A well-optimized LinkedIn profile is a necessity in today's job search. But what is acceptable to put in your LinkedIn profile and what is best left off it?
The biggest mistake job seekers make when creating and updating their LinkedIn profile is not adding enough of the "right" information. But, there are still a few things that don't belong on your profile, which will hurt your chances of standing out to recruiters and building your professional network.
First, let's discuss what shouldn't be in your LinkedIn profile, before we talk about what should.
What Shouldn't Be In Your LinkedIn Profile
"Actively Seeking Opportunities"
Never, and we mean never, put "actively seeking opportunities" in your LinkedIn headline or anywhere on your LinkedIn profile. Your headline should include keywords that display your hard skills and expertise (and your current position, if applicable)—that's it. If this phrase appears in your LinkedIn headline, not only does it look desperate, but you're losing valuable real estate to optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords that help you get found by recruiters and hiring managers.
An Unprofessional (Or Unfriendly) Profile Picture
Your LinkedIn profile needs a photo. Not having a photo at all is mistake #1. But mistake #2 is having an unprofessional or unfriendly profile picture. The photo you choose to include in your LinkedIn profile should be one where you look professional and approachable. Others will be more willing to reach out and connect with you if you do.
Outdated Skills & Technologies
Recruiters will be more likely to skip your profile if the skills and technologies you have listed are no longer relevant or in demand in your industry. It doesn't matter your age; being relevant is all about how you market yourself. You are a business-of-one. Your reputation and success as a business-of-one is dependent on how relevant you're able to stay in the job market. So, don't include those outdated skills and technologies on your LinkedIn profile. Instead, focus on developing new skills and learning new technologies every day. After all, if you want to win, you've got to work it daily.
Politics & Religion
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but just in case your were wondering, no, politics and religion do not belong on your LinkedIn profile. Do you really gain anything by including them? No. Could including them negatively impact your job search or career? Yes. The solution? Keep those topics for a social media site that's not geared towards professional networking.
What Should Be In Your LinkedIn Profile
Lots Of Keywords (Skills, Skills, And More Skills)
As mentioned above, your LinkedIn profile should include as many keywords (hard skills) as possible. You should put them in your LinkedIn headline, add them in the "Skills & Endorsements" section, and list them in the "About" section underneath your summary.
A Short, But Informative "About" Section
You don't want to write a novel here. Just a short paragraph, ideally your personal branding statement. No one is going to read a summary of your entire career. So, keep it concise. Don't write in the third person, either. After your summary, remember to list your hard skills!
Another big mistake professionals make on their LinkedIn profile is not quantifying their work experience, skills, and accomplishments. Numbers stand out to recruiters and hiring managers and make it easier for them to understand your efficiency and effectiveness in a certain role. Back up your statements with quantifiable information and see how much better your profile looks.
Not having any skills endorsed on your LinkedIn profile isn't terrible, but you should definitely ask some of your colleagues to endorse your most valuable skills because that will only help your reputation as a professional. You can endorse a couple of theirs, and they can endorse a couple of yours—that way everybody wins.
It's not always easy deciding what you should and shouldn't include in your LinkedIn profile. We hope this list helps you update your LinkedIn profile in the future, especially if you'll be conducting a job search or making a career change.
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