Top 10 Mistakes You Make on Your LinkedIn Profile That Turn Prospects Away

Posted by Ben Kniffen in LinkedIn Marketing Insights

If you’ve paid attention to the marketing gurus out there nowadays, you’ve likely heard that LinkedIn is THE #1 place for Small Businesses to generate leads and increase their overall revenue.

Before you can start generating leads, to get real return for your time and effort on LinkedIn, you MUST optimize your LinkedIn profile first.

This is so important, because you want to make sure that when your prospects are in the market for the service or products that you provide, you are guaranteed to jump to the top of their search results – and their minds.

In other words, you want to them to see you as THE best option on the market and a good place to start is to avoid these top 10 LinkedIn Profile Mistakes:

LinkedIn Profile Picture

Try to avoid pictures like these…

Mistake #1: Not having a Linkedin profile picture

First things first, you want to make sure you have a photo of yourself on your profile page. Profiles with pictures are 21X more likely to be viewed over those without a profile pic. So if you don’t have a pic you are missing out on a considerable amount of traffic from your top prospects.


It helps build your credibility and people want to connect with and do business with other people…people they know, like and trust. So choose a photograph that shows someone they would want to do business with.

Mistake #2: Having an unprofessional profile picture.

Having a bad profile pic is better than having none at all…but not by much.  You want to make sure your picture won’t either scare people off or diminish your credibility. So if your picture consists of a selfie, duck lips, a bathroom mirror, a beer, you looking like a serial killer, or a cheesy power pose, get a new one. ASAP.

You don’t need a professional photoshoot. All you need is a clean, CLEAR headshot of yourself smiling looking friendly.

And speaking of clear….

Mistake #3: Having a blurry or pixelated photo.

You want to make sure your profile picture isn’t too small, too big, too blurry and / or pixelated.

The ideal LinkedIn profile picture size is 400 x 400 pixels.

However, you can upload a larger picture as long as it’s square, no larger than 8MB in file size, and does not exceed 20,000 pixels.

Your image doesn't have to be perfectly cropped – LinkedIn allows you to select the area that you want to use.

Just make sure your photo is high resolution and large enough to fill the entire space that LinkedIn gives you. Each pixel should be treated as a priceless piece of real estate.

LinkedIn Headline

Mistake # 4: Using the Default Headline

Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile and one of the first things a prospect will see. You want this to make a good impression. It should be attention-grabbing and compelling enough to make someone look at your profile and/or accept your connection request.

Most people use their job title and company name for their headline–which is LinkedIn’s default setting. But that tells you nothing about what makes you different and you will look like just another Marketing Director or CEO. Include the benefits of your service or the RESULTS you bring your customers, rather than just a dry job title.

Mistake #5 : Having an overly salesy headline

Now I know we just discussed not using LinkedIn’s default headline, but, if you’re going to  highlight what you do in the Headline…you gotta make sure you are doing it the right way.

Which means not being overly cheesy or sales-y. These headlines should focus on your prospects and how you can help them. It should NOT focus on you.

Here are a few tips to making your headline more impactful and less cheesy:

  • Speak to your differentiators. What makes you different or unique?  Why should somebody do business with you over a competitor?
  • Call out your target audience and how you can help them.
  • Be as specific and concise as possible – you only get 120 characters.

For example, Luda’s headline starts with her title and company name – “Founder, Clickwhipt.”

And then she tells who she helps and what result they can expect. So in her case, she says. “I help attorneys and Law Firms Generate Daily Qualified Phone Calls and Office Consultations.”

LinkedIn Profile Summary

Mistake #6: Not having a summary section

I get it. Writing doesn’t come naturally to some of us. But foregoing a LinkedIn summary is a costly mistake.

The summary section is the place to share your story with your prospects in 2,000 characters or less. In a friendly tone, explain a bit more about the return your product or service provides, tell a story and don’t just have a bunch of bullet points listing your services.  Spice it up. Maybe even use a case study or testimonial if you can.

Like Frank Demming did…


Here, you can see he added a compelling testimonial showing how his services gave his client excellent results!

Just remember, you don't want  be too salesy or come off sounding like a resume.

Speaking of resume….

Mistake #7: Writing your profile like a resume

Resumes are typically come off as a bit stiff and formal. Which is exactly what we DON’T want to come off as to our prospects. Remember we want to appear friendly and credible.

The first step is to sell them on your industry. Tell a story that gets to the heart of your prospect's pain points. Your explanation of your prospect’s pain points need to be so dead-on, they wonder, “Did you read my diary?”

Then, sell them on why just any [INDUSTRY] professional won't do…they must have you! So, explain how and why you're the solution to all of these pain points or problems.

And just a note…

The experience section after your summary is where people often get in “resume mode.” It should be filled out completely because outside of the headline, this is one of the most read sections of a profile. BUT… your emphasis needs to be on your current role, the product or service you sell, who you help, and the results you help them achieve.

Which means you need to be sure to include a sentence or a bullet point or two explaining how any previous role prepared you for the company or service you are currently promoting.

Also, you want to make sure you break copy up in easy to read, digestible chunks. Large blocks of text are not easy on the eyes.

Mistake 8: Keyword Stuffing

Sure, we want to include key phrases that speak to our prospects. But you want to avoid stuffing your summary and headline full of keywords in an effort to be found or you risk coming off as a spammy robot.

After all, this is a “social” network, and people want to connect and do business with the PEOPLE who they know, like, and trust. They aren’t interested in connecting with keyword-stuffing machines.

Mistake #9: Not including an CTA

Whether you want people to call, email, or attend your upcoming webinar, provide them a clear and obvious call-to-action. Don’t overdo it with 15 different things you want these prospects to do. Stick with one clear CTA that will be most enticing to your ideal prospects.

Now you want to keep things simple and focused on the next stage in the relationship with your prospect. To keep things loose and friendly, we recommend  something like “I'd love to connect with you here on LinkedIn. If there's anything I can help you with please, feel free to reach out to me: [Email] and/or [Phone].”

Another client, Matt Jones does a great job at this…

As you can see, he directly states what to do next and how to contact him without making an offer like “Click here for 20% off your first month’s consulting program.” That type of call-to-action is too forward. At this point we want to give them options to further progress our relationship here on LinkedIn.

You may not be able to italicize, highlight, or bold, but you can use unicode symbols to call out your CTA.

WARNING: Be careful not to overdo it with the unicode. Too many symbols are distracting and you will end up looking unprofessional.

Just copy and paste one or two of these into your profile, but don’t overdo it.

✓ ✔➢ ➣ ➤ ► ☞ ➔ ➙ ➛ ➞✆ ✉ ☎ ☏✐ ✑ ✒ ✍ ✉ ⌨★ ✪

Mistake #10: Writing in third person.

You don't address yourself in the third person in everyday conversation – and if you do you should stop ASAP – so, why would you write your profile in third person?

Don’t be one of those people. Trust me on this.

What About The Next Steps?

The next steps will have to come down to you.

How valuable is having a fully optimized LinkedIn profile for your business?

Don’t know? To understand the in’s and out’s of LinkedIn to make sure you you are able to utilize it to generate more leads and clients, be sure to check out our next workshop below: