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A dazzling LinkedIn account is an invaluable asset for professionals and almost necessary for networking purposes. The site currently hosts nearly 740 million accounts, and it only takes a few costly mistakes to make your professional peers roll their eyes and move on to other profiles.
To make matters worse, most people don’t even realize they are making a misstep on the platform. This is understandable because not everyone is used to the Internet’s efficient business card. Nonetheless, there are some unofficial rules and guidelines that ensure that your profile presents you in the best possible light.
By eliminating these common mistakes, any profile can be refined and become much more effective at finding opportunities and keeping your trading network strong.
1. A dull title
If your headline doesn’t have a hook, your profile probably won’t get a lot of attention. Much like a magazine title or book title, a LinkedIn title should be a brief advertisement of what a reader can expect to appear in their profile. It’s the first thing people will see, so it’s important to make a positive first impression.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to copy and paste your job title. Instead, focus on using keywords and actions that are relevant to your job, as this can improve your search ranking association.
The best headlines are short – some say less than 120 characters – impactful and leave a positive impression on the reader. It is worth tweaking and experimenting with yours until you feel like it has been accomplished.
2. An unprofessional photo
LinkedIn is a very different social media platform from Facebook and Instagram, and the criteria for photo acceptability are critical to note. A professional profile and a cover photo are key parts of LinkedIn. Without it, your profile looks dry and lacks the critical human element. Your photos should portray a sense of quality, poise, and a hint of character. They should not be an advertisement for your physique, your last exotic trip, or anything that distracts the viewer from your professional abilities and history. The profile photo and the cover photo should be a simple statement, and it is best not to take too much risk in this regard.
Related: 8 types of photos you should never use on your LinkedIn profile
3. An “About” section imitating a CV
Perhaps the most common mistake people make with LinkedIn profiles is to treat their “About” section – a brief personal biography – like a resume. The two are quite different depending. A curriculum vitae must be adapted to the criteria of the position for which you are applying. By nature, it is more ambitious and acts as your effective pitch for why you fit the job.
The About LinkedIn section is meant to showcase your professional personality, not necessarily looking for just one job, but showing who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re capable of doing. Done correctly, it could very well lead to new professional opportunities. The tone here should be a confident statement.
Remember to keep it short, as studies show that the most effective About sections can be browsed. 30 seconds or less. Unlike photos, this section is the best place to spice up and showcase your unique personality. Plus, one of the common pitfalls in the About section is being way too bland, so add some flair and color here to stand out from the crowd.
4. Skills and experiences with a lack of concentration
The relevant skills and experiences section should support the statements made in your About section. Ideally, these are peer supported for additional support. This section is essential because 69% of professionals place more importance on verified skills than on a university degree.
The easy mistake here is to list all the skills and experience you might have. Instead, stay focused and relevant to your business goals.
A profile with dozens of skills and experiences listed doesn’t necessarily impress, especially if they don’t match your field. It may seem haphazard and hazy, which doesn’t feel like a profile should give to the reader.
You can control which skills and experiences appear first on the profile, so use discretion in how you want to define your expertise.
Related: 7 steps to stand out on LinkedIn
5. No personal URL
Creating a personal URL for your LinkedIn profile is a easy step which adds a layer of legitimacy to any profile. Unfortunately, those who just go with the default setting of random numbers and letters look less professional than those who take the time to customize.
Not having a personal URL has several negative drawbacks, the most immediate of which is that it becomes more difficult for people to remember or find your profile. It can also show a degree of laziness or technical incompetence, which are not useful labels for a professional.
Taken as a whole, a LinkedIn profile is a crucial step in creating an effective digital presence for your professional personality. Creating a clear and effective profile is not that difficult, and the positive effects of doing so can connect you to truly life-changing global opportunities.