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Mistakes that are Damaging Your LinkedIn Profile

2016-07-20 09:00:00 +0100 by Miriam Heale


LinkedIn, it seems, is an inescapable part of doing business. A phone call with any supplier or potential client will result in a LinkedIn request coming from one direction or another. This will only intensify with Microsoft’s recent acquisition of the business networking platform as they seek to integrate it into other Microsoft products.

This is by no means ‘a negative’ as the broader our networks, the more informed we become and the easier it is to find information or people that can help us get the job done. Or, on occasion, find a new job all together.

In fact, LinkedIn data suggests that a strong profile can be instrumental in landing higher paid/senior roles as recruiters prefer the ‘informal hire’ approach.

However, LinkedIn works in mysterious ways so unless your profile is set up just so, your chances of being found by specialist recruitment consultants like ALLEN & YORK dwindle significantly.

Here’s our guide to the mistakes that are damaging your LinkedIn profile:


Profile Picture

It’s an obvious one but it cannot be overstated. Your profile picture speaks volumes about who you are as a professional. Or not as the case may be. LinkedIn is flooded with individuals whose profile pictures are of them on holiday or at a party.

We’ve even seen the odd one or two or men with their shirt of and women in revealing outfits. If your industry is modelling then it is arguably justified, but if you’re a mechanical engineer then definitely not. Regardless of how rock hard your abs are.

Similarly a profile picture of a product, drawing or any other object is not appropriate, no matter the profession. People linking in with you want to see you. Restrict examples of your work to your portfolio.

A profile picture should be a clean, good resolution, mug shot either in colour or black and white. You want it to be of sufficient quality that anyone meeting you for the first time will recognise you from your profile.


Name and Job Title

Opinions differ on the latter part when it comes to your name it should be just that. LinkedIn’s search function views this as a name field so adding letters after your name or a telephone number actually makes you harder to find because LinkedIn won’t understand what it’s seeing.

Similarly, avoid nicknames or inserting nicknames between your first and last. Your LinkedIn profile is the professional you. What people call you day-to-day isn’t always relevant or appropriate.

Whilst the search functionality may change in time, you’re best advised for now to keep your name as unambiguous as you possibly can.

Job titles, however, are something of a free for all. Because LinkedIn’s search works in a similar fashion to Google, job titles can be optimised for search.

This can be used to your advantage, but there is a catch, there’s also a visible character limit. What we mean by this is there are only so many characters – around ninety or so – that will appear when you show up in search results, the rest get cropped.

If you take too long getting to the point, no one will have the first idea what you do and impact on how often you’re clicked on.

By the same token, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with simply stating what you do. If you’re searching for a new role, recruiters will be using those specific terms.


Write a Summary

We’re the first to admit that LinkedIn asks for a lot of information, with good reason. The summary is arguably one of the most important parts of your profile to get right. It’s an opportunity to really sell yourself and your capabilities. A personal statement if you will.

As with your job title, it can and should be optimised for search paying particular attention to the keywords that are most commonly used in your industry.

However, as with a website, summaries can be over optimised and LinkedIn will penalise you accordingly. For example mentioning mechanical engineer every other sentence will not increase your chances of showing up in a recruiter’s search results.

The most important thing to remember about your profile summary is that what you write should be accurate and sincere. Your LinkedIn profile should be treated like an online CV so it should be truthful, professionally worded and thoroughly proofread. This doesn’t preclude injecting a little energy and flare into your writing, of course.


Professionalism Above all Else

As the title suggests, remember that LinkedIn is, first and foremost, a business networking tool. Your profile and updates can be seen by everyone in your network, so always conduct yourself as if your employer or potential employer is watching you. Because they probably are.

A professional looking profile can be achieved by:

  • Making sure your skills and interests are both up to date and exist within LinkedIn’s database. If a suggestion doesn’t come up as you type in your skill, leave it off because it won’t come up in search.
  • Be humble enough to admit that doing something ‘once or twice’ doesn’t make you a professional or skilled in that duty. Only include skills that you can confidently give two or more good examples of.
  • Actively request recommendations. If you’ve done a great piece of work with a client or supplier, ask for a recommendation. They won’t always say yes and those that do won’t always go on to do it, but recommendations are an excellent way of boosting your profile and your reputation.
  • Avoid posting Facebook chat/images. There has been an increase in status updates on LinkedIn that would, perhaps, be more appropriate on Facebook.  This can look unprofessional and is not what LinkedIn is all about.  Put your energy in to sharing positive and useful updates that convey your passion and knowledge for your industry.

Post Content

  • LinkedIn is not a profile page on a job board. You do not go to all the trouble of setting it up and then leave it to stagnate. Updating your status and sharing relevant content to your profession demonstrates your passion for your work, that actively learning and sharing information.
  • A good recruiter will make note of how active you are but to a hiring manager this is invaluable insight. Be under no illusion, potential employers make social media searches a part of their screening process and a means of information gathering.
  • A complete and active profile is a great step towards impressing them.

If you’re searching for a new role or we can support you with a requirement, we’d like to hear from you.  Contact us today to speak to one of our specialist technical recruiters; 01202 888 986

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