There’s no question that your LinkedIn profile is now a crucial aspect of your professional brand. It is the online reflection of who you are as a manager, employee, and contributor to any given company. Think of it as your living resume, one that’s on display for literally millions of people. So, you want to stand out, just not in the “omg, look what this guy put on his LinkedIn” kind of way.
As talent consultants, we’ve seen some interesting things on some of your LinkedIn profiles…from overeager finger guns in the profile pic, to an exasperated “I quit hahaha” written as a bullet point under a listed position. However, most weaknesses we’ve noted in people’s profiles are more subtle, having less to do with downright unprofessional content and more to do with missed opportunities to put forward an even more impressive professional image.
It’s time to take an objective look at your LinkedIn and think critically about whether you’re harnessing the power of this networking platform to elevate your professional image. Read on for five common mistakes you might not even know you’re making and how to up your game on “Professional Tinder”:
1. Don’t Marie Kondo your profile. Less is NOT better in this medium: Add descriptions below your position titles that make clear what each role entailed. Providing no info below your listed roles leaves us wondering what on earth you’ve been doing all these years. You want anyone looking at your profile to see an accurate and impressive snapshot of your experience, so throw us a bone!
You led a team of six through a complete product and strategy overhaul? Throw that in there! You carved out a new market for your company by tapping into a new vertical? Add this in, too! You developed a new sales strategy that was implemented across the entire organization? These are the things recruiters and hiring managers want to know about you.
2. Big Little Lies: Inconsistencies between your LinkedIn profile and resume may not knock you out right away, but they will put a big ol’ question mark in any hiring manager’s mind when your LinkedIn and your resume or don’t match up. These are not the kinds of questions you want hiring managers to be preoccupied with. Make sure you’ve got all of your ducks in a row so that hiring managers can focus, instead, on how you achieved such amazing success with that side project you turned into a full-time gig.
3. What’s the latest?: There might be a reason why recruiters keep asking you to make lateral moves, and it could have something to do with the fact that, as far as we can see, you’ve been a Sales Development Representative since 2015. Every time you start a new job, or get a promotion, update your LinkedIn. This way, when you launch a job search, you won’t sound the alarms when you “randomly” go on a Linkedin updating rampage.
4. A picture is worth a thousand words: It takes a courageous soul to click “allow camera access” and take their LinkedIn picture from their laptop camera. Although we admire the bravery, we know you can do better than a stone-faced, grainy macbook pic. You don’t have to run out and get a professional photo, your smartphone will do just fine. All we ask is that you make it look polished.
At lunch, ask your friend to take a picture of you, hair brushed, wearing a crisp, stain-free shirt, and smiling like a normal human in front of your company logo, a nice tree, or even a simple wall. Whatever you do, please don’t take a picture of a picture or hold your computer up to your face at a lopsided angle…. and when in doubt, save the pouty lips and smolder for your dating profile. Yes, we’re checking you out on LinkedIn, but not like that.
*Note: No picture is slightly better than the unprofessional snapshot, but still not great. Remember that real people are out there looking at your LinkedIn. Even if it’s not the best picture of you ever taken, grounding your name and experience in a warm smile will help to seal the deal.
5. Fake Jumpiness: The tech world is moving at such a fast pace that it can be hard to keep up with the latest mergers, acquisitions and rebrands. If your company is acquired, or if you moved between different brands at the same organization, make sure to represent these moves all under the same company name. This will help to ensure that your tenure at an organization is not mistaken for jumpiness when a hiring manager or recruiter is unaware that X, Y and Z all fall under Company F. Longevity is important to a lot of employers, so you don’t want people to think you can’t hold down a position.
These Linkedin basics will help you to ensure you’re maximizing your use of this powerful networking tool. If you’re diving deep and still have some outstanding questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to strategize with you around how to carve out a personal, professional brand aligned with your career goals and desired career path.