Today, having a robust, optimized LinkedIn profile is as essential as having a resume. If your resume garners the interest of a recruiter or hiring manager, the first thing they are likely to do is review your LinkedIn profile to learn more about you.
For better or worse, what they find on your LinkedIn profile will influence their perception.
In other cases, for example if your LinkedIn profile comes up in a recruiter's search, your profile is the first time a recruiter will meet you. If they don't find anything compelling on your LinkedIn profile, they will probably move on to the next potential candidate.
Many of the mistakes people make with their LinkedIn profile are easy to fix. Here are solutions to 3 common missteps.
Using Your Default Headline
Your LinkedIn headline is one of the most valuable sections of your profile. It's one of the first things people see when they view your profile. It's also one of the first things people, oftentimes recruiters, see when your profile comes up in a search.
Unless you specifically change your headline, LinkedIn will default to your current job position. While this may not hurt you, why not make it do better?
Switch out your default headline to something that will serve you better. Maybe your job title (or target job title) and a few of your skills. For example: Director Human Resources | Recruiting | Onboarding | Leadership Development.
Having A Skeleton Profile
Another common mistake is having an incomplete or "skeleton" profile. When told that they need to be on LinkedIn, many people set up an account and fill in just the "basics" like their name, job titles, and maybe their education. This is bad for a few reasons.
First, the more robust your LinkedIn profile the better chance you have of being seen by recruiters. Second, if a recruiter does manage to stumble across your "barely there" profile there will be nothing to inspire her to contact you.
So spend a little time completing your LinkedIn profile. Fill in your job descriptions. Talk about your accomplishments. Use your Summary to add some personality. Let people know who you are.
No Contact Information
Unless you don't want anyone to contact you make sure you include your email address on your LinkedIn profile. Don't assume that recruiters will use an InMail. Recruiters are allocated a certain number of InMails each month depending on their membership level. If you fall into a recruiter's "maybe" pile he may not want to use an InMail.
In any case, if you're looking for a new opportunity, or are even open to one, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you. At the very least, add the Advice for Contacting section to your profile and include your contact information.
If you're not conducting a confidential job search include your email address in your Summary as well. If you're concerned about sharing your personal email address set up a new one just for your job search.
Today, your LinkedIn profile is a must have in your job search tool box. A robust, optimized LinkedIn profile can help you be found by recruiters trying to fill open positions. It can help you sell yourself to a potential employer who has received your resume.
Remember, your resume and LinkedIn profile should complement each other. Both should showcase your talents and achievements. However, your LinkedIn profile is where you have the opportunity to show more personality. Make the most of it.
[Related: The 3 Secrets to Achieve More Through LinkedIn]
Annette Richmond is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and owner of career intelligence Resume Writing & Career Services. She has been featured on Monster, Forbes, and Business Insider. Her work appears in Resumes For Dummies.
Ellevate Network is a global women's network: the essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together, we #InvestInWomen.