A LinkedIn profile has become almost as important as your resume. It provides you with a central point from which to network and can catch the eyes of recruiters. But certain mistakes on your LinkedIn profile can move you from the top candidate position into the rejection pile. To make sure that your profile is truly helping your career move forward, and not holding you back, avoid these classic mistakes.
Extra, Extra, Read All About It
Your headline is one of the first things a recruiter or prospective employer will see. You are given 120 characters to make a stellar first impression. However, many profiles fail to use this opportunity to their advantage. Instead of providing relevant information, most headlines are vague, unclear, or simply boring. Stating that you’re unemployed in your headline is also a major faux pas.
Take the opportunity to engage the reader. Highlight a past achievement or relevant fact that demonstrates why you are an ideal choice for work in your desired field. The idea is to hook the reader and draw them in. Give them something that makes them want to learn more.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
A profile picture is a stand-in for the impression you would want to make at the beginning of an interview. You would never dream of going to a professional interview in beach attire, and the same idea applies to your profile picture. Make sure that it is a professional headshot, depicting you in appropriate attire, and that you appear happy. There’s no need to appear stern or stoic. A relaxed smile is how you would greet an interviewer, so it is perfectly appropriate here.
Your photo should also be a high-quality one. Cropping a larger photo may lead to a pixelated image, which can appear sloppy or rushed. Since a reasonable quality photo is often just a smartphone away, take the time to make it a good one. If you can’t get the selfie approach to work, enlist the help of a friend, family member, or professional portrait studio. It’s worth the effort.
While an unprofessional photo is bad, not having a photo may be worse. A LinkedIn profile with a picture is much more likely to be clicked than a profile without one. It also helps establish a personal connection between you and the recruiter, or prospective employer.
Don’t Be a Lone Wolf
You have the ability to connect with friends, co-workers, current and former teachers, and many more people through your profile. A profile without any connections, or with very few connections, will not make the same impression as one with many relevant connections. Network with other people who work in or represent your field. It will make you appear more legitimate, and will demonstrate that you understand the important of networking in a professional space.
Similarly, not belonging to any groups is also frowned upon. By connecting with relevant groups, you show that you are truly committed to the field. It also gives you the ability to expand your network and build new relationships.