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Just a Few Big Mistakes in LinkedIn Profiles

You probably know that LinkedIn is a major force in the hiring process and in getting business even if you're not looking for work. Yet, we still see far too many people who give very little thought to their LinkedIn profiles. Do this at your peril. Here are just a few mistakes people make.

1) A Tiny Network
When someone finds your profile on LinkedIn, they can see how many people are directly connected to you. When someone sees that you have only, let's say 12 connections, you communicate that you are not a serious LinkedIn user.
Further, when someone searches on LinkedIn, they find those most closely connected to them first [e.g. first degree connections first, then second degree, and so on]. A large network helps you to place higher on more LinkedIn searches, and makes it more likely that you will be found by employers, recruiters, and others with whom you may want to connect.
I recommend that you build your network to at least 500. Now, I do recognize and respect the viewpoint of those who only want friends, colleagues, and people they trust in their network. Many people will NOT include strangers or people they barely know. This is certainly a legitimate perspective. However, if you are in a job search - or are receptive to new opportunities and serious about being hired, I recommend that you have a large network. Further, some features like LinkedIn Signal become more powerful as your network grows.

2) Not Listing Every Position
Current practice on resumes is to focus on the last ten to fifteen years (Note: this isn't always the best approach, but that's a topic for another day). When it comes to their LinkedIn profiles, many people take the same approach. Rethink this. You see, recruiters, employers, former colleagues, and others may search for people by company. So, if you worked for Kraft Foods 20 years ago, someone searching for past Kraft employees won't find you - unless you list that experience. So, it can be a good idea to include all your employers.

On the other hand, there may be good reasons not to list all your positions. Perhaps you've changed careers and would just as soon not draw attention to a certain chapter of your life. Maybe you're worried about age discrimination. Point is, be strategic about it. Think through how far back you want to go.

3. Neglecting the Section called "Specialties"
I notice many profiles with nothing in the section called specialties. This section should be chock full of keywords. Recruiters often plug in several keywords to find a narrow group who they believe can do the job. The more relevant keywords you have, the easier it will be for people to find you. This section is just one place to have keywords.

4. Bland Headlines
Your headline is the text that appears right below your name. This is a missed opportunity to say who you are. Instead of just having your name and title, "James Davidson, President of Davidson Enterprises," say something interesting about what you do. You can put in a ten-second commercial about yourself. For example, John Maxwell is a sales trainer with a company called Blue Engine. But rather than just putting in that title and the company, his headline states who he is and what he wants to sell. Maxwell's headline says: "Sales Doctor - Diagnosis, Team Treatment, Sales Prospecting Management."
DO NOT NOT NOT represent yourself this way: "John Doe, Unemployed."

5) The skeleton profile
I still see a lot of profiles that commit all these mistakes and more. Someone puts in their name, job titles and companies, then maybe a sentence about each job - and they're done. This is much more common with people who've been in the same job for a while.
You might think, "So what - I'm happy with my job."
Consider that:
1) Few people's jobs are really secure these days.
2) People may be looking to do business with someone like you, but won't find you.
3) Your LinkedIn profile should enhance your professional reputation - even if you aren't going anywhere else anytime soon.
4) you're missing out on important networking opportunities.

Having a presence on LinkedIn is not an option any more. Plus, there are many tools on LinkedIn to help you find opportunities. Be sure to learn about how to use LinkedIn in the LinkedIn Master class offered by Lucrative Careers.


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