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Let’s face it, most of us create our LinkedIn profiles and then leave them there sad and alone while barely feeding or watering them*.
And it shows.
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Want to make sure that the next big headhunter or recruiter doesn’t skip right over your profile? Try some of these:
No profile at all
Would you believe that not everyone actually has a LinkedIn profile? Top executive leadership and career coach Pat Roque says not having one is a “fatal error” since there are over 500 million professionals using the platform. Roque, who teaches courses including “How to Rock Your LinkedIn Profile” suggests creating a profile and challenging yourself to add at least 500 new connections this year.
An unprofessional photo (or none at all)
Roque reminds us that research shows “having a profile photo makes you 14x more likely to be viewed by others.” She advises following follow this suggestion from Lydia Abbot, Blog Editor & Content Marketer at LinkedIn: “Make sure your LinkedIn profile picture is up-to-date (within the past few years) and reflects how you look on a daily basis – your hair, glasses, makeup, etc.”
Typos, inaccuracies or mistakes aplenty
“If you make mistakes when describing yourself it shows you don’t care and that you will make mistakes for the people are considering hiring you or working with you,” cautions Bill Corbett, Jr. , who regularly speaks on the topic of improving your LinkedIn profile and trains whole sales teams on amping up their LinkedIn presence. “Laziness and carelessness are not messages that help your career,” Corbett advises hiring somebody to proof your profile.
Not honoring the algorithm
Google isn’t the only search system to rely heavily on keywords. Roque says to “Be sure to use searchable keywords in your headline, summary, keywords, job titles, and skills.”
Ignoring the built-in free career tools
“Don’t forget to take advantage of LinkedIn’s Summary tool,” recommends David Bakke of Money Crashers. You can “highlight career accomplishments and achievements. Leaving this blank looks unprofessional and more importantly unappealing.”
Thinking LinkedIn is Facebook
Leave the bro stuff for your more private social networks, LinkedIn is about building your professional life. “Don’t post items that are personal that don’t relate at least in some way to business,” Corbett cautions. “Doing this makes you look silly and out of touch, as well as unprofessional.”
Forgetting to include a Call to Action
Gosh, your profile is impressive sitting there all fixed up and everything. But is it doing anything for you? Roque offers this suggestion “Always share an easy way for interested hiring managers or collaborators to reach you, such as inviting them to a virtual coffee.”
Failure to respond
If somebody sends you a message, respond. It’s basic common courtesy even if it’s not the best fit. “Failure to do it is rude and hurts your reputation,” says Corbett.
Omitting important accomplishments
In trying to pare down your profile, Roque says you might be leaving out important “volunteer efforts, anything to show your community spirit and personal interests beyond the obvious job and education history.” Think about what you might do when faced with 20 similar profiles. You’d probably choose the person who seems more connected to their world beyond the office. It proves them well-rounded beyond their cube.
Being all about the hard sell
At this point, most of us recognize someone who is always only pushing their own professional agenda. Corbett calls hard selling on LinkedIn “marketing kryptonite, instead of killing Superman these actions kill your reputation.” And people won’t respond positively to that hard push. “People will run away from you instead of running to you!”
Never say anything bad about somebody
While the president freely uses his social media platform to tweet about anyone who displeases him, it’s probably not a wise move for anyone concerned with their own reputation. And it’s an even worse idea on LinkedIn. “Being critical of people publicly on LinkedIn is not a good strategy for building relationships,” said Corbett. Besides, you have nothing to gain from ragging on your competitor “and you never look good doing this, even if the person is a complete idiot.”
Not publishing or posting articles
If your job search feels stalled or you just want to perk things up a little, Roque thinks it’s a great idea to keep your profile fresh by writing or linking to think pieces or people relevant to your industry.
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*Though some people really do shovel on the fertilizer!
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