There’s no debate when it comes to which document hiring authorities turn to first when evaluating you on “paper.” The resume wins this debate. For the time being. But with 78% or more recruiters looking for talent on LinkedIn, the profile comes in at a strong runner up.
Like the resume, hiring authorities (recruiters, hiring managers, and HR) want to see accomplishments on your profile. Additionally, if you don’t have a LinkedIn presence, you might not be considered for the role.
One stat claims that nearly 40% of employers won’t consider a candidate if they aren’t on LinkedIn.
You’ll notice that your profile sections are arranged similarly to your resume sections. This is because recruiters prefer to read your profile in the same order they read a resume. Still, your LinkedIn profile is different; it’s more dynamic than your resume. This is not lost on hiring authorities.
Following are 10 reason why hiring authorities dread reading your profile
1. They can’t find you
This is the most obvious reason why hiring authorities dread reading your LinkedIn profile. After reading your resume, they can’t find you on LinkedIn. You are lost in a sea of other job seekers. The most likely reason, you don’t have the keywords by which hiring authorities are searching to fill a role.
Many hiring authorities use the Search field to find talent because they don’t have access to LinkedIn Recruiter, which allows them to search for possible job candidates based on skills and other criteria. Without the expensive Recruiter package, they are left with entering your title and areas of expertise in Search.
2. It’s your resume
This is my number one gripe when it comes to LinkedIn profiles, and I’m sure hiring authorities feel the same. I’m 100% on the mark when I see a profile that is a copy and paste of a client’s resume. The give away is that there’s no subject in the sentences, e.g., “I,” “My,” “We,” etc.
It’s fine when you’re crafting your profile to copy your resume to your new profile, but from there you need to take it further and personalize it. A personalized resume, if you will. Hiring authorities want to see something different from your resume. After all, your resume most likely led them to you.
Erica Reckamp says it nicely: Oh, the drudgery of reading something you already read. Mix it up! the phrasing should be completely different. Shift to a friendly voice and convert those accs from months to years or $ to %s to keep it fresh!
3. Your photo is of poor quality
I know some of you are concerned about ageism and are hesitant to post your photo on your profile for fear that you’ll be passed on. Here’s the thing: if you are passed on by a hiring authority, you’ll never be the wiser. Whereas, if you are contacted by them, this means your age is not an issue.
Therefore, your photo is a must. Without one you are not memorable, trusted, or liked. What’s important is that your profile photo is of high quality and recent. Have someone who has a good camera—today’s phone cameras will suffice—take your photo.
Hint: Don’t post a photo with you and other people in it. Also, don’t use a selfie.
4. Your Headline is your job title and company
I wrote an article on writing a powerful Headline in which 15 LinkedIn pros participated. To a person, they all agree that simply leaving only your title and company name in your Headline is bad taste. The only thing worse than just listing your title and company is writing, “Seeking next opportunity,” or “Open to next opportunity.”
Hint: Hiring authorities aren’t typing in Search: “seeking next opportunity.”
You should include in your Headline a desired title, areas of expertise, and if you like a tagline. The idea is to demonstrate value that you’ll deliver to an employer. Listing only your title and company does not accomplish this.
However, don’t confuse creativity with clarity. Calling yourself “Chief People Person” isn’t as clear as “Human Resources Specialist, Employee Relations, DEI” which is what hiring authorities will be searching for.
Another hint: If you were unfortunate to be named that by your company, make sure you have a common title in your headline.
5. You’re hiding your email address
This might not be your fault if you’re unaware that the default setting in your Contact Info is that only 1st degrees. But if you know you can change it to “Anyone on LinkedIn” but don’t, shame on you.
You must have your email available for hiring authorities to reach you. They won’t take the time to search for you by other means if they have to fill a position, trust me. You should also have your email listed in your About section. Read this article for more ways to be visible to hiring authorities.
6. There’s no bling in Featured
The Featured area is improved from days of old; it’s now a one-click process for links to websites, YouTube, documents, PowerPoint presentations, and audio. Before it was clunkier. Take advantage of your online portfolio.
Leaving this section barren fails to demonstrate the work you’ve accomplished. Display what’s most important to hiring authorities. If you’re a Business Developer, present a document on your biggest project to date. Have you been featured on a podcast as a Sales Leader? Lead with the podcast in which you were interviewed.
7. Your About section doesn’t tell your story
Hiring authorities don’t want a tomb describing the passion you developed for landscape architecture as a young child, but they want to see what drives you in your occupation, why you enjoy your trade.
Don’t forget to list some accomplishments in bullet format so their easier to read. Here’s an opportunity to show the value you’ll deliver to potential employers. For example:
- Improved supply chain operation 90% over the course of 2 years by implementing Lean Six Sigma methodology, earning accolades the CEO.
Also don’t disregard the keywords by which you’ll be found. In an article, 16 pros talk bout creating a powerful About section, recruiter Ed Han writes:
As a recruiter, when I am finding talent via LinkedIn profiles, I conduct a search based on keywords. Keywords can appear anywhere in a LinkedIn profile, but it’s easiest and most natural for them to appear in either the member’s 220 character headline or the 3,000 character About section.
Another recruiter values a strong About section and wants to know where you’re going in your career:
Kristen Fife (she/her/hers:) You know what I care about? What you are looking for (About section), and what your career trajectory looks like – who do you work for, what is your title, and WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY DO? I could care less about your photo or headline.
8. You don’t emphasize your accomplishments in Experience
Hiring authorities dread reading an Experience section that precludes a clear idea of what you did at your past positions. I get this. All to often I see job entries with the company name, title, and tenure at said position. That’s it. Tejal Wagadia writes in an article on how to write a powerful Experience section:
The experience section is the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. You can have the best Headline, About and Education sections, and recommendation; but if a recruiter or hiring manager can’t tell what you have done as work experience there is no point.
This is an area on your resume where you can’t be shy with the accomplishment statements. As I tell my clients, “Hit them over the head with the accomplishment. Ideally the job summary explains your overall responsibilities and the bullet statements are all accomplishments.
Here’s an example of a job summary followed by a bulleted accomplishment:
As the Director, Marketing Communications at ABC Company, I planned, developed and executed multi-channel marketing programs and performance-driven campaigns, using digital marketing principles and techniques to meet project and organization goals.
- Grew marketing department to achieve an average of 34% growth two years running by developing and nurturing a digital marketing campaign from inception.
9. You don’t utilize description in Education
Oh what a waste. I see too many LinkedIn users who don’t utilize the space in their Education section. This area is an ideal place to talk about what you did while at university of high school. Did you start a Outward Bound club? Were you the editor of the school newspaper? Did work full time while earning a degree?
Hiring authorities don’t want to see what’s on your resume: Degree, Institution, Location, Year of Graduation (please don’t list the date you graduated.) Again, they probably saw this on your resume or will. Throw in some narrative to make your profile more exciting.
10. You leave your Volunteer section blank
Rarely do people list their volunteer experience on their resume. There’s usually no room and it’s not considered vital information. But if you think about your volunteer work, you either gave of your time to help a community of organization or to enhance your skills.
Both are great reasons to list your volunteer work. I tell my clients that employers love to know that you were/are a giver. Consider this scenario: you read before an interview that the hiring manager volunteers at the local soup kitchen. You also volunteer at your soup kitchen. If you can work this into the conversation during the interview, you’re golden.
One more, your Activities section is a wasteland
You have not shared a post, commented on what others have written, shared an article and written a synopsis. Essentially you joined LinkedIn to create a profile and connect with as many people as you could, which wasn’t many. “I’m not serious about being on LinkedIn,” is what you’re telling hiring authorities.
What others have to say on this topic
Wendy Schoen: Every recruiter and/or hiring manager reads your resume. That is still the name of the game. But increasingly, they want to turn to the LinkedIn profile in the hopes that it will shed more light into who and what the person behind the resume really is. But at the moment, they dread doing that because what they find is a bare, unattended profile.
Bernadette Pawlik: Some things people don’t like to think about they should, and this is going to sound very blunt–we are always in transition. We may not be fired or downsized, but we might outgrow our jobs, our wonderful boss might leave, our spouse moves the whole family to a new state. There is “job search” and there is “career management”..we all want to put the “job search” behind us…but if we are active career managers we are taking control of our careers, instead of letting life happen to us and derailing them.
Karen Tisdell: I have a story for you. I ran two LinkedIn webinars early 2020. Of all the people who attended one of them saw the massive potential I was advocating for to build relationships with partnering businesses and clients and became an avid user, hugely growing her network with the right people and producing 1-2 pieces of meaningful content a week consistently. (Many others did the same but tapered off after a month or so.) Fast forward nine months and the business sadly wasn’t doing well because of covid, supply issues and market sentiment. Many people were made redundant. The LinkedIn superuser was explicitly told her job was safe because her network and links with industry had become a valuable asset to the company.
We’d like to think people are employed and retained for their skills, but a closer look at many job adverts will reveal that it’s the relationships we bring to the organisation, and the relationships we have internally that can make a huge difference. In an environment where, here in Australia, travel is restricted and there are few face-to-face meetings, LinkedIn is an amazing tool to find and deepen relationships!
Hannah Morgan: I’ve known people who use LinkedIn to learn!
– Courses (learning and networking)
– Asking for recommendations for new software or service providers
– Problem solving (asking for help solving a problem)
– Giving a shout-out or congrats to people in your network
– Meet people in your profession
There is some overlap with what you’ve listed but wanted to be more specific. Great reasons to make LinkedIn a lifetime career habit!
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