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Oops, did I do that?


5 Things NOT To Do When Setting Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Oops, did I do thatToday I watched an interesting webinar by career expert J.T. O’Donnell of Careerealism, who described five things job seekers should not do when creating their LinkedIn profile. I agree with most of her points and have a few more of my own to add. So, what are they you ask? Let’s start with J.T.’s list:

1. No photo/bad photo: While some may feel that including a photo allows for discrimination based on age or looks, it also allows people to remember you and create that more personal connection, even through an online medium. I like the comparison to traditional networking, where face-to-face interaction and connection reinforced the relationship. With digital cameras and the ability to photoshop or make colour photos black and white, there is no reason why anyone cannot get a good, clear, friendly picture to include.

2. Wordy/boring summary. While LinkedIn should serve as a form of online resume, it does not need to read like one with every job duty spelled out. Consider accomplishments and quantitative statements that demonstrate your return on investment.

3. Bad formating. As above, your profile shouldn’t read like a resume with an endless number of bullet points listing your qualifications. J.T. suggests including a paragraph summary then a few bullet points to highlight key accomplishments.

4. Lack of keywords. Naturally as the principal of a job site, this one is my favourite. LinkedIn is created using the same logic as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — the tools that search engines like Google use to rank websites by order of relevance from the search terms used. For LinkedIn, this means including search terms in your profile so recruiters or professionals sourcing candidates/contacts can easily find your profile based on their requirements.   Here is where I differ slightly in opinion with J.T. She frowns upon a technique that I thought was quite ingenuous. Some users add a job to their profile and include a long list of key words to try to rank higher in search results, thereby cheating the system. While her assertions that hiring managers would frown on this practice, I think there is merit for individuals working in marketing, communications, IT, web and public relations jobs. It reminds me of the job seeker who created self-promotional websites under each of the names of marketing VPs for companies with whom he wanted employment. He knew at some point these individuals would conduct a Google search of themselves, and would then find his site, with his resume and pitch for employment. Sometimes taking bold steps will help you stand out, and I believe this is one of those cases. I did, however, like J.T.’s suggestion to find job postings of interest and feeding the descriptions into This tool creates a visual representation of text, with the most pertinent key words showing up larger than inconsequential text. Once you see what key words are used most often in your field, you can include these in your profile. Genius!

5. Random/excessive groups. While you able to participate in numerous groups, you should only make visible those that speak to your profession or industry. Ensuring the integrity of your personal brand will help reinforce your reputation in the market.

You can view the full webinar here.

A few others I would like to include:

  • Incomplete profile. By leaving your profile incomplete you may be missing out on potential opportunities. LinkedIn tells you what percentage you have completed, and you should always aim to get it to 100%. This affects your profile showing up in search results as complete profiles rank at the top.
  • Not using recommendations. You must have 3 recommendations for your profile to be 100% complete, so it contributes to your profile’s ability to be found in search results. It is also a great way to strengthen your reputation in the market as a third party endorsement will help your credibility and highlight you as a valuable employee or industry expert.
  • Not linking to other social media accounts. If you are active on social media and keep professional profiles, it is wise to connect Twitter to your Twitter, Facebook or personal blog. This allows people to easily find you and can help increase followers and potential leads. It can also help you with your time management as you can link your status updates across multiple sites.

By employing a variety of techniques in your job search — social media, job boards, in-person networking, career fairs, informational interviews etc. — you will maximize your chances of landing the perfect job. For more career advice, follow at
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