LinkedIn has been around for more than ten years, and it is still ripe with opportunity for professionals in any industry: science, financial services, engineering and education. However, Scientifically Speaking Tech Ambassadors see dozens of LinkedIn mistakes people make in their profile and approach to building their network. Even more than having a strong resume (remember those), the LinkedIn profile is critical to professional success.
The Scientifically Speaking team takes some social media knowledge for granted. We presume everyone knows how to build and maintain a LinkedIn presence. It is an online persona controllable by the user. Coding is not required, but professionals must take an active role in owning their profile and preventing those “simple” LinkedIn mistakes that can cost them a job, a sale or a promotion. Here are five things to watch out for:
- No Picture – Every business should have an annual Headshot Day. The company owner should spend $100 – $200 on a professional photographer to take pictures of her employees for LinkedIn and the company website. If the boss won’t pay for it, do it yourself. Selfies and couples photos don’t count (even your ex-boyfriend is cropped out). Dress for the occasion in a suit or dress. Smile to show trustworthiness and a friendly nature (even if you are not friendly). The picture is the first impression people will have of you.
- Leaving Summary Blank – Most of my clients are financial professionals, and a lot of them leave their Summary blank. When I ask them why they respond, “I didn’t know what to put.” This is your elevator pitch. Tell viewers who you are and how you help them. Use bullet points to make it short (and compliance approved). This is the first thing people will read about you, so you have to make it count. Get creative by including PDFs or PowerPoints of important presentations.
- No Employment – Most of my clients’ profiles have their jobs listed, but they only list the job. This is the place to list awards you’ve won (e.g. – Presidential Sales Champion 2012 – 2017) and major accomplishments. Describe your leaderships roles and responsibilities. If you were in sales, describe your territory and the type of clients on which you called. Educators describe the classes they taught. Engineering and managers include major projects and the results of their work (e.g. – completed on time and under budget).
- Misspelled Words – When your profile is complete, ask someone you trust to look it over. Don’t rely solely on spellcheck to find the errors. These LinkedIn mistakes are easy to resolve. In addition to misspelled words, look out for grammatical errors. Describe your accomplishments in the first person (e.g. – “I”). When people write in the third person it sounds as if someone else wrote their profile for them.
- Doing Nothing – The LinkedIn profile should be an active, living document, and completing it is just the beginning. Update your picture every year. When a job change occurs, change it on the LinkedIn profile. Several people join LinkedIn because a co-worker or boss told them they should. Then they didn’t do anything with it. Don’t just join groups, participate in them. Establish and maintain connections with messages.
LinkedIn offers Premium services to benefit sales professionals and human resource partners. Before investing in these tools, make sure to avoid the common LinkedIn mistakes made by a lot of people. If you’d like a review of your profile with industry specific suggestions, please let us know. Our Technology Ambassadors would love to help.
Scientifically Speaking, of course…