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7 LinkedIn Etiquette Fails That Will Make You Look Unprofessional

If there’s one social media platform in particular that you want to appear your most professional self, it’s LinkedIn. This article that the JC Sweet & Co. Team found comes from Hootsuite.

7 LinkedIn Etiquette Fails That Will Make You Look Unprofessional

Here’s a list of seven common (and not-so-common) LinkedIn mistakes that make citizens of this social network look unprofessional.

1. No header image

Why is this a problem? You’re wasting a free opportunity to differentiate yourself. The header/background image is the first thing people see, even if it’s the boring default image. Use this to your advantage to create interest.

Think about some images that could enhance the look of your profile. Also, consider adding some text to the image to ‘start your story.’ Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Almost anything is better than what you get out of the box for LinkedIn. Click the ‘Edit’ button on your profile to add the new pic to the header section. It’s that easy.

2. Weak profile picture

Why is this a problem? You’re making a poor first impression. People may find you, then leave just as fast. Because you’re turning people (i.e., recruiters) off with a bad photo, even worse with no photo. Are you lazy? Are you even a real person? These are the questions people will ask themselves when they can’t look you in the eye. They won’t take you seriously. Plus, minds process images 1,000’s and 1,000’s of times faster than text.

Take a great photo. Then add it as your profile picture. No need to go professional (unless you want to). But do take some head-and-shoulder shots. Pick the ones you like best. Have a friend help you choose. Or run a Twitter poll to get advice from your fans. No faceless outline. No logo. No pictures of your dog. No repurposing a photo that includes others. Just a simple photo… with your smiling face… in plain and clear view.

3. Weak headline

Why is this a problem? You’re underselling yourself. You’re wasting a chance to guide the conversation, from the very start. Or, missing out on informing readers know how you can help them.

Don’t restate your current job title and company. Text is precious. Don’t repeat yourself. Don’t repeat yourself. Don’t repeat yourself. Instead, describe what you’re good at. Or explain what the reader will get from what you do. So readers will stay and scroll versus stop and leave.

In other words, think of your headline as the opening for your story. In 120 characters or less. And avoid the hyperbola. Sensational adverbs, trite expressions, baseless claims… all boring and useless.

4. Weak (or no) summary

Why is this a problem? You’re wasting an opportunity to ‘continue your story’ that you started with your headline. Just. Write. It. It’s often the only part of your profile visitors will read (after your headline). Think of this section as your elevator pitch.

Some elements to consider for your concise story:

  • Who, what, why, when, and how
  • Core skills (commit to the few, versus the many)
  • Why you do what you do
  • What big problems you solve
  • Show any numbers

Write in the first person, because this is personal. Writing in 3rd person sounds pompous, and not personal.

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