9 Ways Your LinkedIn Profile is HURTING Your Career (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

A bad profile on LinkedIn.com will HURT your career!

With over 75 million professionals on the site worldwide, it is an absolute must for everyone in the business world to have a strong presence on LinkedIn.com.

Whether you are looking for a job, looking to get promoted at your current job, looking to make a sale, looking to grow your business, looking to stay connected with your current contacts, and/or looking to build your network, the way you design your profile is essential.  Your LinkedIn profile will be among the first links to pop up when someone searches your name in google, and you better believe that people are “googling” you as part of any decision related to hiring you or doing business with you.

Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to design LinkedIn profiles that put their best foot forward online.  Here are 9 common LinkedIn profile mistakes that are hurting your career:

  1. Your profile is incomplete and/or has typos.  If you submitted a resume that was incomplete or full of typos, you would be removed from consideration for a job.  Treat your LinkedIn.com profile with the same care, and make it perfect.
  2. Your profile head-shot is unprofessional or you don’t even have a headshot.  You don’t need to go to a professional photographer.  Just use a picture where you are smiling and dressed professionally.  I often see students wearing baseball caps or other casual attire in their LinkedIn photos.  LinkedIn is NOT Facebook.  Your LinkedIn picture should show what you would look like if you were going to a job interview. 
  3. Your profile headline is boring, unoriginal, or hard to understand.  Like a good elevator pitch, your headline should be clear, original, and compelling.  Ask yourself what you would say if you had 10-15 words to describe to someone what you do.  See my recent post on elevator pitch tips.  The headline is valuable real estate, so don’t waste it!  If you are out of work or a student, then include some key achievements instead, along with a professional objective (i.e. “Honors Student at University of Maryland planning to work in sports & entertainment after graduation”).
  4. You have not included your email addressMake it easy for people to get in touch with you by including this in your headline!
  5. You do not appear to be well-connected.  Connect with EVERYONE you know.  Unless you are a student, it is a red flag if you have less than 50-100 connections.  Social proof is important, and I guarantee you know a lot more people on the site than you think you do. 
  6. Your summary is not as impressive as it could be.  Write your summary as a bio (written in the 3rd person) where you cite your most impressive achievements relevant to your current career objectives.  It is also recommended to include some sort of story (i.e. how you overcame an obstacle) related to your achievements.  Check out my profile at www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman to see how to write a great summary.
  7. You are not involved in any groups.  Join relevant LinkedIn groups.  LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 relevant groups.  If nothing else, it shows that you are passionate about a certain topic(s), and there are a number of ways to build connections through those groups and to stay updated on events and industry trends.  We’ll discuss that in an upcoming post.
  8. You have not listed your achievements for each of your prior jobs.  Just copy and paste the achievements from your resume.  Make sure every line sells you.  Focus on how you make things or people better.
  9. You have not been recommended.  Get recommendations from clients, bosses, colleagues, professors, or  even peers.  Focus on quality rather than quantity, but get something here.  Don’t just get recommendations that say how great you are.  Get recommendations that focus on results you have generated (i.e. making a company money, finding new customers, creating a new program, leading a team or project that produced certain results, and so on).  When you request recommendations, you should also tell the person writing the recommendation what you want them to say.  This gives you control over what they write, and it makes it easier for them.

While LinkedIn can help you advance your career in a variety of ways, a bad LinkedIn profile will actually HURT your career.  When someone checks out your profile, they should think “Wow, this is someone I want to get to know.”  What does your LinkedIn.com profile say about you right now? 

-Pete Leibman

Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises




Follow me on Twitter @peteleibman

Explore posts in the same categories: LinkedIn, Networking, Social Media

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