LinkedIn, recently bought by Microsoft for a whopping $26.2 billion is worth its weight in gold. Even though it can’t compete with social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, it serves an essential service of helping to connect job seekers and prospective employers: if and only if it’s effectively used.
Here are the most common mistakes you might be making on LinkedIn;
1. Profile filled with Wrong spellings
Typos in company names, job titles, and even in the user’s name. Be as careful on LinkedIn as you would be with a paper resume.
2. Empty Profile Picture
Studies have shown that LinkedIn profiles with pictures are more likely to get checked out than those without pictures.
LinkedIn says you’re 14 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo.
3. Wrong or Inappropriate Profile Picture
As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is not to be confused Twitter or Facebook. Unlike Facebook, use professional personal pictures on LinkedIn. Not selfies, social photos.
Get a professional portrait.
Don’t link your social media profile with your LinkedIn pages. It’s best to keep the two profiles separate.
4. No background photo
You can now add a background photo to make your profile stick out. Pick a photo that matches with your brand.
LinkedIn also allows you to upload all sorts of rich media — like documents, photos, links, videos, and presentations — to your profile, and if you don’t take advantage of that you’re missing out.
5. You haven’t put any thought into your profile headline
Be descriptive on your profile!
“If you’re a job seeker and you have an unclear title, nobody will know you’re looking for work,” says an expert.
Describe in detail what you do and very passionate about.
Never, never write “unemployed” — highlight what you’re looking for, instead.
6. You’re not reaching out to people through LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, try finding people who are in a group you share in common.
For example, if you’re a member of a University alumnus, message a fellow member from the same or similar network.
But pick and choose your recipient carefully: You’re only allowed to send 15 messages a month to other group members.
7. You’re not personalizing LinkedIn connection requests
When you connect to someone for the first time on LinkedIn, don’t just use the generic message option, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Take a few moments to write something personalized. It will make the recipient more open to your request and the message feel less like a spam.
Also, never lie about how you know the person. Lying is almost a guaranteed way to kill your chances at connecting.
8. You never bothered to fill out a summary
It is important to fill out the summary portion of your LinkedIn profile if you want to pop up in search results.
Make sure the search terms and key words in your summary are related to the job you’re doing or want to do so as to be easily found by the recruiters and hiring managers.
9. Your Public Profile Setting is not public enough
Any LinkedIn user can see who’s viewed their profile recently, but if you limit your public profile settings, less of your information will be revealed to the person you’ve checked out on LinkedIn.
You won’t see as many details about who’s visiting your profile, either.
If you’ve noticed someone checking out your profile in a field or at a company that interests you, though, it won’t hurt to message them to start a dialogue.
10. You haven’t broken your profile out into sections
Break down your profile into volunteering experiences, organizations you’re part of, honors you’ve received, projects you’ve worked on, and more.
For example, if you’re a recent graduate and your course work is more valuable than any of your previous jobs, drag the “projects” section above the “experience” section.
11. You list “skills” that LinkedIn doesn’t recognize
Make sure your skills are simple, clear, direct, to the point, and correctly spelt to be easily search and recognized by LinkedIn.
Stick to the thousands of skills LinkedIn already has in the system and your profile will pop up more often in search results. You can also allow people to “endorse”.
12. You don’t have (credible) recommendations
It is important to have recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. But not just any old recommendation—it should come from someone who’s reputable and it should speak to your specific qualifications.
Make sure the recommendation someone writes for you isn’t applicable to every other candidate.
Getting these recommendations may require asking for them. Navigate to the “Privacy and Settings” tab, then to “Profile,” and you will see a link for “Manage my recommendations.” That section will prompt you to send a message to a boss or coworker.
13. You’re not posting photos, posts, or work-centric updates
Don’t fill out your profile and then forget about LinkedIn.
Make it a point to post and update once a week. Share an update with your network. Put up a photo of an event that you attended. Comment on someone’s post. You want to show up in the network feed, and the way you show up is by doing those things.
You can solidify yourself as an expert on a topic by publishing posts, too, which often get thousands of views from professionals across LinkedIn.
14. You’re not engaging with your network
Under the “Connections” tab, LinkedIn makes it dead simple to find little ways to connect with people in your network. You can see congratulate someone on a work anniversary, new job, or switching cities.
There’s no excuse to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of maintaining a relationship.
15. You’re not exporting all your contacts
Want to make it easy to take your LinkedIn conversations off the site, or make sure that you’ll still have access to your contacts if you lose access to your account?
You can export all of your contacts into an Excel file with their name, job title, and email.
Go to the main Connections tab, press the gear symbol in the right-hand corner, and then click “Export LinkedIn Connections” under “Advanced Settings.”
16. You’re not taking advantage of the “Find alumni” option
Recently, LinkedIn has really improved the way it lets you find people who went to your university.
You can see all the people who attended your college who studied a certain major or were in your year. You can even search for a specific company, and see all the alumni who worked there. This is great for networking, reconnecting, or planning reunions.
You can use it for a ton, a ton of different purposes. It’s like an in-depth yearbook.
17. You’re not using advanced search tools when hunting for a job
This one may seem a little obvious, but if you use the advanced search tab, you’re much more likely to turn up relevant career opportunities than if you just conduct broad queries.
Instead of just searching by the name of the company or person, you can search by keyword, industry, location, and more. You can also save searches, save jobs you’re interested in, and even apply, right through the site.