I’m no expert, however, I have used LinkedIn for almost 8 years now, almost exclusively to find work and connections. I ditched my Microsoft Word CV many years ago.
I have spent the last week on a LinkedIn cleansing exercise; going through all 1750 of my connections. On my journey I found some great profiles, some average profiles and a helluva lot of bad profiles.
Here are the things that I think help make a bad profile.
With modern technology, it’s simpler than ever to take and add a photograph. There are thousands of profiles already with the default avatar. Its lazy and tells me you didn’t care enough to add a simple photograph. People remember faces so get yours on the site. Your photograph instantly injects some of your personality into your profile. If you want to be taken seriously on LinkedIn, use this easy opportunity to put yourself in the frame. Pun intended.
Wrong dimensions photograph
Take the time to get an image the correct dimensions. If you don’t know how, google it. Don’t stretch it or squash it into the space required, this looks dreadful and is worse than no photograph. Having a wrong dimensions photograph makes me think you are unable to perform a simple task.
Bad quality photograph(s)
Don’t use a selfie from your phone. Don’t use a picture of you drinking. Don’t use a picture of you drunk/partying, etc. etc. This is a no brainer in my opinion. Pictures where someone is clearly cropped out on one side make me think you didn’t take some time to find a good photograph. I don’t want to see an action shot of you talking on the phone, it’s stupid.
Use a photograph that is representative of what you look like now. You may have once had hair and been slim but if you are bald and chubby, you are bald and chubby. You don’t want the first thought of meeting someone new to be
Spelling your name with all lowercase letters, e.g. ed henderson, I have no idea why people do this. You don’t write your name like this anywhere else in the world, why do it here? It makes you look slipshod.
Phone Number / Email Address name
Don’t add your contact details to your name. It’s messy and makes you seem desperate to be contacted. LinkedIn provides plenty of opportunities for people to contact you and absolute worst case scenario, people know how to use Google.
Don’t add your number of contacts to your name field, e.g. Ed Henderson (3,800+ connections) — It doesn’t impress anyone and makes me think you are trying way too hard.
Little or no content
Having a LinkedIn profile is a great first step. However, if you leave it empty or with very few details, you are not only restricting yourself in terms of being searchable, it looks like you have made no real effort. Would you submit a blank or sparse CV if you applied for a job?
Having a joke or a silly job title in your profile might be great for a while. Your friends might laugh but at the end of the day, it can end up leaving you looking silly. Would you put the same joke on a CV to submit to a potential employer?
Don’t copy someone else’s profile, more importantly, don’t copy the profile of someone you are connected to. This is stupid. Be your own person, write your own with your own personality and make your own effort. It can only end badly if you copy. If someone spots this copying, it doesn’t matter how good the profile is, you will forever be known as a cheater.
I genuinely hope this helps and if you are offended, it’s probably because I am right, you just don’t realise it yet.