LinkedIn Profile Errors

Are You Making The Top 3 LinkedIn Profile Errors?

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As a job tool, you just can’t beat the power of LinkedIn. With numerous ways to display your skills and core competencies, the site allows you to be found by hiring managers and recruiters, with little effort on your part.

The Top 3 LinkedIn Profile Errors

However, using it incorrectly can actually reduce your chances of being hired. Here are three common pitfalls to avoid when setting up and using a LinkedIn profile for your job search:

1. Failing To Use All The Space Provided

You’re guilty of this if your summary is comprised of just a few sentences, your work history only includes titles, or you skipped sections like Interests or Specialties. These are valuable pieces of data that not only educate readers on your career, but also serve to boost your search-ability.

In addition, you’ll receive a not-so-gentle reminder from the site that says your profile is not 100% complete—which tells you that LinkedIn needs this data for keyword purposes.

2. Mistaking A Resume Summary For A LinkedIn Summary

The LinkedIn summary area was designed primarily to present a snapshot of your brand and value proposition. However, many people mistake this area for the resume summary of qualifications, and insert that same, long-winded paragraph in this section.

However, LinkedIn profiles aren’t meant to be scanned like documents! In order to get the best results from your profile, you’ll need to apply web copywriting principles, writing a more personalized, bullet-point account of your background and qualifications.

Break up the text visually so employers can quickly scan through for key words, and consider adding decorative bullet symbols for easier readability.

3. Presenting Data Inconsistent With Your Traditional Resume

There’s no way around it – employers will be trolling the web for information about you, even if you’ve already sent your resume to them to review. The problem arises when your job history, education, or achievements appear differently online than on paper.

Here’s how to spot discrepancies: print out both your resume and your LinkedIn profile, reviewing the facts you’ve listed (such as job dates, education, job titles, employer names, etc.) side-by-side. If you omitted an older job or unrelated degree from your resume, for example, then make the same change to your profile.

Reviewing your profile this way also allows you to see if it delivers the same value proposition message as your resume. If you missed mentioning highlights of your career (such as metrics on revenue generated or cost savings), you can incorporate this data back into the profile so it aligns with your brand.

In summary, getting hired today requires a strong online identity. If you haven’t spent much time on your LinkedIn profile, it’s a good idea to revisit it and improve your web presence by confirming you’re not making any of the above LinkedIn profile errors.

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.

7 comments

  1. Laura – Thanks for sharing.

    Good article about LinkedIn mistakes.

    Beyond having a good profile that speaks boldly and positively about who you are and what you want to do, the next two mistakes LinkedIn members do are – Not Connecting & Not Engaging.

    Request and accept relevant and interesting connections and then engage thru LinkedIn messaging, group discussions and if at all possible IRL (In Real Life). This makes your investment in using LinkedIn much more rewarding.

    I speak about this in great detail in the book Success using Social Media – KC & J_Mo – I can answer this question for you:
    Generally speaking, I suggest including on LinkedIn all of your work experience, back as far in the past as relevant to what you do or want to do. However, don’t create a gap in employment on your LI profile if the position(s) were not relevant to what you do or want to do.

    In each Position/Job – reference the work you did that is relevant to what you do today or want to do. Dig deep into each position to find activities that you did which are the most relevant as well as showing success, professional development and value you provided your employer or clients.

    If you have a position/job that is very much irrelevant to who you are today, but need it to keep from creating employment gaps on your LinkedIn profile, talk about what you did that improved you professionally and/or improved your overall talents and professionalism.

    I hope these ideas are useful to you.

    Read the book “Success using Social Media ” for more ideas about how to get benefit from LinkedIn and other social media tools – http://www.amazon.com/Success-using-Social-Media-ebook/dp/B00EWO45EM

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. LinkedIn is a recruiters dream come true. The faster people realize this the more willing they’ll be to adopt it and use it to it’s full potential. One of the first things I do when hiring internally is compare their CV to their LinekIn profile. If their profile isn’t up to snuff they move down one notch in my eyes. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t hire them or consider them but… If I have to decide between two people that are similar and one has a well presented LinkedIn profile and the other doesn’t, it’s a no brainer.

    David Inzlicht

  3. Just curious… what do you do when your past and present work & volunteer history has almost nothing to do with the fields you want to break into?

    • This is my question, too.

      I have some very impressive achievements, but they all happened OUTSIDE of the workplace, because my day job is a dead-end job.

      • KC & J_Mo – I can answer this question for you:
        Generally speaking, I suggest including on LinkedIn all of your work experience, back as far in the past as relevant to what you do or want to do. However, don’t create a gap in employment on your LI profile if the position(s) were not relevant to what you do or want to do.

        In each Position/Job – reference the work you did that is relevant to what you do today or want to do. Dig deep into each position to find activities that you did which are the most relevant as well as showing success, professional development and value you provided your employer or clients.

        If you have a position/job that is very much irrelevant to who you are today, but need it to keep from creating employment gaps on your LinkedIn profile, talk about what you did that improved you professionally and/or improved your overall talents and professionalism.

        I hope these ideas are useful to you.

        Read the book “Success using Social Media ” for more ideas about how to get benefit from LinkedIn and other social media tools – http://www.amazon.com/Success-using-Social-Media-ebook/dp/B00EWO45EM

  4. This is very much in line with what I have seen in other places. It takes a full-fledged marketing campaign to get a job today. If you have enough information in your LinkedIn profile to arouse curiosity in the prospect, it can be one excellent source of traffic to your resume.

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