Ten Ways Your LinkedIn Profile Is Hurting Your Credibility

Liz Ryan, Forbes
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Very few people will ever see your resume, but millions of people can see your LinkedIn profile right now! It is your professional billboard. When you create your LinkedIn profile, you tell the world what you want the world to know about you.

Your LinkedIn profile not only showcases your experience, your education and your skills. It conveys a lot more information than that! Your LinkedIn profile also communicates your personality, your thoughts about your profession and your career, and your creativity.

That’s why you don’t want your LinkedIn profile to diminish your professional flame by sending the message that you are less capable or less professional than you are! Now is the perfect time to jump over to LinkedIn and review your profile.

Make sure that your LinkedIn profile doesn’t include one or more of these credibility-killing mistakes:

10 Ways Your LinkedIn Profile Can Kill Your Credibility

1. Your LinkedIn profile is out of date

2. Your LinkedIn photo isn’t great (or missing altogether)

3. Your LinkedIn profile is written in Zombie Language

4. Your profile is incomplete

5. You have a tiny number of connections

6. Whole sections of your profile are left blank

7. You have no LinkedIn activity

8. Your profile has spelling, grammatical and/or usage errors in it

9. Your LinkedIn Inbox is full of messages that you haven’t read

10. You haven’t written or received any recommendations for/from other LinkedIn users

LinkedIn is a place to erect your online billboard, but LinkedIn is also a community of over 400 million people. Other LinkedIn users want to know what you’re up to professionally, and your LinkedIn profile is a great way to tell them! It’s important to keep your profile up to date.

If your current job isn’t the same as the job on your profile, that says something about you, and what it says isn’t great! Take a moment to update your profile and make sure it reflects the job you have now, the branding you like now, and the message to the LinkedIn community that reflects who you are now — not two years ago.

You need a photo in your LinkedIn profile and it doesn’t have to be a professional shot, but it has to look like you. It can’t be blurry and it can’t look like a mug shot, unless that is what you’re going for! It only takes a moment to upload a photo of yourself into your profile, and it’s worth it — we all prefer to see a human face over a grey-and-black box where your smiling face should be!

If your profile is written in fall-asleepy corporate Zombie Language, like this “Results-oriented Sales professional skilled in a variety of yada yada yada…” we will get the mistaken impression that you are just another boring corporate drone. You are not, so take a few minutes and rewrite your LinkedIn profile Summary and the rest of your profile with a human voice, like this:

I run Sales in the Eastern U.S. for Angry Chocolates, a Fayetteville, Arkansas-based manufacturer of organic chocolates. We just reached $10 million in annual sales and we’re growing fast, selling specialty chocolates to retailers, to the public via our e-commerce site and to fine restaurants around the world.

I work with an amazing Sales team and the HQ folks at Angry to keep our customers happy and supplied with our award-winning Angry Choco-Mints, Tasty Nails edible nail polish and other Angry products.

You can write your Summary to showcase your career history, your current job or your view of the world — it’s completely up to you!

You have choices. You don’t have to sound like a robot or a clone trooper in your LinkedIn profile, and I hope that you do not. You can use the word “I” in your LinkedIn profile (and you can use it in your resume, too!). You can tell whatever story you like.

The LinkedIn user whose Summary is excerpted above chose to tell the Angry Chocolates story and his or her place in it. You could go in the same direction or focus your profile more on your career history and aspirations. You can write a few versions of your LinkedIn Summary and use the one you like the best. We are all creative writers now!

After you write your LinkedIn Summary, jump down to your career history and fill in the blanks. If you’ve only added your past employer names, job titles and the dates you worked in each job, visitors to your profile will wonder, “What did this person do at each job?” We want to know more! Fill in the details to bring your career to life in our minds as we read.

New LinkedIn users may only have a tiny number of connections, but once you start to infuse your working life with the realization that you can connect to other people you meet in the world and stay in touch with them via LinkedIn, your network will grow. It only takes a moment to grab someone’s business card when you meet them, and to ask them, “May I send you a LinkedIn connection request?”

Don’t leave huge swaths of your LinkedIn profile vacant with tumbleweeds blowing through them. Choose a few Groups to join on LinkedIn if you like to be inspired or kept abreast of industry changes. Follow a LinkedIn Influencer or two if you want to have new articles to read in your LinkedIn feed. Get on LinkedIn a few times a week at least so that you are always learning something new.

If English spelling, grammar and usage are not your strong suits, that’s OK – enlist a wordy friend to help you edit your LinkedIn profile. You also have a LinkedIn inbox, so be sure to check it (or to let LinkedIn send new messages in your inbox straight to your email account where you’ll see them) and to reply to messages within a few days.

Lastly, pick a few people you worked with or went to school with or volunteered with in the past and leave them LinkedIn recommendations.

Write a short paragraph that describes the awesomeness of each person you’re recommending, for the benefit of other folks who have not met your former colleague, schoolmate or volunteering-mate yet. LinkedIn is a tool,  like a hammer or a wrench. It doesn’t do a thing by itself. You have to pick up the tool and use it to get its benefits! 

 

This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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