It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is widely used by companies to find job candidates. In fact, over 3 million jobs are posted on the website in the U.S. every month, and over 20,000 companies use LinkedIn to recruit, according to the company.
As a job seeker, you’re competing against millions of other users to get noticed and have your resume stand out. You might have done a lot to optimize your LinkedIn profile for searches, but you still might be making some big style mistakes. In this article, five experts reveal common LinkedIn profile faux pas and how to fix them.
1. Using cliches
Resume writing isn’t the most interesting literary work you’ll do in your lifetime, so it can be easy to resort to job jargon. But your LinkedIn profile is a chance to show off your creativity, so avoid using cliches.
“Including overused phrases like ‘team player’ or ‘track record of success’ will make you come across as boring and bland,” said Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo, a company that offers CV- and resume-writing services. “Instead, use more vivid words and imagery to snap the reader out of her trance and really make [her] pay attention to your profile.”
On your profile, talk about a specific instance in which you displayed teamwork, or list out the accomplishments you’ve achieved on the way to success. This type of resume will make you stand out from those of most other people who copy and paste chunks of their templated resumes to their LinkedIn profiles.
2. Describing your responsibilities instead of results
The biggest problem with resumes and Linkedin profiles is that people list their responsibilities instead of their professional impact. If you do that, your profile will look like everyone else’s.
“The key here is to mention results from your involvement in a job,” said Tatiana Rehmova, who works for online resume-building platform Enhancv. “What exactly did you achieve in your role? If it’s ‘wrote articles for the company blog,’ mention how many articles, what traffic did they get, how many times were they shared?”
Add some numbers and solid data to your profile. For example, instead of saying “increased sales through the implementation of several new marketing strategies,” write “implemented three new marketing strategies, resulting in a 33% increase in sales.”
Quantifying your achievements this way gives a clear understanding of the extent of your abilities and also makes them appear more impressive.
3. Choosing a bad profile picture
Recruiters are human, so they likely will be influenced by first impressions. In the case of your LinkedIn profile, that’s your photo.
“As more and more of our communication is pushed online, our relationships are with headshots of people that we may never meet in person,” said Mike Sansone, a Chicago-based headshot photographer. “That thumbnail is what will pop into their head every time they think of you. You have to make sure that it presents you in a way that you would like to be perceived.”
To do that, Sansone recommended following some simple tips:
Use a solid background. Backdrops in solid colors are best for LinkedIn profile shots. They put all of the focus on the person. “I prefer gray because colors pop off of it nicely,” he said. “It looks expensive and classy.”
Crop your photo correctly. From the armpits to the top of the head is the ideal crop for a headshot. “Profile picture thumbnails are square, and even more recently, circles,” said Sansone. “With all of that excess space being trimmed away, a tightly cropped headshot is crucial for delivering the most impact.”
Choose proper clothing. Use attire that a client would see you in. “If you’re an executive in a Fortune 500 company, I would expect you to dress a bit differently than a personal trainer,” he said. “Dressing opposite of what is expected for your industry can cause distrust and lower your perceived value.”
Nail a good expression. Your expression is the most important part of a headshot. It also can be the most difficult. Confidence comes from the eyes, approachability comes from the mouth, and personality comes from the eyebrows, according to Sansone. “Getting good expressions is a process, and it can take a while for the nerves to settle,” he said. “Don’t rush your shoot because of fear, or the thought that ‘this is as good as it’s gonna get.'”
4. Being impersonal
The personal statement has replaced the statement of objectives on your resume, so you shouldn’t use an objective statement on your LinkedIn profile either. Instead, use a personal statement to share your story and your personality, and to set yourself apart from other candidates.
“You get 2,000 characters in the profile summary section, so use your story to connect with others and really sell yourself,” said career coach Ren Burgett. “Your profile is about you and written by you. First-person writing makes your profile more personable and prevents it from feeling stale and cold.”
For example, don’t say: “Marketing coordinator with over five years’ experience working in nonprofit sectors. Ability to collaborate with all levels of an organization to generate profitable fundraising events.” Instead, write, “I’m a marketing coordinator with over five years of experience working in nonprofit sectors. I enjoy collaborating with all levels of an organization to generate profitable fundraising events.”
5. Having a boring headline
Whatever you do, don’t make your LinkedIn headline your job title and company.
“To truly stand out, you need to create a tag line that people want to click on,” said Matthew Kerr of Resume Genius. “Think of your headline as a one-sentence ad designed to capture the attention of whoever sees it and compel them to want more. Feel free to get creative with them and don’t worry about being too professional.”
For example, instead of saying, “Greg Morton, SEO specialist at Boring Company,” write, “Greg Morton, SEO wizard who excels at turning dead websites into a thriving metropolis of traffic.” The LinkedIn headline can be the most intriguing part of the profile, and yet, is the most undervalued. Customize your headline to reflect roles that you might target next or to show your skill set more broadly instead of being role-specific.
Invest time in enhancing your LinkedIn profile
It might take a little extra effort to accomplish all the suggestions above, but your work could help in the long run. Having a creative, well-written LinkedIn profile is a good way to attract the attention of recruiters and show a prospective employer your unique value to the company. The better your resume, the better-paying job you can get, and the faster you can pay off those student loans. So, take the time to make your profile shine.
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
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3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.53% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|