Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile: Part II

Using LinkedIn effectively requires a certain amount of finesse. Many people sign up, input the basics for their account and expect the job inquiries to start rolling in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Pay heed to these four common mistakes people often make that limit their LinkedIn potential, courtesy of Ross Macpherson, President of Career Quest and an expert in career strategies who visits regularly with TCU MBA students through the Neeley Graduate Career Center.

No Profile Picture. Having a profile picture is a non-negotiable. It’s the first impression you will make with your LinkedIn profile.

“You are seven times less likely to be contacted if you do not have a profile picture, so you are seven times more likely to be contacted if you do have a picture,” says Macpherson.

Be sure your picture is not blurry, outdated or oddly cropped. Instead, use a smiling, professional headshot.

Allowing any of the LinkedIn defaults. Using the LinkedIn defaults is the easy way out, and frankly, lazy. Take time to customize your headline, summary and connection requests.

For connection requests, include where you met or how you know the individual with whom you’d like to connect, and why you want to connect with them. When you send customized connection requests, your success rate of connecting with desired contacts rises.

Not completing your profile. Leaving your profile incomplete affects your LinkedIn ratings. Invest time in completing your profile and personalizing it.

“LinkedIn allows you to showcase your personality. Do it. Try to make the tone professional but conversational,” says Macpherson. “It should look and sound unique. Make it your own. This is you.”

Not showing value. If your profile fails to communicate the value you can offer a company, you’re unlikely to receive the desired response. Think strategically—what is your value proposition?

"Companies are looking for value,” Macpherson says. “What is your value to me? If that doesn’t come across, you’re a commodity.”

While LinkedIn is critical, it’s not the only aspect of your online presence.

Future employers will automatically Google your name before an interview, so be certain your online persona is an accurate—and appropriate—portrayal of your professional life.

"Google your name, and see what comes up,” suggests Macpherson. Then populate the Web with relevant content. Build your own website and buy your own URL. This will reinforce your online brand identity. 

If you're concerned about the efficacy of your LinkedIn profile or want to conduct an audit of your digital presence, visit the Neeley Graduate Career Center today for suggestions on how to put your best digital foot forward.

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now.
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