Are you on LinkedIn? The answer is most probably yes. If you are not, sign up and create a profile as soon as you can. It doesn’t matter whether you are a career veteran who is happy with your job or a college student looking for internships, the professional social network is a priceless tool for your career in different ways, but only if you use it correctly.
It is a social platform where you can connect with your potential employees and employers, keep up with your competitors and stay up-to-date with your industry trends. Nevertheless, you could do more harm than any good if all you are doing is fill out your job title and invite everyone you stumble upon. Instead, what you have to do is to fill out your profile with important information about you and make meaningful connections that might help you in your career and/or your next potential career move, and actively participating in discussions and groups.
Not Writing Your Own Summary
This is LinkedIn 101. Always write your own summary. While you can utilize a template from another profile you like, do not ask somebody else to write it for you. This is a cardinal mistake that you will commit, as that summary will not be the story of you. Write down things you want your connections to hear about you. That is what they want to read.
Having a Bad Photo or None at all
A profile with a picture gets more views than one without a picture. Another reason to put up a picture is that somebody might have met with you at an event and had decided to connect with you on LinkedIn. It may be hard for them to connect with you if you do not have a picture, especially if your name is common. An equally bad mistake is to post a bad picture of yourself or an unprofessional one. Examples of bad pictures are the ones you have taken with the help of a webcam while sitting at your computer, at a party, or one where you have cropped someone to single you out. Invest in a professional picture.
Sending Generic Invitations
LinkedIn is about professional networking, i.e. to connect with colleagues, ex-colleagues, fellow alumni from school and colleges, people you know from your industry, and most importantly, potential clients. Your first impression is the invitation. So, give them a reason to connect and never use LinkedIn’s generic invitation language and write your own for each invitation you send.
Using LinkedIn like Facebook
Your professional network does not care what you had for dinner or where you visited for your vacation. This is easily one of the biggest mistakes you will commit on LinkedIn. If you are going to post something, make sure it is relevant to your profession or industry and be professional.
Not Updating your Profile Enough
Always keep your profile active by posting things that are relevant to your industry and profession, as discussed in the previous point. Otherwise, if you update your profile only when you are looking for a new job or opportunity, this will send the message to your colleagues and your boss that you are looking for a job and this might affect you at your workplace. Keeping your profile active will help blend everything it would not look out of the ordinary when you are job hunting.
Your resumé and your LinkedIn must tell the same story of your career and shouldn’t be inconsistent. Brenda Collards-Mills, Owner of Robust Resumes and Resources says it is all about consistency when building and relaying your personal brand. She further adds that she comes across resumés and LinkedIn profiles that do not match in terms of employer names, job titles, and employment dates, all too often. They leave the interviewer with more questions than answers.