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5 Common Mistakes You’re Making on Your LinkedIn Profile That Make You Look Bad

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Joanne Poh

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Quitting Facebook could instantly give you back hours of your time each week and put you on the path to becoming better at your job and life. But if there’s one social network you should continue to use, it’s LinkedIn… especially now that it’s been bought over by Microsoft for a cool $26.2 billion.

If you’re the last person in Singapore without a LinkedIn account, you need to create one now unless you’re retired or have yet to take the O levels. These days, recruiters’ first port of call is LinkedIn, so by not having a profile you could be missing out on lots of opportunities.

Now that Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn, data on the platform could be tapped for other Microsoft-owned platforms. Microsoft has already mentioned plans to enhance online networking, so this is something any economically active person doesn’t want to miss out on.

Before you snap a selfie of yourself for profile pic, here are five mistakes to avoid when creating your profile.

 

1. Seeming too desperate

Nobody likes a desperado. When you’re writing your summary (that little introduction at the top of your page), try not to sound like you’re ready to take any job someone throws your way.

LinkedIn is not a job application—it’s for gainfully employed people to display their achievements in hopes that someone will want to offer them something better.

The right way to go is to make readers (not just any readers but those in your target industry) curious about you and want to read on.

So do not start your summary with “seeking employment” or “looking for internships”. That’s like creating a Tinder profile with the blurb “looking for a spouse”.

 

2. Promoting your profile before it’s complete

It never fails to amaze me how people can post thousands of selfies on their Facebook accounts, yet not bother to find a decent picture for their LinkedIn profile.

Just as you wouldn’t send out a resume filled with typo errors, don’t start inviting people to connect with you until you’ve completed your profile as thoroughly as possible.

 

3. Stalking other users’ profiles

If Facebook started revealing to users who was viewing their profiles, you can bet there’d be mass exodus of users deleting their accounts.

Well guess what, LinkedIn does reveal whose accounts you’ve viewed—unless you adjust your settings to prevent people from knowing you’ve been stalking them.

Even after you’ve adjusted your settings, it’s best to keep your stalking to a minimum. Even if people can’t see that you’ve viewed them, they can still see a selection of profiles viewed by the people who viewed them. If you’re unlucky enough to be stalking someone who hasn’t gotten that many views, don’t be surprised if their “people also viewed” column is filled with your own contacts.

But we know you’re going to stalk people anyway. So here’s a tip: open an incognito window in your browser.

 

4. Connecting with people whom you have not interacted with

What do you think of those folks who add random strangers on Facebook? Creepy and lame, right?

In the same vein, avoid sending invitations to people you have not interacted with. If you’d like to connect with a recruiter or discuss an opportunity with an employer, drop them an email first. When they reply and have acknowledged your existence, that’s when you can finally send them an invitation to connect.

 

5. Overselling yourself

When you read a LinkedIn profile or resume that describes someone as “intelligent”, “driven”, or “exceptional”, what do you think? BHB, right?

We get that you want to impress potential recruiters. But you do that by displaying your achievements, and then letting them connect the dots.

Don’t say you’re an “exceptional performer”. Instead, provide data that shows when you exceeded sales targets, or furnish information on awards you’ve won.

Otherwise you’re no better than that guy on Tinder who describes himself as good looking and then prays that nobody takes a good look at his picture.

Have you ever been guilty of any of the above mistakes? Tell us about your faux pas in the comments!

Concept and initial research by: Tan Hong You

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.