Five LinkedIn Profile Picture Mistakes To Avoid

Broken LinkedIn Logo

Five LinkedIn Profile Picture Mistakes To Avoid

It would seem that one of the most common places that people make mistakes on their LinkedIn profile is their profile picture. And this isn’t me making idle speculation, I provide a LinkedIn Profile Review Service (details here) so I look at A LOT of profiles and I can statistically say that the vast majority of people have pictures that could be better!

So here is a quick run-down of five of the most common mistakes – with examples!

(I have hidden the identity of the individuals with black lines across their eyes however in no other way I have manipulated the images and these were all in active use as profile pictures in 2014)


LI logo profile pic example

This is just simply wrong. A person’s LinkedIn profile should be a reflection of their personal brand first and the company brand second. Show that there is a person behind the profile and let people take a view of the real you. I’d almost have any of the other mistakes than see a logo in place of an individual … well almost …

Wearing underwear

bad LI photo example - anon

Now this lady is a perfectly attractive woman and such an image in the right place online might be entirely suitable but I think we can all agree it doesn’t say ‘business professional’ in quite the right way. Whatever image you use do please select one where you are suitably dressed for business networking.

Compromising views

LI compromising views example - anon

Yes we might as well address this one whilst we are here! Again in a different place online this might be acceptable but this isn’t what LinkedIn is about. LinkedIn is about creating and presenting a professional business profile. Yes a picture like this might get attention but it won’t get it for the right reasons and it’s unlikely to get the right kind of attention.


LinkedIn Selfie ... example

This is a great example of a job half done. On the one hand I applaud that this gentleman has taken the effort to dress properly and adopt a proper stance for his photograph but couldn’t he have got someone else to take the picture? Does he not work with anyone else? This demonstrates either the wrong mind-set or a lack of thought. A bit like getting a penalty kick in football and then forgetting to take the shot. Not good enough but better than the following …

Not having an image

No picture LI

Whilst the above at least got the chance of a penalty shot this one doesn’t even make it onto the pitch. At best it says that the person is just too lazy to upload an image or at worst that they don’t care enough about their network to upload one. Overall it smacks of extreme laziness. 

The good news is that they will reap what they sow with something like 40% less profile hits than profiles which feature photographs. Serves them right!

How Good is Your Profile v2


You can see from the above that it wouldn’t take a lot of effort to avoid the above mistakes and I trust it has given you some pointers of what not to do. 

The good news is that as soon as you upload a new photograph onto LinkedIn your old one is gone for good so if you have made any of the above mistakes it’s very quick to fix things up!

More LinkedIn profile photograph mistakes in a future article.

What about you – what was the best example of a bad LinkedIn profile picture that you have come across?

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,


The reason why I have decided to shrink my LinkedIn network

LinkedIn Network Face

The reason why I have decided to shrink my LinkedIn network 

Yesterday I downloaded my connections list from LinkedIn and exported it into Excel. There is a new service being launched by Edenchanges in March specifically for recruiters and I wanted to ensure that my sales and email database had all my recruitment contacts in it from all my various networks.

As I was processing the contact list and removing all the non-recruitment clients it struck me just how few actual recruitment connections I have given that I spend the vast majority of my time working with recruiters.

Whilst I have over 4,500 LinkedIn connections what I discovered yesterday was that only around half are in the recruitment field. If my connections more accurately reflected how my time is split then the number would be much closer to 4,000.

Yesterday it took me quite a while to filter through the non-recruitment contacts to generate a list of names and people who I could present the new service to. Like everyone I hate irrelevant emails so I I worked hard yesterday to ensure that everyone I will email about the new service is in the recruitment field.

As I was wading through the names I couldn’t help but think how much easier this would have been if I had been more selective in my networking on LinkedIn.  

Now it can be argued that simply having a large number of connections is a good thing. It’s something that early in my time on LinkedIn I strongly argued. Indeed I blogged about it (How Many LinkedIn Connections Should I Have?) back in 2011 but since then my thoughts have been shifting. In 2012, in this article (Removing LinkedIn Connections) I advocated a large network but I offered the thought that you might want to focus your network.

During 2013 I thought about this a lot and started to really examine how people use their LinkedIn networks and where business tends to come from. That thinking combined with my experience yesterday has brought me to the firm conclusion that the best type of network is a large one that is in proportion to a person’s target market.

Consequently as I do 90% of my work in the recruitment field so 90% of my contacts should be in that market and to that end I am now in the process of removing contacts that don’t fit with the aim of reaching a 9:1 ratio of recruiters to non-recruiters in my network by the end of the exercise.

Yesterday was a specific event – going through the contacts and sorting them out and as such not enough reason in itself to keep a focused network. Rather it was for me a practical illustration of what I have been witnessing during 2013.

In 2013 I either saw people win business through LinkedIn with established contacts who they already knew fairly well and were simply keeping in touch with via LinkedIn or people won business from industry specific contacts. I didn’t witness any business won in a new industry simply as a result of a connection on LinkedIn; either by myself or anyone I worked with last year.

Yesterday when I was going through the list the people I recognised were, for the vast majority, in the recruitment sector. And those who I didn’t know were mostly outside of the recruitment sector and on inspection didn’t look like they would be likely clients.

I had simply connected with them at some point. What I realise now is that has little value and is in fact a detriment. So it’s time to trim down and focus my network where the bulk of my business comes from – recruiters!

I will talk more next week about how I am selecting who to remove and who to keep in an article entitled “How to Create a More Focused and Profitable LinkedIn Network”.

So those are my thoughts at the start of 2014 – what are your opinions on this?

Until next time, be successful;

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,

How to Manage LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations

LinkedIn Guidance

How to Manage LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations

It’s important that your LinkedIn profile looks good to both the casual and more serious viewer. This then is an article on maintaining a tidy looking profile despite the best meaning intentions of your networked connections!

Last year LinkedIn introduced the ability to list specific skills that you feel you have on your profile in a way that your connections could then give you a ‘plus point’ against that skill. All good and straight forward. However your connections also have the option to give you a ‘plus point’ for a skill that you haven’t listed. In case you haven’t experienced that then it looks like the following:

Screenshot One

Image showing the LinkedIn endorsements that you can be given by your connections

The above is a direct screen shot from my profile this morning. None of the above skills are currently listed on my profile. All of the above skills are being suggested as additions by my connections. The next logical question should be –

Do I have the above skills or am I skilled at any of the above things?

Err … well yes … all of them in fact to a lesser or greater degree but and this is a really important – I don’t want to list them on my profile. There are a couple of reasons for that. And these are things that you should consider for yourself as well:

1) No list of skills is ever going to be totally comprehensive. You might be able to list all the attributes of a machine by component but you can’t do that of a person.

A person is far greater than their ‘skills’ and the smart person will be able to turn their innate abilities towards a new area with some success. Thus, it could be argued that we are all skilled at everything just to different levels of competency!

In all seriousness trying to fully outline yourself via the LinkedIn skills list is a futile exercise.

2) That said I do believe it is good to list some skills, so that people know what you might be able to help them with. The thing is only you truly know what your core skills are or exactly which ones you want to promote to your market place via your LinkedIn profile.

I would recommend you put some serious thought into producing a focused list of five to ten skills which should read well to your potential clients or future network.

3) I want my profile to look clean, crisp and smart. When you add more than ten skills to your profile they start to stack up underneath in, what looks to me, an ugly fashion – see below

Screenshot 2

LinkedIn Skills screen shot

As a comparison see what happens when you list ten or fewer skills:

LinkedIn Skills and Recommendations Compared

LEFT SIDE = More than ten skills listed RIGHT SIDE = Fewer than ten skills listed

Click the image to see it full size

4) People only read so much – if you list too many skills, regardless of any questions of aesthetics, it’s more for people to read and potentially it’s too much. Given a strong profile will use most of the 1000 characters available for the summary and current role you are looking at several hundred words of important text which have to be read, or skimmed past, prior to the skills being seen. Add in too many of those and I think it’s overload.

So in conclusion my recommendation would be to ignore the additional skills that people recommend you for. (Do this by clicking the Skip button which you can see in screenshot one) . The individuals don’t get notified and won’t realise that you declined their attempt at being nice.

For completeness let me mention that there is a third option and that is you can remove the skills you don’t want to accept a recommendation for and only accept the ones that remain. (You do this by clicking on the grey ‘x’ next to the skill – see screenshot one). I feel about that exactly as I do about accepting all of them and frankly I think the best route is to ‘skip’.

So what about you – do you accept all, accept some or skip all? Let me know in the comment section below.

Until next time, be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,

LinkedIn’s New Status Update Feature Explained and Explored

LinkedIn Guidance

LinkedIn’s New Status Update Feature Explained and Explored

The latest feature from LinkedIn is being rolled out at the moment. If you haven’t got it already then it should just be a matter of days before your LinkedIn system changes.

This new feature is very similar to Facebook in that when you type the name of a contact or company LinkedIn offers to link to that person’s profile or the company’s LinkedIn page.

The following screen shots show you what happens. 

Screenshot One

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 01

When your profile gets the new feature this will appear.

Screenshot Two

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 02

As you type your status update the system prompts you with likely matches.

Screenshot Three

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 03
Names that you select will be highlighted with a shading as you type you update.

Screenshot Four

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 04

When you post your update the names will be highlighted as a click able link. If a link is clicked on you will be taken to the person’s profile or the company’s LinkedIn page.

If you don’t want to make the name a link then simply don’t click on the suggestion when it comes up. You have to actively select for the link to occur which I’m pleased to say means we all get to stay in control of our own status updates!

Be aware of this Addition FeatureSay nice things

Feature LimitationsFeature limits

So that’s the new feature explained but the bigger topic perhaps is how to use this new feature to your best advantage.

I’m still thinking about this myself to be honest so the following are just my initial ideas. What I’d love is to hear how you might use this feature … please do add your thoughts in the comments section.

Use it to help people make connections with your clients or suppliers

LinkedIn New Status Update Trick 04

So I posted the above status update which refers to a training session I delivered at the Larson Group. Now they are what I’d describe as a ‘progressive recruitment company’ i.e. they treat their staff well, invest in them and manage them like adults. They also have big expansion plans and have just moved to brand new offices in the centre of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

I know they are actively looking for new consultants, both experienced and newbies to the recruitment industry so I thought I’d be helpful and mention this in a status update. Because of this new feature people can quickly and easily click through to the relevant profiles.

So that’s one way you can use it.

Pro’s – your clients or providers will no doubt appreciate the shout out so you gain some brownie points also it might help others for whom the update is relevant and you get to mention that you are working with a particular company which shows your network you are busy

Con’s – all your competitors now know at least one of your clients so it’s best only to do it when you are happy that you have a really rock solid relationship with the company. A lot of recruiters read these articles and I wouldn’t recommend recruiters mention their clients by name in their status updates. Whilst it would help candidates look up who the role is with it would also potentially lead to the candidates applying directly or rival recruiters following up, what to them, will be a tasty lead.

Suggestion – Do if you can but use with caution.

Use it to highlight your colleagues and company

If you posted something like

“My experienced colleague Frank Smith at ACME Supplies Ltd is attending the NEC Conference on Digital Widgets today. He’s interested in talking to any Widget manufacture who needs a supplier of X”

Then you would promote to your network where Frank was, as well as them having a quick click link to his profile.

Pro’s – get’s your colleague and company name out there in front of your network

Con’s – if your network is not directly in the same market as Frank then it’s potentially a pointless advert which if done too often might lower your reputation

Suggestion – pick colleagues whose work your network might be interested in and always mention the company name in the status update to maximise the impact


Over to you now – what other uses can you think of for this feature? Comment below!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,
PS The official LinkedIn blog about this feature can be found here

Another Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Reversed out image of a watch - another efficiency tip

Another Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

So following on from the very popular article I wrote a week ago on saving yourself time online by using the Google book mark toolbar here is an equally easy and effective tip for saving yourself time in Windows 7.

(As an aside I’m advised by several IT professionals that you’re better off sticking with Windows 7 rather than upgrading to Windows 8 – their the pro’s so I share that without being able to judge but as every tech I have spoken to has said the same thing there might be something in it!)

This tip is going to give you instant, once click access to the programs of your choice and to the files of your choice!

Activating the Taskbar

The bar of icons that appears at the bottom of your screen in Windows 7 is called the task bar – it’s the glassy looking ribbon that has the windows logo in the left hand hand side.

To create instant short cuts what we need to do is set up the task bar so that we can pin short cuts to it. And this is very easy to do!

Step One

Move your mouse over the task bar and right click to bring up the following menu.

Windows & Task bar properties menu - activate it by right clicking on the Windows 7 taskbar

Make sure that the box next to Lock the taskbar is clear i.e. no tick in it. And make sure there is a tick in the box next to Use small icons – as we want to have as much space to work in as possible.

(Aside – if you have a widescreen computer screen or laptop then you should also locate the task bar on the left to maximise your up and down viewing area)

Second Step – Open up a program that you use a lot

I’m going to use as an example (it’s a free drawing package that I use for photo-manipulations).

Once the program has opened right click on the program icon in the task bar and a menu will pop up as shown below – I’ve added the red box to illustrate the bit you want

Right click this

Left click on Pin this program to taskbar and the program will now be pinned to the task bar. That it – job done!

Now when you shut the program down the icon will stay in the task bar and the next time you want to open the program you can simply click once on the icon and it will open. 

No more having to click on the windows icon and navigating to the program you want. As as I talked about before saving seconds add up when you repeat the activity multiple times. Also having one click access to your most used programs makes for a more streamlined experience which reduces the stress of using your computer – which has to be a good thing doesn’t it!

Taking things further and making things even more efficient

So now you can have one click access to your favourite programs lets take it further and give you two click access to your most used files …

How to create a link to a specific program

If you regularly open up the same files, for whatever reason, it would be efficient if you have virtually instant access to them so let’s do that.

There are two ways to do this – the first is the way most of you will use so let’s talk about that one.

Step One

First open the file that you are wanting to create a link to. For my example I’m going to use a Powerpoint slideshow that I use when I deliver the first session of my Management training.

Then right click on the program icon on the taskbar which will open up the following menu.

Screenshot of how to pin a file to the toolbar in Windows 7 - which also lists a few of the courses that Edenchanges runs

You will see that it is split into three sections. The first section shows you any specific files that are opened by this program that you have previous pinned. In my example that is the course Selling through LinkedIn. The current file that is open, and the one that I want to now pin is the Management Introduction file.

Step Two

All you have to do is hover the mouse over the file name and click on the pin icon that will appear next to it. As shown below:

Pin icon

And now that document will appear, forever, in the Pinned section of the shortcut menu. As shown below:

Pinned now

And when I say forever I mean until you repeat the process but this time unpin it by click on the pin icon again. It really is that simple!

By doing this you now have two click access to any file of your choice or one click access to the program of your choice.

Link to Folders

As a final tip for this week you can also link to folders using the same process – simply open Windows Explorer – pin that program as shown above and then select the specific folder(s) that you want to have quick access to and pin them as I showed you above with individual files.

In Summary

If you have Windows 7 then you should be doing the above – there is no reason for anyone to be clicking through menu after menu to finally get access to the program or file that they want. Save yourself time and increase your efficiency by setting up some instant links!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,

One Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Efficiency through setting up online book marks

One Easy Tip To Instantly and Easily Increase Productivity

Okay so here are two questions for you – do you go online much and do you want to increase your productivity?  I’m just going to assume the answer is yes to both of those!

I’m also going to assume that you have certain websites that you use frequently – whether these are social media sites, forums or other web locations. Wouldn’t is be nice if you had instant access to those sites or your pages on those sites?

For example if you use LinkedIn wouldn’t it be great to be able to, with a single click, go direct to your inbox rather than that normal home page?

Let me show you how.

For this tutorial I’m assuming you are using the Google Chrome browser. (If you use a different browser I believe the principles are much the same.)

To start with you need to activate the Google bookmark tool bar and make sure that it is displayed on your machine as this will give you permanent access to your short cuts all the time you are using that browser.

Activating the Google Bookmark Tool Bar

Using the keyboard press and hold down CONTROL and SHIFT and then press B.

This toggles the bookmark tool-bar on and off. (If a tool bar just disappeared off your screen then press the above combination again to bring the bar back.)

Alternatively – If you don’t like using the keyboard to do this you can click on the three line icon that is displayed on the top right hand side of Google Chrome. Then click on Bookmarks and Show Bookmarks Bar

However you have done it lets now add a short cut to your bookmark bar.

Adding a Short Cut to the Bookmark Tool Bar

Step One

Go to a website that you use frequently and would like to have an instant link to on your toolbar – I’m using as my example.

Then highlight the web address until it is blue – as shown below


Step Two

Left click anywhere within the blue highlight text area and, holding the left mouse button down, drag the address down until it is over the bookmark bar.

You can move it left and right along the bar and a black line indicates where it will be placed once you let go – as shown below – 


My Quora link is about to be added to my Google bookmark tool bar between my Pinterest short cut and my tumbler short cut.

Step Three and Finished!

When you have the black line in the right place simply let go of the mouse button and the short cut link will be placed in the bookmark bar – as shown below and highlighted with the red arrow 

Google bookmark efficiency tip

Now when you want to go to the bookmarked site you can simply click on the icon shown on your tool bar – instant access!

Now we have done the basics lets look at using bookmarks cleverly…

Using Bookmarks Cleverly

A clever way to use bookmarks is to use exact ones – i.e. use ones that direct you not just to a website but to a specific part of a website.

So for example in the image above you can see that I have four blue W icons with different text next to them. Those are four different links to different parts of the Edenchanges website which is hosted on WordPress.

With the four links I can jump directly to the part that I want rather than just going to the front page and then navigating from there. All these things save only a few seconds but those seconds add up when you consider how often you are online.

Many of you reading this will use LinkedIn a lot so you might want to set up a direct link to your LinkedIn inbox rather than your main LinkedIn page – or indeed set up both.

The power of this technique is that you can set a link to any specific address on the internet. 

Editing Bookmarks – Let me now show you how to edit your bookmarks.

Editing Step One – Simply move your mouse over the shortcut that you want to change and RIGHT CLICK. That will bring up the dialogue box shown below


You can edit a number of things about the link but let me show you one particularly neat trick which helps you save some space on the toolbar.

You can only have one bar of bookmarks so it’s possible to run out of space and not have all of the saved links displayed at the same time. Whilst they are still available via a drop down menu this isn’t as efficient as I want it so let’s save some space on the toolbar and thus make room for more bookmarks!

Saving Space on the Toolbar Example

Do Editing Step One above and then click on Edit as shown above.

This will bring up a dialogue box which lists the name of the link (which appears on the toolbar and the link itself – as shown below

The website name is listed ‘QUORA’ in this example and to remove that I simply delete all the name text using BACKSPACE. B5

The toolbar now looks as follows and as you can see the icon is still there – the Q in the red box.

Tip – For new links it’s good to leave the text in until you are familiar with the icon and then you can remove the text – which is what I’m doing with the RecBlogs link shown below.Google bookmark efficiency tip

Renaming the Link Example

If you do want to leave a text description then instead of deleting the name of the site you can enter in something more memorable. The toolbar will only show 20 characters of text however so do bear that in mind.

You can see in the following example that the Advanced Marketing Institute shortcut title has been truncated by the Google toolbar. That also isn’t very helpful for me as it’s not the site I’m interested in but rather one of the tools that is available on it. (A very neat headline marketing analyser, great for anyone who writes or blogs, that I blogged about here).

Anyway let’s make the title more useful – and shorter … as we did before right click on the shortcut to bring up the first dialogue box and then click EDIT. This will give you the name text dialogue box – as shown below


Now instead of deleting the text you can enter something in that works for you – keeping it to less than 20 characters. I’ve chosen to call it ‘Headline Analysis’ as that’s what it does! Click SAVE and the result is instant – as you can see below.


In Summary

We all go online a lot and revisit the same sites. By using the toolbar in this way you can save considerable time, make your online travels a lot more streamline and fundamentally increase your productivity.

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,

Finding the Beautiful Rachel Weisz In My Hotel Bed

Rachael Weisz looking gorgeous - from Esquire photo shoot

Finding the Beautiful Rachel Weisz In My Hotel Bed

So there I was, walking into my hotel room late one evening after a swim in the hotel pool, when I found Rachel Weisz in all her raven haired beauty lying in my hotel bed in a very fetching red basque … okay what I mean is …

and it’s important I clarify this quickly as my lovely wife reads these blogs …

that I found Rachel where I’d left her … as you can see below …

Rachael Finding Rachael Weisz in bed or how to write blog headlines that get attention

Yes that’s right. Nothing more nefarious than Rachel appearing on the cover of Aprils edition of Esquire, the well known men’s lifestyle magazine (still available in the UK at the time of writing). 

So what’s the point? Why talk about Rachel? Or perhaps the better question is why did I take a picture of the magazine in the bed? 

The answer to both questions is that I wanted to write an eye catching blog title and I wanted it to be true.

I realise that only a few of you reading this will be blog writers but I bet that a lot of you start discussions on LinkedIn. This article is for anyone who produces blogs, articles or discussions and wants more readers!

The golden rule to remember is that the better your headline the more people will read it. The more people that read it the more people that will discuss it and accordingly the higher your profile will rise amongst your peers.

Rules for Creating a Great Headline

Rule One – Devote time to crafting a great headline

Devote around 10% of your writing time to your title. 

I know that’s quite a chunk of time to devote to what will typically be less than ten words but I think the advice is sound. If your title doesn’t draw people in then people won’t read the article and all your brilliant writing will have gone to waste.

Your headline, and your first paragraph, form the gateway to the rest of the article … devote time and craft brilliance!

Rule Two – Tell the Truth

People don’t like being conned so try to ensure that your title raises fair expectations about what people will read.

I thought of this article and the headline before I took the picture. In fact I deliberately took the picture to support the headline that I had conjured up.

Without the picture to support the title, and make a joke out of it, I don’t think this article would have worked.

So you can play a joke on your audience with your title but they shouldn’t be misled in a negative way. If they feel conned you’ve taken the joke too far and you’ll lose readers.

Rule Three – Emotional Words

We are all emotional creatures and if you can speak to the heart of your audience then you will have them excited to read what you have written.

There is an excellent free tool available from the Advance Marketing Institute which can measure the Emotional Marketing Value of your headline.

Using the headline analyser we can try out different combinations of the same title and see how they stack up. I find that using the analyser helps me refine and hone my headings. My personal aim is not to find the highest scoring headline but to use the tool as an editing process to help me write better.

Here is a genuine example of a blog title and it’s evolution using the analyser. The percentage score relates to the proportion of emotional to non-emotional words. The Marketing Institute point out that average copy writers will hit a score of 30%-40% with great copy writers getting over 55%.

The headline is first with the score below – (this article is appearing next week on Edenchanges)

How to increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
How to instantly increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
How to instantly and easily increase productivity with the Google bookmarks toolbar
One simple tip to instantly and easily increase productivity
One simple tip to instantly and easily increase productivity with Google
One easy tip to instantly and easily increase productivity

As you see through the process of getting a higher score the headline has shrunk and yet is more readable and, I think, it makes a more powerful invitation for people to read it than the earlier versions.

The analyzer isn’t perfect. It can’t cope with names and sometimes what looks and reads well to a person gets a low score and that’s okay. Take the results with a pinch of salt and at the end of the day know your audience and the message you are trying to send.

Let me end by saying thank you to the folks at Esquire and the lovely Rachel Weisz for being my inspiration this week – the April edition is still on sale in the UK. It comes this month with the free gift of one of two types of men’s skin care products (I can vouch for the moisturiser) and you can see a preview here.

I leave you to get busy crafting brilliant headlines!

Until next time; be successful!

Stephen Hart
Development Specialist,