If your LinkedIn profile is sending one of these messages to hiring managers, it’s not doing your job search any favors.
The basic profile suggestions are old news. We know to include only professional photos, provide examples of past accomplishments, and highlight your most amazing qualities. But what if you still don’t receive positive feedback – or worse, no feedback at all. This may be a sign your LinkedIn is sending the wrong message to hiring managers, and you may need a LinkedIn makeover.
Hiring managers say the problem with LinkedIn profiles isn’t the basics. Many users are selling the wrong product. Think of the profile as an advertisement. You want hiring managers to know who you are and what job you are seeking, all within a few minutes. Yet, this isn’t happening. Here are a few LinkedIn profile tips for job seekers to help you send a clear, precise message about who you are, where you’ve been, and what you want.
Wrong message #1: You’re not experienced.
Calling yourself experienced with only a couple of years in the workforce is not only misleading but devastating to your credibility. This is a sign you aren’t trustworthy, may be a little incompetent, or are very immature. None of these are a good message to send to employers. You may have had a few internships, and you may have already gotten a job in your field that you’ve been at for a few months, but unless you have more than four years of experience under your belt, you’re not experienced. Don’t use “experienced” unless you have quantifiable results to back it. Try these examples instead.
Seeking opportunities to extend…
Ability to leverage my experiences from…
Proven effective at…
Wrong message #2: You want a different job.
LinkedIn’s tagline is one of the most useful pieces of information. Hiring managers search for candidates, and LinkedIn uses keywords from your tagline and job descriptions to match you with opportunities. If your tagline is missing key elements, you miss opportunities. Other uses for the tagline tell hiring managers and recruiters the position you desire. Here's a major LinkedIn profile tip for job seekers: don’t use general descriptions. Be specific.
Though you may want to change careers, if your tagline or profile states you are an accomplished accountant or lawyer, hiring managers are going to assume you don’t want their marketing job. On the other hand, you may have worked as a business manager while taking night classes in law school. You don’t want to focus on that in the tagline or profile. Use these guidelines for developing your tagline when you undergo a LinkedIn makeover:
Stay away from general statements; use specific phrases and keywords.
Search job listings on sites such as Monster; use those job titles as a guiding point for your tagline.
Taglines are not skill lists; think of them as your title or position.
Don’t use complete sentences; keep taglines less than ten words.
Wrong message #3: You’re too old.
Recruiters advise against displaying your age or date of birth on LinkedIn, or anywhere else for that matter. This shouldn’t matter. But let’s face it; discrimination still exists in the workplace. Hiring managers look for reasons to shorten the list of candidates. A “younger” candidate with similar skills and credentials as an “older” applicant may win the spot.
Remove your age and birthdate.
Don’t include dates on education and professional development dating more than ten years.
Either don’t include dates or don’t include positions older than ten to fifteen years.
Wrong message #4: You are under-qualified.
Hiring managers who think you’re a good fit will look at the skills, personal development, education, etc. on your profile. A lack of information tells them you don’t meet the qualifications. What if this is not true? You lost a perfect opportunity. When giving yourself a LinkedIn makeover, go through the profile sections with a fine-toothed comb. There’s a reason this information is listed. Include your training, awards, presentations, and other quantifiable information.
Wrong message #5: You aren’t committed.
On the other hand, listing too much information is just as detrimental. If you have several clients, employment experiences, or jobs, try to consolidate. Employers want to see stability as much as they want credibility. If you worked three jobs at once, pick the one you have the most experience with. You can still list development and experience in the skills and profile area. But listing three jobs in one year makes you appear uncommitted to the company. Or worse, they may take it to mean you are a bad team member.
Writing your LinkedIn profile isn’t as difficult as you may think. There are several resources available on LinkedIn. Monster, Indeed, and Glassdoor – three of the world’s largest online job boards – all have career advice on their sites. These LinkedIn tips for job seekers can help you write active profiles, organize their content for easy navigation, and display their best traits. The general rule is: treat your LinkedIn profile like your resume, not too much and not too little.
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