The Costly LinkedIn Mistakes You May Be Making

The Costly LinkedIn Mistakes You May Be Making

If you’re seeking a new job or are open to opportunities, you can’t afford not to use LinkedIn as one of your most important tools. A huge 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent, vet applicants and fill roles. In similar research, 77% of people said that LinkedIn is a critical step in researching companies, positions and employees before deciding whether to put an application together. It’s clear that the platform is a powerful tool if you use it right.

Unfortunately, in an age of casual social media, it can be easy to fall into habits that do you a disservice on the network. This can reflect badly, not only on you and your personal brand, but on your company as well. In an era where any prospective employer will check your LinkedIn presence as part of the vetting process, it’s imperative that you get it right first time.

Here are 6 mistakes to avoid when using LinkedIn so that you can put your best virtual foot forward.

1. You have no profile photo or your photo is unprofessional

A great profile shot is your way to make a positive first impression. If you have no profile photo, you’ll be forgettable at best. Likewise, a casual selfie or photo of yourself partying are options to be avoided.

Think of LinkedIn as the first step in a job interview, and present yourself accordingly with a business-appropriate profile photo. Make an investment in your personal brand and find a photographer who’ll take a great profile shot for you to use. It’s not expensive, and it will pay dividends in helping you appear polished and professional.

2. Stalking irresponsibly and not following up opportunities

By default, LinkedIn users can see who’s viewed their profile. There is the option to limit public profile settings, but the trade-off is that you won’t be able to see who has viewed your profile either. These insights can be super valuable, so being public is a plus – just stalk responsibly. If you’re job seeking and looking at the same person’s profile 21 times a week, you should probably reconsider your approach.

Importantly, if you’ve noticed someone checking out your profile from a field or company that interests you, message them to start a dialogue!

And while it shouldn’t need to be added, LinkedIn is not a dating site. Resist the urge to send a message with compliments and offers of a date – nothing is more damaging to your brand than a display of boundary issues.

3. You list skills that LinkedIn doesn’t recognise

Adding a bunch of skills to your profile is a good way to easily flaunt your chops and make yourself more searchable. But if you write something obscure that LinkedIn doesn’t recognise, it won’t do you much good. When you start typing a skill on your LinkedIn profile, make sure it appears in the drop-down menu. If it doesn’t, it may not be a frequently searched item, which won’t help your profile get noticed by recruiters. Stick to the thousands of skills LinkedIn already has in the system and your profile will pop up more often in search results. Make sure you also enable and prompt people to endorse you for these skills.

4. Collecting random connections

LinkedIn is about quality more so than quantity. Your network can help you to build valuable professional relationships that can be leveraged into career opportunities. So focus on honing strong connections by crafting personalised connection requests that remind someone how they know you, or why they should e-meet you.

While accepting requests from people you don’t know could prove to be useful one day, we recommend a refrained approach. If they don’t work in a related industry or role, did not attend the same university or have bare profiles, consider if they will add value to your network.

5. Not leveraging industry groups

LinkedIn isn’t as chatty as other social media networks, nor should it be approached the same way. But that doesn’t mean that you should put up a profile and leave it at that. There are plenty of groups on LinkedIn that offer excellent networking opportunities. Search for a local business group, alumni group or industry discussion group. You can also see what groups your networks are part of, which may offer an excellent introduction.

6. Pitching all the time

Think of LinkedIn as a networking event. You wouldn’t walk into a conference shouting about your products or services, or respond to introductions by burying someone in flyers. The same applies here. Think about the art of relationship building and ease back on the sales throttle. Share useful articles, comment on other peoples’ achievements and join conversations in industry groups. People will think better of you if you show them your expertise through your actions, rather than telling them how great you are.

LinkedIn is not a numbers game. Taking the time and care to build meaningful business relationships can lead to powerful career opportunities. Do you have any LinkedIn mistakes to add to our list?

This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: The Guardian, The Muse, Huffington Post, Fast CompanyMarket Watch and CIO.

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