Whether you are looking for work, to build a consulting practice or start a new company, LinkedIn is such a great place to get found. Unless you are lazy. Then the opportunity is lost. #bummer
Just so you know, you’re at risk.
It can happen to anyone, of course. But today I am talking to you.
You’re at risk of missing out on the real value of using LinkedIn. It happens when you start to use the site like a lazy person.
So this post is about avoiding all of that bad karma. So you don’t fall into the trap of being Lazy On LinkedIn.
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You don’t want to be a LOLI.
As in lollipop (the lazy person’s candy). Or lollygag (the act of wasting time).
It doesn’t make you a bad person. But if you’ve spent a lot of time establishing a presence on LinkedIn, why not use the tool productively and regularly to get all the benefits?
So here are 10 signs that you are being lazy on LinkedIn:
1. You send generic LinkedIn connection requests
Yes, I’ve written about this before. You know I don’t like generic LinkedIn requests. Because it puts all the work on me to figure out if and how we have relevant experience. Something in common. Perhaps enough similar experience or goals to give us some way to help each other. Want to connect on LinkedIn? Send me a nice personalized connection request telling me why our connecting makes sense.
I know sometimes LinkedIn’s form won’t allow you to personalize a request. It just gets sent. But if the request goes out without you personalizing it, you can still find some way to connect with that person. And let them know that you are not just simply collecting online coins to “build a powerful network”.
2. You neglect to add a good photo to your profile
Some make a conscious decision not to add one. Perhaps a security or privacy issue. But if security is that big of a deal, perhaps you should crawl into a bunker. There are very few good reasons to skip adding a photo on LinkedIn. Others add what I call a bad photo. Categories include “you but from 100 yards away”, “you and your Uncle Bob”, “you 15 years ago” and “you looking like you mixed up your Facebook photo with your LinkedIn photo”.
3. You have no or only a precious few recommendations
Getting a recommendation on LinkedIn doesn’t carry a lot of weight. But they are better to have than an empty profile. There is a credibility question here. I suggest having a minimum of 10 recommendations. Three from bosses, three from peers, three from direct reports, and a tenth from a vendor, supplier or customer. Without them you look naked.
4. You provide vague recommendation for others
If someone asks you to write a recommendation for them, try to write a good one. Use specific examples of their work and, importantly, the impact they had on you, your career or the company. Don’t refer to people as “great assets” and don’t say that they “added value”. That means nothing. If you can’t think of something great to say, ask the person you are recommending for a few ideas like projects/results they’d like you to highlight. Just make sure they are true. Or else your credibility will be questioned.
5. You copy and paste your resume into LinkedIn
That’s not a profile, that’s your resume. And resumes are different. Don’t make your Linkedin profile a carbon copy of your resume. Your summary can be a powerful place to introduce your brand promise to recruiters, hiring managers and HR folks. If you write it well.
6. You join groups then promptly ignore them
There are some great career groups on LinkedIn. You can pick up new ideas, meet great people and share your story. But that only happens if you actually participate. Most people don’t. So why did you join again? Here’s how to participate in LinkedIn groups. And please don’t max out your groups without a plan. Start with five, establish yourself, and then add more as you can.
7. You don’t complete your profile
It’s really not that hard to get to 100%. And it gives your profile an extra bit of polish. It says to people that you are serious about your participation on the site. So many people I meet are at about 50%. And it shows.
8. You don’t have enough connections
The purpose of LinkedIn is to get you connected to your network (old and new potential). And then to enjoy the explosive nature of now being linked to everyone they know. And so on. So if you have less than 100 connections, you are missing out on the great value that Linkedin provides. Everyone knows (or has worked with) 100 people. Get started today by sending out five connection requests. And do that every day in July. You’ll get there.
9. Your headline is a non-starter
When someone (recruiter, future customer, hiring manager) gets to your profile, you want inspire them. But first you need to tell them who you are and what you do. And “unemployed” or “looking for a job” doesn’t make me want to get in touch with you. It’s not compelling. Don’t let being out of work define your brand. So say something that might be interesting to me.
10. Your last status update was July 5 . . . 2010
Updates to your profile remind people that you are still active. Alive and kicking. Updating your profile all across the social web is a good idea. But on LinkedIn it is a great idea. You can share content from Twitter by using #in within your tweet to make it easier. You can update your network using your small wins during job search (successful interview, etc). You can also like, comment on or share an update from someone else.
So, are you lazy? Use this handy scoring system to see if you’ve lost your way on LinkedIn. How many of the 10 are true for you?
None are true – You are a master. I bow to you.
1-2 are true – Congrats, you are just a few steps away from being an engaging connection for someone.
3-5 are true – You are not alone, but there is still some important work to be done.
5-7 are true – There’s trouble in River City. You need help or a few hours of focused time to improve your profile.
8-10 are true – Make LinkedIn a major priority this week. Really.
No matter how you score, stay focused on this great tool. And don’t let your hard work up to this point go to waste!