Did you know that most recruiters report using LinkedIn to source candidates for job openings? And, nearly all hiring managers are going to check LinkedIn for potential candidates – often before they even post an opening!

Whether you intend it or not, whether you like it or not, LinkedIn is establishing your professional brand (or lack of it). So, if you’ve been thinking, “Oh, I’ll get to that…” and put it on the back burner, now’s the time to do it.

Here are the most common mistakes I’m seeing on LinkedIn, and they are some of the easiest to fix. You can knock these off in less than 20 minutes.

  • Use of LinkedIn’s bland neutral “banner.” There are oodles of free banners you can find with a quick search on Google or Canva to choose from. Or use a pic of your own.
  • Poor quality or out of date headshot. With a good camera on most phones, there’s just no excuse for using that pic cropped from a vacation photo 5 years ago. A good headshot will be shoulders up, eyes forward, and centered in the frame.
  • Not personalizing your LinkedIn URL. It’s super simple. Just click on the “Customize your URL” button in LinkedIn (the link will get you there).
  • Using your current title or status as your headline. This is the most searched field by recruiters, so make sure it reflects what you actually do, e.g, “Marketing Strategist | Content Creator OR Data Analyst.”
  • Incomplete work history. Make sure your work history is up to date and includes bullets or narrative (be consistent) about your duties and achievements.

One other thing: If you have fewer than 300 connections, people may (rightly or wrongly) conclude that you aren’t interested in your professional network, or that you are the sort of person who doesn’t connect well with people. Employers today want to work with people who can make connections. So, even if you are introverted and connecting doesn’t come naturally, if you are looking for a job, this matters. See if you can get your connections up about 300, and ideally up to 500+ (LinkedIn’s “magic” number that drives their search algorithms). Connect with family, friends, former and current co-workers, professors, neighbors and see if you can move that number up.

Cheers to your career!


Ever wonder how to land the job of your dreams?
Find out how with 10 Habits of Successful Job Candidates!