How to Avoid 3 LinkedIn Profile Disasters

Leverage LinkedIn to get the job you want!

You have a stellar resume and your interview skills are sharp. You have awesome accomplishments and you know how to communicate them. Regardless of your job search acumen: if your LinkedIn Profile isn’t well developed it could stop a potential job opportunity cold. The key towards attracting the right recruiters for the right jobs is to avoid 3 LinkedIn profile disasters.

Welcome to the Digital Age

LinkedIn is your digital professional fingerprint. LinkedIn is the very first place an HR manager or hiring manager will go after they receive your resume. If there are any gaps or discrepancies between your resume and your LinkedIn Profile it could spell doom for your job candidacy. Based on current trends, LinkedIn could replace resumes in the future!

Avoid 3 LinkedIn Profile Disasters

  1. No Profile Picture
  2. No Professional Branding Statement in your Headline
  3. No Summary Statement

Your Profile Picture

You MUST have a profile picture! Humans are 90% visual. Much of what we see sends certain physiological messages. No profile picture makes it appear like you are hiding something or just don’t care enough about your professional career to be bothered. Neither option is a fantastic step forward for a job seeker. Here are some tips to make the best first impression:

Take a picture that is relevant to your target position or industry. For example, if you want to be a crane operator don’t wear a suit. Be relevant. A tie isn’t necessary for every position. A phone camera savvy friend can take a decent picture of you for LinkedIn. However, if you are going for an executive role, spend the money and have a professional photo taken.

To look your professional best take a photo in front of greenery or an interesting stone wall. Greenery sends a subconscious message that you are open to change, flexible, potentially innovative and interested in growth. Stone walls send a message that you are firm in your convictions and have solid core values.

Choose a photo that is within the last several years. Unless you are basically unchanged from previous years (some people age well), please do not post the photo from 20 years ago. Be professionally yourself. You don’t want make your future hiring manager guess who you are. Hiring managers usually do not like surprises.

Your Headline

LinkedIn profile headlines typically list your most current job title. That is just fine if that is the only thing you want to say about yourself. Don’t lose the opportunity to market your personal brand. An accomplished career transition is about marketing and branding yourself. Yes, you are SELLING yourself!

Answer this question: “Why would someone want to talk to you?” What makes you different, unique or what special skills do you have? Do you have a professional theme in your career that makes you stand out? These questions can develop your headline and branding statement. Don’t forget your certifications! But, if you have half a dozen certifications only pick a few for the headline. You don’t want to lose people in a sea of acronyms.

Good LinkedIn Profile Headline Examples:

“Leader in Operational Excellence | LSSBB | Proven Successful Change Agent”

“Top Performer in Growing Market Share | Expert in Client Relationship Development”

“Leading IT Healthcare Innovations | Telehealth and Digital Health Expert”

“Expert Relocation Specialist | Top Producing Realtor | CHMS | ABR”

I have seen some individuals use headlines to their detriment. Whatever you do: do not add a ‘seeking’ statement to your headline! This is a Profile view KILLER. I don’t care what anyone else told you to do – it sends a subconscious message that you are desperate, even if you aren’t.

Your Summary

Here’s where the rubber meets the road for marketing statements. The Summary is an opportunity to demonstrate your target job position focus, business acumen, skills and expertise. Your Summary is your professional introduction and advertising campaign. Again, you are SELLING yourself. Whether you like selling or not, a compelling headline followed by a clear statement about your unique capabilities is key for a successful career transition.

I use the Goldilocks Principle: “Not too long and not too short”.

  • Stick to the point. Attention spans are nanoseconds long. Your resume will only get 3-5 seconds, so what makes you think that your Profile is destined for a long read? No more than two short paragraphs introducing yourself is enough (unless you are an entrepreneur).
  • Don’t ramble. Please do not tell anyone your life story. Keep the paragraphs short, readable and to the point. Choose your words wisely to make the most impact. If you must be verbose, write a document titled “About” and upload it to your Summary section. Tip: if you have a compelling read, put a short statement telling the reader why they would want to click on the document.
  • Don’t add fluff. HR Specialists and recruiters would be millionaires if they could get a dollar for every time they saw the word ‘detail oriented’ or ‘competent communicator’. Please don’t add over-used descriptors, fluff words, or boast unnecessarily. “Awesome performers” or “superstars” do not get bonus profile points. Stick to the facts.
  • List your expertise. Very important! Outline your professional skills below your Summary statement separated by bullet points, vertical slashes, or similar. Make sure you insert a space between the symbol and your keywords. Since LinkedIn searches performed by recruiters and hiring managers are based on keywords, you want to ensure the most hits for the right positions.

Leverage LinkedIn

Take your profile from “Ho-Hum” to “Wow” by following these simple techniques. Don’t underestimate the power of your professional profile. I coach hundreds of experienced professionals and the ones that do not get the call for an interview commonly have not leveraged LinkedIn! Avoid 3 LinkedIn Profile disasters that could make the difference between you getting an opportunity to shine or staying in the same old routine.

Erin Urban
Erin Urban

Founder, UPPSolutions

Erin Urban, Founder of UPPSolutions, LLC, is a certified professional & leadership development coach with a mission to lift others up to defy their limits and exceed their goals. Erin is an experienced speaker within the professional community, a published author and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.

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