Friday, April 26, 2013

5 Ways To Waste Your LinkedIn Account

The job is yours through LinkedIn - if you know to snag it

This post was written by Elliot Lasson, the Executive Director of Joblink of Maryland and writer at


By now, most people know that LinkedIn is the world’s most popular professional networking site. Yes, I have drunk the Kool-Aid and am a big fan.

However, while LinkedIn has many useful capabilities, many people do not use it properly. This ranges from not having an account/profile at all or overusing it. If LinkedIn is not appropriately utilized it will be ineffective or even counterproductive. Also, given the fact that recruiters will often check out your LinkedIn profile, it is critical to have a positive LinkedIn presence.

In this piece, the top 5 mistakes which job seekers and other professionals make on LinkedIn are presented:

1. Incomplete, underwhelming or multiple profiles

An essential step in developing your network is by inviting potential connections to join it. Connections might be colleagues, friends, or relatives. This must be done one person at a time. A prerequisite to sending invitations is starting with a complete Profile. This means developing your Profile in a manner that includes relevant information from your resume and having one or two professional recommendations. LinkedIn will walk you through the steps involved and provide a progress bar as to how close you are to “Profile completion”.

2. Insufficient number of connections and weak invitations

Simply creating a profile and not developing a network is not good form. Inviting connections can be done through entering the person’s email address, through a preexisting organizational affiliation, through an alumni group, or through a niche group. While there is no magic number as to the optimal number of 1st degree LinkedIn connections, it is certainly greater than 0 or 1. Make sure that you do not somehow have multiple profiles, as you don’t want people confusing the “old” you with the “new” you. When inviting people whom you do not know, you must provide some context. Do not simply use the impersonal default message. Having a phone or in-person conversation or sending an email before the fact is often helpful before requesting the person to join your network. If too many people whom you invite click “I don’ know this person”, you will be put into the equivalent of “LinkedIn timeout”, which will then require you to always have the email address of future invitees and you will not be able to simply connect through some other LinkedIn relationship.

3. Failing to proofread for mistakes

One turnoff to consumers of your Profile is seeing spelling or spacing mistakes either in your profile or in requests to connect. You should definitely proofread your information before going “live”. If you identify yourself in your Profile as a “Profesional Profreader”, a writing job at the local newspaper is unlikely to be in your future. This also includes those for whom English is not a first language. Since we often miss mistakes in our own profile, it would be a good idea to have your Profile proofed by someone else and you return the favor for his/hers. 

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