5 Mistakes That Are Killing Your LinkedIn Profile

Did you know that 89% of recruiters report having hired someone through LinkedIn? Or that over ten million people found their current job through LinkedIn? Related: 4 Rookie Mistakes You Need To Avoid On LinkedIn If you've been satisfied with a “placeholder" LinkedIn profile up to this point, or feel like landing a job through the site isn't a viable option, STOP. The hiring landscape has changed, permanently, and those who adapt will secure the best opportunities.

Here Are 5 Of The Biggest Mistakes People Make On Their LinkedIn Profiles:

1. Not Using The Headline To Its Fullest Potential

Pull up your profile and take a look at the “headline" that's immediately underneath your name. If it all does is list your current job title and the company you're working at, CHANGE IT! LinkedIn headlines accept a maximum of 120 characters. Use this space to directly address your audience, whether it's recruiters, fellow professionals, or potential clients. Here are some examples:
  • Hospitality & Gaming Executive with over 12 years of experience in revenue growth and operational turnarounds
  • Merchandising and Business Development Leader with a passion for building innovative Retail Programs
  • Founder of AZPro, a 100% customizable B2B eCommerce application. Let's talk.
  • Currently looking to re-engage into Pharma/Medical Device Sales (note: this is WAY better than listing “Unemployed" in your headline)

2. Rehashing Your Resume Within The Summary Section

While lifting content from your resume to fill out the "Summary" section of your LinkedIn profile is easy, it's also ineffective. A great resume is about communicating fit for a specific position, but LinkedIn is geared towards a broader audience. For the latter, it's far better to think in terms of sharing your story and/or core beliefs. Here's an example: I believe that imparting a sense of MISSION to teams, building SCALABLE PROGRAMS, and leveraging POWERFUL BRANDING AND MARKETING strategies are at the heart of success in the food retail industry. I started in the business over 20 years ago as a cashier, and on the way to becoming Director of National Marketing for some of Canada's largest chains, have truly seen it all from the ground-up. No task is beyond or beneath me if it moves the ball forward, and this is a mentality which I'm always seeking to instill in organizations. Major areas of focus:
  • Brand development, re-branding, and positioning within expedited time frames.
  • New product development and launches.
  • Development and execution of successful, creative annual Marketing Plans.
  • Management of advertising and promotion agencies and staff.
  • Providing solutions in challenging marketing situations, and successfully navigating downturns.

3. Not Having Recommendations

Recommendations are crucial to establishing credibility on LinkedIn. A few sentences singing your praises by a former boss or colleague can do more for you than paragraphs of self-congratulatory prose. Here's a message template you can use when reaching out to someone through LinkedIn for a recommendation: Hi [Name] Hope all is well! I really enjoyed working with you on/at [project/company] and would be very grateful for a brief LinkedIn recommendation. If you could touch on my capabilities in [quality #1] and [quality #2] that would be a huge help. Just a few sentences is all I'm after. It was a real privilege working with you, and I know that a recommendation would significantly boost my profile. Thanks in advance for your time, and hope to hear from you soon. Thanks, [Your Name]

4. Adding Non-Relevant Skills And Endorsements

If you're currently seeking a HR Director role but the bulk of the skills and endorsements on your profile relate to your days as an administrative assistant, that mismatch is going to affect how frequently your profile turns up in searches recruiters and employers run for HR Director candidates. Align the skills in your profile with current (not past) aspirations.
  • Run an Advanced search on LinkedIn for people who have the job you want. Bring up the first few profiles that come up (these are usually the most visible professionals on the site) and review their Skills and Endorsements section.
  • Make a note of skills they're frequently endorsed for which you possess.
  • Add these skills to your profile.
Expert tip: endorsing the skills of other people in your network is the fastest way to have your skills endorsed as well. Visit the profile page of anyone in your network and you'll be greeted with opportunities to start endorsing them (and others).

5. Not Including Personal “Hooks"

It's amazing how often a seemingly insignificant detail about a person's non-work life will result in an interview. Familiarity is a powerful motivator. If someone feels like they know you, or that you share a major interest, they're much more likely to pursue a connection. Here are some sections you can fill out on LinkedIn to provide those personal "hooks":
  • Volunteer Experience (avoid inserting anything polarizing here, such as religious or political activities)
  • Causes you're interested in
  • Joining Non-Professional LinkedIn Groups (ex. Awesome Mountain Biking, Women in Photography)
  • Personal Interests
This post was originally published at an earlier date. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert.
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Teacher lectures students in a classroom

My grandparents owned a two-story walkup in Brooklyn, New York. When I was a child, my cousins and I would take turns asking each other questions, Trivial Pursuit style. If we got the question correct, we moved up one step on the staircase. If we got the question wrong, we moved down one step. The winner was the person who reached the top landing first. While we each enjoyed serving as the “master of ceremonies on 69th Street,” peppering each other with rapid-fire questions, I enjoyed the role of maestro the most of all my cousins. I suppose I was destined to be an educator.

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