Your LinkedIn Profile Doesn’t Have to Be As Bad As It Is

’Tis the season for holiday wrap-ups, best-of’s, and how-tos. I will never understand why this happens. We don’t magically have more time around the holidays. I’d guess that we have far less time than usual. Regardless, everyone wants to cram in a few more to-read and to-do lists before the New Year. 

As a former marketer, I should let you in on the secret of why that annual bombardment happens. It’s a sales ploy. 

Every year, sales teams come to marketers around November and say, “We need an email to go out to all of our customers to close the sales gap.” In a desperate effort to hit the end-of-year numbers, they need a touchpoint, something that prompts a meeting to offer expertise and some suggestions on how you can upgrade before next year. 

Slick, right? 

LinkedIn is no exception. I want to believe that they think the recommendations will improve the quality of their community or something special like that. Still, if you’ve read any of the headlines about big social networks in the last six months, it’s hard to believe they operate with 100% good intent.

Do Recruiters Have Best-In-Class LinkedIn Profiles? 

If you work in the recruiting industry, that means you’re getting bombarded with ways to upgrade and update your LinkedIn profile. While the overhaul tactics are useful, most recruiters incorporate them selectively or ignore the opportunity to take them and make them their own.

I’ll say it: Recruiters have some of the worst LinkedIn profiles I’ve ever seen. 

These are the same people who tell me that they want to stand out when I ask them what the goal of rewriting their profile is. They might already stand out now, just for all the wrong reasons.  

Some headlines are entirely unprofessional. Work history is copied and pasted from some press releases. Worse still, the overview is a laundry list of keywords and skills I can pull off of any lousy job description on the Internet. 

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What Makes a Good LinkedIn Profile? 

Reality check: The difference between a good and great LinkedIn profile has very little to do with tactics. A great profile is personal. It’s memorable. The first sentence leaves someone wanting to know you better. 

Anyone who tells you that being professional means keeping your personal life a secret should not be writing LinkedIn profiles. While we always walk a fine line, we also live in a world bombarded by information. The only way to truly stand out or be memorable when people see over 2,000 messages every single day is to connect more deeply than a professional bio or keyword dump. You have to connect. 

While I sincerely hope you’re taking some downtime over the holiday, if you’re still reading this, you know your profile is awful. If you want to rewrite your profile with personality, start by auditing and overhauling these three areas. 

  • Your headline. Let’s work backward. What keywords would someone search to find you? Your headline should probably be those words. 
  • About. Is it third person? Don’t do that. Let’s start there. None of that “Katrina believes…” stuff. This is your introduction to people. Make it personal. 
  • Recommendations. Do you have any? If not, ask three people every day for a week. Be specific in that request and tell them the exact project you want them to recommend you for. 

Bonus Advice

If you feel like you’re missing the personal touch in your About section, try this: Think about how you would answer the question “tell me about yourself” in an interview. Voice-to-text that response into your About section. 

Here’s the minimum I would ask. Remove anything that you’re not proud to show people. If you know your profile isn’t up to par, clean it up. Delete the laundry lists of skills. Concise and clean is better than leaving the wrong first impression on candidates or clients. 

Katrina Kibben believes your first impression on candidates starts at the job post. Many small businesses and companies struggle to find their recruiting voice and craft less-than appealing job postings. As CEO of Three Ears Media and a featured expert in recruiting and HR, Katrina takes a unique, strategic approach to help companies rewrite candidate experience content, overhaul job descriptions, and attract more qualified applicants.

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