LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool when used properly. I’ve helped recruit from the platform and I’ve been approached on the site as well. The biggest limitation LinkedIn has is its users. In our world so saturated with social networks, it’s understandable how one can mix up the purpose of each, or just enable a service that shares across all your accounts with an easy click. But, in the case of the professional networking site, you could actually be doing yourself a huge disservice. Here are the three biggest mistakes I see with profiles every day on LinkedIn.
The Wrong Type of Profile Picture
We all have people like this in our networks. They’re holding a glass of win. They’ve brutally cropped a shot of them mountain-climbing looking disheveled. Flat out, they aren’t depicted in the best light (oh! poor lighting!). Somehow however, they think this is the first impression they want to give to their professional connections. If you’re going to upload a profile picture to LinkedIn, and keep in mind it’s not mandatory, try to make it professional, or relevant to the line of work you’re in. If you’re an outdoor life blogger, maybe the mountain climbing picture isn’t so ill-advised. But if you’re an accountant, you probably don’t want that bathroom selfie from Saturday night headlining your profile.
Why would I care?
If you’ve got a red solo cup in your profile picture, it’s a little harder for a business to picture you as their ideal candidate. Having headshots better tagged as #selfies on Instagram will lower the amount of people clicking through to your profile, which in turn will lower the ones who reach out to you via InMail.
Sharing the wrong content
What makes a good LinkedIn update? It depends entirely on your craft. That being said, there’s probably not a lot of content from sites like Buzzfeed that should be on LinkedIn. The 19 Best Miley Cyrus hairstyles for example has little relevance, yet found its way onto my LinkedIn feed. Numerous times. Share the content that you want people to engage with and associate you with (again, not making a great case for Miley). Along the same lines, pictures of your kids and cats falling down are great for social media in broad terms, but it may not be the type of update you want the HR specialist from a prospective employer to stumble upon when they do their due diligence.
Why would I care?
Sharing the wrong type of content dilutes your personal brand. Sharing these too often causes people to unsubscribe from your updates, or worse, remove you from their networks. More obviously, out of place content will suffer with low impression numbers and even lower CTRs (click through rates).
Discrepancies between your LI and your CV
What amazes me most when I speak at the University of Toronto is how different a student’s CV is from their LinkedIn profile. Did you take a guess at one when you were 15 and only bother to keep the formal document up to date? Because often, that’s how it reads. Many people proudly feature achievements and brands they’ve worked with on their resume, but they are nowhere to be found on their LinkedIn profile. One step further, the dates of their employment don’t add up. In a world where this is considered your digital CV, what are employers to make of this discrepancy? It could lead to doubting you which is the complete opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Why would I care?
Discrepancies between your CV and your LI profile could bring about questions about your true experience or integrity. This is the complete opposite of the experience you want users to have once they’ve landed on your page. Though no metrics will likely suffer (profile views, link clicks, etc), your application may certainly. Take an hour and sit with your CV to ensure that the two line up and provide reasoning for any gaps so you can talk to it if ever asked during a more formal conversation.
They may seem basic, but I challenge you to scroll through the last hour’s updates on your LinkedIn feed and not find one. If you’ve succeeded, congratulations! Your connections are far more savvy than mine. Perhaps though, when you can’t find that guy on your list, it could be you. For a CV win, check your LinkedIn.