Most people don’t enjoy working on their LinkedIn profiles. They’d much rather be relaxing or pursuing other interests instead of staring at a computer screen trying to optimize their online presence. It’s hard enough working 40+ hours each week. Taking away from our free time to develop our professional identity online sounds boring – which makes it easy to put off.
Brand or BE Branded: Why A Crummy LinkedIn Profile Hurts Your Career Identity
For years, I’ve been telling professionals, “Brand or BE branded,” when it comes to your online presence. It started when I was speaking to a group of executives. They questioned the importance of having a well-developed profile. Wasn’t their name and job title enough? My answer was as follows:
When you fail to create a full LinkedIn profile, you are telling the professional world one or more of the following: A) You aren’t tech-savvy enough to know how to use social media. B) You don’t have any truly notable accomplishments. Or, C) You have something to hide. To sum it up, not branding your career success online is a rookie mistake.
As you can imagine, the executives in the room suddenly started paying attention. No successful C-suite member wants to be called a “rookie.” Especially, when it comes to errors in professional judgement.
Would You Walk Into a Networking Party Naked, In Old Sweat Pants, Or Without Shoes?
You would never go to an in-person networking party naked, dressed in your dirty old sweat pants, or without any shoes. Why? You want to make a good first impression. Yet, failing to fully optimize your LinkedIn profile has the same effect online as coming to the party dressed wrong. You risk looking like a rookie. Or even worse, like someone to avoid. The solution is to take the time to get up-to-speed on the right way to complete your profile. To help you, here are five classic mistakes that scream “I’m a rookie!” on LinkedIn.
Mistake #1 – No photo (or, a bad one). Selecting the right photo is important. Studies show people are 7X more likely to click on your profile if there’s a picture. While not having a photo isn’t good, having a bad photo is worse. You need to make sure your picture is sending the right message. A smiling headshot that is well-lit, with a neutral, non-distracting background is the ideal.
Mistake #2 – Lame headline. The headline is the most important piece of real estate on your profile. It’s directly tied to the search feature in LinkedIn. People find you based on keyword searches. If you have the terms they are searching on in your headline, you’ll rise to the top of their list of results. Optimizing your headline with the keyword you want to be known for is a must-do.
Mistake #3 – Long-winded Summary written in the third person. Nothing screams, “I’m self-important,” like an excessively long summary written in the third person. The word ‘summary’ by definition means short. Keep it that way! Use this section of LinkedIn to roll-up your accomplishments into two to three quantifiable accomplishments. Don’t put the reader to sleep with an epic novel. Instead, tease the reader with a short, impactful summary so they want to keep reading.