Avoid these 5 mistakes with your LinkedIn profile
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Any professional can benefit from having a profile on LinkedIn. Beyond being the place to be for job seekers and recruiters, happily employed people are taking advantage of the platform to gain recognition and to network.
1. Not being on the platform at all.
All the benefits of having employees active on LinkedIn that are touted in this 2015 Forbes article are even more true today.
Statistics back up claims that LinkedIn is a B2B gold mine — and is where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives like to spend their spare time. Over 80% of lead generation from social media comes from LinkedIn, according to Hootsuite. In 2018 stats, 93% of B2B marketers called it the most effective social media site.
This means that anyone marketing their work, product or service, can’t afford to take LinkedIn lightly. That’s why you need your profile to stand out.
Expanding on this point — make sure your profile isn’t neglected. If you haven’t updated your profile since you created it in 2014, it’s time for a serious revamp.
Let’s assume you already have a friendly but professional photo on your LinkedIn profile. That’s great, because according to LinkedIn, that will get you 21 times more profile views. If you don’t have one, here’s a helpful resource on LinkedIn headshots.
2. Not developing all your profile sections
It's all about content on LinkedIn, says Ernie Katko, a website designer who has been helping people improve their presence on the platform for over six years.
Content engagement on LinkedIn is increasing by a rate of 50% each year, according to a recent report on SocialMediaToday.
The most common mistake Katko sees is people not completing all the sections of their personal profile — and they’re if self-employed, their company page. Developing your summary fully is key.
According to LinkedIn, the summary is the No. 1 thing recruiters look at when viewing profiles. In this section, you have the opportunity upload or link to work samples to give viewers catchy visuals that highlight your work.
“Tell a story about your career that stands out,” writes Jessica Green in a blog on Zapier with detailed advice from experts on creating a stand-out profile.
She also points out that only the first three lines of your summary display by default. So, put the most powerful, attention-catching information first or create enough suspense so viewers click the “see more” link.
By regularly updating your content with new skills, relevant work samples and other accomplishments, people see that you are active. This builds credibility and makes you seen in keyword searches.
3. Throwing away SEO opportunities
Your title or tagline can act as a magnet for SEO. That means be completely clear on what you really want to be promoting. You’re using LinkedIn as a marketing tool, so promote yourself in the areas you want to be contacted for — that may be something other than your current job title.
“Don’t be too cute or clever with your tagline, it’s a waste of SEO space,” says Carol Tice, a business writer who helps other freelance writers market themselves though her blogs and writers’ community. In other words, if your title doesn’t have searchable keyword phrases, you’ll be passed up.
On the other hand, if your tagline is very generic, you are destined to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, include your industry and specialty to show up in targeted searches.
“It’ll be hard to top a LinkedIn search for ‘writer.’ Go after a niche phrase instead, such as healthcare writer, and your odds improve,” illustrates Tice in an article on mastering LinkedIn profiles for writers.
One final piece of advice from Tice—the experience section is also searchable so make the most of it with key words and company names.
4. Being sloppy with your content
Carefully proofread everything you post. Finding errors later is pretty embarrassing, especially if you are someone who should know better like a writer or content marketer.
“Your profile helps establish your credibility and standing within the LinkedIn community, if it’s full of grammar and spelling mistakes it'll harm your image, and lower your engagement,” is how SocialMediaToday puts it.
Many editing apps are available to help you avoid making this error.
5. Doing it all by yourself
There are tons of searchable tips to help you complete all aspects of your profile. LinkedIn itself publishes up-to-date resources. With all these resources at your fingertips, doing it yourself is a viable option — yet the sheer amount of information to wade through can be overwhelming.
If the process starts to feel tedious and time-consuming, reach out for assistance with your profile. Fortunately, there are many qualified pros out there and LinkedIn can help you find one with its ProFinder feature.
Like resume writing, tooting your own horn can be extremely challenging. Having someone who knows the tricks objectively review your profile can be a lifesaver.
Career centers and libraries often host workshops with LinkedIn pros who, along with covering the basics, can answer your specific questions. It’s a great way to get out and connect face-to-face with other professionals.
If you go the DIY route, make sure to have a trusted colleague or two read it over. Along with giving you helpful feedback, they can help you avoid making mistake No. 4.
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