November 23, 2013 18 Comments
Note: I’ve added, from a previous post, four mistakes you don’t want to make with your LinkedIn profile. You’ll find them at the end of the list. Please contribute more mistakes to this evolving post.
I’ve reviewed many profiles as a workshop facilitator and LinkedIn trainer. Many profiles are well constructed, while others are not indicative of future success.
Is it easy to create a compelling profile that gets noticed in a positive way? Not for all LinkedIn users. It takes hard work and commitment.
The mistakes I’ve seen on LinkedIn profiles range from a poorly done photo to typos and spelling mistakes. However, when I think about six egregious mistakes you don’t want to make, the following ones for jobseekers come to mind.
- The advice to don’t post a poor photo hasn’t reached enough ears, as there are still those who have inappropriate photos. Think about what a photo of you skiing on the slopes of Killington says about your value as an employee? It says you’re a helluva skier but not much about your brand.
- Please don’t simply write ”Unemployed,” “Looking for next exciting opportunity,” etc., in your title. This doesn’t say much about your talent and potential to help future employers. This is prime real estate for branding yourself and including some keywords. (As far as I know, not many employers consider seeking unemployment as a key selling point.)
- Bragging in your Summary statement that you’re the solution to every problem will get you nowhere, save for an immediate click on the back arrow. Though you may think bragging is acceptable because you’re suppose to “sell” yourself, it comes across as dishonest. Proof, such as quantified results, goes a lot further than words like, “outstanding,” “excellent,” “awesome”….
- Don’t be dishonest. Forbes advises against lying and 9 other mistakes. Don’t be dishonest in your Employment section. Employers can smell a liar like a bloodhound can smell a man on the run. Don’t write that you achieved 100% customer satisfaction because it sounds good. A “near perfect” rating is more acceptable and easier to defend at an interview.
- Don’t copy and paste your résumé to your profile and leave it at that. I advise those starting out to make this first step, but then you have to modify it to fit its purpose, which is a vehicle for networking. A professional photo and personal Summary that tells your story are a must for networking. A good thought to keep in mind is that your profile is an extension of your résumé; employers aren’t expecting to see an exact copy of it.
- Don’t neglect to use LinkedIn’s tools which are meant to enhance your networking. Use the tools LinkedIn gives you, such as the Skills and Expertise section, Additional Information, Media capabilities (Hank Boyer provides a great example of using Media), Certifications, and Awards are just a few of the tools that can give employers and networkers a sense of your accomplishments.
- Let people in your network know about significant changes. You should update your connections when you’ve made major changes, e.g., a career change, a new photo, etc. Of course your network doesn’t want to know when you added a comma to your Summary.
- Don’t love it and leave it. Although your profile is fairly static–you don’t change it often–revisit it from time to time to make sure all the information is current. The other day I sat with a customer who told me he hadn’t touched his profile in over a year–didn’t even know his password.
- Ask for and write Recommendations. Even though I think this feature is growing out of favor–due to the increase in the popularity of Endorsements–Recommendations are a great way to increase your branding by describing you as a great worker (receiving them) and as an authority (writing them).
- Customize your LinkedIn profile’s URL. This advice comes from Joseph Catrino, who wouldn’t appreciate me plagiarizing him, so I give him credit. Yes, often we see business cards, resumes, and other marketing documents with the default URL listed on them. This shows a lack of savvy; whereas the contrary shows awareness of LinkedIn.
Your profile is your online presence. Potential employers might judge you based on what you say and show on your profile. If they like what they see, your chances of success will be greater. If they don’t like what they see, it’s on to the next profile. So be sure not to make the six mistakes listed above.