Did you know that you might be making LinkedIn mistakes that can prevent professionals from reaching out?
All social media platforms take time to learn, and are continually evolving — so if you’re having trouble gaining traction on LinkedIn, don’t worry.
We’re going to show you how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, discover new opportunities, get noticed by recruiters, and land that dream job once and for all.
Mistake #1: An Unprofessional Profile Photo
One of the biggest LinkedIn mistakes a person can make starts with their photo: if it doesn’t look professional, you don’t look professional either. (A cropped selfie from your iPhone probably isn’t going to do the trick.)
A bad photo — blurry, unprofessional, old or otherwise — sends a message to recruiters that you are not taking your job search seriously.
But you don’t need to spend a lot to get professional quality photos done, nor do you need to look one certain way. Aim to look professional, but relaxed — in other words, authentic.
Investing in a professional set of headshots will pay back in the long term, so if you have the funds now, it’s worth it.
If you don’t have the funds, consider finding a friend who is willing to barter or offer a cheap service, then spend an afternoon together.
On Pinterest, type in “Professional LinkedIn Photo.” Find one you like and bring it to the photographer so that they can use it as an example.
Mistake #2: Your Headline is Boring
Skipping this step might just be one of the worst LinkedIn mistakes possible.
Just like a newspaper or blog headline, this is essentially the “hook” that will help recruiters make a quick decision as to whether or not they want to learn more about you.
Pay extra attention to making it relevant and specific to your industry, while also highlighting your unique skill set.
Here are some examples of solid headlines:
Canadian certified accountant with 5 years of consistent cash flow performance with accounts receivables and payables.
UNIX developer specializing in Middleware technology and collaborating cross-functionally with technical teams.
Look to experienced professionals to get ideas on what makes a great headline — here are some examples.
Mistake #3: Ignoring SEO
LinkedIn has its own algorithm, and works as a sort of search engine in itself, just like Google.
Skipping crucial keywords in your profile is one of the biggest LinkedIn mistakes you can make.
You’ll want to pay attention to popular keywords and hashtags in your industry, job and target career because recruiters will use them to find you.
Here are some tools to help you determine keywords and create a compelling headline and summary:
Pro Tip: These 15 questions can help you to create a Professional Unique Value Proposition (PUCP) and use this as part of your personal branding.
Mistake #4: Skipping Social Proof
One of the most common LinkedIn mistakes is highlighting a list of generic skills, instead of sharing specific accomplishments.
When you have others that can confirm that you are not only great at what you do, but how you helped them, that’s gold.
In LinkedIn, this might look like:
Social proof will come in handy over time, for your resume, website and other job applications, maybe even for starting your own business, so it’s never too early to start collecting them.
But don’t get them from family and friends. Instead, ask for recommendations from your professional circles – old bosses, college professors, clients, colleagues.
Here’s an example of a note requesting a recommendation:
Hey John. I was hoping to get a recommendation from you for my LinkedIn profile. Remember when we worked on the Hudson project and you said that I demonstrated great leadership skills? Are you able to speak to that specifically so that I can share your endorsement in my job search? Thanks!
Mistake #5: Blank Connection Requests
LinkedIn is probably the best place for professional networking, but this isn’t just about collecting followers.
You always want to be picky about who you connect with, but also be sure to tell them why you are reaching out.
In addition, never try to sell yourself on this first message — keep it to a brief hello and share why you are connecting.
Here are some examples of topics you can bring up:
- Mention why you liked a post of theirs
- Address a commonality – person, school or group
- Mention a shared skill
- Ask a simple question
- Discuss an upcoming event
When it comes to networking, try not to take things too seriously! If you are engaging in a genuine way, showing interest and even having a little bit of fun, others will take note.
Mistake # 6: Lack of Confidence
Looking for work is tough, and it’s easy to get discouraged.
Putting an extra effort in every day to remind yourself all you have to offer can help to keep your confidence up as you discuss your skills and interests with others.
Staying consistently active and engaged is crucial, but without confidence, you probably won’t get too far, even if a recruiter does notice your awesome profile.
You don’t have to be perfect, just spend some quality time! Here are some ideas for engagement:
- Join groups
- Write posts
- Reach out to people you admire
- See what other people and companies are posting
- Start conversations under other people’s posts
Once you’ve built up your LinkedIn profile and are sure that you’ve included keywords, gotten recommendations, and you’re happy with your tagline, you need to stay active to get noticed!
Mistake # 7: Not Updating Your Profile
No matter what, it’s important to give our profile a regular “makeover.”
This is important for a few reasons:
- LinkedIn changes frequently
- LinkedIn regularly adds features like Open to Work to help job seekers
- Your own goals, interests and experience will likely evolve
Hands down, keeping your profile clear, complete and up-to-date with relevant information is the best thing that you can do to stay in view of recruiters and find the best opportunities.
Revitalize your LinkedIn profile with these tips and watch the profile views climb!
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This article was originally published in 2019 but has been updated in 2020 just for you!