Chances are good that you’re NOT maximizing your LinkedIn Profile in a way that will actually get you hired.
How do I know? Because I’ve seen these mistakes many times… especially when I’ve explored the methods used by job hunters enmeshed in a failing job search.
Here are 3 common pitfalls to avoid when building and leveraging your LinkedIn Profile for a job search:
1 – Failing to use all the space provided.
You’re guilty of this if your summary is comprised of just a few sentences, your work history only includes titles (and no description of your achievements), or you skipped sections like Interests or Skills & Expertise.
These are valuable pieces of data that not only educate readers on your career, but also serve to boost your searchability quotient. Here are the current character limits for LinkedIn categories:
- Headline – 120 Characters
- Summary – 2,000 Characters
- Skills & Expertise – Up to 50 Characters
- Company Name – 100 Characters
- Job Title – 100 Characters
- Job Description – 2,000 Characters
- Interests – 1,000 Characters
If your profile isn’t close to maxing out each of these spots, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to sell yourself to employers!
In addition, many recruiters surf LinkedIn for candidates that possess specific skills or career experience. By adding more information that contains key search terms, your odds of being found based on a keyword search (and subsequently recruited!) can rise dramatically (particularly important in Skills & Expertise).
Even the Interests section is keyword-optimized – so use it! (See my post on LinkedIn SEO for more power tips!)
Want proof? Take a look at my LinkedIn Profile (or search for me on LinkedIn, using the phrase “executive resume writer” in LinkedIn.) You’ll quickly see why every word counts.
2 – Conveying a message that is inconsistent with your traditional resume.
There’s no way around it – employers will be trolling the Web for information about you, even if you’ve already sent your resume to them to review. The problem comes in when your job history, core competencies, or achievements seem different online than on paper.
After creating both your resume and your LinkedIn Profile, I recommend printing them out, and reviewing information such as job dates, education, job titles, and employer names side-by-side. You’ll be able to spot any discrepancies quickly.
In addition, reviewing the profile this way allows you to see if it delivers the same value proposition message as your resume. If you missed mentioning highlights of your career (such as metrics on revenue generated or cost savings), you can incorporate this data back into the profile so that it aligns with your brand.
3 – Mistaking a resume summary for a LinkedIn summary.
Your LinkedIn Summary is designed primarily to present a snapshot of your brand and value proposition. However, many people mistake this for the resume summary of qualifications, and insert a long paragraph.
I can’t say this enough! Web copywriting is much different than writing for printed or emailed documents. You’ll need to create your profile so that it can easily be read online, using first-person writing style, with presentation techniques intended for the Web.
Rather than use your resume summary, instead write a more personalized account of your background and qualifications, breaking up the text visually so that employers can quickly scan through for key words. Font treatments such as bullets or all caps can help to deliver more punch.
Remember, your career isn’t identical to anyone else’s. Why settle for making your LinkedIn Profile blend in when it can promote you with a differentiating, powerful message?
Need a competitive edge for your executive job search?
As the #1 U.S. TORI award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate – PLUS arm you with the job search tools that will get you hired faster.
My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche-market companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.
Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results my expertise can bring to your transition.
– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC