First impressions go a long away, especially on LinkedIn, and if you aren’t making the right impression, you might as well forget about it.

Did you know that you only have 7 seconds to make an impression – good or bad?

In this blog post, you will learn about the LinkedIn mistakes that can give someone the wrong impression.

LinkedIn Mistakes You Might Be Making

No profile picture

YOU MUST HAVE ONE! If you don’t, people will see that blank silhouette. That is going to send a message that you don’t care enough about yourself or your company. It’s going to show that you don’t care enough to take the time to represent your company in a professional manner. It’s going to show a lack of credibility and people won’t take you seriously. It means a prospective client will pass you by.

Having a profile picture brings your story to life and lets people know you’re for real. Your profile picture should portray you in a professional manner. You want to use a good, close-up picture that stands out, and make it unique to you while maintaining a professional appearance.

If you can, get a professional headshot taken by a professional photographer. Your headshot will become a part of your brand, especially if you don’t have a tangible product like myself. Unlike Facebook, where you might be forgiven for using a fun photo, or one with your family or kids in it, LinkedIn is a different culture, and you’ll have better results if you use a photo that’s both on brand and if not professionally shot, at least not a selfie.

People with a profile picture receive 14 times more profile views and having a profile picture generates higher overall engagement.

Having an undescriptive headline

One of the first ways to make a great first impressions is through your LinkedIn headline. Your headline lets everyone know at a glance exactly what you do—and for whom. It establishes credibility quickly.

You’ll see in my headline I mention the fact that I am an “Award Winning Coach & Speaker”.  That’s a major credibility booster for any of my ideal clients.

LinkedIn Headline

Once reserved for a simple job title (think “Software Engineer” or “CEO”), the headline is now a space where you can really sell yourself and your services. Instead of “Health Coach,” consider “Health coach for busy moms who want to look better, feel better, and have it all…naturally.” Now readers will know instantly if you are a good fit for them (dads need not apply), what you can help with (natural health) and what they stand to gain (looking better).

Here are some words or phrases to avoid, according to LinkedIn:

  • Passionate
  • Motivated
  • Driven
  • Strategic
  • Analytical
  • Problem-Solver
  • Results-Oriented
  • Track Record
  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Peace of Mind
  • CEO
  • Owner

To learn more about writing a strong LinkedIn headline, click here.

Not using your name only

LinkedIn only allows for your actual name as well as any commonly accepted titles like, MD, MBA, PHD, CFP, etc. I would not be able to use “Michelle Arbore Social Media Coach” because LinkedIn will ding me for that. Don’t include email addresses, phone numbers, or keywords. Save the keywords for your headline.

If you have something other than your name, that goes against LinkedIn’s End User Agreement and LinkedIn will blacklist you. It also makes it harder for people to find you, it looks unprofessional and reduces your credibility.

No cover image

Just like Facebook, you can upload a Cover Photo to your LinkedIn profile. This allows you to stand out and showcase your business. It also allows you to make a positive first impression with potential connections. When you upload an image, make sure it is 1584px x 396px.

Capture the attention of your viewers by an image that is both professional and informative. This will help people understand who you are and what you do.

LinkedIn Cover Image

Empty about section

The about section (also known as the summary) is the first thing people will read to learn more about you and what you offer. They really want to learn how you can help them. Don’t make this section all about you or written like a resume. Show that potential client why you’re someone worth knowing! Profiles with summaries get 10 times more profile views than someone who leaves it blank.

The summary gives people a chance to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST you.  Your summary should be client-focused and include your keywords or phrases.  It should speak directly to your target market.  It can only be 2000 characters long so make sure your potential clients know they are in the right place and that you are the person who can help them with their specific problems.

Write it in 1st person and talk directly to your target market – how can you help them? Make it easy for people to contact you by including all your contact information at the end.  You only have 2000 characters to win that potential client over.

Your experience is out of date

This is another great place to speak to your ideal client and explain why they are in the right place, why you are the right person to help them.

Your current experience should talk about your company and what you offer. Again, you have 2000 characters to fit it all in.  Make sure to include your keywords or phrases in both the title and the description. Include what you offer, such as services, who you work with and include a call to action.  Also include your contact information at the end that way people won’t have to search for it.

As you can see from mine, I crafted a headline by telling people who I am (Social Media Coach) and what I do (showing businesses how to get a presence on social media).

Here’s something to think about – do you do more than one thing when it comes to your business? Are you a speaker? Did you create a product or write a book? Add those to your current experience. Make them their own entity.

Are you on any boards or committees? Create another experience for each of those.

LinkedIn Experience

When it comes to your past experience, make sure to include at least a few of your past positions, so your profile has a more complete look.  You can include up to a paragraph describing what you did and any accomplishments during that time.  Don’t forget about the keywords in the title and descriptions.

No customized URL

By default, LinkedIn automatically creates a URL for you when you sign-up for a LinkedIn account. That link includes dashes and numbers with your name.

You want to create a customized URL with just your name so your profile looks more professional and it’s easier for people to find you.

LinkedIn URL

Your profile feels like a resume

LinkedIn is a way to build your professional identity, discover professional opportunities, business deals and new ventures.  Don’t think of LinkedIn as a resume – instead, think of it as an inbound marketing tool where you can create your own future and tell your story.

LinkedIn builds credibility and demonstrates your expertise.  With first impressions going a long way, it’s important you get yours right the first time.

The whole part of LinkedIn is to make connections and engage with those connections in a meaningful way. Unlike Facebook and Twitter where your profiles are based on the content you share, LinkedIn is focused on growing your professional network, build your personal brand, and increase your industry knowledge.

You don’t engage with your network

One thing you have to remember is that all social media is about building that KNOW, LIKE, & TRUST.

Whether it’s sending messages on a regular basis or sharing updates or writing articles on LinkedIn, you have to stay in front of your network. You have to be consistent.

Take a couple of minutes a day to engage with your network. Engagement is an essential part of the networking and relationships building process. If people have commented on your posts, make sure to comment back. It’s important to engage with the content or updates of your connections. This can be as easy as scrolling through your newsfeed to find a few posts you can like, comment or share.

Engaging with your network is a great way for you to get to know your connections and what is important to them. Responding to others content provides a way for you to engage and interact with them.

Avoid these LinkedIn mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes, but the LinkedIn mistakes discussed in this blog post, can cost you potential business opportunities and even damage your credibility.

LinkedIn is a professional network and can be much less forgiving than Facebook or Twitter.

Want to see how to create a LinkedIn profile that ROCKS? Then click here!

Next Blog Post….

Why you don’t need thousands of followers to be successful on social media

BONUS: Learn how to grow your business through LinkedIn with my LinkedIn How To Make It Rock! Course.

LinkedIn has more than 660 million members in over 200 countries. It’s the most valuable, least talked about, and underused social network available. If you’re not using LinkedIn to find new clients, you’re missing out.

Once you register for this course, you’ll get videos teaching you every step of the way, the “Get Results With The LinkedIn Planner” workbook, the “How to Get a Vision for Your Social Media” workbook, and printouts helping you not only with LinkedIn, but all social media. You’ll also be a part of a closed Facebook Group where you can share your progress, ask for help, and network.

You’ll also get over $400 in bonuses.

Learn more here.


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We all need help and support! Sometimes, we simply need someone who has done it before to tell us what to do and how to do it. That's where Savvy Social Media comes in! My name is Michelle Arbore and welcome to Savvy Social Media. My company offers customized training to fit your needs, no matter what level your business is at or what industry you are in. Are you ready to grow your business? Contact me today!

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Are you making these LinkedIn mistakes?

by Michelle Arbore time to read 7 min