My freshman year in college, I got a weird notification on my days-old LinkedIn profile.
Let me provide you with some context. My account was barely set up — I’m not even sure if I even had a profile picture at that point.
I’d only slapped the account together after getting hyped up about making connections and garnering professional opportunities at the college’s career center (so fun).
The problem was, I didn’t really know how to wield my new social media platform. For the few days I had it, I’d mostly just used it to check out my high school crush’s profile.
And then I got this alert saying that one of my new dorm mates had viewed my account.
I remember sitting at my desk and feeling a cold dread seep over me. I hadn’t realised that you got notifications when other people view your page (yeah, I know, there are certain privacy settings that eliminate this, but I was totally clueless back then).
Once I realised that this guy probably knew I was stalking him, my reaction was swift and uncompromising. I deleted my LinkedIn, got on a plane, and fled to a town on the edge of the Arctic Circle, where I’ve been living ever since.
Well, I did that first thing, at least. I deleted my fledgling LinkedIn account. I didn’t get another one until about a year later.
So that’s my biggest LinkedIn-related failure. Obviously, I was young and foolish and treated the account more like a nerdier version of Facebook than a means of making professional connections. Because of my melodramatic decision, I may have missed out on some interesting opportunities. Today, I’m a LinkedIn all-star and I’m very happy with my account (except for the fact that the profile strength bubble never quite fills all the way up — that drives me insane).
I talked to career expert Nicole Williams to get her take on common mistakes people make on LinkedIn. She told me about four widespread faux pas:
'People think that LinkedIn is like Twitter, where it's about quantity over quality, but you're supposed to be building valuable professional relationships to leverage into career opportunities,' Williams says.
She advises people to focus on honing strong connections by crafting personalised connection requests.
Williams says to avoid letting your current boss catch you fishing for new opportunities on LinkedIn.
'A telltale sign to an employer that you're leaving is that you overhaul your profile, connect with recruiters, and have an influx of new people,' Williams says. 'You can tailor your settings so that your boss doesn't see that you're looking for opportunities.'
'Think of the summary as a way of selling yourself -- it's an opportunity to express your voice and personality,' Williams says. 'Since you're writing online, you actually have more space than you would on a traditional paper resume. Showcase your work and tell your career story.'
Take some time to make sure your summary shines!
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