Tajuana Ross, aka ‘The LinkedIn Professor', led the workshop and shared 5 mistakes we often make with LinkedIn. She was incredible and the level that she understands LinkedIn and how it works together with Google algorithms is nothing short of amazing. I mean, just take some time to check out her LinkedIn profile.
Here's a recap of the lessons shared:
Mistake #5 – Ignoring LinkedIn.
Tajuana says, “If LinkedIn is not part of your overall social media strategy, you have a branding problem.” LinkedIn is all about establishing your professional brand. It's the only place where people come specifically to network and do business. This means that you should make time for it. No excuses.
Mistake #4 – No photo. Bad photo. Wrong photo.
First impressions are powerful, right? On LinkedIn, the first thing that most people see – aside from your name – is your profile photo. “When people see your picture online, within a nanosecond, they have judged you, your trustworthiness and your competence.” The only kind of acceptable photo on LinkedIn is a professional headshot. Nothing else works. Not even bathroom selfies. 🙂
Mistake #3 – Using the Default Headline
If you use the default headline on LinkedIn – which generally is your most recent job title – you are telling people that you’re not putting any effort into standing out. You should have a headline that causes people to do something, like click on your profile to learn more about you.
Tajuana shared her headline formula with us which is:
your value proposition + keywords that describe what you do + a separator
You should also spend some time on this because “your headline is worth more than 40% of your overall profile.”
Mistake #2 – Omitting Your Summary
Just like your headline, your summary is also heavily weighted. I always thought it was more like a summary of your skills and experience. Tajuana tells us that you should tell the story of your professional life. Tell the story of how you got to where you are now. Why you do what you do. And tell it to us in the first person, not the third person. That helps you build relationships and gives people reasons to want to connect with you.
The other important thing Tajuana mentions is that you should have a call to action at the end of the summary that tells the reader what to do next. Something like, “Hey let’s meet for 15 minutes and have a virtual coffee” with a link to your online calendar.
Mistake #1 – Sending Generic Connection Requests
If you want to connect to someone and send the default connection request without personalizing it, Tajuana says you are “destroying your brand every single day.” Sending non-personalized connections is like walking up to someone at a networking meeting, handing them your card and walking away. Make time to personalize each and every connection request.
These are amazing right? I was blown away especially by mistakes 3 and 4. So that’s what I will be thinking about and spending time on over the next few months. I also grabbed Tajuana's book and will be reading for more tips and inspiration.
My main takeaway: LinkedIn is not just a glorified resume. It’s an online networking tool.