LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool. To make the most of it, avoid making these 5 common LinkedIn mistakes:
Poor or Missing Photo
Many job seekers assume a photo is not needed on their LinkedIn profile. Or, they include a photo that captures family, friends or pets. Neither approach will benefit you in a job search.
LinkedIn indicates that engagement increases significantly for those that have a profile photo. They specify that those with a photo will have 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests. Therefore, it is worthwhile to include a photo!
However, be mindful of which photo you choose. This is not Facebook or another socially-focused site. It is a professional social media site. The photo selected should provide a professional reflection of you. Leave the family, friends, and pets out for this one. Remove your hat and sunglasses too.
An Incomplete Profile
Many job seekers start creating their LinkedIn profile, become overwhelmed, and stop without finishing. The result is an incomplete profile. What's the big deal? Well, LinkedIn reports that a correlation exists in their algorithm between how complete your profile is and the search ranking results. So, those that spend the time to complete their profile are rewarded by ranking higher when an employer looks for a candidate with a certain set of skills. Take the time to finish your profile so you can realize this benefit, as it might be what elevates you to be seen by a recruiter or hiring manager.
What steps do you need to take to complete your profile? Be sure you:
Have a professional profile photo
Create a headline
Fill out the summary (also known as the "About" section). You don't have to use every character allowed to be considered complete, but we suggest using them all as it is an opportunity to advertise your unique skills and accomplishments.
List past positions you have held and include job descriptions (more on this below)
Include at least 5 skills
Include your industry and location
List your education
Have at least 50 connections (best practices for making connections are included in our final topic below).
List Results...Not Responsibilities
We have mentioned this as an issue when writing resumes and it applies for LinkedIn profiles as well. You should be cognizant that listing tasks is not impressive. No one wants to read your duties or responsibilities. That doesn't provide a picture of how you were successful. Instead, you want to show your actions and accomplishments. What were the results of your work? Provide specific details to demonstrate exactly what you did and what the outcome was.
Use your LinkedIn profile to highlight your achievements and demonstrate what you could contribute to any organization that hires you. By focusing on your actions and results, you will be putting yourself ahead of the competition who may have only provided a list of responsibilities.
Conflicting Information Compared to Your Resume
Your resume and LinkedIn profile don't have to be identical. With a resume, you are confined by space requirements and specific formatting guidelines. For instance, using "I" and "my" on your resume is discouraged, but is perfectly fine and engages readers on LinkedIn. In addition, LinkedIn provides a lot more flexibility -- and you should take advantage of it! Include those volunteer roles and interests that may not have been appropriate on your resume.
However, make sure the information you include in your LinkedIn profile doesn't conflict with what you have listed on your resume. The additional information you incorporate in your LinkedIn profile should compliment what is included in your resume and the details -- such as specific dates -- should be identical.
It is likely that the hiring manager looking at your resume will also look at your LinkedIn profile. You don't want conflicting information to cause any red flags that negatively impact your chances. Take the time to verify that your resume and LinkedIn profiles are in alignment.
Ineffective Connection Requests
Since LinkedIn is a networking site, it is important to make connections. Many people set up their profile and then don't make the effort to reach out to friends, family, co-workers, or classmates. They wind up with only a handful of connections and therefore find LinkedIn ineffective.
We suggest you brainstorm people you would like to be connected with. Don't worry if they aren't in your field -- they may know someone that is! So, it may still be a worthwhile connection.
When you reach out to ask that they add you to their network, we suggest you use a personalized request. It is possible to just hit "connect" and "send" but you are less likely for the person to say yes. Instead, choose to "add a note." You might want to mention how you know them, or something you have in common. You could compliment them on something they have posted to LinkedIn, or on something about their profile.
It is generally a bad idea to include seek advice or solicit information in your connection request. This comes across as unprofessional. Instead, make the connection and wait until a later, more appropriate moment to ask for advice or information.
Avoiding the five LinkedIn mistakes listed in this blog will help you be successful as you network during your job search. If you need assistance with your LinkedIn profile, Revision Resume is happy to help! Contact us to learn more!