LinkedIn Mistakes: 4 Small Things That Will Kill Your Chances

Linkedin mistakesLinkedIn is fast replacing the traditional resume as the main tool used to impress hiring managers. In fact, recruiters are skipping the job boards and proactively searching on LinkedIn for passive candidates (aka, people who they think would fit the job they need to fill).

Which means your LinkedIn profile needs to make an excellent first impression -- or you could be screened out for a fabulous new job and never even know it. The following are common mistakes many people make unknowingly. See if you are guilty of one or more of the following:

1. Not using a profile picture.

A recent study of people viewing LinkedIn profiles revealed that the picture gets a lot of attention. In fact, an eye tracking heatmap shows that recruiters spend 19 percent of the total time they spend on your profile looking at your picture. According to career expert, Miriam Salpeter, "not having a photo on your LinkedIn profile will make others assume that you're either "really ugly" or "don't know how to upload a picture."

2. Including a summary that is way too long.

A summary is supposed to be short and relevant. Unfortunately, many novice users of LinkedIn see it as a chance to tell their professional life story in an epic novel format. In dating, it's advised that you keep some information to yourself on the first date to avoid scaring off a new potential partner. Well, the same applies on LinkedIn. Your goal isn't to overwhelm the recruiter with every last detail, but rather, to entice them with a high-impact, quantifiable, and most importantly, condensed overview of your career success highlights.

3. Writing in the third person.

Unless you are a mega rap star or pro sports player who prides themselves on talking in the third person during media interviews, then stay clear of writing your LinkedIn profile in this manner. It's common knowledge that you own the profile, and therefore, wrote it. So, when you say, "Bill Jones has spent the last 15+ years as the director of widgets..." you sound full of yourself. While some LinkedIn experts will tell you using your name repeatedly will get your profile ranked higher in recruiter searches, I'll tell you writing a profile in that format may guarantee it will be read -- but it also ensures you won't get contacted for a job.

4. Providing incomplete profile information.

The day you decide to put yourself on LinkedIn is also the day that you should commit to getting your profile completed. Failing to complete the profile sends one of the following messages:
  • I think I'm too cool to be on LinkedIn, but I put my profile up just in case somebody really important wants to find me.
  • I am not technology-savvy and gave up finishing the profile because it took two hours just to figure out how to put my picture up.
  • I'm too busy with my current job and don't have time to network with anyone, so don't try to connect with me here. Especially, if you need to contact me about something important.

When it comes to social media, my mantra is, "Brand or BE branded." You must take control of your LinkedIn profile messaging by completing all the necessary fields and getting the required recommendations.

As you can see above, lack of messaging, too much messaging, and even the wrong voice for your messaging can have negative consequences. Don't risk missing out on career opportunities because you didn't invest some time in optimizing your LinkedIn profile. The two hours you spend getting it updated could pay off in the future -- and you'll never know unless you do it.

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