I admit it; I was late to the LinkedIn game. While my early adopter friends were creating professional profiles and joining groups, I took the “set and forget” approach for my profile because initially, I didn’t “get it.” That was until I began using LinkedIn as part of client’s marketing messaging distribution. Adults learn by doing, so I began to “do” and  became more familiar with its purpose and reach and saw the powerful force it was for networking.

I read about LinkedIn tips and watched advice videos and started to see first hand how engaged and committed LinkedIn users are. Recently, I came across a great article in Forbes by Molly Cain titled Eight Things You Do Wrong On LinkedIn that after reading, motivated me to give my neglected profile a tune up. This post is meant to help others to optimize theirs.

For people (like me) who have done little since creating a LinkedIn profile, the article gives insight into using LinkedIn correctly and to your advantage.  Here are the eight things you might be doing wrong and how best to fix them: (source of tips: Molly Cain from the Eight Things You Do Wrong On LinkedIn article)

  1. No recommendations on your profile – For people viewing your LinkedIn profile such as potential clients or employers or hiring managers, recommendations give you credibility.
  2. Too many recommendations posted at one time – Posting many recommendations at once looks bad and could tip off an employer of your ready to hit the exit.  According to the article, the trick is to always look for recommendations, even if you’re satisfied with your job – just be strategic about posting them.
  3. You lied on your profile– Today, it’s so easy to check facts that lying on your profile or posted resume will most likely come back to haunt you. See info on former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson for proof of the damage.  A true self-representation always wins.
  4. Contacting someone for unprofessional reasons (i.e. flirting) – apparently men do this more than women, and since LinkedIn is not a dating site but rather connects professionals, the recipient of your attractions will most likely frown upon your advances.
  5. Your job description is not detailed enough – If you list your title as a “specialist”, make sure the description below it explains what you do on a daily basis.
  6. No photo is posted – Posting a professional image is as important as your resume and job descriptions. I was guilty of not having a good photo and was reminded often by one of my LinkedIn guru friends who e-mailed me a good photo of myself with the subject line: post to your LinkedIn profile.
  7. Not listing “other” things such as organizations and hobbies – We all have lives outside of work. Why not let profile readers such as clients or employers know what we are up to during our “off hours.”
  8. Making massive changes to your profile at one time – For those who want to “spring clean” their profile, you should resist the urge to do your updates all at once as your employer might think you are leaving with potential employers thinking the same.  Gradual updates are also easier to accomplish.

I am committed to making at least one positive change to my profile per week until my LinkedIn friends give me a thumbs-up. People are turning more and more to LinkedIn to know who they are doing business with. Having a tip top profile is good for personal satisfaction and good for business!

Next profile objective: Obtain a recommendation.

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