The LinkedIn Mistake That’s Hurting Your Career

Why is your colleague earning an extra $1,000-plus a month while you’re still slaving away? It’s probably because you didn’t do this.

Most people talk about how to avoid mistakes in theory. They say if you don’t do X, you won’t get Y. But how does it play out in real life?

Let’s look at things from the perspective of the person who has the budget to hire.

Recently, I went to hire three health writers. In my search for candidates, I thought it would be best to look in a place where health writers already existed. I picked a website called Everyday Health (Alexa rank: 2,831) as a good place to check out.

The Job

I looked at it like this: Everyday Health is a recognized site that covers health topics. They do research on their content. The stories are very consumer friendly. That hit requirement No. 1 for me, that they were vetted as an expert in their area.

The second thing I was looking for was someone whom I could contact by email, so I could document our conversation and get a proposal from them.

With that second criterion in mind, I wanted to see what writers contributed to the publication. Luckily, they place all their writers on the same page.

On Everyday Health’s contributing writer page, they had 110 writers listed.

Well, let’s break down how the profiles of these 110 writers.

The Stats

  • 25 of them didn’t have links to a bio or website.
  • Nine linked to an Everyday Health page, so chances are, they were staff members and faculty.
  • One linked to their book on Amazon.
  • Two led to dead links.
  • One linked to Facebook.
  • One linked to Google+.
  • 37 linked to their LinkedIn pages. 33 of these pages only accepted inMail. The other four had a button to connect.
  • Nine linked to their Twitter pages. Of these Twitter pages, six linked to their websites, but only four had a website with an email address.
  • 25 linked to their website. Of these 25 websites, 21 of them had contact information or a form to fill out.

Out of all 110 writers, I could only contact 25 of them by email.

The Opportunity

Did you know that, according to a study by Bankrate, 63 percent of Americans couldn’t handle a $500 surprise bill? What if your washing machine broke? How about the transmission in your car? Or worse yet, if you were sent to the emergency room?

An extra $500 a month in any household could go a long way, either to handle a surprise bill or to improve the quality of life.

The three writers I’m in the process of hiring will be earning significantly more than that.

The Problem

As I mentioned, I could only reach 25 of these 110 writers.

That means that out of the 110 people who could have significantly improved the quality of their lives by being showcased as experts in their field, I was only able to contact 22 percent of them.

Missing the Mark

So 78 percent of these talented individuals completely missed out on that opportunity.

Why?

I had no way to contact them. The 37 people I could have contacted on LinkedIn, which most people feel is a business network, didn’t hear a word from me. That’s because when I went to their pages, I saw their résumés and saw that these people were selling their professional services, but I only had two choices.

  1. Do I pay for LinkedIn Premium out of my own pocket just so I could send them an inMail, as I would have had to for 33 of them?
  2. Do I connect with the other four, yet lose their information among the other 7,000 LinkedIn connections I have?

The problem here is that not a single one of these LinkedIn profiles had either a website or an email address listed anywhere on their site.

I mean, I still had to calculate which writers matched our style and which ones fit within our budget. But 85 of these 110 individuals didn’t even get a chance to be in the running, because they haven’t invested in their professional brand.

The Solution

If you intend to work hard, set up your brand, and be featured as an expert, you need to see it through. The reason you are doing this is so you can get more work. Here I was, ready to hire, yet so many people missed the opportunity to be contacted.

In fact, if these 37 people on LinkedIn did one thing differently and had their email addresses listed, 56 percent of these contenders could have contributed their bids as opposed to 22 percent. That increases your probability of getting hired by 34 percent!

If you don’t have your email addresses listed in an easily accessible place on your LinkedIn profile, or better yet, a professionally designed website, you are going to be losing income-earning opportunities every day.

That needs to change.

Optimize your Web properties and become easily accessible to others who are looking to hire you for your expertise. People like me aren’t going to jump through hoops to try to give you money. We want you to be easy to access so we can start a dialogue to see if you are a good fit.

Stop missing out on opportunities and start setting yourself up for success. Go out there and invest in building out your professional brand in the way it needs to be seen. Add that email address to your LinkedIn page, then get that website up and operational.


Originally posted on Inc.

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Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.