It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is widely used by companies to find job candidates and poor professional presentation are among the top profile photo mistakes. In fact, over 3 million jobs are posted on the website in the U.S. every month, and over 20,000 companies use LinkedIn to recruit, according to the company.
As a job seeker, you’re competing against millions of other users to get noticed and have your resume stand out. You might have done a lot to optimize your LinkedIn profile for searches, but you still might be making some big style mistakes. In this article, five experts reveal common LinkedIn profile faux pas and how to fix them.
1. Using cliches
Resume writing isn’t the most interesting literary work you’ll do in your lifetime, so it can be easy to resort to job jargon. But your LinkedIn profile is a chance to show off your creativity, so avoid using cliches.
“Including overused phrases like ‘team player’ or ‘track record of success’ will make you come across as boring and bland,” said Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo, a company that offers CV- and resume-writing services. “Instead, use more vivid words and imagery to snap the reader out of her trance and really make [her] pay attention to your profile.”
On your profile, talk about a specific instance in which you displayed teamwork, or list out the accomplishments you’ve achieved on the way to success. This type of resume will make you stand out from those of most other people who copy and paste chunks of their templated resumes to their LinkedIn profiles.
2. Describing your responsibilities instead of results
The biggest problem with resumes and Linkedin profiles is that people list their responsibilities instead of their professional impact. If you do that, your profile will look like everyone else’s.
“The key here is to mention results from your involvement in a job,” said Tatiana Rehmova, who works for online resume-building platform Enhancv. “What exactly did you achieve in your role? If it’s ‘wrote articles for the company blog,’ mention how many articles, what traffic did they get, how many times were they shared?”
Add some numbers and solid data to your profile. For example, instead of saying “increased sales through the implementation of several new marketing strategies,” write “implemented three new marketing strategies, resulting in a 33% increase in sales.”
Quantifying your achievements this way gives a clear understanding of the extent of your abilities and also makes them appear more impressive.
3. Choosing a bad profile picture
Recruiters are human, so they likely will be influenced by first impressions. In the case of your LinkedIn profile, that’s your photo.
“As more and more of our communication is pushed online, our relationships are with headshots of people that we may never meet in person,” said Mike Sansone, a Chicago-based headshot photographer. “That thumbnail is what will pop into their head every time they think of you. You have to make sure that it presents you in a way that you would like to be perceived.”
To avoid TOP PROFILE PHOTO MISTAKES, Sansone recommended following some simple tips:
Use a solid background. Backdrops in solid colors are best for LinkedIn profile shots. They put all of the focus on the person. “I prefer gray because colors pop off of it nicely,” he said. “It looks expensive and classy.”
Crop your photo correctly. Poorly cropped photos are among other top profile photo mistakes. From the armpits to the top of the head is the ideal crop for a headshot. “Profile picture thumbnails are square, and even more recently, circles,” said Sansone. “With all of that excess space being trimmed away, a tightly cropped headshot is crucial for delivering the most impact.”
Choose proper clothing. Use attire that a client would see you in. “If you’re an executive in a Fortune 500 company, I would expect you to dress a bit differently than a personal trainer,” he said. “Dressing opposite of what is expected for your industry can cause distrust and lower your perceived value.”
Nail a good expression. Your expression is the most important part of a headshot. It also can be the most difficult. Confidence comes from the eyes, approachability comes from the mouth, and personality comes from the eyebrows, according to Sansone. “Getting good expressions is a process, and it can take a while for the nerves to settle,” he said. “Don’t rush your shoot because of fear, or the thought that ‘this is as good as it’s gonna get.’” Take your time and you’ll avoid another one of the top profile photo mistakes
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