LinkedIn is a great tool for employees, helping them with job searching, professional networking and industry and company researching. The platform also gives us the opportunity to build an online personal brand that facilitates career progression and general future success.
But while the benefits of LinkedIn are clear, it’s important to know that they can’t entirely be realised unless you’re using the platform correctly. And, in fact, many of us aren’t. So, for that reason, we decided to ask Leah Lambart, career coach at Relaunch Me, about everything we’re doing wrong on LinkedIn.
You’re Being Too Personal
LinkedIn is a platform for professional networking, not personal networking, says Lambart.
“I often see a blurring of what is professional and personal,” she says. “I recommend that you mostly share professional, work-related updates on LinkedIn and save the personal stuff for Facebook or Instagram.”
You’re Not Understanding Your Role on the Platform
Another mistake: not knowing that you don’t have to be an ‘expert’ in your field to share content with your audience, says Lambart.
“You don’t have to have a PhD in your field or be an author or a global speaker,” she says. “Anyone can share interesting content on LinkedIn to help or educate their audience. My biggest tip to anyone first starting out on LinkedIn would be to see yourself as a ‘contributor’ rather than an ‘expert’.”
You’re Not Choosing the Right Photo
Next, Lambart says that not only should you definitely have a profile photo uploaded as people are more likely to accept a connection from you if you do, but you should also be making sure it’s an appropriate photo.
“It should be a photo that represents the brand or type of people that you would like to work for in the future,” she says. “A hiring manager or recruiter who sees your photo on LinkedIn, like it or not, will develop a first impression of you based on your photo and that impression will most likely to stay constant beyond the first phone call.”
If you are using a photo taken by a friend at a BBQ or function, then Lambart suggests removing the background yourself or using a professional service to touch it up for you.
You’re Not Sharing Enough (or Sharing Too Much) of Other People’s Content
If you don’t think you have enough content to share, consider sharing other people’s, provided it’s in moderation says Lambart.
“It’s fine to ‘Share’ the content or posts of others if you feel that it will add value to your audience,” she says. “We recommend the 80/20 rule — 80% of your content can be from someone else, 20% of your content can be original.”
You’re Not Keeping Your Profile Up-to-Date
Yet another LinkedIn mistake, according to Lambart, is not realising that people are always looking at your profile and that LinkedIn is used as a validation tool by many users. For that reason, she says it’s important to keep it updated regularly.
“Recruiters are looking at profiles on LinkedIn to see if they match up to the resume,” she says. “Potential clients are looking at your profile to figure out if they should do business with you. Customers are looking at your profile to see if they should buy from you.”
She says if you’re going to bother having a LinkedIn profile then make it worthwhile by ensuring you have a complete profile, including an ‘about’ section, and that your profile is keyword-optimised and future-focused. Which brings us to Lambart’s last tip.
You’re Focusing Too Much on the Past
Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is future-focused, she says.
“There is no point having it full of keywords that describe the type of work that you did 5-10 years ago,” she says. “Instead, focus on what types of roles you would like to do in the near future and ensure that your profile is keyword-optimised for your next step.
She suggests reviewing your ‘about’ and ‘skills’ section to make sure they are both current and future-focused.