What and What Not to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile

Every hear the phrase, “TMI” or “too much information”. Every now and then I’ll read someone’s profile where I feel like they’ve included too much. Now, frankly, it’s usually the reverse. Normally, if there’s a content problem with a profile, it’s that the user has not included enough information. Their profile summary isn’t long enough and complete enough. They haven’t included enough skills and endorsements. Or they don’t have enough recommendations. Or, given their age, their work history looks incomplete. But that’s what I usually see. Every now and then, however, I see the opposite.

When I see too much information on someone’s profile, it’s not the length that bothers me. After all a profile summary is limited to 2,000 characters including spaces. What I mean is what they’ve included shouldn’t be there. For instance, snide or defensive remarks about a former employer absolutely have no place on your LinkedIn profile! Okay, I get it. Your last boss or company you worked for were, how shall we say this, less than stellar. Call your sister, best friend or you mom up about it. Don’t spew that venom on social media. This is a sure way to never get hired for any but the lowest of the low jobs again.

Another “cardinal sin” I see vis-a-vis content in LinkedIn profiles has to do with changing careers. If you feel you were underutilized in your former career, you don’t need to say so. Just emphasize how your talents are being used in your new career and you should be fine!

The bottom line here is don’t be negative! It’s kind of like your grandmother might have said to you (I know mine did). If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it. Employers, and also potential clients, are allergic to negativity! It puts them on the defensive. Why spoil your chances at landing a new job or getting a new client just because you said a little too much on your LinkedIn profile?

Four Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Excellent!

Your LinkedIn profile is the central core of any LinkedIn marketing strategy. LinkedIn, after all, is really not much more than a massive Chamber of Commerce meeting online. And, you can look at your profile as a combination of your five-minute elevator speech and your business card all rolled into one. Get your profile right, and you’re in business. Get it wrong, and you might as well take your ball and go home. In this article, I’d like to talk about four things you can do to make sure you have an exciting and dynamic LinkedIn profile.
One: Get a professional head shot. No, you don’t need a glamour shot like an actor needs. But you do need a really nice, professional looking head shot. If you’re serious about marketing yourself, either for a job or for business, on LinkedIn, your profile picture is worth investing a little money in.
Two: Sub part recommendations are almost as bad as bad recommendations. You get to choose whether to have a recommendation included in your profile. What I often see, though, is people who accept low quality recommendations, probably thinking a ho hum recommendation is better than nothing at all. No, it’s not! Yes, you need recommendations, but you don’t need limp, dishwater recommendations. You want your recommendations to be specific and exciting. How to get those? Well, if you know the person who wrote your recommendation, just ask them if they’d consider punching it up some with more specificity.
Three: Writing your profile summary in third person. This screams “dull, dull, dull!” It’s just weird to read someone’s profile summary in third person. It’s as if someone else wrote it, but we all know that the profile summary is written by the person whose face is on the account! Also, remember this. LinkedIn is a networking platform. What would you think if you want to a BNI meeting and someone started telling you about themselves but was talking in third person. He did this. She did that. Etc. Weird!
Four: You should know better than to do the following, but just in case—don’t leak out proprietary information about your former company! Just don’t do it. If you want to make something public, an example of your work, a case study, etc., run that by your former employer and get their okay first. You’ll save yourself at least a nasty phone call or maybe even more grief!

Why Endorsements, Skills, and Recommendations Matter on LinkedIn

A lot of LinkedIn users that I see online have great profiles, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are often the following. They’re weak in endorsements, recommendations, and/or skills. Often all three. It’s like these three are the step children of the various fields that make up a complete LinkedIn profile. Here’s why you don’t want to ignore these all-important parts of your LinkedIn profile.
Look at it this way. When’s the last time you bought something that cost more than a few dollars (or pounds or yen, etc.)? Being an Internet savvy person, what did you do? If you’re like most folks, you Googled whatever it was and read about what other people thought, right? Well, people are doing essentially the same thing on LinkedIn. We call this social proof in the marketing business. People are highly influenced by what other people think. Being endorsed is one of the ways of providing this social proof to people who visit your profile on LinkedIn. Recommendations are another way of providing this proof.
Have you ever asked a colleague about the car they just bought, the new restaurant they tried, or their dentist or doctor? For important purchases, finding the right product or the right service provider is often done through recommendations. Recommendations carry a huge amount of influence, and you should be asking the people you’re connected with, at least the ones you know well, to recommend you.
Finally, listing your skills matters a lot! Seeing a large list of skills along with the number of people who’ve endorsed you for them is a great way to position yourself as a professional. Not only that, but the selection of skills helps viewers get to know you. Both recruiters and people who are potential clients are going to scan these skills to help them understand who you are and what you bring to the party!