Your friends and colleagues keep insisting that you should join LinkedIn, and you have finally bowed down to pressure and put together a profile. However, three or four months down the line, you are yet to get a client, or at the very least one inquiry from a potential client.
Your job applications keep getting ignored, your request connections have been pending for four months, and your cold pitches remain unopened. There must be something you are not doing right, and the answer lies on your profile. Here are the top LinkedIn profile mistakes that you should stop making.
Before making all changes to your profile below, make sure you don’t keep a vital part of your profile hidden, either on LinkedIn or search engines. Check out this article to unhide your profile.
- Failure to request a recommendation
Social proof is the latest trend in marketing that customers and recruiters are relying upon to make informed decisions.
LinkedIn recommendations are compared to your references requested in job hiring.
These referrals provide your network with first-hand information regarding your skills and experiences. Further, by giving you a referral, your network is not only attesting to your skills but making the world know how you made them feel. How did you make them feel? Delighted, helped, appreciated, or relived?
This is the power of recommendations. If you are in the service industry and seek to grow your leads, strive to ask for referrals from all clients you have worked with.
However, ensure that you invest in the relationship before asking for a recommendation. Don’t push your clients to refer your services, but give them a reason to. Some tips to help you get the best recommendations on LinkedIn to include:
- Request your network to be specific about your experience. Talk about how you met, which projects you worked on together, what companies you worked at, and what you achieved.
- Don’t push your network to write you a recommendation. Invest in the relationship first, and only ask for a recommendation when you feel the other party is ready to write you a recommendation.
- Provide your network with a template. The template makes it easier for them to write the recommendation which meets your objectives.
- Give recommendations frequently. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, so recommend your network whenever you can.
2- Not having a professional profile photo
A professional photo not only improves your LinkedIn profile to 100%, but it also gives you credibility. With more than 750 million users on LinkedIn, you want your profile to be unique and represent your brand, and having a warm, professional photo enables you to achieve that objective.
Earning the trust of your followers and potential followers should be your priority on LinkedIn, and you can achieve this if you have a warm, friendly profile photo.
Here are some tips to ensure your profile photo is outstanding:
- Ensure that you display your photo as your profile picture. Using your company logo, pet photo, or random image downloaded from the internet hurts your brand.
- Wear a casual, warm, and professional smile. Your aim on LinkedIn is to attract potential clients or employers, not scare them away. Thus, be warm, happy, and approachable. Your photo should make it easy for people to talk to you.
- Wear something professional, or anything you would wear to the office or a client’s meeting. How you dress reflects your brand, thus ensuring you are representing your brand well.
- Have a clear background and minimize distractions on the photo. Using a group photo is a big no, and so is cropping other people from a photo. Ensure the lighting, background colors, and settings are professional.
- Use a recent photo, not your high school photo. This implies you must change your profile photo frequently or have a different photo every two years or so. The aim is when you meet with a client, they should not struggle to recognize you in a room.
- Take a headshot, not a photo of your entire body. There is a reason why staff cards contain a headshot of the staff’s faces only, and the reason is to maintain clarity and minimize distraction. Being a professional network, LinkedIn adheres to the same standards, hence requirements for a headshot as a profile picture.
- Familiarize with LinkedIn profile picture requirements, like the size, design, and actual photo. LinkedIn has a strict policy regarding profile picture requirements, hence read to ensure your profile doesn’t get flagged as inappropriate.
- What are you using as your background photo? Or do you have one?
If you are like 90% of LinkedIn users who use LinkedIn’s blue gradient background photo, you are doing an injustice to your overall profile. The LinkedIn background photo, like the profile picture, should show your interests, hobbies, social proof, or personality. Having a wrong background photo, or not having a background photo, is a lost opportunity for you to create a first impression. Your background should reinforce your personality and support all the written aspects of your profile. Some ideas for a great background photo include:
- Using your office or workspace. Other than showing your professionalism, a workspace gives a clean, reserved, and respectful vibe.
- Use your city or exciting landscapes in your country of residence. Other than telling your network your locality, a background of your city allows you to fantastic landscape, nature, or topography of your locality.
- Use a group photo with your employees or customers. If you want potential customers to get a sneak peek into how you treat your customers, using a photo taken with customers is a great way to express that.
- Use a photo that shows your cause or mission. What do you stand for? Are you an activist? Or an environmentalist or someone who stands for women’s rights? Whatever you stand for, show it on your profile.
- Use a photo displaying your tools of the trade. What do you use in your daily activities? Showing your tools of trade shows your passion and commitment to your art.
Your professional headline is not unique and customized
What is a LinkedIn headline? Your LinkedIn headline can be compared to a title of an article. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself to your audience in 120 characters or less. This is the first thing that visitors notice when they click on your profile. As per LinkedIn requirements, the headline should tell the world who you are and what you do using the shortest words possible. The mistake most LinkedIn profile users make is using your job title as your headline. A profile like “Accountant at XYZ” cannot entice anyone to read through your profile.
While writing your headline, you must emphasize your keywords. Your keywords should contain three words; what you do, your target, and how you add value to your target. If you are an accountant, communicate your value proposition to your target using the headline. Mention how your skills and abilities as an SEO marketer can help your target clients improve their operations.
Other tips for creating an impressive headline include:
- Ensure you use a job title that is customized to your target audience. If you are a sales representative in an insurance company looking to get clients through LinkedIn, use a title that prospects understand easily. Avoid complicated titles like ‘target growth officer,’ ‘research innovation lead,’ and others.
- Communicate your value proposition. For instance, if you are a sales representative looking to network with an IT professional, use terms like ‘sales consultant enabling IT professional to deliver services to clients anywhere and at any time.
- Use prospects language. Avoid creating a headline using technical jargon that ordinary people will struggle to understand. Who are your target prospects, beginners, intermediate, or experts? After knowing your target’s understanding level, you can choose the appropriate language to use on your headline.
- Avoid using hyperboles. These are terms that exaggerate your experience or competency. Terms like an expert, best, outstanding, or superior is a turn-off to potential clients. If you won’t use such words in regular conversations, why are you using them on your headline? Strive to use objective words that communicate your skills and abilities without exaggerating your abilities.
You are writing your summary in the third person
LinkedIn summary like the LinkedIn headline is an opportunity to speak about your skills, professional interests, and experience in 2000 words or less.
This is a summary of your professional background. IT’s the place you sell yourself.
Remember, no one has time to read 2000 words to know about your knowledge, skills, or abilities. Use the first few sentences to entice readers to the rest of your background. Use first-person and write objectively. The first two sentences should tell your reader who you are, what makes you stand out, and what you are looking for in a reader. Some tips for creating an impressive summary include:
- Draft an outline before writing. The outline should contain a hook or strong introduction paragraph, your vision and mission, your expertise & key accomplishment, and a call to action.
- Start with an excellent hook or strong introduction paragraph. Remember, out of the 2000 words, LinkedIn displays the first two sentences only. Viewers can read the rest of the profile by clicking on the profile.
- Tie your summary to your mission. It is not enough to tell your network what you do and say why to do it. For instance, if you are a program officer working with clients to enhance environmentally sustainable programs, talk to your network about why a green environment or sustainable development is essential to you. Talk about your inspiration, what you hope to achieve, and how your actions can improve humanity.
- Use your summary to call out your strengths in what you do and how these strengths can help your potential clients or employers. Saying that you are a salesperson with five years’ experience is not enough. You must demonstrate what you have achieved in the five years you have been working in the automotive industry as a salesperson.
- Use data to demonstrate your achievement. If you have enabled clients to double or triple their conversion rate, mention that in your summary.
- Remember, add relevant skills and experiences to this section. If you are looking for opportunities in marketing, only include skills that a recruiting manager hiring a marketer would be interested in. In terms of skills, outline the relevant skills that can make you stand out on LinkedIn.
Failure to describe your job experience
Remember, LinkedIn is not your resume. Hence you need to describe your past job experience with the target audience in mind. When you list your job experience, you are missing the opportunity to tell a potential client why you are the right person for the job. Use relevant keywords while describing your experience, be objective while avoiding hyperbole or exaggeration. Ensure that all your more essential accomplishments are listed as part of the job experience description.
Further, use relevant keywords that can make your profile more discoverable. If you are a fresh graduate, your volunteer experience and internship are your best tools to notice potential employees. For experienced employees, use industry-relevant terms to demonstrate your competency without writing a profile full of jargon.
Your LinkedIn profile is the gateway to your LinkedIn interaction. By creating a unique, interesting, factual, and complete profile, you demonstrate to your network that you are worth the opportunity and are capable of meeting their expectation.