LinkedIn Profile

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Holding You Back?

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You’ve probably heard others rave about LinkedIn as a job search tool – mentioning recruiters have contacted them through the site, or that they’ve been approached by hiring managers, just on the strength of their profiles.

But what if this isn’t happening for you? How can you figure out what might be wrong? These common LinkedIn missteps can make the difference between having all the action pass you by or realizing the full power of the site:

1. Remaining Invisible

Watching from the sidelines while all those Status Updates, blog posts, and Groups discussions pass you by? It’s time to insert yourself into the action.

Not only can you use Status Updates to mention an event you’re attending or book you’re reading, you can issue miniature “press releases” that note new product introductions or other team achievements (assuming that these items aren’t confidential).

Status updates can help inform others of what you do in your day-to-day work, plus help you promote specific accomplishments or personal accolades that would otherwise go unnoticed. And they last: Updates stay listed on your profile when others find it, displayed like a personal news reel that continues to work for you 24/7.

Don’t forget that you can comment on others’ blog posts (or publish your own) on LinkedIn, plus use Status Updates to post a link to an online article. All these activities help to educate your network on your area of expertise.

LinkedIn Groups offer discussion boards that work in a similar fashion to Updates. You can post your thoughts on a relevant industry topic, or simply comment on others’ discussions.

Didn’t join enough Groups yet? Get going – LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50.

2. Adding Non-Work Info To The Experience Section

LinkedIn files the data in your work history in reverse chronological order, meaning that your most current experience will be shown first.

If you added experience on a Board (or a consulting gig, or any venture that doesn’t represent your work experience) in this section, readers of your profile will see this activity first – listed as if it WERE your full-time job.

Besides confusing recruiters, showing this chronology can convince recruiters that you’re either unemployed or grasping at straws to show your experience.

The fix? Move your Board roles all the way down under Additional Information, where there is a category called Associations.

If you feel you’re burying this experience too deep, then mention the organization and your role in the Summary as well.

3. Disclosing Too Much Information

Did you take LinkedIn’s requests for data a bit too seriously? This is one of the most common LinkedIn mistakes made by job hunters.

If an item doesn’t belong on your resume, don’t add it to LinkedIn! This goes for dates of degrees (especially if earned in the 1980’s or before), or positions held you normally wouldn’t show on a resume (because they were too short or are now outdated).

While date fields are used throughout the site for all kinds of career information, you can simply omit the years on everything from education programs to awards, certifications, and so on.

If you’re unsure what should be included, remember the last 15 years of your professional life will be of most relevance to employers… then edit your profile accordingly.

In summary, LinkedIn won’t magically produce results in your job search – unless you’ve taken the time to review your profile carefully, with a solid strategy to display your experience and cultivate a following.

If you’re not being approached by others on LinkedIn, be sure to go back and review your profile in detail for these mistakes – ensuring you’ve put your best foot forward online.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Laura Smith-Proulx

Multi-credentialed executive resume writer Laura Smith-Proulx of An Expert Resume is the #1 U.S. TORI resume award record-holder and a published global expert on executive branding and LinkedIn strategies.

14 comments

  1. Great article! I am fairly new to LinkedIn and I’m a Pre-Med/Pre-Pharm student at Ohio State and I was wondering how exactly I should approach LinkedIn since it’s predominantly filled with business and law specialists. I’m trying to use the page to appeal towards hospitals/businesses around Columbus that would accept me as a volunteer or worker so I can gain experience for my resume when I apply to pharmacy/medical school (still haven’t made up my mind). Any tips on how I can do this? Thanks!

  2. Thank you Mr. Teddy
    It was really nice to read your article…very informative…
    But I really want you ask one question whether this linkedin works for the professionals who is having experience upto 2 -3 yrs…
    Mine is1 yr 3 months only…..I didnt get any call from this website yet…???

    Regards,
    Snehalata

  3. J. T. before I ask my questions, I have to say I am a great fan of yours.I receive Careerealism on a daily basis. You have given my great inspiration to get back on LinkedIn and improve my profile. You have provided me with a better understanding what LinkedIn is about and how to use it to my best advantage, I graciously thank you. Now, my first question, I am an accounting graduate studying for my CPA license. I receive updates on what is happening in the world of accountancy. These updates come from AICPA, Journal of Accountancy, CPA Daily, MSCPA, and SEC. I want to create a blog where students or CPA candidates can access it for current information. How can I create this blog with out infringing on those who provided me with the information? I am unemployed and I need to show that I am doing something besides studying for the exam. Joshua Waldman touched base on this in one of his webinars, 3 Secretes to getting hired. The another question, if I can do it, what could I name it that will attract perspective viewers, and once I establish the blog, how do I announce?
    Thank you for your help and guidance.

    Respectfully,
    Nancy Black

    • Nancy – I can help you with an answer to this question about re-publishing content from other sources.

      Here are two ideas that can help you share these articles:
      #1 – You can write your own blog (maybe do it simply on wordpress.com) and reference the articles you read and why they were important to you and to your connections and followers. Do not cut/paste their entire article – just reference pieces of it in your blog and put a link to the original post with acknowledgement of the author.
      #2 – Share the URL of the original article on your LinkedIn Profile, with your editorial about why it’s important to you and people you are connected to. I recommend this idea because it is the simplest and yet does the same thing – shares it with others so that they consider you as an authority

      I hope this is useful to you

  4. I think honesty is more important than reworking your resume-stuff on LinkedIn. I’ve worked most of my adult life. I did what I did, I worked where I worked, if that’s not good enough for you, then please feel free to steal other people’s information for your own employment profile, or whatever goes on, there. And, if you’re only really trying to hire your cousin Harold anyway, well..

  5. I never hid my contacts or my profile and I had over 800 connections. I just found it a waste of time. It never generated interviews or jobs, so why bother? If anything, it’s information that can be used in a way to eliminate as opposed to generate, just like a google search is to hiring managers. Companies don’t necessarily try to find the right candidate, but use subjective criteria to get their pool of resumes down to a manageable level. No use playing into that game.

  6. I solved the problem by deleting my Linked In account. It wasn’t doing anything good for me anyway, meaning it had no value except taking up my time, like FB.

  7. Teddy Burriss (@TLBurriss)

    Good article Laura.

    I will never fully understand why so many people want to hide their profiles from non 1st level connections or hide their contacts from other connections. It seems so self defeating to the mutually beneficial uses of LinkedIn.

    I also teach my students to only show in their experience section the specifics of the previous jobs that are relevant to what they are doing now or want to be doing in their next job.

    Since LinkedIn is not a resume, it does not need to subscribe to resume guidelines and expectations. Attach your resume if you want recruiters to see the entire picture.

    I follow http://www.ncwiseman.com for lots of ideas about LinkedIn.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Laura Smith-Proulx

      Teddy,

      Thank you for the message! Actually, there is no way to hide a Profile. Once it’s on the site, anyone (with the right set of search terms) can find it from inside LinkedIn. You can’t keep a Profile hidden from other contacts, because this is actually dependent on whether they have an upgraded, Premium account that allows visibility to 3rd-level connections.

      Customizing your Profile URL and making it public only allows search engine findability from outside the site. It doesn’t affect whether you can be seen inside LinkedIn. You probably knew that, but I thought I’d mention it.

      However, you can make it more difficult to be found or contacted. Many people forget to list Contact information, and they certainly lie low (too low, with no Status Updates or comments) to show up on anyone’s radar. They also neglect to add enough keywords to be found in searches conducted by recruiters.

      I agree with you about hiding Connections. Unless these are sales clients you want to keep confidential, most people will not be combing your Connections list for market intelligence.

      Kind regards,

      Laura

      • Thanks for clarifying what I tried to say Laura.

        My hiding points were focused on the fact that people who are not trained on the benefits of LinkedIn hide specific sections of their LinkedIn profile from the average LInkedIn members. I learned years ago that LinkedIn members who purchase the Premium or Talent Search membership of LInkedIn can search into even the hidden sections of all LinkedIn members profiles. Most people do not know this. Therefore I always teach, only put on LinkedIn (or any other social media platform) what you want others to know about you and share it all openly with no restrictions.

        The other hiding activities include:
        1 – Hiding your name when you look at a LinkedIn Member’s Profile. I do not play this “hide & seek” because A) I want you to know I looked at your profile, so that, if possible, a relevant and potentially beneficial conversation can develop and B) if you hide behind a category or go completely anonymous, you can’t see who looked at your profile. I want to know who is “peeking” at me.
        2- Many untrained LinkedIn users hide their connections from each other. I prefer to let my connections see (& extensively search) my LinkedIn connections because I get great value out of introducing my connections to each other, when relevant and mutually beneficial. Regarding the concern about our connections finding out who our clients are – I say, “poppy-cock.” Looking at my list of connections does not tell you who pays me. And, if I’m going to lose a client, it won’t be because my competitor knows who they are. It will be because I failed to provide the service they wanted for the price they wanted to pay.

        Thanks for clarifying and letting me share more ideas that I learn from http://www.NCWiseman.com.

        Have a great weekend.

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