Over the past several years, LinkedIn has become the go-to place for people in all stages of their careers to establish themselves. And it's because LinkedIn has become the go-to place for both job seekers and those who are looking to hire talented new employees that it's now particularly important to get your profile right. Make a mistake, and you will quickly find out that you may have hurt your chances to get the job of your dreams.
Here are the biggest LinkedIn mistakes you can make, and some advice on how you can avoid them.
1. Poor grammar and misspelled words.
You won't impress anyone if your LinkedIn profile is full of grammar and spelling mistakes. Have a trusted friend review your profile before it goes live.
2. Using an offbeat photo (or no photo at all).
If you're serious about using LinkedIn as a tool to advance your career, please don't use a photo of you with your dog or cat as your profile photo, and no weird hats, swimsuits, or other inappropriate garb. Consider having a professional photographer take a high-quality head shot for you to use on LinkedIn, Twitter, and your business website.
3. No (or few) recommendations.
If you've done a good job for someone, then be sure to ask for a written recommendation on LinkedIn. You'll improve your networking opportunities as a result.
4. Stalking certain people--over and over again.
You do know that people can see when you've viewed their profile, right? Avoid repeated viewing of the same profile in a short period of time--it makes you look like a stalker.
5. Not participating in groups.
You are allowed by LinkedIn to participate in up to 50 groups, so get out there and find some groups that are related to your career interests and education. If you're an accountant who went to college at NYU, then seek out, join, and then participate actively in related groups.
6. "Collecting" connections.
Some people go crazy trying to collect connections with all sorts of people, whether or not they have anything in common. Be strategic about who you choose to connect with--you don't need thousands of connections, just the right ones.
7. Including high school jobs.
Sorry, but unless you were busy inventing Google or Uber while in high school, no one cares what you did while you were there.
8. Using the standard connection invitation text.
Instead of using the standard text when you send out an invitation for a new connection ("I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn"), tailor the message to the recipient. Not only will you increase your chances of connecting, but you will also provide the person with a reason to network with you in the future.
9. You have a vague job title.
Instead using generic job titles like "Free Agent" or "Marketing," use a title that is stronger and more descriptive, such as "Independent Graphics Artist" or "Senior VP Marketing."
10. Including your religious beliefs.
Just as it's not a good idea to include your religion on your resume unless you're applying for a job where that is a consideration or requirement for hiring, it's not a good idea to include your religious beliefs in your LinkedIn profile.
11. Failing to update your profile regularly.
Some LinkedIn profiles are incredibly out of date, and therefore of limited use to anyone who might want to network. Keep your profile neat and tidy--and up to date.