Quiz! Are You Using LinkedIn Wrong?

Surely no one deliberately sets out to appear unprofessional on LinkedIn. So how can you tell if your profile on LinkedIn is …LIKE, TOTALLY AWESOME? Well, if you answer YES to any of these questions, chances are your awesome sauce could use a bit more spice!

1. Is your personal profile written in the 3rd person?

Unless you are such a big deal that your company’s public relations department manages your personal profile because you are considered a ‘brand’, write in the 1st person on LinkedIn!!! Always!!! No excuses!!!

  • So here’s the deal…you wrote your own profile, I wrote mine, Fran and Beth wrote theirs. You know it, I know it, and everybody knows it…and people see through it, so just keep it real and tell your tale — yourself.
  • Profiles written in the 3rd person come off as trying to appear ‘bigger’ than they really are…which sadly makes them look smaller.

2. Are you missing a killer SUMMARY?

Whether you want to share what makes you tick (as a professional), give a snapshot of your experience, or simply list your specialities, you should have a summary!

  • In the spirit of full disclosure, my summary is absurdly long. In fact, I think I am literally 3 characters away from maximum — but it’s broken up in a way that doesn’t seem daunting (in my humble opinion). Definitely combine text blocks with some bullet points and label paragraphs in CAPS to jazz it up.
  • It’s one of the only places on your profile where you can really let your hair down and freestyle it but be sure to keep it professional. Your personal bits do NOT belong here, they go below in the Additional Info >> Interests section.
  • Be sure not to post blocks and blocks of paragraph text, very few people will have the time or inclination to read it.

3. Did you write your profile content without keywords in mind?

LinkedIn’s built in search feature sends out bots anytime someone searches the platform that read your summary, job titles, company names, etc., so be sure to optimise your summary with the right keywords for you.

  • This is most important for business owners, sales professionals or job seekers but it’s not a bad idea for anyone looking to be a thought leader who wants to show up more in search results.
  • LinkedIn suggests keywords based on your top skills and from other similar profiles but be sure to add in products or services if you want potential clients to find you.

4. Does your photo show something else besides you?

Your photo is there for people to put a face to a name, to see who YOU are and to get a sense of your personality. There’s no need to run out and have your profile pic shot by a professional but it should definitely have a professional edge.

  • If you’re the creative director of an ad agency, are in sports or work in rock n’ roll then your profile pic can be much more creative / hip / cool than the average professional. Otherwise, no sunglasses, leaning on cars, posing with your favourite pet (unless you own a pet-related business) or using your latest vacation pic.
  • The best photo choice is of ONLY YOU, clear, with nothing else recognisable in the background, preferably head & shoulders shots or cropped a bit tighter on your head.

Yo Yo Yo! Keep It Real…but Shiny!

Like Mom says,’it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it’ and that sure rings true here. To be honest, I definitely have a narcissistic personality and I’m not shy when it comes to talking about me or things I’ve done, but being overly boastful on LinkedIn would only serve to make me look self-absorbed – and definitely less of an expert than I really am – ‘cuz let’s face it…when you’ve really ‘GOT IT’ you don’t have to brag and fluff up your own feathers like that. Definitely share your successes …. but keep anything and everything you post fact-based or achievements-based! No fluffy stuff, no observations and definitely MINIMAL opinions when it comes to talking about yourself.

Tips to Quickly Improve Your Profile:

  1. Check it for TYPOS! I found out the hard way that I had a typo in the first sentence of my Summary when it was pointed out to me by a potential employer (SOOOOOO embarrassing!). After that I went to my profile, copied the entire page, then pasted it onto a Word doc…only to discover TWO more typos! Trust me, do this today for a little peace of mind.
  2. Make it VISUAL! Add links to e-brochures, case studies, videos, blogs, galleries, portfolios and more to your Summary section. Same goes in the Experience section so be sure to matter-of-factly draw some attention to impressive projects.
  3. No TOOTIN’ your own horn! Stick to the facts, keep adjectives to a minimum (I think I use ‘excellent’ ‘diplomatic’ and ‘happy’ each once but that’s about it) and definitely don’t make how AWESOME you are feel like an opinion >> that’s what Recommendations are for.
  4. Choose your PIC wisely! Just like those crazy profiles written in 3rd person, having a photo of yourself in über posh clothes, taken in an über posh environment or surrounded by other people watching you – especially in a public speaking environment – can come off as WAY too ‘look at me, me, me’ and like you’re trying too hard.

I have a brother-in-law – Barry – who’s an engineer who truly believes that there is just one right way to do things. From making a sandwich to using the ‘right’ knife, he sees a very clear black and white line between his way (the right way) and other ways. Now, normally I’m a fan of the ‘there are many ways to skin a cat’ ideology but when it comes to LinkedIn, I’m gonna pull a Barry! There really are best practices that should be followed (ehem, the right way) that are very black and white but will help you to put your best foot forward in no time at all.


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