Professionals in all industries can’t afford to ignore LinkedIn. With almost 350 million members worldwide and 40 per cent of members logging in daily, a LinkedIn profile isn’t just desirable for today’s job seeker – it’s essential.
Along with taking the time to interact and build your network, creating a strong, up-to-date profile is a key way to be found on LinkedIn. Here are some common mistakes you may be making on your LinkedIn profile, and how to rectify them.
1. Your headline doesn’t describe you
Do you struggle to pigeonhole yourself career-wise, simply because you wear many hats? That’s the case for many professionals who specialise in a number of areas.
Perhaps your role encompasses writing books, teaching, speaking at events and consulting on marketing strategy. If so, make use of LinkedIn’s headline functionality by listing all the roles you perform. Aim to be descriptive but succinct, also weaving in some SEO keywords. If you can describe what you do more accurately, you should find your profile starts to become more frequently found in searches.
2. You’re using the wrong image
Is the headshot on your LinkedIn profile pixelated, grainy or 10 years out of date? Or worse, have you never bothered to change the faceless icon on your profile?
According to digital experts DMR, your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if it has a photo – and the right image is important. LinkedIn isn’t the platform for inappropriate social shots or a windswept photo of yourself on a yacht. Your photo is the first thing potential employers see, so make sure it’s professional and reflective of how you want to be regarded in your industry.
3. Your summary needs work
LinkedIn’s summary, which appears just below your headshot and headline, is your chance to shine. Worded carefully, it can offer a peek into not only who you are but the extent of your experience and expertise, the type of roles you’re seeking and the best way to contact you.
Write your summary as if it will be all that a busy employer or recruiter reads before contacting you (because it well might be). And do use the summary functionality to include links to content you’ve created or helped with – such as websites, SlideShare presentations or industry articles that were widely shared or commented on.
4. Your experience is out of date
Tempting as it is to cut and paste standard company blurbs in your ‘experience’ section, use the opportunity instead to share the responsibilities you had in the role, your accomplishments and any other interesting nuggets of information about yourself and your history with an organisation.
The more information you provide in this section, the bigger picture you build for potential employers. According to one source, you’re 12 times more likely to be contacted if you have more than one job listed under your Experience section – so flesh it out as much as possible.
5. You need more recommendations
Even if you have a great history with an employer or client, it can be daunting to ask for a recommendation that will appear on your LinkedIn profile. However, it’s a good habit to get into if you’re working to flesh out your profile and build your personal brand.
LinkedIn enables you to request recommendations of up to 200 people at once but this may not always be the best strategy. If you’re going to ask someone to spend time writing glowing things about you, a personalised email will always be appreciated.
6. You don’t list any skills
Listing your skills confers a number of benefits: it readily outlines your key capabilities; it makes your profile more searchable to those who specifically seek out professionals with your skills; it provides your network with an easy way of endorsing your abilities (which is always valuable); and it increases your profile views by a whopping 13 times.
Listing your skills is therefore one of the best ways of optimising your profile. Omit them and you will lose out on profile views – and opportunities.
7. You don’t interact with your network
When did you last endorse a colleague? LinkedIn reached 1 billion endorsements in just six months in 2013, as professionals realised this was a friendly way to network – and receive endorsements of their own, too.
Other beneficial ways of interacting include commenting on or sharing content you find interesting or pertinent to your field, and joining industry groups (LinkedIn members join an average of seven groups). Following influencers and joining the conversations on their posts also helps extend your reach and boost your profile as a key person to connect with in your industry.