How to Choose the Right LinkedIn Photo

LinkedIn HeadshotSo you’ve added a solid Summary, Headline, and Experience to your LinkedIn Profile. What’s next?

A great headshot that exudes leadership qualities, conveys confidence, and makes employers eager to meet you.

If you’re unsure how to select a photo for your LinkedIn Profile, you have plenty of company. Many job seekers pull in a hastily cropped family photograph or select a picture with a vacation scene, rather than taking the time to use the right LinkedIn headshot.

However, just like your best interview suit or a powerfully written Profile, a positive, personality-infused LinkedIn photo can make a great first impression. These tips will help you avoid a LinkedIn photo disaster (especially the kind that turns off potential employers): Continue reading

What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About Your Executive Brand?

executive linkedin photoAfter seeing too many executive photos on LinkedIn that look like a hunting party or golf club outing, I have to ask:

What message are you trying to send with your headshot?

Omitting a LinkedIn photo isn’t a good idea, because many users prefer to connect with others who’ve provided an image.

However, if your headshot makes others reluctant to network with you or persuades recruiters to pass you by, it’s worth a second look. Ask yourself these questions to gauge the effectiveness of your Profile photo:

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7 Phrases to Delete From Your LinkedIn Profile

Have you noticed? 

Phrases long considered taboo on resumes (like “self-motivated team player”) are making their way back into LinkedIn Profiles – and the outcome isn’t good.

Phrases to delete from your LinkedIn ProfileThese mundane phrases only make it more difficult for employers to see your ROI as a candidate! They have to look past these overused terms to even FIND your unique value proposition.

With a little ingenuity, however, you can pull the lackluster phrases out of your Profile and replace them with powerful writing attuned to your personal style and energy.

Here are some of the worst offenders lurking among LinkedIn Profiles, along with suggestions for alternative wording:

1 – Accomplished professional.

If this is really true, then show (don’t tell!) your readers about it. This phrase is likely to prompt more annoyance from employers than appreciation.

Instead, consider using a sentence or phrase that speaks specifically to your achievements and career stature, as shown here:

  • Sales rep distinguished by closing 153% of quota in 2017
  • IT Director heading millions in outsourcing contracts at global banks

In addition, you can add accomplishment data (right in the Summary) that cuts to the heart of what you do and why you’re good at it, with sentences such as these:

  • Sales manager honored for coaching 3 Top Producers
  • Operations manager promoted for increasing production line efficiency

2 – Results-driven.

Most companies plan on hiring someone who fits this description, and they weed out anyone who doesn’t perform to their expectations. It’s almost to your detriment to point this out in your Profile.

You might try adding information that actually PROVES your drive for results, with mention of how you’ve earned a promotion in just 6 months, or the ways in which your performance has outpaced that of your peers.

3 – Exceptional communicator.

The trouble with this phrase is that it’s not only tough to prove, but that the person using it often misspells one or more words (really).

Since your LinkedIn Profile gives you plenty of opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills, you’ll have the opportunity to convey complex concepts or perhaps distill a major project into a short description… both of which would speak louder about your communications skills than this phrase ever will.

4 – Proven success.

Well, employers would hope so. After all, why mention your success unless you have some proof to back it up?

Here’s where you’re better off noting some metrics, as in:

  • Exceeded quota for 7 out of past 8 years
  • Brought company to 87% market share
  • Met 100% of project budget constraints despite limited resources

These achievements can help online readers understand the scope of your work and the reasons behind your career progression.

5 – Experienced.

Ahem… of COURSE you are.

Even worse, successful experience is so redundant you’re wasting space and LinkedIn keyword optimization by even thinking of these phrases.

One way to replace this word is to simply specify the number of years you’ve worked in the industry.

However, be careful here:  16 years of experience in sales doesn’t quite have the same ring as Generated 27% average over-quota revenue throughout progressively challenging sales roles.

6 – Responsible for.

Just like a resume, there is no reason to clutter the landscape of your Profile with a phrase that is largely assumed.

Rather than use this phrase, you can just skip to the relevant facts (managed $4.2M budget, oversaw 12-state region, supervised staff of 35) and save everyone’s time.

7 – Microsoft Word skills.

Unless you’re targeting an entry-level or editing job, there’s no advantage to listing basic skills possessed by nearly all applicants. In fact, employers might be more surprised if you lack these capabilities.

Instead, research target jobs for desirable skills and keywords that can help pull in traffic from recruiters seeking specific competencies.

By taking a long look at your LinkedIn Profile, you should be able to see if you’re committing the SAME mistakes that have been appearing on resumes for years.

If so, it’s time to refresh your approach and provide specific details on the high points of your career—information that others can readily relate to (and even use to hire you) from your LinkedIn Profile.

Executive Resume Writer

Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.

My clients win interviews and top C-suite, EVP, VP, and Director positions at Fortune 500 firms, niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders, enjoying the competitive advantage of powerhouse documents and executive job search techniques tailored to today’s job market.

Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.

– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC

How to Answer the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Question

Among the top interview questions you must be prepared to answer, “Tell me about yourself!” strikes dread in the hearts of most job seekers.

Whether you’ve been on a leadership job hunt for some time, or this is your first job search effort in years, this query can throw you for a loop while you try to figure out the best response.

If this question always catches you by surprise, consider preparing for your interview with 3 critical steps to increase your confidence and effectiveness: Continue reading