So you’ve followed all the steps to set up your account on LinkedIn and think you’re done… but now what?
Do you check it only every once in a while when a connection request comes through? Do you only update it via your Twitter account? Did you start setting it up and forget to complete your profile fully?
It’s worth a reminder that LinkedIn has a special designation: professional networking.
… And like any network, it takes time and effort to get maximum results. You wouldn’t just turn up to a networking breakfast and stand in the corner not talking to anyone now would you? (perhaps if it’s one of those breakfasts that starts at 5am, then I’ll cut you some slack)
Whether you are looking for a new job, wanting to network in the one you have already, or want to develop your personal brand, these make sure you avoid these common mistakes:
1. Not uploading a picture – did you know? You are 7 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a picture, plus if you meet people at a networking event and want to add them on LinkedIn (or them have you) it’s much harder to identigy they are the correct ‘John Smith’ if you have a picture.
2. Putting up the wrong picture – As cute as your little kitten is and as lovely as you think your holiday in Ibiza was, don’t choose a picture which will give the wrong impression. If you are looking for a job in accounting, using a picture of yourself out on a lads night out, drunk will not get you that job. Similarly don’t choose a picture that was taken 1o years ago, a prospective employer may feel you are trying to deceive them if you turn up for interview looking much older than your picture! Choose a picture which conveys your professionalism and integrity.
3. Not posting a status – this is the ideal place to update your connections with your professional achievements and accomplishments, use it to showcase what you are doing at work which demonstrated that you are active and engaged.
4. Forgetting the privacy settings – if you are currently in employment but are looking for a new job, your boss may get a bit suspicious if you suddenly update your CV, connect with lots of employers and change your profile – use the privacy settings to ensure certain people can’t see your changes.
5. Using the default connection request – don’t be lazy, try and remember where you met someone, what projects you worked on together, how you know them rather than the default, impersonal connection requests. If it’s someone you haven’t met before, make sure you research them and write a tailored message so that your request gets you noticed.
6. Forgetting to write and update your summary – your summary is the perfect place to tell people what you goals and objectives are, are you looking for job prospects? Connections to further you in your current position? Potential client acquisition? Whatever your reason for using LinkedIn, let your connections know about it and showcase your skills and personality.
7. Blank gaps in your career – like with a CV, don’t eliminate previous jobs or positions from your previous work. Gaps in employment look suspicious. If you volunteered for a year after uni, say so, and details the skills you gained from this position. If you worked in a shop on a Saturday in high, say so, the skills you learned may not be relevant to the job you are applying for today, but early work demonstrates a good work ethic and ambition.
8. Joining LinkedIn but doing nothing with it – Like with all social media, if you don’t have time to update it, don’t be on there at all. Having a profile which is half complete and not regularly updated can give the impression that you can’t be bothered. You are also unlikely to get any benefits from it if you don’t use it regularly so set some time aside every few days to join groups, connect with people and update your status.