12 LinkedIn mistakes IT pros make

Don't wait until you decide to leave your current job to update your LinkedIn profile. Start today, and avoid these mistakes

Oops!  LinkedIn mistakes IT pros make
Credit: Gunnar Pippel
12 LinkedIn mistakes IT pros make

LinkedIn is the go-to place for IT pros to market themselves, connect with co-workers, find former colleagues, and meet-up with like-minded folks.  Oh, you can also find your next job there too. But many of us, whether we're in IT or not, wait until we decide to quit our current job to polish our LinkedIn profile.

Take a few minutes now to make sure your profile showcases your accomplishments, and skills. Here are some common mistakes to avoid. 

LinkedIn profile headshot
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 1: Funky or no portrait photo

People are suspicious of LinkedIn profiles with missing photos, says David Hults, career coach, author and speaker, activ8careers.com.

The fix: Ditch the funky picture if you have one. Focus on your face. No beach shots, or distracting background objects in the frame. Using your iPhone camera is okay, but watch the lighting.

 No recommendations
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 2: No recommendations

This person has held numerous IT positions at the Red Cross, but has no recommendations.

The fix: Ideally, you should have a personal recommendation for each position, even if you held multiple jobs in the same organization. "Ask someone who can speak directly to your work," says Lisa Rokusek, managing partner, AgentHR Recruiting Group, St. Louis, MO. "Try to vet these as carefully as you can," she says. 

Few or no endorsements of important, marketable skills
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 3: Few or no endorsements of important, marketable skills

The fix: This part of your profile should look engaging and vibrant. Ask your network to endorse you for your skills. If you're the one being asked to endorse someone else’s skills, be reasonable. "I get hundreds of endorsements from people I have never worked with, so don’t get carried away, and click on everyone’s skills," says Rokusek.

 Lack of details on past and current job responsibilities
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 4: Lack of details on past and current job responsibilities

The fix: A list is not an explanation! It's great this person has had these experiences, but more information, particularly about a current position, is needed. What projects did this BI specialist work on for their company? How did the BI implementations go, under or over budget, etc.? What is SSAS?  It could be a typo for SAS, or it could really mean SQL Server Analysis Services, but spell it out. "You should put your best foot forward," says Rokusek.

Typos and profanity
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 5: Typos and profanity

The fix: Well, this is an obvious one, but worth repeating. Avoid typos and profanity at all cost. Proofread your profile, or at least have a friend do it. 

Overload on jargon
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 6: Overload on jargon

The fix: Not everyone understands our jargon. Have someone else review your profile so that it is understandable.

Not joining industry groups
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 7: Not joining industry groups

The fix: Joining groups is critical -- and easy. There are hundreds of groups in your field, your geographic location, as well as former alumni. "Find people of your own kind and connect with them, and be aggressive here," says Hults

Being hard to contact
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 8: Being hard to contact

The fix: When editing your profile, make sure you scroll down to "Additional Info" and add your contact info in both the "interests" and "advice" fields. These areas are two places that LinkedIn allows you to put whatever you want, and this can make it easier for people to find you, even those who aren't your connections. "Stop being passive and waiting for people to find you," says Hults.

Not listing program language proficiencies
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 9: Not listing program language proficiencies

The fix: Fortran might not be your thing, but do add all your computer programming languages in the "languages" section, and also state how proficient you are in each one. Be as descriptive as possible.

 

Not adding website links
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 10: Not adding website links

The fix: You only have three places to link to your websites, so use this real estate wisely.  As you can see from the screenshot, use the "other" tag because it gives you the chance to put both your blog or website name and the URL to link to it. If you choose the "blog" tag, you just get a URL and lose out on a bit of Google juice for listing your website name. You can also link to your blog and have posts automatically added to your updates. 

No public profile URL
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 11: No public profile URL

The fix: When it comes time to promote yourself, don’t forget to create a custom profile URL that you can list on business cards. It is also an easy way for your contacts to find you on LinkedIn, particularly if you have a common name that might be hard to search for. 

Using the generic invite
Credit: ITworld/David Strom
Mistake 12: Using the generic invite

The fix: This is the default invite when you want to add a new connection. Don’t just click "send". Craft a custom message that is specific to the person you are inviting and include things like where they know you from, and how they are connected to you. Context is very important.