There are a lot of foolish things I see done on LinkedIn every day, from not updating a profile for months, to mistaking it as a dating service. Guys, “Your profile picture is beautiful” or “I am interested in women in your area” are really bad first introduction lines on LinkedIn. But aside from those obvious lame actions, there are many areas where small improvements can make great advances in your profile being found by your ideal audience more often and then have it stand out to those who find it.
Here are 9 foolish things that too many are still doing (or NOT doing) and how to fix them:
Writing in 3rd Person Like Gina’s Doing Right Now.
Your LinkedIn profile is not a website. It is not a brochure. It is a personal profile that you create. Talk to me. Talk to those who are looking for your skills and talents. There is something very awkward (or very Bob Dole) about writing, “Gina and her team work with organizations to magnify their brand.” It makes people want to look around to see where you went and who did you leave here to talk about you.
Make your profile a place where you can share what you bring to the table for those searching for you. Share problems you solve, skills you possess that they need, and write in a conversational tone to connect with the reader.
Leaving Your Summary Section Blank or Very Skimpy.
LinkedIn has generously given you 2,000 characters to use to tell the world all about your awesomeness. Use every single one of those characters. While it may seem like a high school writing assignment, your summary section should encapsulate your work, education, volunteerism and include a dash of personal flare. Be sure you have added keywords to your summary as well, to ensure your profile pops up when someone is searching for that perfect person.
QUICK TIP: Open a Word doc and look at the bottom as you type to see your character and word count, or go to http://LetterCount.com for help in using all 2,000 of those characters.
Being all Business on LinkedIn.
Loosen the LinkedIn tie and add a little personality to your summary. Don’t be afraid to tell the world a little bit about who you are as a person. Perhaps after all of those amazing job highlights, you add in that you love coaching Little League teams or that you keep your sanity by getting outdoors as much as possible. This information could be what someone actually connects with and a great conversation can be started on this thread of personal shared knowledge.
Leaving Your Profile Filled with Nothing but Text.
When I get an email that is more than 2 sentences, my eyes glaze over. We see so much text come across our screens today, that photos and videos are a wonderful and needed break for our brains. LinkedIn allows you to add rich media like video clips, SlideShare presentations, photos on your posts and more. Don’t let your profile be a snoozer. Add some flare to your summary or work experience sections.
Having a Less-Than-Professional Looking Headshot.
Notice I didn’t say professional studio headshot. Many people tell me they are waiting to schedule an appointment with a professional photographer to take that perfect shot for their LinkedIn profile. In the meantime they have a picture that was cropped from a family picnic photo wearing a tank top. You don’t need to spend money to get a professional photo taken. Today our cell phones sport 10-20 megapixel cameras and if you simply put on a button down shirt or something that doesn’t show your chest hair or cleavage, have a friend snap a pic from the chest up, you’re in business!
Showing Few Skills or the Wrong Skills.
LinkedIn has over 45,000 skills indexed that you can select from and LinkedIn states, “Members that list skills on their profiles receive 13 times the number of profile views than those who don’t.”
Not only can you add skills that you would like to showcase, but by going into edit mode on that section, you can remove skills that you really don’t want people associating with you any longer. Perhaps you have made a career shift and had programming as a past skill, but you no longer want to appear in searches for that.
You can also reorder the skills, moving those you would like more endorsements for to the top and those that are less significant, to the bottom. The skills listed at the top will show up for others to endorse you for most often.
Not Asking for Recommendations.
A beautifully written thank you note on personalized stationery is so nice to receive, but sadly, it is hard to show that to anyone else wanting to see a recommendation of your work. Fortunately, LinkedIn has made it easier in the past year to manage your recommendations and even reordering them, moving your best to the top.
If no one has offered to write a recommendation for you on LinkedIn, you can be bold and ask some of your past clients or co-workers to write one. LinkedIn makes that easy too. Simply click on ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS and send the request. Along with endorsements, recommendations help to boost your profile’s rank in search, and of course if someone is comparing you to another, endorsements and recommendations are like honey and they sweeten the decision.
Not Taking Advantage of the Ability to Publish Posts on Your Profile.
Initially a feature only given to a select chosen few, now everyone can showcase their expertise and insights. Posts stay front and center on your profile and when you add a photo to your posts, they really stand out and draw people in to learn more about you.
Whether you enjoy writing or not, take a stab at putting your thoughts on topics you are passionate or knowledgeable about, into written words. You may discover a talent or love for writing that you have suppressed since that junior high school teacher destroyed it with her red pen.
Updating Too Infrequently.
Most people create their LinkedIn profile, log out, and never look back. LinkedIn is more than a resume sitting online. It used for more than looking for a job. LinkedIn has gone through puberty and is now a real social network. (Minus the cat videos!) Stay active on your LinkedIn profile. Aside from posting regular status updates, don’t forget to freshen it up after projects, new certifications, or even new skills you have added. When you show your profile a little love, it will multiply that love right back to you.
Spend some time this week and commit to eliminating a few of these foolish items off your list and you will turn that fools cap into a party hat!
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