But most of you are not. Statistically speaking, you are making these five mistakes on your profile that make it far more difficult to be found by a potential employer:
1. Not Listing Every Position
Many job seekers settle for listing one or two most recent positions, but this is a mistake because recruiters will often search for people who have worked at a particular company in the past. If you don’t include that company in your career history, they won’t find you.
(Likewise, LinkedIn allows everyone to search for former colleagues by company name; if you don’t list all your employers, you’re missing the chance to reconnect with a lot of people.)
2. Not Writing Job Descriptions for Each Position
It may seem like a timesuck to write a description for each role, but this is important for two reasons:
- Recruiters want to know what you’ve done and this is where you can describe your successes and accomplishments.
- The descriptions will naturally contain keywords used by recruiters when searching and therefore may help you to be found.
Write something about each role you held and focus not on boring descriptions of responsibilities but on actions, impact and results. See my profile for examples of this.
3. Not Completing the Sections Past ‘Experience’
Sections like ‘Interests’, ‘Publications’ and ‘Projects’ allows you to list your key areas of personal interest, the career-related projects you’ve completed and any publications you’ve written or have been featured within.
Think about this carefully and include as many keywords as you can because again, it’s all about thinking like a recruiter. Go through job postings looking for commonly used keywords as these are often the words recruiters will use to search too.
4. Not Creating a Personal URL
When you create a profile, LinkedIn will automatically assign you a profile URL that others use to access your profile directly. It will usually contain numbers and letters. But you can change this URL so that it contains your name (mine is www.linkedin.com/in/louisefletcher).
This is important not so much for internal LinkedIn results, but for external Internet searches. When a recruiter or potential client researches you, you want them to find compelling and positive information. LinkedIn has enormous weight with the search engines, and so your profile is one of the best ways to ensure you make page 1 of Google for your name.
(If you need proof of this, just google my name. I share a name with a famous actress (yes, she played Nurse Ratchett in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and yes I’ve heard all the jokes!) so you would expect that I wouldn’t make page 1 of Google, and yet, at the time of writing, my LinkedIn profile was #7 – that’s the highest result I have despite having a blog, a website, a Twitter profile and writing numerous articles on high traffic web sites).
5. Not Making Your Profile Public
Just the other day I was reviewing a client’s online presence and found a LinkedIn profile with almost no information. “That’s impossible,” he told me, “I filled the whole thing out.” After a little back and forth, we figured out that he had set his profile not to display most information on the Internet. Remember that not all recruiters or clients will be viewing your profile after logging in to LinkedIn. Many will come to it via a Google search. If you set most of your profile to private, it won’t be very impressive.
Tip: To change this, click on the ‘edit profile’ tab and look for ‘Public Profile.’ Click the small ‘edit’ next to the URL and you will arrive at the page where you can choose what to make public. Unless you have a strong reason not to do this, I recommend sharing everything.
LinkedIn is increasingly marketing their database to recruiters, giving you an excellent opportunity to raise your profile and get in front of the right people. So if you had made any of the mistakes listed above, don’t waste any time: fix them now!
About the Author: Louise Fletcher is President and Co-Founder of Blue Sky Resumes and Managing Editor of Career Hub blog. Prior to starting her resume writing business, she worked as an HR executive in a number of different industries including music, video games, fashion and advertising. Louise has written three books about looking for work, and has been a featured expert for Oprah Winfrey Magazine, The Washington Post and The Ladders among many others. In her spare time she paints, cooks, and drools over Mac products.