Seven deadly sins you could be doing on LinkedIn

10 March 2014, by

In 2008, LinkedIn had approximately 30 million users. By the end of 2013, the site had nearly ten times this figure. Every second the LinkedIn network grows by two new users.

The vision of the CEO of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner is "We aspire to build the world’s first economic graph; in other words, a digital mapping of the global economy, including a profile for every one of the three billion members of the global workforce, including all of their skills and expertise."

What does this vision mean? It means that if you do not have your LinkedIn profile yet it is time to get one.

LinkedIn is important

LinkedIn has caused a huge shift in the recruitment process. More and more companies and recruiters are using LinkedIn solutions to search for their talent. As a member, you can use it to build relationships that will enhance your career and business.

The message is clear: you simply cannot afford not to be on LinkedIn. You will be out of the game. And that is irrespective of whether you are a job seeker or have a secure (for now) position.

Costly mistakes on LinkedIn

Below you will find a list of seven most costly mistakes you can make on LinkedIn. I called them seven deadly sins that could cost you a job or a business opportunity.

Sin #1 - Not having (the right) photo on your LinkedIn profile

First of all, you must have a photo on your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one then you are seriously hampering your chances of getting hired or having more business. It has been proven that people rarely click on the profiles without photos. So please get one!

LinkedIn, unlike Facebook, is meant for predominantly professional purposes. Therefore your picture should reflect this by being:
- In colour (preferably)
- A headshot only
- Not a family or holiday picture
- A photo of you and not your company logo

Sin #2 - Not using keywords

So what actually are keywords? Keywords on LinkedIn are the same things as search words on Google: the phrases that help others (recruiters, business partners, hiring managers, etc.) find YOU on LinkedIn.

So if a recruiter is looking for a Finance Manager with experience in FMCG, that is what he is going to type in on LinkedIn. Now, if your profile has those keywords it will display you (high) on the LinkedIn search result.

The profiles that get on top of the list are the ones that have the highest density of keywords. Furthermore, hiring managers are not looking for every Finance Manager in the world, but specific ones with specific skills and experience.

And they will also search using those keywords, not just a job title. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile has the right keywords that match your future job.

Those keywords need to be sprinkled all over your profile, including in your headline, summary and experience sections.

Sin#3 - Not having the right headline

This part is vital, as it is your first message to the world about who you are and what you do.

People often confuse this and tend to put only their current job. The headline is much broader than that. You have 120 characters you can use in your headline. A great formula is to start with a powerful adjective such as experienced, executive or dynamic.

Then add your speciality or function, such as career coach, marketing manager or HR director. After that you can add your speciality such as FMCG, Prince II practitioner or LinkedIn expert.

If you are a business owner, you can start with what you are actually doing, for example: "Helping international women get a new job fast" or "Helping small business owner double their profits."

deadly sins LinkedIn

Sin #4 - Not having an appealing summary

The summary section is a place to briefly introduce yourself to a person visiting your profile. It is also a place to make first contact, get attention and interest people in reading further.

To do this better, don’t write it in the third person: "Sophie is a Finance Manager with 5+ years of experience in FMCG." Instead write it in the first person: "I am a Finance Manager with 5+ years of experience in FMCG."

Make sure you include keywords to make it easy for others to find you.

Sin #5 - Not having enough connections

This mistake is costly for two reasons. One, the power of LinkedIn lies in the fact that in a few steps you can essentially connect with almost anyone in the world. Your first-grade connections give you direct access to your second-grade connections, and your second-grade connections to the third-grade connections.

Most of the time these more distant connections are the people you need! So the more first-grade connections you have the better, as they give you direct access to the still-unknown others.

Second reason being is that the more connections you have, the more often you will appear in the search results. So if you are looking for a job and want to be found by recruiters, and you are wondering why your profile is not being viewed, it is because it only pops up on the second or third page because you don’t have many connections.

The more the better, but you need to have at least 501. Please do not get discouraged: I started with 32 connections so you can do it too!

Connect to people you do know, but don’t assume that because you haven’t seen someone for a long time there is no use in connecting. You would be surprised! One of my clients got a job via a connection from his university he last saw 10 years before connecting on LinkedIn. Finally, always personalise your request for connecting!

Sin #6 - Not having recommendations

If you are currently looking for a job, this one is a must. It will show your future employers why they should hire you. So make an effort and reach out to your current or former colleagues to recommend you. You can also start by recommending them first and asking for a favour back.

Think what you would like to be recommended for and make a list. Then think of people who can recommend you for specific things. Personalise the request for recommendation and ask the person to recommend you for what you are looking for. This is much more powerful than sending a general request.

Sin #7 - Having an inactive LinkedIn profile

The more you share on LinkedIn, the more people will see you. By sharing I do not only mean working on your profile, but sharing interesting news that is relevant to your field and to others. You contribute to others and you get visibility!

Use it to your advantage

LinkedIn is a powerful tool, so make sure you use it to your advantage. You want it to work for you and not against you!

Give me a shout in the comments below if you have any other questions regarding LinkedIn.

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Comments arranged by date (Total 11 comments)  
March 13 2014, 12:58PM

Dorota please, if you haven't already, do post this on the PWN LinkedIn and Facebook pages! Really well written and offers a gold mine of information for our members. One of the headhunters yesterday apparently had printed out the LIn profiles of all our attendees and with those she spoke to, gave them tips on how to improve their profiles. This is definitely an important topic in the recruitment process.

March 13 2014, 04:06PM

Hey Mary Jane, thanks. I did post it in the FB group, but please feel free to share it also yourself. It often works more powerful ;-: if someone shares it too!

March 13 2014, 04:36PM

I'll do that Dorota. Just plugged you (and it) on Mum knows Mum FB page

March 13 2014, 08:13PM

Simple and direct, 7 deadly sins....

March 13 2014, 08:55PM

Hey Tafla! Thanks! All the way from Brazil ;-))

March 13 2014, 09:16PM

Hopefully will see you around lecturing, doing your own show ( with Spouse behind, as expat ;) )

March 17 2014, 11:51AM

For Sin #1, the profile pic, The Photo Booth can help you out -- there is an event Sat, March 29th -- Headshots and Networking!

May 17 2014, 09:33AM

Great article and I spread this every now and then. There is one thing I do not agree. You write 'connect only with people you do know'. LinkedIn is an online network. And in an network it is the most powerful to meet people you never met. Because THEY can help you, or their network. You can get to know each other online as well. Via an e-mail exchange. That is why LI is so powerful, it does not cost a lot of time, and your network can be strengthened with people abroad.
I even have ambassadors between connections I never met. Sure, if the distance is to overcome I meet them after a while. But sometimes this can be after years. Yesterday one of the participants in my workshop was a person I have been linked with for more then 3 years and now we met!

May 17 2014, 12:47PM

Hi Leni, thank you for your comment and thanks so much for sharing your point. I wrote: 'connect to people you do know' I did not say 'only' and having said that I also, just as you, connect with people that I do not know. But most of the time I do that via introduction using my 1st degree connection. Lots of people just send a standard text without customising it and for that you can and DO get banned out of LinkedIn. That is why I wrote connect with people you know - this is the first step in building your network. The second one just as you mentioned is reaching out in a SMART way to the people that you do not know.

July 14 2014, 11:33AM

Finally an article of someone who REALLY knows LinkedIn. Please share this article everywhere, there are so many people who act like they know LinkedIn and give the worse advice possible to others.
Thank you for posting this, Dorota!

July 14 2014, 07:03PM

Thanks Bogdan for your comment! ;-)

About the Author
Dorota Klop-Sowinska

I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am a certified coach / counselor at Dutch...

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