If a tree falls in a forest, but no one hears it, does it make a noise?
I like to think about this question when I browse LinkedIn profiles. Many of them are like that tree in the forest. No one hears or sees their profile.
The point is, there are some missteps experienced professionals make time and time again on LinkedIn that relegate their profiles to social media isolation.
But do not worry. They are easy to repair.
Today, let’s talk about some of the common LinkedIn profile mistakes and how to avoid them in your own profile. And get your visibility.
How LinkedIn Profile Mistakes Can Impact Your Personal Brand
LinkedIn is the preferred network for older professionals who want to thrive with a personal brand image, especially with its large audience of 690 million people.
But all that power can go out the window if you let simple mistakes in your profile get in your way. These errors can put a damper on otherwise engaged professionals viewing your profile.
And especially when using LinkedIn as a professional over 50, there are some specific mistakes that you need to watch out for to set your profile up for success.
In addition to preventing people from engaging with your profile, some of these errors can compromise your ranking on LinkedIn’s algorithm, making you less searchable within its network.
It is therefore important to take the time to button your profile and make sure that everything is working in your favor.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 10 mistakes older professionals should avoid on LinkedInâ¦ and what to do about them.
12 LinkedIn Profile Mistakes Everyone Over 50 Should Avoid
Mistake 1: going back 25 years
People care about what you do now, not what you did many moons ago. You also don’t want to scream how old you are. Unfortunately, age discrimination does exist.
With that in mind, stick to the last 10 years or so of your work history. It gives people a window into the most important years of your career so far without revealing your age.
Mistake # 2: Sharing Your College Dates
While we all want to be proud of our age, unfortunately people can stereotype you as outdated or outdated if you list the years you graduated from college. Why expose yourself to this? Just list your university or college and don’t stop there.
Mistake # 3: Focusing on Titles, Not Achievements
People 50 and over tend to obsess over titles and degrees. We have been taught that these badges of honor mean something. However, a title doesn’t mean anything anymore. This is what you have accomplished. And your education is in a different era unless you’ve taken recent classes or earned new degrees. The latter is what you want to highlight.
For example, instead of …
Vice-President, Marketing, Company XYZ
Supervised market research which led to the positioning of a large company and a 25% increase in revenues.
Mistake # 4: not seeing LinkedIn as a showcase for your personal brand
Don’t think of LinkedIn as just a social media network. It’s so much more than that. So don’t just write a basic profile with a photo and forget about it. Think of it as your personal portal to personal branding.
To do this, look for ways to make yourself known on the network.
One way to do this is to write articles that establish your expertise on the LinkedIn publishing platform.
Another way to build your personal brand is to connect and engage with others on the network.
In this way, you demonstrate that you are actively establishing yourself as a brand by adding value. So think of your time on LinkedIn as an investment in your brand.
Mistake # 5: not having a cover image
The cover image is the large image that appears behind your profile photo. If you leave this field blank, LinkedIn will use its own generic image instead. This can be a red flag that lets others know that you are not that keen on social media. It may also cause your profile to disappear in the background compared to other profiles.
When you personalize your LinkedIn cover image, it becomes an additional visual feature that attracts others. Remember, we are visually in tune and tend to pay more attention to visuals than text. So choose an attractive cover image that highlights your expertise or something special that you want people to highlight.
Mistake # 6: not tagging your title
LinkedIn profiles give you a title – a space under your name – which usually indicates your role. But, when done right, it will also help you stand out.
After all, that title appears next to your name in search results. If it’s just your job title or the name of your company, you risk blending into the background with all the other profiles.
Instead, think of it as valuable real estate. With the right words, you can spark curiosity about your brand and get people to click through to find out more about you.
Mistake # 7: not claiming your personal URL
When you first sign up on LinkedIn, you are assigned a generic public URL. Take the time to personalize your URL, what some people call a personalized URL. It will look something like linkedin.com/yourname. Mine is Linked.com/in/wendyamarx. This will make it easier for people to find you on the network.
If you have a popular first and last name, the URL with your last name will be taken. Instead, use your middle name or initial or another distinctive name. It will also help your URL stand out.
Mistake # 8: not completing your LinkedIn profile
There are several components to LinkedIn, all of which are important in building your brand as a professional 50+. Here are the most essential parts that you need to complete …
- Big title
- To live
Recruiters and prospects will review these sections to determine what type of professional you are. Empty spaces can make you seem disorganized and not even serious about your career.
Mistake # 9: Having LinkedIn “Open to Work” in Your Header
Of course, at first it seems like a great idea: let people know that you are open to work!
But, in reality, it is not the best idea. Here’s why. It makes your profile slogan look like it’s open at work. Recruiters want someone who works. Even if you don’t have a job, you can volunteer, take classes, show your vigor and enthusiasm. It shows that you are not just sitting and waiting for an opportunity to land on your lap.
So skip the Open to Work header and leave your profile crisp and ready for recruiters and prospects.
Mistake # 10: not having an engagement section
Recruiters scan hundreds of profiles every day. So you need to get their attention. This means focusing on your About section, the most important part of your profile. Remember: its first few lines are all that appear until you press “more”. So if these lines aren’t catchy, you might lose people’s attention.
Hats off to personal brand guru William Arruda for this suggestion.
Mistake # 11: not using keywords in your summary
Keywords are specific words and phrases that people search online to find what they need. Search engines like Google use them, as does LinkedIn. Keywords have become the secret sauce for everything you do online. By using keywords, you open yourself up to many other opportunities.
How to choose the right keywords?
Think about the words that describe your industry and the specific words people look for when looking for professionals in your industry.
Once you’ve figured out your keywords, sprinkle them lightly throughout your profile to attract the right people.
Mistake # 12: Not including recommendations or skills
LinkedIn’s recommendations and skills sections are more than just boring lists. These provide social proof of your abilities and expertise. When people see real people recommending and endorsing certain skills, it gives your brand a stronger foundation.
So take the time to complete your skills section and ask everyone you know to endorse you for your pipe skills. Anyone you’ve worked closely with in the past, reach out to them and have them write you a recommendation. Assuming you’ve done a great job, people are normally happy to do it.
An indirect way to get recommendations and skills is to write recommendations and endorse others for skills. When they see that you did this for them, they are more likely to return the favor.
Bonus tip: write in the first characterm
Older professionals drank breast milk to be professional at fault. They think if they write in the first person it’s unprofessional. What it is is off-putting and bogus. Everyone knows you wrote it, so who are you kidding to write in the third person. How do you feel if a friend suddenly refers to themselves in the third person? Weird isn’t it? LinkedIn is social. Behave as you would in a professional social situation.
Final thoughts on LinkedIn profile errors
Now that you know what mistakes people 50 and over should avoid on LinkedIn, it’s time to revisit your LinkedIn profile. Adjust your profile to make it more attractive so that you can shine as an older professional.
Hope these LinkedIn Profile Mistakes show you the pitfalls to avoid and help you make the most of this powerful network to get the results you deserve.
Tell me what you think of these Linkedin profile errors
I want to know what profile errors you found and how you resolved them, as well as how you managed to grow your personal brand on LinkedIn
Let me know in the comments below.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash