LinkedIn Profile Cautions

Do you know the things to avoid, and the harmful mistakes you can make in your LinkedIn profile?  LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and your profile should look professional (and real) if you want to receive the benefits of being on LinkedIn.  It’s easy to set up a quick profile to get started, but you should consider the following cautions if you truly want LinkedIn and all its benefits to help you “extend your reach into the kingdom”.

Here are some things you will want to consider:

  • Profiles without personal names – LinkedIn is a “personal” professional networking site so you should use your personal name.  You can set up a seperate “Company Profile” for your company (or ministry) name.  Setting up a company profile requires only a company email address and a few minutes.  Click on Companies and Add a Company to set your company profile up.  Having a Company Profile allows all employees to be linked which aids searches as well as company visibility for name and producs and services.  Using a company name for a Personal Profile also violates LinkedIn rules.  Keep your personal profile personal, and set up a Company profile for your company
  • Profiles without the full name – LinkedIn networking is about being found and to be found you should use both your first and last name.  If there are several J. Smith profiles, finding the one I really want might be difficult without the full first name.  LinkedIn is a professional network and very low on the stalking radar screen, especially since your location is only a geographical area.  You can limit your contact information to an email address (and I suggest a dedicated address for LinkedIn).  If you need to include a phone number and are concerned about reverse lookups, you can list your cell phone number or a business/ministry number.
  • Profiles that include extra stuff in the name field.  Your name is about who you are, and to make you easy to find.  Including extra things can limit you in searches.  Use your “headline” (the field just after your name) to tell others what you can do for them.
  • Profiles with Titles where your Headlines should go – Your “headline” is the words that are right below your name.  They sometimes default to the title of the last job you entered.  Don’t settle for a title as your headline.  Your headline is seen right after your name and can entice people to look at your profile to see who you are and why they should call you.  Owner of Safe Place Counseling won’t encourage people to call you as much as “I help people discover the freedom that God intended” will.  Check out my headline to see what I used at http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/billbender 
  • Profiles without photos – It helps friends recognize you, especially if you’ve moved or changed careers.  It helps keep fake LinkedIn profiles down.  It makes you more human in this growingly impersonal internet world.  It keeps me from wondering why you don’t want to use your photo.  Yes, there are some discrimination and security issues to consider but having a professional head shot can reduce those.
  • Profiles with Company Logos or cartoon photos – Many of the same issues as photos, as well as LinkedIn rules say to use your photo, and not cartoons or logos.  I’m sure it’s rare with over 100 million profiles, but I have heard of profiles being cancelled until a logo was replaced with a photo. 
  • Profiles with unclear job titles – Job titles don’t always clearly identify what you actually do.  Acronyms and industry jargon won’t help those not directly involved.  Don’t use abbreviations unless they are widely accepted in your field, and understood by all that you might want to recognize them.
  • Multiple Profiles – It’s easy to unknowingly set up two or more profiles when you first join LinkedIn if you receive invitations at more than one email address.  Having more than one profile greatly reduces your effectiveness, as well as violating LinkedIn’s rules.  Search for yourself to verify that you only have one profile.  If you have more than one, you will need to select the one you want to keep, and consolidate them by inviting all the contacts from the one you want to eliminate to the one you will keep.  Don’t forget about referrals and all the data from the one you eliminate.
  • Profiles with no or very few connections – LinkedIn includes a “warning, this profile has 0 connections” to all your invitations and requests.  This could limit who will accept your LinkedIn invitations, and the groups that will accept you as members.  Everyone with legitimate motives on LinkedIn will have some connections.  You should invite most of your current and past coworkers, fellow students and teachers, friends, and relatives.
  • Profiles without summaries – Unless you are brand new, or don’t intend to use LinkedIn to grow your business or ministry, you need a summary.  The summary tells people what you can do for them, why they should contact you, and why they want to be connected to you.  It’s also how LinkedIn helps people searching for activities, ministries, and specialties find you.  The first paragraph should include the “key words” that you want to be found by.
  • Profiles without current and past experience – If you don’t list current or past experience, you are either a student (and you should list that), you don’t intend to use LinkedIn seriously, or you are hiding something.  Any of those things can limit who connects to you, the groups you are accepted into, and tags you as a possible fake profile.
  • Profiles without recommendations – This is a little less limiting, but not having any recommendations can indicate you don’t have anyone that would recommend you, you don’t think you need recommendations, your you just haven’t bothered to pursue any.  Recommendations should be from someone who knows you personally and can personally recommend your abilities, products, services, knowledge, or experience.  The best way to receive recommendations is to first give them.  Recommend two people a week that you are already connected to.  When they accept your recommendation, they will be asked if they would like to send you one.  It’s just a nice way of asking!
  • Profiles without groups – Groups are one of LinkedIn’s big features, and the benefits they provide set LinkedIn apart from other social media sites and tools.  Groups can help you establish credibility and trust, help you connect with others that you otherwise could not, and they can give you a valuable source of information in the fields you need.  Select groups in your career field, groups in your geographic area, groups tied to your education, and groups that focus on your personal interests.  Be cautious about controversial groups as many of us check the groups you are in before we accept your invitation or a group membership request.  Be sure the groups compliment the personal brand you wish to develop.
  • Profiles without applications – LinkedIn has lots of applications that tell a larger story of who you are and what you do.  Consider things like the Reading List by Amazon to tell others what you read and give your recommendations.  Check out the other applications by letting your mouse hover over “More…” in the menu bar and clicking on “Add Applications”.

LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool to help you “extend your reach into the kingdom” for whatever God has called you to accomplish.  Spending a little time to develop a great profile, maintaining your profile, making quality connections, and joining beneficial groups is key to your success using LinkedIn and growing your business and ministry.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

Blessings,
Bill Bender
Linked4Ministry & Anothen Life Ministries

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2 responses to this post.

  1. […] principals without worrying who I might offend, so when I am invited to connect to someone I check out their profile.  I check to see that our theology is compatible.  If the Holy Spirit prompts me to […]

    Reply

  2. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.

    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

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