Profile photo credit: The CW Network

It’s no secret LinkedIn has revolutionised the way we do business in much the same way that every other social media platform has changed the way we share the inane minutiae of our day-to-day. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your nine-to-five or care as much about finance industry trends as you do the latest fashion trends, to ignore LinkedIn’s capabilities is at your own peril. If career advancement is your aim, you’re going to need to commit to more than a job description and an artfully edited selfie.

Treat it with as much care as you do your Tinder profile and that corner office could be yours faster than you can say ‘grow my network’.

These are the most common mistakes you’re more than likely making when it comes to your LinkedIn (and other) profiles. Good news is they’re all easily avoided and could save you loads of time in your rocket up the career ladder. To borrow a phrase from legendary entrepreneur RuPaul Charles, if you can’t sell yourself, how in the hell are you going to sell for somebody else? Can we get an Amen?

1. Put your best face forward

It might sound like a given, but adding a photo to your LinkedIn profile apparently makes it 14 times more likely to be viewed by a prospective recruiter. Naturally, first impressions count here just as much here as they do offline, so ensure your chosen portrait accurately reflects your capabilities.

2. More is more

Don’t let your job title define you. You’re more than your current job moniker and prospective employers shouldn’t have to buy you dinner to get to know more about you and the value you’ll inevitably bring to their organisation. Your headline is one of the first things people will see on viewing your profile. So if it’s appropriate for your industry, get creative.

3. Story of your life

A summary of 40 words and up makes your profile more likely to turn up in search. Avoid cliché buzzwords that don’t do justice to your stellar achievements and opt instead for authentic and engaging real life examples told from your perspective. Be in charge of your own story – don’t just let the dot points speak for you.

4. Keep it fresh

More is definitely more when it comes to your profile, so try and update it as frequently as you would any other network – not just when you’re looking to jump ship. Treat it as you would a portfolio of your greatest hits and showcase any scene-stealing visuals that are sure to catch the eye of an interested party. 

5. Fear not the humble-brag

Needless to say, you’re more than your day job. Adding any charity work and demonstrating experience you may have volunteering adds another layer to your professional identity and might just be the thing that sets you apart in a competitive market.

6. Quality over quantity

Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor is a strong professional network. Make like you do when you’re OOO and aim for quality over quantity when it comes to making connections. If time comes to reach out to someone you don’t know, a little introduction goes a long way.

7. The social network

If there’s a theme emerging here, it’s that LinkedIn isn’t a spectator sport. Joining groups relevant to your industry gives you a sounding board on which to post questions, expand your network and start discussions that not only contribute to the conversation in your industry, but could change the course of it entirely.

8. C.R.E.AM. (Content rules everything AROUND ME)

In an age where content is king and currency alike, you’d be a fool (and in the minority) were you to keep your opinions to yourself. Publishing direct to LinkedIn and sharing either original content or something that sparks your passions is a surefire way of gaining visibility, wielding your growing influence and making crucial connections. 

9. There’s leaders, then there’s followers

Are you bored with waiting around for your favourite entrepreneur to pop out a follow-up to their rousing first autobiography? Following any of the over 500 influential business leaders who publish long form editorial direct to the platform is one way of learning from and sharing their perspectives. This way, you don’t have to worry about digging out your copy of Losing My Virginity ever again. That’s the title of Richard Branson’s autobiography, in case you missed it the first time around.

10. Love yourself

Up-skilling is important and listing those indispensable assets is one key way to not only make yourself desirable, but searchable as well. According to LinkedIn, listing your skill set can make you 13 times more search friendly, meaning you’re more likely to rank closer to the top which is where, if we’re being honest, you belong. Remember the karmic rules often apply when it comes to endorsing and being endorsed, so stick to skills you’re actually well versed in. Honestly, as always, is the best policy.