LinkedIn is a valuable network for business and you need to have a presence and grow your connections there, because it’s a great tool you can use in your daily work life. But could you be making any of these mistakes on LinkedIn that make you look unprofessional? With a membership of 364 Million worldwide, LinkedIn is the network to be on if you’re a professional, a business owner or a job-seeker. In Ireland, according to the IPSOS MRBI information in May 2015, there are 24% of the population signed up to LinkedIn. It is essential therefore, that you look your best in this group of decision makers and influencers.
#1 Notifying your network of EVERY change to your profile
So, on foot of reading this article, you are motivated to spruce up your LinkedIn profile. You make changes to things you did 15, 10 and 5 years ago and word them for today’s business landscape. Another day you continue the work with your qualifications and training, and yet another day with your profile picture and headline. After about a fortnight of tweaking it to make it the very best that it can be, you proudly pronounce that it is now complete. Sounds like a great job! Right? WRONG!Edit Profile LinkedIn
Every change you’ve made was posted into the Newsfeed of your network and by now they are pretty tired of you! Before you start a process like this (and yes, you should do it!), turn off your notifications to your network. To do this, navigate to Profile and on the right hand column, switch off the notifications.
Remember to turn on your notifications afterwards, so that if you make meaningful changes to your profile, such as a new job or updated qualifications, then your network will see these important career advancements.
#2 Using the default connection request
LinkedIn provides a default text when you ask to connect with someone new. It reads: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” You must not use it. Everyone knows that this is the default text and if you send it, then you haven’t made an effort. Also, some people on LinkedIn may not know how they met you or why they would want to connect with you. So tell them. Give them some context.
Imagine you attended a conference and met someone relevant to your industry today. You’ll go to LinkedIn and find them there. Then send a nice short message with the connection request, which might read something like this:
Hello James, Nice to meet you at the conference yesterday. I’d love to connect with you here.
It takes just a few seconds to do it right!
One difficulty I’ve found is that the Android and iOS LinkedIn apps do not allow you to customise connection requests. This means that you’ll have to do connection requests on desktop or laptop. I hope it’s something which the software developers will remedy over time.
#3 Endorsing people for skills about which you have no experience
Endorsing people for skills on LinkedIn is a positive yet quick way to approve someone’s abilities. This will enhance your relationship with that person, without taking as much time as a recommendation. However, endorsing the skills of someone about whom you know very little and have no experience of a particular skill is a very questionable activity on LinkedIn. How can you endorse someone for a skill if you know nothing about their command of that skill? The fact is, you can’t, nor should you.
You may have read some of my articles here on my website and know enough about me offline to know that I have a good grasp of Online Marketing. It would be fine in this circumstance to endorse me for Online Marketing, Email Marketing and so on. However, endorsing me for something like horticulture or bookkeeping would be sending the wrong signal, because my expertise and experience lies in the Digital Marketing field.
Before endorsing someone for a skill, just ask yourself the question whether you have enough knowledge about their ability in that field before you go ahead. Remember, others will also be looking at who you’ve endorsed and it will have to make sense.
#4 No picture, unprofessional, blurry or out-of-date picture
Your profile picture must firstly be an accurate representation of you. Profiles with no picture are not taken seriously on LinkedIn (just as in other networks) and if you have no picture of yourself included, you’re letting yourself down immensely. When uploading a picture make sure it’s professional, has only one person in the picture (you), and that it’s not blurry or out-of-date. Ladies, have you done a major makeover with your hair recently, gone from blonde to brunette? Now is the time to change your profile picture on LinkedIn so.
People rely on these pictures to remember where they met someone or if they are going to meet someone offline for the first time. Also, your profile picture must not be a business brand or logo; save that for Company Pages on LinkedIn if you decide to have one.
#5 Posting too little (or even not at all)
If you’re not posting updates on LinkedIn or posting too few, well you should ask yourself a couple of questions. Firstly, would you go to a party and say nothing all night? No. Secondly, if you did, would the other guests enjoy your company and invite you to the next party? No, of course not! It’s the same on LinkedIn. Posting interesting updates will add value to your network, get you noticed and enhance your professional image. Not posting any material will make you look inept and unprofessional. There are some great places online that you can curate relevant content appropriate to your sector. profile activilty on linkedin
Incidentally, it’s very easy to find someone’s activity on LinkedIn, just navigate to their profile on desktop, hover over the arrow on the blue button above the fold. A drop-down menu will appear; click ‘view recent activity’. Anyone can perform this search on your profile, but equally, you can perform this search on anyone else’s profile. If you find that the person has not been active here, what will you think?
#6 Vanity URL not claimed
It’s easy to claim your Vanity URL and this will assist vanity url on linkedinin you being found in LinkedIn search but also in universal search. There’s no excuse for not doing it. Navigate to Profile and go to your contact info. You can customise your URL right there if you hover over the gear icon. You’ll be lucky to get your own name at this point unless you have a very unusual name, so you’ll have to get creative here.
#7 Incomplete or out-dated profile information
LinkedIn is designed to give you plenty of space to provide the fullest information possible to promote your personal brand, yet we all see many incomplete or out-of-date profiles around LinkedIn every week. It’s a fantastic free online tool to promote yourself and by extension, the business that you work for. There are opportunities also to put in media such as photos and videos, which spice up your profile and really take it to the next level. There is nothing technical about filling out the profile fully at the very least, it’s as easy as typing in the information. Get some help with the extra media if necessary.
There are many other things you can do to improve your online presence using LinkedIn, and this really matters because it is THE best online professional networking tool there is. If you wish to have the LinkedIn profile that gets you noticed and feel you need help to build it, please do contact me here. Alternatively, feel free connect with me on LinkedIn saying that you’ve read this article.