We see this a lot— people get lazy, or they’re too “busy” to take the time to fill out their LinkedIn profile, so instead, they just copy and paste their resume and think it’s good enough. Well, I am here to tell you, it’s not good enough, and it actually could be impeding you from creating connections, finding job opportunities, and even adding prospects or potential candidates to your business.
At Intero, we spend hours every day on LinkedIn, viewing hundreds of thousands of profiles for our clients for recruiting and sales purposes. When I say we have seen the worst of the worst on LinkedIn, believe me, we have. A lot of the time, leads aren’t saved because a profile is incomplete or carelessly put together. It says a lot about you if you can’t take time to make yourself look professional on a professional platform. Think about it, would you hire or consider someone if they were unorganized in person, or didn’t take the time to put forth their best appearance to meet with you? Probably not.
Ok, enough ranting. So why should you take the time to create an organized, complete, and optimized profile?
LinkedIn is a business platform all about making connections that will enhance and develop your business, recruit top candidates, and allow you to find new job opportunities. This means that people will be looking at your profile all the time to see who you are, what you do, and if you’re worth connecting with. When people visit your profile, they want it to be conversational and personable, not full of bullet points and incomplete sentences with buzzwords they have no idea the meaning of.
So, why be hesitant to copy and paste your resume into your profile? Here are some reasons:
Bullet Points + Incomplete Sentences
I have seen bullet points both help people and hurt people. Bullet points should be used strategically, and often I tell people to stray away from them or keep them in their experience if they can, because people are trying to connect with you the most through your summary.
Often people don’t get further than your summary on your profile. Therefore, use that space to tell your story; something that paints the picture of who you are and what you do. If you have bullet points with incomplete sentences that are taken directly from your resume (which I hope this isn’t the case), you are clearly not using the space to tell a story. And those short, choppy sentences are not enticing people to read more. I’m sure it’s actually quite the opposite.
Using bullet points in your Experience section is okay, as long as it is not a long list. Again, LinkedIn is a platform that allows you to connect with others in a way that is meaningful and worthwhile, so don’t bore someone with your experience. Write a compelling piece that includes what the company you work for does, and how you contribute to their everyday success.
Buzzwords can also help or hurt you. In a resume, those typical buzzwords may help you get a foot in the door. However, on LinkedIn, they aren’t as valuable. Filling a summary with words that mean nothing to the everyday person is going to get glossed over. Imagine reading a summary that is in a different language. As an outsider, do you understand? Probably not. You really want to find a balance that can connect you with like-minded individuals as well as people who are from a different industry. Overused words, such as “creative,” can also lower your searchability, so be aware of using these as well. Always try to keep in mind a happy medium.
Besides, if you continue to use buzzwords, you’re going to limit the opportunities that you can receive along with your network. Think about it. LinkedIn has over 6 million users, but, if you design your profile to only attract 2% of that population, you’re connections are going to dwindle along with the number of opportunities that are going to come knocking on your door.
First Person vs. Third Person
Resumes typically run pretty formally. They are formatted and polished, creating a professional and organized appearance. However, on LinkedIn, profiles written in first person appeal to a more general audience because people want to connect with the person whose profile they are reading. It seems pretty obvious, however many people choose to write in the third person to deliver a more formal appearance. Humanize yourself. The more people can really get a sense of who you are, the more likely they are to connect with you.
Tip: Whichever perspective you use, whether it be first person or third person, choose one, but NEVER use both at the same time. Choosing one or the other may seem obvious, but one thing I was always taught as an English minor—if you’re unsure, be consistent.
BONUS: A Complete Profile
Google is actually more likely to share your profile and bring it higher in a search result if your profile is complete. So many times people want to highlight certain aspects of their career in their summary or experience, which is FINE, but please, don’t use this as an excuse to get lazy. It’s very simple to add accomplishments and skills, and they can actually boost the ability for you to get noticed by a prospective client or recruiter. So, don’t skip out on the easy stuff. You could be missing huge opportunities.
If you want more help on your LinkedIn profile or more information on personal branding, then visit inside.interoadvisory.com. We have an entire module on personal branding, along with a profile guide that can help you achieve your LinkedIn goals.