Six mistakes to avoid on your LinkedIn profile

Entrepreneur and business mentor Rebecca Newenham talks about how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile.

Six mistakes to avoid on your LinkedIn profile

Entrepreneur and business mentor Rebecca Newenham talks about how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with over 875 million members in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Your LinkedIn profile can be a valuable asset for your franchise, helping you attract new business. But so many profiles are out of date or not even complete.

Many people don’t even realise just how much content you can provide on your LinkedIn profile and what a positive impact it can have. Or they haven’t reviewed their profile for some time. It’s something that came up in one of my recent mentoring sessions. My mentee was keen to use LinkedIn more to grow her business, but she wasn’t sure where to start.

Over the years, LinkedIn has been a brilliant tool for my business and a valued source of professional support. A complete, up-to-date, professional and engaging profile is the basis of everything I do on the platform. So if you haven’t reviewed your profile for a while or are keen to start using LinkedIn more, here’s my checklist of profile mistakes to avoid:

An out-of-date or unprofessional profile photo

People buy from people, and your profile image is the first thing people will see if they search or come across your profile on LinkedIn. It’s vital the image they see is recent and actually looks like you. It’s also important to be authentic. If you’re a relaxed, creative person, don’t suddenly put on a suit for a photoshoot. LinkedIn is a professional network, and your photo needs to be a professional one. That doesn’t mean you need to invest in an expensive photographer. You can do a reasonable job on your mobile phone, but think about having a well-lit, plain background. Don’t forget your background header image too. You can fully utilise this by branding it with your logo and including a call to action or clear contact details, should people wish to get in touch. This will help your profile stand out and maximise its impact.

A basic job title headline

Does your headline tell people what you do and how you can help them? Your profile might default to your current job title, but that often doesn’t tell people much. You’ve got over 100 characters to include relevant keywords and something about the problems you solve for your clients or customers, which will boost your visibility in search.

An incomplete ‘About’ section

Did you know that you have over 2,000 characters in your ‘About’ section to tell your audience about yourself and your business? This is your opportunity to share your story and explain how you can help others. Don’t forget to include your contact details or links to your website, so people can easily get in touch or find out more if they want to.

Outdated or irrelevant skills and endorsements

Many people don’t even realise that you can manually change the order of your skills and choose the top three skills that are shown on your profile. The default is for the top ones to be the ones you have the most endorsements for. But these will usually be influenced by your past experience and may not reflect the future clients you are trying to attract. Ensure you update and reorder your skills regularly, and make the most of the up to 50 skills that you can have listed, as they can help your visibility in search. Check that the skills you want to be endorsed for are still important to you now. Spend some time endorsing your connections, too, as it may encourage them to do the same for you.

Not having any recommendations

Recommendations are hugely influential in the buying process. We all know that word of mouth is probably the oldest and most effective form of marketing. Use the ‘Request a recommendation’ button to ask colleagues or clients to write a recommendation for you. You can personalise the invitation by giving them ideas of what to cover to make it as easy as possible. For example, if someone sends you some lovely feedback by email, cut and paste that into the request. ‘Give, and you will receive’ is an excellent motto regarding recommendations. It is always a lovely surprise to receive a recommendation from a connection, so try and give recommendations regularly without being prompted. They really will be appreciated.

Not posting consistently enough (or not posting at all!) 

Try and get into the habit of sharing interesting posts that will inform and engage your connections. Don’t overthink it, but equally, don’t hold off. If you’re stuck for ideas, think about sharing insider knowledge, like a good book you have read. Be inspiring by sharing a motivational quote you love or a top tip. Think about answering questions you often get asked and give advice that will benefit your audience. Share something personal if it’s relevant, like behind the scenes at an event, a team brainstorming session or some feedback you’ve been given that has really resonated with you. Consider scheduling in advance to help you plan posts and ensure it happens. Use a mix of photos, videos, links, polls and articles to keep your content varied and fresh. This will also help you appeal to different types of people in your audience.

Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a community. A complete and professional profile is just the foundation. From there, you can begin to engage with your audience. Spend time liking and commenting on other people’s posts. You don’t have to accept everyone’s connection request, but do grow your network to increase your reach. Add a personalised message when you connect and feel free to connect with me at https:/ Benefit from the massive amount of connection and experience that LinkedIn can offer you and your business.

Rebecca Newenham
Rebecca Newenham