As a LinkedIn trainer for the past four years I make it a habit to look at member profiles regularly and what pains me is the lack of effort taken in structuring a profile the right way. What’s even more surprising is that LinkedIn has the tools to make it simple and ensure you have an all-star profile.
Why is this important you may ask?
LinkedIn has over 300 million professionals as members and the number is growing exponentially so there’s no question about the value of LinkedIn as an online business networking platform. Members engage on LinkedIn for different purposes. Some look for jobs, others to get promoted, keep in contact with peers or superiors from a previous job…and business owners seek joint venture partners or qualified leads to grow their business.
With more searches than ever being conducted online, someone who searches for your name using a search engine is most likely to see your LinkedIn profile before anything else, even your personal blog or website. As you know, first impressions count.However informative your blog posts or impressive your website, you may find that your poorly structured LinkedIn profile will discourage people from interacting with you further.
Here are some of the common mistakes made when setting up a LinkedIn P.R.O.F.I.L.E. which you must avoid at all costs.
Incomplete and Riddled With Errors
When you submit a business proposal you spend hours ensuring it is complete in all respects and all the facts have been clearly presented so your proposal is considered favourably. You also need to take care that you proof read your document a few times to ensure it is free from spelling mistakes and formatting errors.
Give your LinkedIn profile the respect it deserves. Yes, it takes some effort initially but you will be surprised at the difference it makes to how you are perceived. As you begin to populate all the fields with relevant information, check to see if you have achieved the All-Star profile strength. If not you will need to add content in the appropriate fields until you do.
An All-Star profile is your way of letting viewers know that you are a professional and not a rookie. Another way to look at is that if you can’t be bothered to take the time in setting up your own LinkedIn profile, what can prospective clients or employees expect from you when they engage your services, buy your products or hire you for a job?
An Excessively Long Summary Written in Third Person
Remember the operative word is “Summary”, so make sure you don’t tell your career story or turn the summary into a sales pitch. When someone views your summary the question they have in mind is, “Can this person help me in some way and is the person qualified to gain my trust?” Fail to answer these questions and there’s little chance they will read further.
Write your summary in first person as if you were speaking to a group of people as I am doing in this article. Follow the formula –State the problem your clients have – How your product or service helpssolve the problem. This will arouse their curiosity and interest, prompting them to read further. Once again I want to emphasize that your summary is not the place where you list your achievements. While they may be self-serving, your visitors want to know, “What’s in it for me if I connect with this individual?”
Feel free to check out my summary and use it as a template to prepare your summary.
Headline Lacking Niche-Related Keywords
With millions of searches being conducted online, what chance do you have of being found on LinkedIn if your headline is not optimized for the right keywords. As the headline directly linked to LinkedIn’s search feature,people will find you based on the keywords they enter. If the keywords they are using in their search appear in your headline, you are likely to be listed at the top of their search results.
It’s also important to use an attention grabbing headline which arouses the curiosity of the reader. This will compel them to find out more about you. The attention span of people is extremely limited and a headline which appears timid will be passed over quickly and you could lose out on a potentially rewarding relationship.
Gaps in Your Work History
Make sure your work history is complete. A casual viewer may not pay attention to your work history, but anyone who is serious about checking you out will wonder why you have gaps and may find this suspicious. Trust is the new currency in the world of business and completing your work history adds to your trust factor.
People who look at your work history look for your accomplishments, so list the top four or five of your important accomplishments for each of your jobs. The organisations you worked for may be important, but your accomplishments are more important to the reader than where you have worked.
Absence or an Unprofessional Photo
I’m amazed to see LinkedIn profiles without a photo or a photo taken in casual attire. Business networking events are not masked ball parties, so why would you want to hide your face on LinkedIn? Also, photos taken in a casual attire reflect your attitude. If you want treat LinkedIn as a casual networking platform, don’t expect others to take you seriously.
When taking your LinkedIn photograph dress as if you were going for a business meeting or attending an interview. . While you don’t need to invest in a professional photo shoot, ensure the area has adequate lighting and there aren’t any distracting elements in the background. This may come as a surprise to you but I have seen lamp posts, a corner of a bed and even clothes hanging in a wardrobe as the backdrop.
Your Business Network Connections
If you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while but have less than 100 connections you really cannot expect to be taken seriously as you will come across as a beginner. Your connections act as social proof. People who want to connect with you will wonder why others have not connected with you and whether they will get any value by connecting with you.
While you don’t need to connect with everyone who sends you a request, the quickest way to build your connections is to invite your peers, superiors, employees, joint venture partners, clients, suppliers and anyone else you may feel can provide you with value.
Your Endorsements and Recommendations
Endorsements and Recommendations from your existing connections are the fastest way to establish credibility on LinkedIn and assure those checking your profile that you deliver on your promises. LinkedIn encourages you to ask for recommendations, so feel free to ask for recommendations using LinkedIn’s messaging service. Request your connections to write about your achievements in different areas such as skills, customer service, speed of delivery and specific results achieved. You never know what others are looking for so it’s a good idea to have all your bases covered in your recommendations.
LinkedIn can give you the leverage you need to grow your business or advance your career, however a poorly constructed profile can hurt you severely. When you create your profile ask yourself if the WOW Factor comes across. If not revisit the areas that need attention and fine-tune your profile until you are satisfied.
A poorly constructed LinkedIn profile tells other members that you are a rookie, aren’t confident of your abilities, have a poor knowledge of social media or aren’t serious
about networking. The opportunity to benefit from LinkedIn lies before you, the question is will you make the best use of it?
Whether you are new to LinkedIn or have not been getting the results you expect despite being a regular user with a number of followers, without the right guidance you will soon feel frustrated and give up.
As any doctor will tell you self-medication can often be harmful and despite copious medical advice available on the internet, you still visit a doctor don’t you? It’s the same with LinkedIn. After innumerable requests from business owners and individuals who want to take the next step to using LinkedIn to grow their business but are unable to afford the time to spend a whole day at a course, I have designed an online step-by-step program which covers every angle.
This is the same coaching my consulting clients pay $5,000 and more for. However I am now condensed this into an online coaching program with full support for 12 months. To make the program affordable, I am offering 12 monthly payments and a 100% money back guarantee. Now you really have no excuse to master LinkedIn and use it to become a leader in your niche.Click here to watch a free recorded webinar.