I see hundreds of LinkedIn profiles every week, yet the vast majority of them suffer from Goldilocks extremes – they either contain way too little or way too much information. Both can be deadly if you’re actively or passively seeking your new career opporunity or considering a job search.
Here are 10 flaws most LinkedIn profiles suffer from and some suggestions for improvement:
Your tagline or title should set your candidacy and/or career brand apart from others in your industry. A title that is too general, with too few key words, or trying to cover too much ground will do you very little good. Instead, include a title that positions you for multiple career opportunities without locking your profile into one role. In addition, include some combination of your strongest skills, preferred geographic location(s), and key mini-achievements.
Leave Out a Summary
Heat maps of how recruiters read LinkedIn profiles show us that they lightly skim the work history and skills sections but spend the bulk of their time on the summary section. Which of course means that if your profile doesn’t have a summary, you’re likely to miss out on career opportunities. What should you include? Focus on your career brand and ROI. Quantify the impact of your tenure. Briefly showcase your personality and leadership assets. Make sure you include your strongest skills and consider listing your contact info if privacy is no issue for you.
Too Many Employment Listings
Most LinkedIn profiles suffer from Goldilocks extremes in that they contain either too little or too much information. Most members list every job they’ve ever had, thinking that their profile should read like a resume. Not true. Based on the heat maps I mentioned above, as well as research into how people read on the Internet, we know that recruiters do not want to see every job listed on LinkedIn – this can be overwhelming. Rather, they advocate for job seekers to group their work experience in meaningful ways to make it easier for recruiters to grasp their career trajectory.
TMI for Listed Jobs
It’s bad enough to weigh down your profile with too many job listings, but if you also clog each listing with too much information (not to mention the wrong information) you’re wasting the opportunity to showcase your career brand and achievements. While many profile writers suggest using every character that LinkedIn permits in every available section, I believe this approach guarantees a cluttered profile that will be hard for humans to read. Rather, it’s critical to strike a balance with including enough key words to rank high in recruiter searches without overwhelming human readers with too much irrelevant or non-critical details.
If your experience includes tenure in relevant roles prior to 2000 then you risk being judged as overqualified by the LinkedIn Applicant Tracking System. If recruiters or hiring executives conduct a search for someone with 12-15 years of experience, for example, then the LI database may single out folks with 12, 13, 14, or 15 years of experience and disregard everyone who possesses more or less experience. Hence, if your profile showcases pre-2000 work history, you may inadvertently eliminate yourself from consideration, which is why I urge my clients to revamp their experience and education sections to use dates strategically. This may mean omitting some jobs or embedding older jobs in later listings without dates.
I hope you’ll join me for the rest of this Top 10 in part 2 of this post.