The 5 Biggest Mistakes You’re Making in Your LinkedIn Profile

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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.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.