A Comprehensive List of LinkedIn Do’s & Don’ts

Graduate jobs

November 21, 2019

While in most cases, you will be sending your resume/CV and a cover letter while applying for jobs, the forms often ask for the link to your LinkedIn profile. You must think of it as an opportunity to go beyond the traditional resume and communicate what could not be conveyed in a single-page CV. Here’s a handy list of LinkedIn tips to follow, and mistakes to avoid.

Do:

Get a proper photograph: preferably a headshot, in formals. It doesn’t have to be professionally shot in a studio, but a solemn background and no noise is non-negotiable. A good profile photo can go a long way in exhibiting soft skills, passion, charisma, especially if the photo shows you in action. Selfies are a big no-no. So are group photos. If you absolutely HAVE to click selfies, refer to this LinkedIn guide for the perfect #workselfie.

Include: Details. Context. Results. Basically, all the things you’d chop off from your CV to keep it to a single page. LinkedIn has no limits, so use this independence to say as much about your experiences as possible: your job experiences, for example, should have three elements namely the job description that states your responsibilities, the lessons learnt and skills developed in the process, and achievement of the targets and beyond.The narrative should tell a story: you came, you saw, you conquered. Remember, it is a professional sin to put no effort into making your linkedIn more comprehensive than your resume, do not just copy-and-paste!

Create a unique LinkedIn URL

It is much easier to share your linkedIn profile with a customised URL, not to mention the professional impression it leaves when compared to the default profile URL LinkedIn assigns you, which is just a combination of random digits. Ideally, the URL should be linkedin.com/yourname. Cringeworthy or cutesy nicknames or short-forms should be avoided. To customize your LinkedIn URL, press the "Edit Profile" button. It will take you to a separate page where a "Your public profile URL" box will let you change the link.

Put some thought into the profile summary. Your profile summary is like the tagline for your brand, so make sure it is engaging and informative. It should convey your experience and expertise without exaggeration. Look here for tips.

Break your profile into sections

Your should make use of the template that LinkedIn provides. It's not just about your summary and work experience: add volunteering experiences, organizations you're part of, honours you've received, projects you've worked on, publications you have to your credit.

Be conversational

Don’t be casual and chatty, but be engaging in your tone. It doesn’t and shouldn’t be the internet lingo ridden with slangs, but millennial workplaces will probably want you to stay and look lively!

Have testimonial proof. Nothing like a glowing recommendation from a former manager, or a Support your claims with tangible proof. Quant with qual

Proofread. Typos are far from a recommendation. If your profile is riddled with typos, you aren’t going to come across as a viable candidate for any job. Proofread your profile to get rid of these typos and to iron out the other kinks.

Include links, visuals, multimedia. Tell your story and make it rich with links to your work, presentations, graphs, among other outputs. This is true especially if you are in a creative field, even though we recommend you to build a personal portfolio too in that case.

Have recommendations/endorsements. Don’t shy away from asking your mentors, professors, internship managers to endorse you on LinkedIn and give, if possible, a glowing recommendation. Even if the recommendation reflects on how promising you are for the field, it is better than no recommendation to match the work experience!

Mention ALL past work experiences and volunteer work: Unlike a resume or a CV, one of the many pros of a LinkedIn profile is that you’re not bound to a fixed length. And while sending a resume for a job means you are customising it to the job, your LinkedIn profile is where you keep a record of all the activities you’ve engaged in.

Include skills. Not only does it help you keep track of all your professional competencies, it also acts as a pitch for any prospective employer.

Don’t:

Use a bad photo. Here’s all that’s included in the definition of a bad photo: no lighting. Bad lighting. A group photo cropped to single you out. Someone’s phantom hand showing in a cropped photo. Selfie. 

Use no photo at all. You are selling yourself through your LinkedIn profile. Using a photo increases your chances of getting noticed, or being connected to, and/or taken seriously. Here’s proof.

Use the default message template

It is a direct hint at your laziness. If you want to build valuable professional connections and really network, then customise your messages in accordance with the person. When you tailor the message, it makes the recipient take notice, and chances are the conversation might lead someplace.

Use the robotic tone while listing important career milestones. Your LinkedIn profile is not an academic paper. You don’t have to be devoid of emotions to convey your seriousness. Use adjectives.

Parting tip: get feedback on your profile from an expert in your field, or the careers service at your University!

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