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Professional Networking: LinkedWrong, Or Mistakes You Might Be Making On Your LinkedIn Profile
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Professional Networking: LinkedWrong, Or Mistakes You Might Be Making On Your LinkedIn Profile - Executive Leadership Articles

Professional Networking: LinkedWrong, Or Mistakes You Might Be Making On Your LinkedIn Profile

Executive Leadership Articles

Professional Networking: LinkedWrong, Or Mistakes You Might Be Making On Your LinkedIn Profile

Last month, Microsoft announced plans to acquire LinkedIn in a stock purchase that puts the professional social network’s value at $26.2 billion. There’s all kinds of speculation about what this means for the future of LinkedIn—some suggest some kind of integration with Microsoft’s Office suite, especially now that MS is trying to move Office completely toward software-as-service—but what it really means is this: against the ardent wishes of many of us, LinkedIn isn’t disappearing any time soon. It also presents the possibility that the network’s reach will be even deeper and further-flung than it is with its current 106 million active users.

This probably implies that we’re all going to need to keep those LinkedIn profiles current and at least semi-active, the way we need to make sure our professional wardrobes don’t look like something out of the Eighties: we may not like it, but expectations pretty much demand it. And just as some of us might need to do some research on fashion faux pas in order to prevent embarrassment, we may need to see what the experts say about missteps on LinkedIn. A Google search for “LinkedIn mistakes” returns a lot of advice, most of it the same: make sure you include a photo, keep it professional, keep it current, and update it once in a while.

Yet a deep look at arbitrary profiles reveals horrible recurring patterns in other aspects as well. So do that Google search, and check those blunders against your profile, but also consider these less obvious but still critical mistakes you may be making on your LinkedIn profile.

Inflated writing and empty language
Seriously, you don’t need to describe yourself as “highly motivated” or “results-driven” or even “professional.” Who among us is going to claim to be anything other than these wonderful qualities? What are you, really? Boil it down to your essence, using clear, specific language. “Marketing manager with twenty-two years’ experience in environment-concerned firms” says a lot. “Results-driven professional with a passion for excellence” says nothing—or at least nothing good. Cut out anything that sounds flowery or extraneous, and let the real you stand on your own.

Sloppy writing and careless editing
This is just embarrassing. There are too many profiles floating around in LinkedIn space with misspelled words, inconsistencies, and bad grammar. The world can be pretty forgiving of these errors on most social media platforms, but LinkedIn is different, and although strong experience and solid education credentials probably get pretty close to making up for a typo or two, you want to be noticed for your strengths, not forgiven for your weaknesses. Ask a couple of attentive, smart, language people to look at your profile, and listen to their suggestions with an open mind. A bad editing mistake is like that little bit of lettuce you discover in your teeth on your way back to your car after your job interview. Probably not a deal-breaker, but not the impression you want to make.

No engagement
This is the toughest to correct, because it requires regular upkeep, instead of periodic fixes. LinkedIn is a social network, which means it works best when you’re being social. In the world of LinkedIn, this means checking in once in a while, updating your status, sharing a good link, and reading what your connections are up to. At the very least, look at your stream once per week, click “like” on a few of your connections’ updates, and leave meaningful comments. If your friend at the nonprofit agency announces that some local celebrity is speaking at her next community event, don’t just leave an unhelpful word like, “Fantastic!” This is engagement, but it’s hollow. Add a meaningful thought like, “I heard him speak at a luncheon last year, and he shared some great thoughts on media coverage.” You don’t have to hit “like” on every status update by every connection, but pick a few good spots each time you drop in. It adds to your profile’s vitality, and although you shouldn’t approach this with a my-likes-for-your-likes reciprocity in mind, your regular participation in others’ updates almost always means their regular participation in yours, which means when you post a status update, you’re more likely have some engagement to show for it. Now your profile is a living, breathing entity, making you more interesting to others.

LinkedIn has been in the news quite a bit lately, thanks to Microsoft, which means a probable influx of new users, many of whom may be among your acquaintances. This is a good opportunity to dust off your profile, give it a little bit of reconstructive surgery, and let the world see what you’ve got.


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Professional Networking: LinkedWrong, Or Mistakes You Might Be Making On Your LinkedIn Profile - Executive Leadership Articles

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