Used well, LinkedIn can be the best thing that ever happened to your job search or network building efforts. The problem, of course, is that many of us aren’t using the career person’s social network to its full extent — or worse, we’re making mistakes that make us look less than professional.
Personal branding expert William Arruda has seen a lot of LinkedIn faux pas while working with clients. Over at Forbes, he shares some of the most egregious, including:
1. Using a bad photo — or no photo at all.
LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. You won’t get the chance to offset one blurry picture with something that shows your features in a better light. It’s also not the place for zany photos, or snaps of your vacation. (Unless, for example, you’re a travel agent.)
2. Using the generic “I’d like to add you” lingo.
How many of those requests do you get every week, and how do you feel about them? Odds are, unless you’re really close friends with someone, you don’t even remember when and where you met the person requesting a connection. If you never met them, you’ll be even less enthused about clicking over and accepting their request.
3. Using LinkedIn as a resume.
It’s popular to describe LinkedIn profiles as “resumes on steroids,” but in fact, they can be so much more than that.
“LinkedIn is not a resume. Think of it as your personal web site,” advises Arruda. “Your resume provides the chronological details of what you’ve done. Your LinkedIn profile tells the viewer who you are. Your summary is a bio — an interesting and compelling description of you, what you’re passionate about and how you deliver value to your clients and/or colleagues. Use all 2,000 characters, making the profile replete with all your keywords.”
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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt writes about work-life balance, stress management, and other topics relating to what makes us happy at work. A full-time freelancer, she deals with stress by blurring the lines between life and work to the point where the two spheres are barely separate. The happiest day of her career was when scientists proved that looking at pictures of cute animals makes us more productive.