With over 300 million users and 3 million businesses, LinkedIn has become one of the most resourceful platforms for recruiters seeking new talent and business professionals looking to network. If you are frustrated with your career search, establishing an attractive and credible LinkedIn profile is one of the first things you should do. Before you begin, make sure to take some time to think about your professional brand and how you want to Brand Yourself. Whether you are creating your first profile or are looking to reinvigorate your existing one, here are six LinkedIn profile mistakes everyone should avoid!
1. Inappropriate Profile Photos
Without a photo, recruiters and/or clients aren’t very likely to take your profile seriously. Make sure you choose a professional looking headshot, one that is from the shoulders up, and one that is not too old. You want people to be able to recognize you, especially new people you meet at conferences, networking events, job fairs, trade shows, etc. Aim for simplicity- choose a photo with a background that is not too distracting and a picture that doesn’t have anyone else in it.
2. Poor Visibility
Make sure your profile can actually be found. If you want recruiters to be able to find you and get a feel for what you have to offer, enable your profile to be public through your account settings. Also be sure to keep your profile up to date so that your experience, most recent skills, and projects are visible to prospective employers and recruiters.
3. Generic Headlines and Boring Keywords
Aim for a descriptive heading. Instead of just making your headline the label of your most recent career title, maximize the 120 character capacity by using words that describe what you do. If you are looking for a job and your main goal is to be found and contacted by recruiters and hiring managers, focus on career-specific terms. On the other hand, if you are a professional business owner trying to attract clients, try to include keywords that emphasize the services you offer.
4. Too Many Buzzwords and Tone that Lacks Personality
Some of the most overused buzzwords used on LinkedIn include: responsible, innovative, effective, driven, organizational, expert, and strategic. Try to be creative! Keep in mind, your LinkedIn doesn’t have to be as formal as a resume would be. Try to inject a little bit of your personality by letting people know a little about your values and passions. Include hobbies, volunteer work, organizations you care about, etc.
5. Wasted Summary Space
The LinkedIn algorithm searches for keywords in the summary section of your profile, which can be up to 2,000 characters! Be sure to use this space as a way to capture your target audience. Include terms that match the types of jobs you are looking for, relevant work experience, awards, projects, education, and professional accomplishments. When possible, include numbers, case studies, and a few key stats to highlight your past results and prove your success. Also be sure to include professional websites and any additional media that will add credibility to your profile in your summary section.
6. Incomplete Profiles
To put it simply, don’t be lazy. Do yourself the favor and put in the time to make your profile awesome. Fill out every single section of your profile that is relevant and that applies to you. And don’t lie. Be as honest and clear as you possibly can. After a recruiter clicks on your profile, he or she is going to want to know more about your skills, what you have done, and what others think of you. As you “work out” the spaces of the sections of your profile, LinkedIn will actually measure your completeness and make suggestions on how to make your profile stronger.