biggest mistake you're making on LinkedInAllowing the headline for your  profile to default to your title and the name of your employer is the biggest mistake you’re making on LinkedIn, and it’s one made by the majority of people on the site. Why is it a mistake? Well, LinkedIn is, in its own words, ” a business and employment-oriented online service…mainly used for professional networking.” So doesn’t it make sense to provide yourself the greatest opportunity to be seen on the site, because, as we all know, networking is the key to every job search, and if you are actively looking for a job, don’t you want to be found by headhunters looking for a candidate with your credentials?

Here’s what you should be doing instead: use as much of the 200-character headline to include the keywords that your target employers search for. For example, this is my headline:

Professional Resume Writer l LinkedIn Profile Optimization l Interview Prep l Business Communications Training l Job Search Strategy

If I had defaulted to “Founder at Rising Star Resumes,” I would never show up when people search for any of these terms. And if you’re headline defaults to “Vice President of Marketing at XYZ Corporation,” I can also assure you that no headhunter or hiring manager is searching on those terms.

After completing a client’s resume, I understand which keywords apply to them, and write a headline embedded with those terms. This strategy works. Clients have reported back that once they changed their default headline to one embedded with their keywords, they quickly get interest from hiring managers and headhunters. to work

One client went 5 months without any interest. After changing her headline from “Paralegal at XXX” to “Corporate Paralegal l Compliance l Contract Administration l Litigation l Fraud l Trademark Misuse l Commercial Agreements,” she was invited to four interviews and nailed an offer after six weeks.

Once you land your dream job, most people revert to the same bad habit of defaulting to their title and employer. The paralegal was happy with her offer and her new job, but following my advice, she retained the keyword-rich headline I had written for her. Within the following two months, she got multiple calls from recruiters, and got two new offers, each one with a better compensation package.

And even if you’re not actively looking for a new position, wouldn’t you want to be informed about other opportunities? You’ll never know unless you put yourself out there.

And lose that “open to work” badge that LinkedIn promotes. Everyone is open to work; let yourself get found and learn about opportunities that you may not be aware of.

What’s the biggest mistake you’re making on LinkedIn? If it’s not presenting yourself as a valued candidate who allows him or herself to be found, this is it. Need help crafting a keyword-rich headline for your LinkedIn profile? Read about my pricing and process, and let’s talk.