LinkedIn is one of my favourite platforms because it allows for me to showcase myself so easily, while connecting with great professionals in the industry. The most important thing about LinkedIn is making sure that you personally have a great profile. This is what's going to make you stand out, and even if you already have a job and you aren't looking for a new one, having a great LinkedIn profile is still important.
1. Lacking detail in your profile
One of the biggest mistakes I see is that people put their work experience but only include their position and workplace with no details or description of their responsibilities. LinkedIn can be used as a source to include more information than you would on a regular resume, take advantage of that because a position title really means nothing without context.
2. Talking in third person
I have heard several different debates on whether you should write your profile summary in third person or first person. My opion is that you made your profile, not someone else, so why are you talking in third person? Your profile is still professional even if you write in first person. Think of your "summary" as a brief cover letter. Would you write your cover letter in third person?
3. Your headline
I've made this mistake myself, making your headline (title that appears under your name) the current position that you are in as oppose to a general statement of your field. People can determine your position by reading your profile, if you want to appear in more people's search, make your headline more general to what you can do. For example, mine is: "Social Media, Public Relations & Marketing" as oppose to "Assistant Manager, Marketing & Communications".
4. Your profile photo
Not having one is almost as bad as not having a professional one. Employers don't want to see a picture of you and your friends or a weird webcam pic that you clearly took before going out boozing one night. Spend the money to get a professional photo, or ask one of your friends to snap a photo of you from your shoulders up with professional clothing against a plain background. Remember this is often the first impression of you that employers get/see.
5. Connecting with people you don't know or not connecting at all
As much as I don't believe in connecting with people you don't know, LinkedIn is a great place for networking. If there is someone you really want to connect with that you don't personally know, instead of just sending a connection request, include a short message to them explaining why you want to connect with them. I get requests from strangers ALL THE TIME. The only ones I accept are the ones that send me a message explaining why they want/need to connect with me.
The second mistake in the world of connections is not connecting with people at all. It's amazing the amount of people you probably know on LinkedIn. Seek them out and add them as it'll help grow your network.
6. Using it as your resume when applying for jobs
LinkedIn is a great resource for job postings, and the best part about it is that you can apply to most postings right through LinkedIn. This gives you another way to showcase yourself asides from a typical email with an attached resume. Saying that, it's important to realize that your LinkedIn profile never substitutes your resume completely. The amount of applications we get that are automatically void because candidates only applied with their LinkedIn profile and didn't include their resume is crazy! Employers still want to see your resume and your LinkedIn profile is just an added bonus.