In case you don’t, get busy immediately building your branded profile, connecting with people, expressing your executive brand, and leveraging LinkedIn to full advantage.
But don’t make these 20 mistakes:
BUILDING YOUR PROFILE
1. Not personalizing your LinkedIn public profile URL.
Many people leave the default mess of letters and numbers at the end of the URL. Change that to “yourname” or as close to it as you can come, as I did with mine – http://www.linkedin.com/in/megguiseppi
2. Not including a photo.
Branding and career marketing are about creating emotional connections. People believe content more when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo. An online profile with no photo is a missed opportunity to reinforce your brand and engage people.
3. Not adding links to websites or web pages.
Include links to your website, blog, VisualCV, Twitter or other online profiles, so people can get more on-brand information about you and see what else you’re up to.
4. Not having a searchable professional headline that brands your unique promise of value and resonates with your target audience.
Make sure your relevant key word phrases show up in your headline so that recruiters and hiring decision makers sourcing top candidates by searching LinkedIn will find you.
5. Having no (or only 1 or 2) recommendations.
Solicit recommendations that reinforce your brand and the best you have to offer.
6. Not immediately generating chemistry in the Summary section with value proposition and differentiating positioning statements.
Capture attention above the fold and convince people to continue reading down through your entire profile. Include big numbers and brand names of your companies and customers.
7. Not including your “Interests” in the Additional Information section at the bottom of your profile.
Talk briefly about your passions here and further generate chemistry to help hiring professionals get a feel for what kind of person you are. Writing a brief bit about your favorite hobbies may attract those who share the same ones.
8. Not reinforcing your executive brand throughout your profile.
9. Not proofreading and re-proofreading and having someone else proofread your profile for typos and grammatical errors.
10. Not having a 100% complete profile.
LinkedIn suggests that when your profile is 100% complete, your chances of rising toward the top of LinkedIn searches greatly improves.
Here’s what you need to be 100% complete:
A current position
Two past positions
A profile photo
At least three recommendations
WORKING YOUR LINKEDIN MEMBERSHIP
11. Not updating your profile regularly.
Refresh the “What are you working on?” network update as one way to stay top of mind with your network and let them know what you’re up to.
12. Neglecting LinkedIn Groups.
Join appropriate groups, participate in discussions, and start your own conversations. Post articles and information that will be helpful to members.
13. Inviting people you don’t know at all to join your LinkedIn network.
You run the risk of them clicking on the “I don’t know” button or “Report as Spam”.
14. Automatically accepting invitations to join someone’s LinkedIn network.
Look at their profiles first and make sure you should connect with them.
15. Not personalizing the default invitation to connect message.
Change the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message when you send out invitations.
16. Not including a link to your LinkedIn profile within your email signature.
17. Promoting yourself (or product) too heavily in LinkedIn Groups.
You can easily turn people off and make them want to ignore you.
18. Not checking out LinkedIn company profiles.
See if your current and former companies have one and if companies of interest to you have one. Find out which co-workers on your company’s profile are busy on LinkedIn and connect with the ones you know. Research other companies’ profiles for market intelligence and due diligence.
19. Overlooking the LinkedIn Jobs tab.
LinkedIn brings together many job postings, some of which are exclusive listings.
20. Not diving into LinkedIn Answers.
Ask questions and provide answers within your areas of expertise. Position yourself as a subject matter expert.
And a bonus mistake to avoid:
21. Not using the new LinkedIn and Twitter interface, updating your LinkedIn profile with all or select tweets.
For that matter, don’t neglect the other ever-growing LinkedIn applications.