Delete This From Your LinkedIn Profile Today!

Visitors wearing traditional Bavarian clothes raise their beers in a festival tent at the start of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese in Munich, southern Germany. This year's edition of the world's biggest beer festival Oktoberfest will run until October 7, 2012. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/GettyImages)
(Photo credit CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/GettyImages)

By Phil Gerard

LinkedIn is such a powerful tool today. When I started in Talent Management seven years ago my LinkedIn network was tiny, maybe less than 50 and now virtually all of my contacts are also in my LinkedIn network. I almost get as many messages through InMail as through email.

The beauty about LinkedIn (for recruiters) is that we can stay in touch with our network and we always have the most recent information on hand. You know when someone was promoted or left the company for another job. You have a CV that updates itself (at least if people are on top of it). The contact information also stays the same, you don’t need to update email addresses all the time.

Because LinkedIn is so powerful you want to ensure that your public profile represents you well. I know my profile isn’t perfect and most people’s isn’t either but there are some things I have seen on LinkedIn profiles that just should not be there!

If you have one of the following on your LinkedIn profile – delete it today!

The I’m Desperate, Please Hire Me Headline

Your professional headline should never read “looking for new opportunities.” I know it’s tempting to do that if you are out of a job and looking. But, like with dating, you don’t want to be too easy to get. It’s perfectly fine to put an end-date to your last job and write “Fundraising Professional” in the professional headline.

That Profile Picture of Yourself at the Last Christmas Party 

This is a professional social networking site, not Facebook. The easy thing about LinkedIn is that it is just business and doesn’t mix the personal with the private and therefore your picture should be a professional photo, ideally taken by a professional photographer. It should be a current headshot, not a group photo, nor a family photo. Posing with a spouse, child, pet, or toasting a glass of wine or beer bottle into the camera should be reserved for Facebook. Also, if people only know you from your LinkedIn picture you don’t want them to think when they finally meet you “wow, that photo was taken 20 years ago”.

That Old Job in Your Headline

This is something that happens so much it’s crazy-making. Check this today! Many people forget to update their professional headline to a new job. Just adding a new job to your profile will not do the trick. You actually have to update your professional headline in your profile. When I scan profiles I often see titles from old positions in the headline. An unbelievable amount of people do this, so double-check that you are not one of them.

That Personal Information Employers Don’t Need to Know

I grew up in Germany and there it’s quite common to include your marital status, age and picture on your CV. Here in Canada we are horrified at that level of intrusion into ones privacy. Guess what!?! We are now volunteering this sensitive information on our LinkedIn profiles. While this is of course your choice, my view is why are we volunteering information we fought not to have disclosed in the first place? Leave that marital status and age field empty. Also try  not to let people know more about you than necessary. Through affiliations, membership and groups you often volunteer information about your political or religious views.

That Spelling Mistake

I read a rude article about this a few years ago. The author said that people will think you are stupid if you have typos in your profile. But then quickly said, well, if he had one in his profile that’s just because he is so busy! Alrighty then!? Ok, I think spelling mistakes do happen. They sure happen to me and if someone found some in my profile I would like to know! Generally, it is always a good idea to have someone read over your CV and LinkedIn profile.

The Narcissism

It’s interesting to me how much in love some people are with themselves. I mentioned the professional headline of “Fundraising Professional” earlier. I prefer just the title of your current job, but sometimes these generic lines work best if you are not currently working. However do we really need to say “Highly Successful and Ethical Fundraising Superstar”? Just keep it simple and honest!

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