For modern professionals, a LinkedIn profile is almost as essential to have as the more traditional CV or resume. It’s a way to be noticed, a way to connect and a way to showcase skills and experience to a large audience; in fact, it exceeds the CV in the number of functionalities and possibilities connected to it.
While you might want to pat yourself on the back for having a LinkedIn profile right about now, it should be emphasized that simply ‘being there’ is not enough. Profiles that have carelessly been put together are just as bad – or perhaps worse – than non-existent ones.
Being aware of the pitfalls is the first step in building a positive presence on LinkedIn. Here are 5 ways in which you could be sabotaging your profile:
1. You haven’t included a (proper) profile picture
A page without a profile picture screams ‘unfinished’ and will scare off recruiters almost immediately. Similarly, a picture that might be considered unclear or inappropriate in any way – party pics, bathroom mirror selfies and group photos to name a few – is not going to send the right message either. Aim to keep things simple and professional: a picture that accurately and clearly depicts you without a distracting background will do.
2. You’ve ignored the headline
Your headline gives you the chance to draw recruiters in with a short description of who you are and what you do. Without anything to entice them, recruiters are less likely to visit your profile. Make sure you show them what you have to offer from the get-go by including a catchy, original headline that encapsulates who you are in a few choice words. Rather than the default, current position, change to keywords or phrases which represent potential job titles.
3. Your profile is not up-to-date
Whether you created your LinkedIn profile 5 years ago and have abandoned it since or have just created an account but ‘haven’t got round to finishing it yet’, a profile that holds outdated and inaccurate information can make you look untrustworthy and unproductive. Update your page regularly to ensure your profile gets the engagement it needs and to attract the right connections.
4. You’ve lied about your experience
Lying about your credentials is never a good idea, especially now that any savvy fact-checker can find out more than you might think just by conducting a simple Google search. Just remember, the information you put on the internet is for the whole world to see, and by lying on LinkedIn you’re risking your reputation for years to come. Err on the side of caution and make sure everything you’re putting out there is legitimate.
5. You haven’t added a summary
Time-crunched recruiters might not want to scroll through your entire profile to check your suitability for a role, which is why it’s important to include an engaging summary at the top of your page to catch their attention. Be informative but concise, highlighting relevant skills and experience. If they like what they see, they’re likely to continue reading the rest of your profile. Without it, you risk losing them immediately.
Keeping your LinkedIn page up-to-date will only take a small amount of time and effort when done regularly. With your profile ready to go, it’s important that you continue to engage with your network, posting updates, sharing links and joining in group discussions – it is a social media platform after all!
Thomas Wharton is President of LIFOCUS CAREER SERVICES an Executive Coaching and Career Coaching firm in Rhode Island, providing Career & Transition Coaching, Outplacement, Executive Coaching, and Assessments. Tom can be reached at 401.884.7959 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.lifocus.com •@careercoachTW