LinkedIn Profile Tips: The 10 Mistakes You Want to Avoid and Why


LinkedIn is the place to not only find others but also to be found.  And that is why you need a profile that not only helps you get found but also will entice people to contact you once they view your profile.  I see many people making fundamental mistakes that actually work against them in this aspect.  If you’re going to spend time putting together a profile, I assume you want to maximise your chances of being contacted by the right people, right?

With that in mind, I have created an easy-to-understand list of a few things to check for with my reasoning.  If it sounds like an exercise in search engine optimisation, you are on the right path.  Just like any website owner, you want to stick out and be found!

1. Not Displaying Your Personal Photo

If you want credibility you must have a personal photo. As always first impressions count, choose carefully the image you want to portray. Far too often I see holiday shots, with a glass in hand, avoid this at all costs and remember this is a professional networking site. There are too many fake profiles on linkedin so you want to show that you are real.  If you have taken the time to complete your online presence on the social networking platform, why wouldn’t you display your photo?  It just raises too many potential questions.  And company logos or photos of pets obviously have no value here

2. Headline is Not Branded Enough

See that space underneath your name?  That is your “Professional” or Profile Headline.  It will appear in search results next to your name, as well as next to any questions you ask or answer.  It is, in essence, your elevator speech in a few words.  Are you just putting your title and company name here?  Don’t!  This is the place where you need to appeal to anyone who finds you in a search result to reach out and look at who you are.  Your Profile Headline is the single most important piece of real estate you have, and you need to brand yourself with key words relevant to roles you want.

3. Status Update is Not Appealing

This is that “What are you working on?” box that I refer to as a “Status Update.”  Assuming someone finds you and looks at your profile, chances are they are going to be looking at what you write here simply because that it appears just underneath your Headline.  What do you write here?  Many people in transition note that they are looking for a job here, and here is my advice NOT to write UNEMPLOYED as it jumps out as much as the text you just read. Sadly recruiters have explained they prefer candidates that are happily employed. It is part of your branding exercise, and it should be something appealing that will both inform the reader of your latest activities as well as hopefully add to, not subtract from, your Brand.


4. Don’t List Enough Companies You Worked At Or Schools Attended

One of the ways you are found is through searches on company names or schools.  If you are only listing your current company and/or not even displaying your college, you are missing out on potentially being found.  List all your schools and companies as there are potentially more colleagues that may be trying to find you or recruiters trying to network with you!  You may be missing out!

5. Not Having Three Recommendations

This is the same as not displaying your personal photo.  Why?  When you sign up for LinkedIn and first fill out your profile, LinkedIn recommends that you write three linkedin.  You need to do this in order to get your Profile to 100% Completion.  Job postings on LinkedIn similarly require three recommendations.  These recommendations can only work in your favor, so why don’t you have at least three of them? This could be the difference between you and your competition.

6. Too Few Connections

This is a topic for debate, but too many people have too few connections on their profile, and thus are not getting found.  The idea is simple: when you do a search you will see results from your network.  And vice-versa.  So the more connections you have the more search results you will appear in.

7. Not Listing Three Websites

LinkedIn gives you the ability to list three websites on your profile.  Are you taking advantage of it?  Do you have a Twitter profile or other Social networking profiles that you want to advertise?  Company website?  A blog that you enjoy reading?  Anything that you would want associated with yourself should be listed here.  You will be adding to the search engine optimisation of your own websites just by the fact that you list them here!

8. Not Claiming Your Personal URL

When you sign up to LinkedIn you are provided a public URL which you can then include on your email signature or wherever else you want to lead people to your profile from.  You can customize this when you edit your profile.  Claiming your name here is one of the first things you should have done on LinkedIn.  For instance, I can memorize my LinkedIn Profile URL, which is, because I customized the last text to “claireaydogan.”  If you have a common name, make sure you claim your URL before others do!

9. No Branded Summary Rich with Keywords

Assuming that someone finds you in a search result, likes your Profile Headline, and isn’t scared away by your Status Update, the next most important part of your profile will be your Summary.  This is the chance to fully brand yourself and ensure that any keywords that you want associated with yourself are found here.  You also want to write something compelling, just as you would in the Executive Summary of your resume.  This is your stage to tell the world who you are and what you can do!  Utilise it to your fullest advantage!

10. No of Job Descriptions

Even if you’ve listed positions at companies that you previously held, it means nothing if you don’t have any job descriptions.  Job descriptions provide you the perfect opportunity to pepper your profile with keywords that will help you get found.  Why aren’t you taking advantage this?

11. Trying to Connect With Too Many People

Whenever you send an invitation to connect, one of the possible responses is “I don’t know [sender]“, or “IDK”. If you receive five IDK’s — not within a certain period of time, but ever — then your account gets automatically suspended and you get an email from LinkedIn Customer Service asking you to only invite people you know and stick to the user agreement.

Some people get caught in this because they don’t buy in to LinkedIn’s model of connecting only with people you know and they deliberately choose to push the boundaries. But a lot of other people get caught just doing what LinkedIn makes it easy for you to do: upload your contact list and invite them in batch, reconnect with former colleagues and classmates, etc. Once restricted it is extremely difficult to gain full access again.

Hope you found these tips useful!