If I asked you how many minutes you spend on social media during an average day, what would you say? I’m sure, like me, you’ll rack up a substantial number. Social media is a time killer for all of us, but we’re completely, undeniably addicted to scrolling our news feeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, could you imagine how much more we could learn if we spent half of that time on LinkedIn? Can you imagine making an invaluable connection on LinkedIn that could turn into a profitable business opportunity? Well, guess what? That’s what you’re probably missing out on; which leads me to my first pet peeve…
1. Incomplete and inactive profiles
One of my best friends from college is a top dog in the HR industry and told me years ago that LinkedIn would be the top network in the world for job opportunities since personal recommendations go further than a resume in a pile of applications. There’s no doubt that he’s 100% correct! Having a complete and professional profile for yourself and your business is an essential component for successful networking and increasing your online footprint. When I was a professor for many years, I’d always stress to my students the importance of building a profile on LinkedIn. After the profile is built, however, so many are abandoned to lay dormant in cyberspace. Why not take advantage of all of the valuable opportunities that lie behind the login screen? Sure, it takes some serious time to develop a comprehensive profile with your education, experience, skills, volunteer information and all of the extra add-ons you can feature, but that’s what you should showcase! Your LinkedIn profile helps you stand out 10x better than a paper resume, especially since it doesn’t have to fit two pages and you can add your best looking headshot. Ahh, that leads me to pet peeve number two…
2. Unprofessional headshots
If I had a dollar for every selfie, selfie in the car with or without a seatbelt on, photo with more than one person, image of a car, child or pet (yes, I’ve seen it all) or poorly cropped image of someone standing closely to the profile person, I’d be a very wealthy lady! Now I completely understand that it can be expensive to hire a professional to shoot your headshots in a studio, but with a little creativity you can make a fake one in the meantime—stand in front of a plain wall, wearing your best suit and plain jewelry, have a friend snap a picture with and without the flash on, in good lighting, then do some editing to ensure that there are no shadows. Crop the image to your head and shoulders and voila! You’re set! Is that so difficult? I don’t think so. But unfortunately I’ve seen more cleavage, half body photos, ridiculous poses, and even group photos on LinkedIn than I care to mention. Those belong on Facebook, not on a network for professionals. Speaking of Facebook, that leads me to my third and final pet peeve…
3. Posting unprofessional content
LinkedIn has become a ground for political beliefs, bashing, and of course the opinions and rants by the offended people of 2016. It has GOT to stop. LinkedIn status updates should be about your job, seeking help or input on a project, etc. Why do some people feel the need to share details of their personal lives such as weight loss, sobriety, and life milestones such as marriage, birth of children, death and divorce? I have seen all of these offenders and many more, and it annoys me to no end. The worst part is that LinkedIn shows you everything that the people in your network engage in (likes, shares, comments, etc.), so you’re forced to see when your ex-coworker from 15 years ago “likes” that his buddy Joe Shmoe recently became a vegan and detests foods made with high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, your only choice is to unfollow that connection or remove them from your network to stop seeing unprofessional content like this on your LinkedIn news feed.
Final thoughts and advice:
- Join LinkedIn and stay active (like I said, get IN or get out)
- Devote at least 10 minutes a day using the LinkedIn app on your phone
- Make sure your headshot looks professional, cropped properly and current (sorry, your original headshot from 30 years ago isn’t going to cut it)
- Spend some time understanding the privacy settings so you can be sure that the cyber world sees only the content you’re comfortable sharing
- Update your skills, employment and volunteer activities frequently
- Remove old, irrelevant content such as your first job at a retail store more than 20 years ago
- Understand the power of social influence every time you want to engage with content on LinkedIn—all of your connections will see what you like and comment on, so choose your words wisely
- Still unsure about all of this LinkedIn stuff? Call me. I’ll help you navigate the IN crowd.
If you’d like me to host a LinkedIn workshop at your office to teach your employees how to build strong profiles, or perhaps you’d like some individualized instruction on how to establish and grow your business page with LinkedIn, send me an email and tell me how I can help meet your goals.
Thanks for reading!
–Nicole Pace, M.A. (Communications & Marketing Director)