This is absolutely your first and most important step in this process. Start by getting crystal clear on what type of position, industry or specialty you want to be found for. Everything else that doesn’t apply (directly or indirectly) needs to go. Aka clutter.
Clutter could include a variety of things but a good rule to go by is, IF IT DOESN’T HELP YOU IN ANY WAY, THROW IT AWAY. Or save it for your more descriptive resume.
Your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have to include absolutely everything. In fact, it shouldn’t. However, it should be a detailed overview of all the pieces you are looking to display to attract the right employer to you.
Think Less is More here.
Some people may not agree with me on this one, but LinkedIn experts seem to feel this works against you more often than for you.
3rd person writing can come off as cold and passive. Hiring managers want to see how you write and communicate, not someone you paid to write for you (which is exactly what is communicated when you use 3rd person language).
If you do use a professional profile or resume writer, always tweak what they have given you to be 1st person.
Yes, show off your professional brand but infuse it with personality to create an image of you for the reader.
The logic here is these items could work against you instead of for you. From a hiring manager’s perspective, they could think to themselves, “if they are great at this skill, why has no one endorsed them?”
So just remove them and instead add them to your description by discussing them specifically.
Also, you can attract new endorsements by endorsing others. Most people will return the favor.
These would include older accomplishments, achievements in other areas that are completely unrelated
But you may be saying to yourself, “Why not keep them? They could make me look better, like I’ve done more than just this one focus.” Its possible this could be true if the accomplishments apply in any way, but its not likely if its something totally unrelated.
Also, think of this… These accomplishments will compete on your profile (and in the mind of the hiring manager). What types of things are you positive you need them to see and what could act more as clutter.
Invalid information could be certifications that are no longer active (yes, employers actually check and verify those), links or URLs that don’t work anymore, or awards that don’t really impress anyone (you know what these are, they are fooling no one and only distracting from your purpose).
Oh, where to begin on this one. Unflattering photos include anything where you look like your partying (no cheers photos please), photos with you scantily dressed, on your wedding day, with your kids, in the outdoors or celebrity images.
Just say no to all of the above.
A good LinkedIn photo looks professional, clean and clearly shows your face (not your body).
You only get one shot at this photo thing, so make sure it’s a positive representative of who you are as a professional. Let your personality shine through in your writing.
For that matter, if you have your email address listed on your profile, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT use an email address that includes any words like “sexy, dude, jabber mouth, sex god” or anything else that might make you seem immature.
DO, do yourself a favor and take the 2 seconds to create a new gmail account or whatever provider you use.
Ashley Lane Boyle
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