Online professional sites like LinkedIn have made it much easier to connect with other people and to do business. As such, the importance of the information on these sites goes far beyond just having a profile for others to find. Here are the most common profile mistakes and how to fix them.

Problem: Broad Branding

To appeal to more employers, people brand themselves broadly in hopes of keeping their options open. This, however, has the opposite effect, making it more difficult for hiring managers to know exactly what you’re good at and what you want to do. Listing everything you have ever done and every skill you have makes you sound desperate rather than qualified.

Solution

To better brand yourself, look at previous roles that you enjoyed, personal interests, and employer needs that you can meet. Make sure that your description of yourself is specific and outcome oriented rather than task oriented. For example, don’t want to say, “Marketing Manager”. Rather, say “Marketing manager helping mid-size businesses increase market share.” Make it clear what you do and who you help. If you don’t quite know in what direction you want to go, read other peoples’ profiles and job ads to find out what kinds of roles would be a fit for you.

Problem: Cumbersome Language

In an effort to sound more professional, people use resume language in their descriptions of both themselves and their roles. This comes across as impersonal and can make it difficult for people reading your profile to understand what, exactly, you did.

Solution

Rather than stuffing your profile with fluff, use the kind of language you would use if you were speaking with a colleague or employer. Clear, concise phrases should make it obvious what you did and what your role was. This makes it easier for others to identify the kind of professional you are as well as the kind of person you are.

Problem: Your Profile is Impersonal

With hundreds of millions of professional profiles online, it is crucial that your profile helps you come across as a real person with a story to be told. Too often people mistake impersonal with professional and as such their profiles fall flat. People reading it need a reason to care.

Solution

Reflect on your entire career history: the highs and lows, things you loved and hated, successes and failures. Extract the themes that reflect the kind of person and professional you are and what you want to do moving forward. If you don’t want to do the same kind of jobs you did in the past, downplay them. Another way to personalize your profile is to get personal testimonials and recommendations. As easy as it to endorse someone, these don’t really tell people reading your profile who you are or what kind of professional you are. Reach out to past or current colleagues with whom you have a good relationship and ask them if they would be willing to write a testimonial about you and your work. To round out your profile’s personal makeover, make sure you have an up-to-date photo.


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