We all want that perfect LinkedIn profile that will woo potential recruiters and employers. But just how do we keep our professional social media life separate enough from our personal one and how do we come across as professional in order to make great connections and possibly even land our dream job?
Here are 7 of the most common mistakes professionals make on their LinkedIn profiles--mistakes that could cost them the job of their dreams.
1. Not uploading a picture
On LinkedIn, most users won't even give you the time of day, much less connect, if you don't have a photo of yourself--a professional headshot is worth paying for. It is a common thought among LinkedIn users that either the user is too lazy, unprofessional, or that something must be wrong with the user when an image is missing. Also, add a profile background, similar to Twitter's background picture, choosing a picture that is relevant and professional.
2. Not connecting with the right people
Sometimes it's easy to feel shy about connecting with past employers on LinkedIn--but that's a huge mistake. You should absolutely be forging and maintaining these valuable connections. Connect with those you have had a good working relationship with and those who can connect you with other like-minded individuals in your field of work. When connecting with others, do not use the generic LinkedIn connection message--create your own personal message each time.
3. Not adding a summary
There is a lot of debate in the LinkedIn world as to whether or not to include a summary. Although it can be argued that your summary could make or break your chances, I firmly believe that a well thought out summary--short, concise and to the point--is a must. Write something personal about yourself pointing out your greatest strengths and passions--entice the reader to look further down the page into your current and past experience.
4. Excessive profile viewing
One of the cool things about LinkedIn is that when someone views your profile, you can see who it is. This becomes completely un-cool if you are viewing the same profile multiple times a week--a recruiter or manager for the company you really want to work for. If you are actively searching for a new job, go into your settings and block your smiling face and information from any profiles you are viewing. Once you land that new job, it is important to unblock this setting so your connections can see you are looking and interested.
5. Not socializing enough
Many people would never think of LinkedIn as a site to lurk on, but lurking can actually be a valuable course of action. Joining groups who share your same interests can alert you to new job openings or potential opportunities you otherwise wouldn't hear about. The whole point of LinkedIn is to make connections that could possibly advance your career--get out there and build your network. Don't cold-connect someone because you want to work for their company. Network and get to know people first, join groups and be an active member before you approach anyone about a possible position.
6. Unprofessional posts
LinkedIn is a hotspot for connecting with professionals and organizations, and perhaps finding your next job. It is not a place to post your latest family photo or a silly cat picture with a funny meme--keep unprofessional posts for other social media venues. And, LinkedIn is also not the place to write columns or place advertisements plugging your business--wrong platform and makes you look very unprofessional. Along the same lines, if you comment on someone else's post, keep it professional. Too many blunders here can burn many bridges.
7. Outsourcing your LinkedIn profile
I get it, you're super busy, but outsourcing your LinkedIn profile is not a good idea. Yes, it gets your profile up quick, but you need to know how to update your own profile--which you will need to do often. You will also want the knowledge and the flexibility to respond to others quickly--so unprofessional not to. And, when making connections, these should come from you personally not someone else. Want your LinkedIn profile to look as professional as possible? Before you launch your profile, search other professional's profiles for some great ideas.