The Worst LinkedIn Mistake

Are you using LinkedIn?  I recently did three video and 7 hand-out training on LinkedIn.  

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During the course of research,  I learned that LinkedIn is not only the largest professional network, but it is the MOST underutilized business resource.   Obviously Microsoft recognizes the value of the platform by paying a whopping 26.2 billion cash for the company.

2016-06-18_1601.png__pic_1Despite its consistent growth, (currently at 433 million, and an average growth of 15 million a year), most people are only logging into LinkedIn under 20 minutes a month.  That figure actually is sad when you think of the benefits. 

Did you know that employers are now checking out you LinkedIn profile before hiring you?  Did you know that it is a standard business practice with most businesses to view someone’s LinkedIn profile before doing business with them?  I am not talking about checking out the business profile, (the actual business profile is viewed), but businesses are looking at the profile of the person from the business that they are meeting with to better know about them. 

People are looking at your profile whether you know it or not.  Check out your own profile and pull up the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”.  This is under Profile on the LinkedIn menu.

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When you think about the fact that on average, 2 professionals per second join LinkedIn,  it is hard to imagine that anyone would ignore and not fully use the platform.  You can use the power of this network to not only attract customers (or leads) but you can also use it to have a great stream of satisfied customers.

Believe it or not, you can fail on LinkedIn.

I have two handouts about mistakes on the website.  One is LinkedIn Mistakes, and the other is Rookie Mistakes .

Today I want to focus on what I think is the biggest mistake on LinkedIn:

Your Profile Picture

You never get a second chance to make a great first impression – Will Rogers

First impressions are everything.  Why do you think you hear comments like?

  •  Dress for the position you want, not the position you are in
  • You make a first impression and people never forget it.
  • I want to dress well.  I want to look good.
  • The first impression is the most lasting

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Take a good look at your profile picture.  Is it clear? 

Is it a focused picture?  Can you see you, or do your sunglasses stand out?

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Is it in proportion or did you squash the picture?  

Does the picture itself look professional?  Do you look like a professional? 

If it has a picture of you drinking, doing sports, hiking, looking sexy or anything in any of those categories, it just leaves an impression of folks wondering what kind of a person you really are.  Remember, you want folks to spend THEIR money with you.

 Remember the saying 

A picture is worth a thousand words.

You might think that having a picture of you fishing tells folks about you.  Here is the problem with that kind of thinking: You might attract other fishermen, and they might spend their money with you, but you sure have narrowed your market to a small niche.  

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Now whatever you do, don’t adopt the attitude of just skipping the profile picture.   Many LinkedIn users will not even take the time to learn more about you if there is no picture.

Most will not accept an invitation to connect without a profile picture.  The general attitude is that “if you are not willing to put a picture on the platform, then you must not be too serious about the platform.”  How much traffic are you missing because of a poor picture or lack of picture?   If that does not motivate you, think of it as an election to be someone’s next hire, coach, manager or connection.  Frankly I want to win by a landslide.  Make sure you are not losing out because of the picture.

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Here are just a few tips for profile pictures:

  • It should be professional looking. 
  • Your face should take up at least 60% of the frame
  • Choose a picture that makes you look friendly, smile
  • Wear what you wear to work.  If you are an exterminator, do not wear a business suit.  If you are an attorney, do not wear your casual weekend clothing.
  • Make sure the background does not take away from the focus, which is you
  • Do not use your company logo for your profile picture.  If you created a LinkedIn company page, that logo can go there, but not on the profile picture.

Here are some great examples of profile pictures that make folks want to connect with you:

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I am going to be honest.  It is important to have a picture.  You might think after reading all this that maybe not having a picture is the easiest way out.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Your entire profile has a much higher chance of being viewed with a photo. Would you buy a house or clothing without seeing it first?

I would rather see a bad picture than none at all.  But remember, you do not want to scare folks away because you thought your picture was cute or funny.  My first video goes into this in detail on the website, but I want to add that if you have a bathroom  mirror, a pet, alcohol, a pained expression , your logo, or even a cheesy pose, please change that as soon as possible.  ASAP!  STAT!

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Take a look at these two profiles:

 

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Now pretend you are planning to hire someone and you have to limit the number of people you interview to only three.  Which of these two are you going to include?

Who would you hire?

Here are some profiles that should make you think “Seriously, what were they thinking?”:

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I hope this has helped you to see the importance of a good profile picture and what it takes to have a great one.   What do you think is the worst mistake you could make on LinkedIn?  Comment below and let me know.

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