Regardless of how active you choose to be on LinkedIn on a weekly, monthly or even yearly basis, it is essential that you ALWAYS maintain a complete and up-to-date LinkedIn profile. This not only serves as your resume online to which you can refer new contacts you meet in your job search and/or career networking, but also serves as one of the most searchable outposts for your personal brand on the web thanks to its high rankings in Google and other search engines.
When employers, clients, partners or anyone for that matter searches your name specifically or relevant industry keywords, your LinkedIn profile will often be where they find come across you first. Therefore, how your profile presents you can literally make or break a potential career or business opportunity for you, and in most cases, you won’t even have a clue that you missed out!
I have compiled a list of the top 10 LinkedIn profile mistakes professionals make in hopes to help you optimize your LinkedIn personal brand presence and avoid losing out on new opportunities for career success.
1. Not having a 100% complete profile. LinkedIn provides you a step-by-step guide to complete your profile. Not only does completing your profile 100% make you look more professional, but it also, helps optimize your placement in LinkedIn’s People Search results.
Here’s what you need to have a 100% complete profile:
Your Current Position
Two Past Positions
2. Not adding a photo. Don’t forget to add a face to your name and to the brand you are creating on your LinkedIn profile. This helps build a stronger and more personal connection between you and your profile viewers. Also ensure that your profile picture is professional so to maximize your first impression.
3. Not proofreading your profile for grammar, punctuation and capitalization. Make sure to review your entire profile a number of times to avoid missing any grammatical errors. Ask someone you know to review your profile for an outside perspective and for an extra pair of eyes to catch possible mistakes or opportunities for improvement.
4. Not including your personal brand or statement in your profile. First of all, in your profile subtitle, don’t miss the opportunity to attract more profile viewers and impress potential employers and career stakeholders by listing yourself as “Finance Professional,” “College Student” or anything else generic or boring. Use this area to share your brand and unique and differentiating value with your network and future target audience. Also, don’t forget about your summary section where you can feature your personal brand and supporting pitch and really hook viewers to read the rest of your profile.
5. Not customizing your own LinkedIn profile URL. Many professionals forget or neglect to personalize their LinkedIn profile URL with their name and leave the default letters and numbers in place. This looks less professional, but also prevents you from using this in your networking efforts to link your contacts back to your profile.
6. Not including links to your websites or other networks. Cross-promote your activities online by adding links from your LinkedIn profile to your website, a blog, your Twitter profile, your VisualCV, or any other site you want to share with your network.
7. Having no or few recommendations. LinkedIn allows you to collect short, yet informative recommendations from anyone in your network. This is a great feature that helps you come across as a credible, top professional and/or job candidate.
8. Not updating your profile regularly. First, make sure to update your profile each time you are promoted, get a new job, start or complete a new degree or certification or any other career milestones worth sharing with your network. It makes it much easier to leverage your profile in a new job search when it has been updated along the way. Also, keep updating your profile status in the “What are you working on?” area so to let your network know what you doing, as well as to maintain consistent presence in their network activity feed.
9. Making your profile private. While your privacy is definitely important, establishing an online presence is essential to being found by others and to advancing your career. Make sure not to make your profile private, or you may miss out on opportunities to be searched and found by potential career stakeholders.
10. Not including any other value-add features. There are a number of ways you can enhance your profile and let your personality and brand shine a little brighter in your LinkedIn Profile. First, don’t forget to add your interests, hobbies or passions in the Interests area as an additional way to connect with new contacts. Also, check out the various applications available that can do everything from stream in your tweets and feed in your blog posts to share your past presentations and your recommended reading lists.
Would you like real feedback on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile?
If you are interested in getting real, honest feedback on your LinkedIn profile from me, Chris Perry, someone who has both launched his full-time career and multiple entrepreneurial ventures using LinkedIn, please check out my LinkedIn 360° Profile Analysis offer.
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About The Author
Chris Perry, MBA, is THE GENERATOR. His mission is to help empower people and organizations to become better at what they do. He is also the founder of Career Rocketeer.