand. Depending on your settings, your connections have traditionally been able to endorse you for skills not necessarily listed on your profile, so it is essential to take control of this. In this article I show you how to take control of the skills and endorsements section of your LinkedIn Profile.
6. No customised URL
Every LinkedIn member is given an individual LinkedIn URL when they join LinkedIn. Unfortunately there is an ugly combination of letters and numbers that comes with this URL, and so I recommend you customise it. This mistake is most relevant if you use your LinkedIn Profile link in your email signature or in your resume header (which I recommend). Here’s how to customise your public profile URL. The top right hand side of the image below shows where you can edit your public profile, and this is the public profile view of my LinkedIn Profile, which you can access at the top RH side of your LinkedIn Profile when you are in edit mode.
7. Liking & commenting on rants / Jokes on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional networking and content marketing platform and there are more social platforms where rants and jokes are more appropriate. Think twice before liking or commenting on rants or jokes shared by your LinkedIn connections. This mistake is contrary to the LinkedIn etiquette I recommend if you’d like to get more of the jobs or clients you deserve via your LinkedIn activity. In this LinkedIn article I provide A Personal Guide on LinkedIn Business Etiquette.
8. Notifying connections when you edit your profile
LinkedIn loves to tell you how you are performing, and will prompt you to update your profile, whether you are on the LinkedIn App or via the website when at your desktop or laptop and logged into LinkedIn. BEWARE! The default setting when making changes to your LinkedIn Profile is to inform your connections of these edits. If you are updating your profile to get ready to be more active for job search you don’t want to be letting your workmates or boss know that you are tending to your LinkedIn garden! Here’s how to change this setting on your LinkedIn Profile before making changes, so you can be a little more subtle.
9. Viewing old boyfriends / girlfriends on LinkedIn without being anonymous
There are 3 setting options when viewing other people’s profiles in LinkedIn, including:
- Your name and headline
- Private profile characteristics
- Anonymous LinkedIn member
If you are wanting to research old flames or competitors, I recommend you choose the 3rd setting, so you are completely anonymous. If you choose setting 1 they will be notified via the ‘who’s viewed your profile’ feature that you are looking at them. And most people can work out who you are from setting 2, which is why I do not recommend it. Setting 1 (which I have chosen in the image below) does have a place, but not when old boyfriends or girlfriends are involved. Don’t make the mistake of them knowing you are checking them out! In this article I explain how to browse profiles anonymously on LinkedIn.
This article was first published on Think Bespoke.