LinkedIn is a relatively new job search tool while resumes have been around for many years, so it’s hard to understand how a profile can be obsolete. If you established your first profile before starting your last job, for example, at the end of the 2008 recession, it’s just not that old, right? Well, the platform has many millions of profiles on it now, so the job seekers that are competing with you have up-to-date profiles with the latest keywords, and designs that grab attention.
Here are just a few indications your profile has not been keeping up with the times:
- There is no headshot,
- Your profile has no background image,
- LinkedIn created a default headline for you,
- The number of connections shown is in the double-digits,
- You have no recent and relevant posts,
- There is no current job in your Experience section, and
- The content reads like your resume,
Open your profile in another tab or window as you read this. As you go, you will probably find even more things to change than those on our list if you haven’t updated your profile in some time.
There is no headshot.
One of the first things I do when speaking with a job seeker is open their profile. Frequently, I find no headshot on the profile. It’s understandable because we have been taught for years never to include a photo on a resume to avoid potential conscious or unconscious hiring bias.
The reality is that, according to LinkedIn, your profile is at least 20 times more likely to be found (and I’ve seen even higher numbers) if you include a profile photo.
A headshot you have someone snap with your smartphone—not a selfie—will do. Professional social media headshots are not necessary.
Your profile has no background image.
The profiles I find with headshots often lack background images. Background images grab attention although they do not improve search results, according to experts I have spoken with. A common social media strategy to “stop the scroll” is adding wording to the image. One client has a background image that describes his product as “scanning text with 99% accuracy.” That got my attention! Even better, he got a better job.
Take the time to add a background image.
LinkedIn has added a default headline to your profile.
Another common issue I see on profiles is that the headline reads something like one of my early headlines—“Work Readiness Specialist at Arbor E&T.” LinkedIn created that headline by using my job title and the name of the company I worked for at the time.
You do not have to accept LinkedIn’s default headline. In fact, LinkedIn allows 220 characters for your headline, so you can include a personal brand tag line and lots of keywords. For example, I with an engineer to write a headline that reads:
Senior Software Engineer at TerraSmart ★ Embedded Software Engineering ★ Aerospace ★ Renewable Energy ★ Wireless & Cloud ★ Robotics ►IoT | Connect Hardware to the Net ★ Make Drones Fly.
It says a lot more than his default headline that read Senior Software Engineer at
The number of LinkedIn connections listed is in the double digits.
LinkedIn is a social media platform, so the number of connections—LinkedIn’s equivalent of Facebook friends—matters.
Quality matters, too, according to recruiters. Try connecting with people on LinkedIn that you have worked with, went to school with, done business with, or are at places where you would like to work. These can be helpful. (LinkedIn allows us to have followers, too, but connecting with other members is the most beneficial.)
Social media works when you connect with people. You should have at least 50 connections to be noticed. The goal is to have more than 500 connections for best results.
You do not have recent and relevant posts.
Frequently, profiles I look at on LinkedIn show “no recent posts.” This tells me, your network, and prospective hiring managers you are not active on the platform. So, will you respond when they contact you? And if your posts are not relevant to business, they may wonder why you are there.
You do not have to post constantly—in fact, you do not want to leave an impression you have nothing better to do—but keep your page active.
You do not have a current job in your LinkedIn experience section.
Those of us who are looking for work as a result of a pandemic break may not have a current job in our experience section. Recruiters have told me they search on “current job title,” and LinkedIn does not consider your profile complete without a current job.
Chances are, you have not been watching Netflix all day, and have been doing something relevant even if it was not salaried work. You can add freelance work, volunteer work, and even projects you have been doing for friends and family as your current job. We’ve addressed ways to do this in more detail elsewhere in our blog.
The content reads like your resume.
Many of our LinkedIn profiles started life ten or 15 years ago with copy-and-paste content from our resumes. This was a “quick-and-dirty” way to populate the profile boxes. It is likely to be ineffective now.
Resume content should, at a minimum, be rewritten in a first-person social media style instead of “telegraphic” resume style. This approach helps assure that your resume and LinkedIn profile communicate a consistent message to prospective employers and other readers. Whether you rewrite resume content or write entirely new content, make certain it communicates the benefits and value of hiring you.
These are just a few of the things that can scream “out-of-date” or “inactive” at those that review your profile. They may even result in your profile not being seen by people that matter, so we’ll have more to say in future posts.