We sat down for a conversation with Lora Poepping, President of Plum Consulting & Coaching, about the value of a great LinkedIn profile. She shared with us a ton of useful tips as well as some ways to view how your professional profile fits into the goals you have in your career and job search.
LinkedIn Train Wrecks and How to Avoid Them
By Lora Poepping
You see them posted everywhere – experts doling out advice on how job search candidates must update, enhance, optimize and create LinkedIn profiles that will grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
I admit, I am one of those oracles of LinkedIn and even teach LinkedIn classes to those looking to make a career or job change.
I’m on LinkedIn morning, noon and night and what I’ve noticed is that there are some pretty nasty train wrecks out there.
I’ve seen a profile photo of someone French kissing her dog. OK, she worked at a start-up but plu-eeze.
I’ve seen seductive poses. Most recently, I came across a senior level tech profile where I wanted to look away but like seeing a train wreck, I just couldn’t: Susan (names changed to protect the guilty) in a black, tight dress, plunging neckline, leaning seductively on a fence.
One of my favorites: the guy who looks like he posted his FBI Most Wanted profile photo. I’m calling the police just to report a crime against my eyeballs.
There are profiles with summaries longer than “War and Peace”, paragraphs that would bore anyone to tears under each job, and a complete lack of attention to detail.
One of my most recent favorites: an HR Manager with a heading that is entirely misspelled. So if she comes up in a search, her lack of professionalism is front and center.
Here are just 3 easy ways to avoid being mocked as a Train Wreck:
- Have a professional photo taken – or at least have a million photos taken by a friend with a really good camera and choose the best. Don’t choose a photo that looks like you’re looking for a date, running from the law or attending a wedding.
- Use a header at the top of your page (just to the right of your photo) that promotes you. You don’t have to use the default, which is typically your current job. Tell people what you do and share your industry, expertise, etc. I also promote that my clients use all capital letters.
- Create a summary that is easy to read. If you’re old school like me, think: career Cliff’s Notes. Don’t have more than 2 sentences per line and include a Skills or Expertise List too.
Keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile is likely to get no more than 6 seconds of eyeball time, so instant impressions are everything.
Next time I’m perusing LinkedIn, I’ll be on the hunt for further train wrecks. I don’t want to see you in the carnage. No one wants to be the poster child of a poor profile, right?
Lora Poepping is the President of Plum Coaching & Consulting, a firm that provides job search coaching; recruiting services; HR consulting; career transition guidance and LinkedIn expertise throughout the U.S. and abroad. Plum’s staff includes those with over 50 years of HR and staffing expertise in a variety of industries.
- Turn off the "Notify my network" of changes when you are doing editing of your profile so they don't get updated about every comma, period and sentence change you make.
- A professional profile picture is worth the investment (no kids, no dogs, no mugshots)
- It takes less than 10 seconds for someone to review your profile
- Don't wait until you need a job to update your profile
- Updating your profile on a regular basis lowers the red flag to your co-workers/employer that you're looking
- The same way walking down the frozen food aisle can give great ideas for dinner...a job description is a great way to get ideas on how to position your skills and experience
- How to be private with your public profile
- LinkedIn is a top tool for recruiters to find candidates...make sure they can find you
- Have a goal to increase your network...including people, groups, companies