Are you making these simple LinkedIn mistakes?
Want a better job? Promotion? More clients? The right suppliers?
All the businesses, people and opportunities you could ever need are on LinkedIn, and they are there in abundance. You just have to know how to attract them — or at least avoid being one of the millions making simple mistakes that will send your opportunities to someone else.
Getting the basics right on LinkedIn can mean the difference between a new client getting in touch or a new employer or recruiter adding you to their shortlist.
Why is a strong LinkedIn profile and active presence on LinkedIn important?
LinkedIn is no longer “just” a recruitment platform where profiles look like resumes. Now, LinkedIn is a place where people are networking, sharing their knowledge and learning industry leaders, peers and businesses.
The opportunity to stand out to prospects, recruiters, new hires and others who could make a difference is why the amount of content posted on LinkedIn has exploded. Last year, content creation on LinkedIn increased 60%. LinkedIn now has 15 times more content impressions than job postings.
Get the LinkedIn basics right first
To stand out on LinkedIn, your profile needs to have at least the basics in place. There are courses you can take to write a winning LinkedIn profile, but it’s often the simple things on your LinkedIn profile that you overlook. Even if you’re on LinkedIn every day, you might be making these easily missed mistakes. After all, how often do you look at your own profile, especially through the eyes of your ideal reader?
The tips that follow will get you on the right track fast…
7 improvements you can make to your LinkedIn profile right now
We’ve seven tips that you can quickly use to make sure there are no gaps in your profile. These tips will make sure your profile is working hard for you and isn’t holding you back.
Tip 1: Have a quality LinkedIn profile picture and don’t hide it
This advice should be a cliche, but if it were, there wouldn’t be so many terrible profile pictures on LinkedIn. Your profile picture is literally the first thing anyone sees on LinkedIn. Your picture shows up before your name — on the top left of your profile and on the left of everything you post. So it’s worth investing a little time and money to make sure your photo reflects who you are. A grainy photo taken 10 years ago isn’t going to show you at your best or start to build trust. Cropping yourself out of a group shot makes it look like you can’t be bothered or you can’t afford a solo picture. A full length shot leaves you impossible to make out when your photography is reduced by LinkedIn’s design to a tiny circle on the page.
LinkedIn profile photo tips
- Your photo has to be professional, but don’t mistake that for having to be corporate. There’s no need to have an overly posed photo taken with a boardroom in the background. LinkedIn is a social network for business, so there’s a balance.
- Make your photo match who you are when you meet people in real life.
- Use a headshot and not a full length photo, and consider the background (it doesn’t have to be all white).
- Check your privacy settings to make sure your profile picture isn’t hidden. Hiding your profile picture doesn’t start to build trust or help people to make that all important first connection with you.
Tip 2: Don’t make your job title your LinkedIn headline
Don’t limit your headline to your job title. If you do, you’ll still show up in search results but you’ll come across as generic. People won’t start to get an idea of what you do and more importantly what makes you different.
After your profile picture, the headline is the second thing people are going to look at so it’s worth investing some time.
LinkedIn headline writing tips
- Think of 3-4 words that best describe what you do.
- Don’t just type your job title in your headline. If that’s what the headline field was for, LinkedIn would put your job title under your name for you.
- Use the words you came up with to describe what you do and turn them into a headline that shows some personality. You want people to get a strong snapshot of what it is you will deliver for them.
- Make the most of the 120 characters you have available.
Tip 3. Tell your story in your LinkedIn About section
On LinkedIn, the About section is the third section people will see after your profile picture and your headline. When writing your About section, think of your LinkedIn profile as what it is — a mini website all about you. The About section shouldn’t be written like it’s your resume; it’s your story, but it’s also where you paint a picture of what you deliver for your ideal reader, whether that’s as an employee, a consultant or a supplier. (Pro tip: your About section isn’t about you at all; it’s about what you can do for your ideal reader.)
Tips to write your About section on LinkedIn
- Show some personality in your writing rather than typing out a dry resume. You want people get you know you, what you do as well as how you’re different.
- Include proof in this section (e.g. testimonials) or statistics on the results you’ve achieved for clients.
- Explain how you got to where you are now and why that matters to you and the reader.
- Don’t be too focused on sales. Salesy is not engaging, which is why we teach people to be anything but salesy on LinkedIn.
Tip 4: Link your job descriptions to the LinkedIn pages of your company and the companies you’ve worked for
Link your job descriptions to the LinkedIn page of the company you work for and to the LinkedIn pages of the companies you’ve worked for in the past. Linking to a company’s LinkedIn profile causes the company logo to appear next to the job description. If you don’t link properly, you’ll have grey “ghost” boxes where the logo could be. It might seem trivial but missing company logos will make your profile look incomplete and unprofessional. Also, it might cause the reader to wonder if you’ve only worked for companies so small and backward that they don’t have LinkedIn pages.
The alternative, importing your employers’ logos into your profile has multiple benefits:
- You’ll appear in search results attached to that company. This could lead to referrals of work or interest from recruiters who are looking for people in certain roles.
- You’ll benefit from the borrowed credibility from your association with that company.
Get this guide as a downloadable PDF
Tip 5: Mind the gaps in your LinkedIn profile
It’s easy to overlook sections of your LinkedIn profile and leave them blank. But an unfinished profile means you’ll miss out on opportunities.
First, you run the risk of not showing up in search results if you’ve left key parts of your profile blank. For example, you might not have cared to add your interests to your LinkedIn profile. It might have seemed trivial or even impertinent to tell the world where your interests lie. However, LinkedIn’s algorithm uses your “interests” to understand what you do. The better LinkedIn understands you, the more it helps you to show up in the right places to the right people.
Also, gaps in your profile can look unprofessional. Worst case, a patchy profile can make you look like a bot or a scammer. Looking dodgy or just mysterious could be the tipping point between a stranger connecting with you and clicking slowly backwards to safety.
Keep your contact details up to date as well. That way you’re sure you can be contacted easily by the right people. It’s amazing how many people forget that the contact details they put in LinkedIn are the only way for a valuable connection to contact them outside LinkedIn’s limited messages system. Not everyone wants to use that system, so don’t leave it down to a Hotmail address you set up years ago.
LinkedIn will prompt you to complete your profile in full. It will guide you, and it knows what it’s doing so pay attention.
Tip 6: Connect with other people on LinkedIn
LinkedIn shows how many connections you have, up to “500+”. Having too few connections might imply that you’re not who you say you are. The CEO of a public listed company and only 167 connections? Surely not. Or a small number of connections might suggest you don’t take LinkedIn seriously or aren’t around often, in which case there’s little point bothering to connect with you.
LinkedIn offers easy ways to connect with your network, including uploading your contacts. Whatever way you choose to do it — importing or one-by-one — make those connections.
Tip 7: Engage!
As well as showing number of connections you have, LinkedIn shows your activity — where you’ve posted, commented and liked content. Zero activity showing on your profile can hold you back.
- As above, people might not bother to connect if they don’t think you’re around.
- Sales Navigator is LinkedIn’s tool that power users (like recruiters) pay for so they can find the right people to connect with. Sales Navigator gives people the option to filter by the recency of someone’s activity. So there’s a chance that you won’t show up in a search if people are filtering out anyone who hasn’t been active recently.
The quickest way to be more active on LinkedIn is to start by liking and commenting on other people’s content. Longer-term, you should start posting your own content to start growing your own audience by showing your expertise. Ideally, you should post something that encourages people to respond. LinkedIn rewards you when you get comments and your listing will rank higher.
For many people, that leads to immediate worries about what they could possibly post or how they could showcase expertise without being boastful. There are also concerns about time. Does engaging on LinkedIn, especially if you’re posting original content, mean hours a day.
Fortunately, mastering LinkedIn isn’t anything like as difficult, “salesy” or time-consuming as people think. Showing people that is the prime reason we launched our LinkedIn course.
Use these LinkedIn profile tips today to get the most from your profile
These seven things might be what makes or breaks whether people connect with you, remember you and believe you could be the answer to their problems. They’re a reminder that your LinkedIn profile is your chance to shine in a world of opportunities.
LinkedIn is far more than just a place where you list your credentials hoping they’ll be bait for a future employer. Anyone who does that is going to find their profile shifted to LinkedIn’s deepest storage, shown only to people who specifically ask for it.
LinkedIn is a networking opportunity. LinkedIn works for employees looking for a job, consultants looking for clients, and business and suppliers looking for each other. However, it takes more than dryly listing your credentials to stand out at a networking function. You need to be able to articulate your value and provide value while you’re at it.
You might also be interested in our post on how to write a great LinkedIn profile.
Online courses to help you write a winning LinkedIn profile
These seven tips are fast insights into what you might have overlooked, highlighting areas where you should focus your energy. At the same time, you might be wondering how to write an About section on LinkedIn that has your ideal reader certain they want to contact you. Writing your story isn’t something you’ve been trained to do. Or you might struggle to know how to structure a description of your current job in a way that positions you for new opportunities. That’s understandable when you’ve only ever been taught to write the kind of resume designed to be read by recruitment bots.
Then there’s the uncertainty about skills and what to write that comes with suggestions that you should post “thought leadership” on LinkedIn. Fortunately, positing on LinkedIn doesn’t have to boastful or salesy when you know how to do it. Actually, it becomes incredibly rewarding because you’re being helpful.
Writing a great profile and getting to the point that your posts are helpful, not clumsy self-promotion, is easy when you know how. It’s especially easy when someone shows you how, saving needless frustration and false starts.
Aside from avoiding mistakes you don’t need to make, the sooner you master engaging on LinkedIn, the sooner you’re in the flow of a networking with more than 700 million members, 130 million of whom log onto LinkedIn every day.
Members and businesses working LinkedIn create a billion interactions every month. That’s a river of opportunity passing by daily. If you want a fast start on collecting as many of those opportunities as possible, you should check out our LinkedIn course. The online course comes with instant access. Within an hour, you’ll be ahead of 90% of your competition.