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8 mistakes to avoid with your LinkedIn profile

When looking for a new job, it’s important to remember your LinkedIn address. Even if you haven’t looked at it in awhile, the hiring manager at the company you have applied to will take a look after you invite them. Therefore, you want to be sure your information is up to date and accurate on your LinkedIn profile so that when the hiring manager does look at it, your profile won’t be incomplete.

Here are eight mistakes to avoid with your LinkedIn profile.

1. Resume. Take your resume and match it side by side to your LinkedIn profile. Your resume should match line by line to your profile. Be sure to check the dates of employment and the years. Make sure your company names are spelled correctly and you have their address correct. If a hiring manager notices inconsistencies on your LinkedIn profile, they may think you are disorganized or trying to hide something. In other words, you will not benefit their company and your resume will be put aside.

2. Personalize the invitation. When inviting the hiring manager to look at your LinkedIn page, make sure you send a personalized invitation. Otherwise, the hiring manager might brand you as lazy. Include a personalized message, telling them why you are linking with them. You can include a bit about yourself, but make it brief. People are more likely to connect with you if they receive a personalized invitation.

3. Be helpful.  Instead of telling people who are looking at your LinkedIn account what you do, tell them how you will be helpful to their business. Instead of saying, “I am a freelance writer,” you should say, “I can help your business be more creative and original,” or something like that. If you have a specific job in mind, target yourself to that specific job by using keywords and things that will interest the hiring manager.

4. Education information.  Be sure you have included all of your degree information – from where and when you graduated, to your major, to specific courses that pertain to the job you are looking for. You want your potential employer to know you are qualified for the position you are seeking. If you do not include whether you received a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree, the hiring manager may assume you didn’t graduate. Put out your information so that no one makes assumptions about your education.

5. Alumni Tool. When you are trying to network on LinkedIn, it’s important to link to as many people as possible that can help you with your job search. One of the features that people miss is the Alumni Tool. This tool allows you to link to other people who attended your school. People who have graduated and have a career usually want to help fellow alumni. Use the features to narrow down your search to people in your prospective field. This will keep you from having to invite too many people who might not be interested in what you are pursuing. Send the ones you have chosen a personalized invite and see what happens. You may find your network expanding daily.

6. Employment.  You want to be sure your employment looks good on your LinkedIn page and on your resume. Your LinkedIn page should not just have your former and current employers’ names, but also what you did for the company. If you have switched or advanced in your field, the hiring manager will not know unless you list it on your LinkedIn page and resume. For the correct way to list employment and education on your resume, you should check online resume builders, which will have different ideas for you depending on what job you are looking for. You can use these models for your LinkedIn page to have the best profile for potential employers.

7. Follow up.  When someone gives you a great reference or leads you to your next job, it’s essential that you follow up with them. You should write them a personalized thank you note, letting them know what job you acquired and how they helped you. This will not only keep you in their thoughts for future endeavors, but also make them more likely to help you later on. While people are usually willing to help someone, they like being acknowledged for the part they played in helping that person along. A thank-you note is a simple way to let a person know that you appreciate all of their help.

8. Photograph. Make sure that you have a professional-looking photograph for your LinkedIn page. A hiring manager will not even look at your page if your picture is from a vacation or holiday. Go to a professional photographer and get a headshot. A professional photographer knows what lighting to use to make you look your best. If you do not want to spend money on a professional photographer, you can check out videos online. They will give you tips on how to make your LinkedIn shot look more professional. You can also check at your nearby college for photography students trying to get pictures for their portfolios. They may take your LinkedIn picture at a reduced cost, or even for free. No matter how you get your photograph done, be sure it looks professional so you will impress your potential employers.

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