By Jim Wong, CPA | September 17, 2013

By now, most people have a LinkedIn profile. But what do you do with it?

“LinkedIn has a special designation: Professional networking,” says Libby Kane, contributor to Forbes. However, have you made it easy for recruiters to find you? Do you project a friendly online demeanor? Do you prevent others from contacting you?

While there are many articles that describe how to make your LinkedIn profile more marketable, Laura Smith-Proulx of Career Rocketeer shares five ways you’re doing yourself a disservice on LinkedIn.

You’re Not Leveraging Keywords
It’s valuable to have keywords in your headline, summary, job titles, or interests. “LinkedIn search engine is set up to ‘count’ your keywords throughout your profile, but they rank higher when used in your headline or job title,” says Smith-Proulx.

Smith-Proulx suggests using a headline such as “IT Director, VP IT. Hosting & Managed Services. Cost Savings, Business Alignment, & Infrastructure in Manufacturing.” It “helps other users find you based on career level (VP and Director), specialty (IT infrastructure, managed services, hosting), and industry (manufacturing).”

You Haven’t Joined Enough Groups
LinkedIn groups are for more than collaborating and meeting like-minded professionals. They are also a great place to be found by hiring managers and recruiters. Smith-Proulx recommends joining at least ten groups so it’s easy for people to get in touch with you.

Recruiters and hiring managers often pay for premium accounts and InMails (LinkedIn internal email messages) so they look for ways to get in contact with candidates for free. Group members can send each other a note or an invitation to connect at no charge.

“By hanging out in the same place as a hiring manager or recruiter, you’re making it much easier for them to send you an inquiry,” Smith-Proulx adds.

Do a quick search using keywords such as your job title or industry to find relevant groups for you to join.

You Didn’t Add Contact Information
LinkedIn doesn’t display your email address or phone number; so don’t forget to add these to the “Contact Information” on your profile. Let people know the types of messages you want to receive, and the best way to reach you. LinkedIn provides the steps to take to update this information.

You Didn’t Add a Professional Photo
According to Nicole Williams, LinkedIn career expert, “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”

Your photo should just be of you at your professional best. Don’t include your husband, child, or friends. Smith-Proulx suggests having a friend take a few shots of you in professional attire if you don’t have a headshot.

You’re Shunning Connection Invitations 
LinkedIn is a professional social network. Don’t approach is as you would Facebook. Open up your network and your approach to accepting invitations. “Opening up your network will also give you the advantage of a 2nd or 3rd degree connection to others interested in talking with you,” says Smith-Proulx.

Recruiters have become more social friendly, and they are relying more and more on LinkedIn. In fact, according to LinkedIn, “88 percent of Fortune 100 and corporations from every industry around the world use is for recruiting.”

Take the time to make sure you are getting what you want out of LinkedIn. Fix these mistakes to bring more traffic and results to your profile.

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