PictureI LOVE LINKEDIN.

There. I said it.  I love it despite that fact that, outside a core group of die-hards, few people seem to quite ‘get’ it, especially the great business and personal potential it holds.

Mistake 1 – Thinking LinkedIn is a static résumé
With over 200 million members in 200 countries, you’d be crazy to dismiss this social network as a static resume.

LinkedIn is:

  • Groups of likeminded professionals
  • A highly targeted advertising platform
  • A social network for your business or organization
  • A platform to showcase your achievements and skills
  • A compliment to your résumé
  • A daily newspaper customized to your interests

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Mistake 2 – An incomplete profile
Employers and recruiters are using social media for recruitment and research. According to one study, 92% of US employers used social networks to find great people for their organizations, and of those networks, 93% of them were using LinkedIn.What does it say about you if someone looks you up, your profile is out of date, incomplete, poorly worded,or just not there? Unless you are Richard Branson, they’ll probably just move on to the next person.And it’s not just hiring.  If you are a B2B company, a consultant, or a contractor, be up to date and engaging on the worlds largest professional network!  LinkedIn’s algorithms mean that LinkedIn profiles almost always appear on the first page of Google search results, if you are building a customer base, be FINDABLE.
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Mistake 3 – My profile is complete, I’m done
If you are not logging in at least once a week, you are missing out.  This is the equivalent of registering to attend a networking event, and then not turning up. Don’t be that guy!Mistake 4 – I’m not looking for a job, I don’t need to be on LinkedIn
One of the biggest mistakes people make, is to only start looking for a job when they NEED to.My good friend Paul Nazareth says: 
“looking for a job when you need one is like looking for a date the morning of Feb 14 or looking for someone to kiss at 11:59pm on New Year’s eve: Oh you’ll find someone, but they will be what you can get, not what you need or deserve.”Want to develop your career?  Want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field? Want to be invited to speak at conferences? Want to learn from other professionals in your field?  Then you NEED to be on LinkedIn.Mistake 5 – Ignoring a powerful search tool 
LinkedIn’s search is one of my favourite things.  I’ve used it personally to further my career, make new friends, find business mentors and more.From the people on this search for ‘fundraising toronto’ I made whilst still living in Scotland in late 2010, I’ve been on vacation to Cuba with one, I’m a member of a non-profit knitting group with another, and another I recruited to the Be Good Be Social Toronto conference committee when I put it together.

I didn’t know any of these people until I looked them up on LinkedIn.

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BONUS TIP: YOU GET OUT OF LINKEDIN WHAT YOU PUT IN

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– Clare McDowall