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7 Common Mistakes to Avoid on LinkedIn

October 18th, 2011 ::


I love LinkedIn.  It’s the best way to network with other professionals and generate leads, but it continually amazes me how many otherwise smart, capable people don’t use it properly.  The most common mistakes people make are related to their profile and networking.

Here are 7 basic things to make sure you are – and are not – doing on LinkedIn as you expand your network and grow your company:

Your Profile

1. Fill it out completely

Yes, this means adding a photo, preferably one that has been professionally shot by a photographer.  But it also means filling out all the fields completely: your current position, past jobs, awards, affiliations and education.  Take your time and put some effort into it – you might be surprised by how often your profile gets viewed.

2. Ask for recommendations

Every time you complete a project with a client, ask them to write a two- or three-sentence recommendation that addresses what problem they had and how you solved it.  Every time you get a recommendation, everyone in your network will see it and be reminded how good you are at what you do.

3. Write a summary that makes people want to work with you

Don’t just recite your CV.  Get creative with your summary and really sell yourself by focusing on all of the benefits of working with you.  Explain how your products and services solve your clients’ problems.   Keep it friendly and approachable, rather than stiff and formal.

4. Keep your profile updated

Set a recurring note on your calendar to review your LinkedIn profile on a regular basis – every month or two.  Make sure your products, services, capabilities, recent projects, etc. are up-to-date.  It’s also a good time to think about asking people for recommendations and looking up people you have recently met.


5. Think carefully before contacting strangers

I am always shocked by how many invitations and messages I get from complete strangers.  Contacting strangers out of the blue is a huge faux pas on LinkedIn.  First check to see if you have any mutual connections, and if you do, ask that person for an introduction.  If you don’t, see the next tip.

6. Always include a personalized message in your invitations

When sending someone an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, always include a personalized message.  It could be a friend, someone you work with, someone you met last week, or a stranger (see above).  Just remind that invitee why you want to connect with them – and how you know each other.  If it’s a stranger, this is doubly important to do.  Be very specific as to why you want to connect with them.

7. Keep messages brief

Need I say more?  We are all busy.  Be friendly, but get right to the point.

Image by Flickr user Dave Halley (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Posted in Marketing, Social Media | 6 Comments »

  • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

    #6 is the one that resonates most with me Monikah. I’ll never understand how anyone got the idea that things not okay offline and suddenly fine on the web. I wouldn’t flag down a total stranger and insist that they take me to the airport, just because we happen to be on the same road. I get that LinkedIn is for making connections, but using those last 3 bits of advice to introduce yourself and be personable… it goes a long way.

  • Sylvia Scott

    Ditto to Tinu’s comment.  

  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    We all know the linkedin as the huge social network people use, and it is so helpful for the business also. Here has the great points one has to be taken care about if want to get truly success. And specially on any social network , there is risk for the security and to contact with the unknown who can be hurtful to you in future. And the second thing with the profile and it is the major thing in business to create the image. So these all are things one has to be taken care about. Thanks for making all people aware about such points.

  • Kens

    Great article! LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for my small business.  However, I can’t do my job (helping people with their job searches) if they don’t give me all the information to do so.  Using LinkedIn correctly can make a difference in finding a job efficiently or lingering in the “in transition’ world.  In an article I wrote recently entitled ”Building Sales Through Social Media: Why LinkedIn”(http://www.turningpointsearch.net/resources/articles/) I also discussed the ways to get your best foot forward in the world of social media, specifically LinkedIn.  There are many platforms available in the social media world.  However, many will find that most professionals are “hanging out” on LinkedIn.  So that’s where much of our attention should be focused.
    Ken C. Schmitt

  • Jim Norton

    Frankly, #2- the recommendations are a waste of space. I know guys who thought their colleague was incompetent, but gave them a good reference on Linkedin.

    Anybody who relies on the references on Likedin is not doing the proper vetting of a candidate.

  • http://TrueAzimuth.biz Coach Scott Graham

    I just discovered a major issue with product recommendations. So little known is this that I couldn’t find ANY reference to it anywhere via a Google search, so I posted a question on LinkedIn Answers and it was swooped up by LinkedIn support. Five days later, I got a reply:

    In order to give recommendations on a Company Page, you need an established account with a profile that’s at least 50% complete, and you also need to have connections.

    The issue is that someone who is not on LinkedIn but wants to give your product (via Company Pages) a recommendation can’t just create a LinkedIn account and then give you a recommendation. They need to create connections, add a photo and take other actions to get the privilege of recommending a product.

    LinkedIn doesn’t tell you that — in fact this fact is found no where in the LinkedIn documentation for company pages.