If you’re like the majority of people on the site, there are two common mistakes you’re making with your LinkedIn profile. The first one involves your profile’s URL. When you open a LinkedIn account, the site appends random numbers and letters after your name. Savvy users know that customizing the URL to eliminate that appendage provides a more professional image. As one recruiter told me, “when candidates don’t customize their URL, I wonder why they can’t be bothered.”
Customizing takes about 90 seconds, so just get it done! If yours is a common name, you may need to try out permutations to your name, such as adding a middle initial, or the abbreviation of your home city. Here are LinkedIn’s instructions for how to customize.
The other common mistake is more serious, and it involves allowing the text in the headline field to default to your title and employer. Why is this a mistake? More often than you think, people get hired as passive candidates, meaning that they didn’t apply for a job; instead, they were approached by a recruiter or hiring manager. And how do these employers find you? They plug keywords that match their requirements into the search bar, and profiles with optimal search engine optimization pop up. The only way to take advantage of SEO is to have a keyword-rich headline. I work with my clients to develop a 200-character list of keywords that describe what their target employers are looking for, and a significant number of employees have shared with me that this strategy is what led to their new job.
It makes me sad when a client gets that new job, and then reverts to her title and employer in the headline field. After all, don’t you want to be open to new opportunities, even if you’re happy where you are?
If you need help avoiding common mistakes on your LinkedIn profile, check out my pricing and process.