LinkedIn Profile Tips – Top 5 LinkedIn Mistakes and How to Fix Them

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Several people recently asked me to review their LinkedIn profiles. After reviewing each one, I realized that each showed same mistakes. They all prevent managers, recruiters, and prospective clients from finding them or clicking to read their profiles. Here are my LinkedIn profile tips to avoid the top five mistakes that keep you hidden.

LinkedIn Profile Mistake #1: Missing Keywords

The most common mistake is too few keywords in the profile. Managers, recruiters, and clients search for these when they are looking for someone like you. You need more than those in the Skills section.

LinkedIn is a search engine. When people search, LinkedIn finds the top candidates based largely on the keywords you sprinkle through your profile. To some extent, the more you repeat keywords, the higher you appear in search results. Other factors that improve search results include number of followers, recommendations, certifications, and endorsements.

The most important places for keywords are the header below your name, the summary, job titles, job descriptions, accomplishments, and skills.

Where do you find keywords?

Check the position title you have or want to have and the top skills for it. If you want to be considered for more than one position, research and include the keywords for all.

You can find keywords on job boards, on company websites, and in the U.S. Department of Labor's career exploration tool, ONetOnLine.

Keywords are so important, each section below addresses them, too.

LinkedIn Profile Mistake #2: Lack of an Enticing Profile Header

The first place keywords should appear is in the header below your name. Words here can make the difference between someone clicking on your profile to read more or passing it by.

You have only 120 characters in the header, so make them work for you.

Keywords in the header should include what you do and your specialties. If you can, also include a tagline that says more about who you serve or the benefits you bring.

In your header and lists, use Unicode symbols to separate them instead of commas. Symbols help them stand out.

Here are some header examples.

Learning Assistance Director ♦ Improving Student Success ♦ Instructor ♦ Academic Coach ♦ Tutor

Instructional Designer | Training Project Manager | Needs Assessment | ISD | Course Development | Evaluation

Marketing Specialist • Writer & Editor • Email Marketing • Database Management

You can find many more Unicode symbols than these that work on LinkedIn here and here.

LinkedIn Profile Mistake #3: Lack of a Good Summary Heading

You only have three seconds for someone to decide whether your profile is worth reading. Your summary heading is the second place recruiters, managers, and clients look.

Lead with your most important experience, skills, or accomplishments. Entice them to want to keep reading.


Certified Learning Assistance Director ♦ Master Tutor Trainer ♦ Ten Years’ Experience Improving Student Success

Award-Winning Instructional Designer | Project Manager | Reduced Training Costs While Raising Employee Productivity

Marketing Specialist • Email Marketing • Writer & Editor • Graphics

Wouldn’t you want to read further about these candidates?

LinkedIn Profile Mistake #4: Weak Summary

Just as you need a strong, attention-getting heading for your summary, you need the summary to make your reader’s mouth water. You have 2000 characters to show who you are and how you’re different from others at your level in your field.

I see many summaries that say what everyone else says. Recruiters and employers have seen it all. You want to stand out from the crowd!

Instead of using descriptive terms like dedicated, hard-working, committed, self-starter, or team player, let your most impressive accomplishments illustrate your qualities.

Think about what situation or problem you solved, and what you did and the result. Then write the accomplishment with the impact on the organization first, followed by how you did it. Always begin your accomplishments with active verbs.

Consider these examples:

Sold $6M to new widget accounts my first year.

Saved training time and costs by designing, developing, and delivering distance learning on performance management to 20 managers nationwide.

Reduced error rates 40 percent by collaborating with workers and supervisors to develop a reference sheet for processing orders.

Saved rework by initiating a new record-keeping system.

LinkedIn Profile Mistake #5: Missing or Weak Job Descriptions and Accomplishments

In addition to writing accomplishments into your summary, you need to include them in your job descriptions and accomplishments.

Even though job descriptions state your duties, liven them up with active verbs and details. List key accomplishments in a bullet list below.

Don't say:

Responsible for sending emails, registering people for events, and greeting members

Duties include instructing and tutoring

Overseeing customer accounts

Instead, actively and specifically, state the value you brought to your company or organization and how you accomplished it.


Wrote emails that brought 20% click rates, twice the industry average.

Instructed three, 12-week courses on study skills and time management. Tutored developmental students on writing and math.

Sold $40,000 in new and continuing services to existing customer accounts.

LinkedIn Profile Mistake #5: Lack of Keywords in Job Titles

You have 120 characters in job titles. Use them to increase your keyword count and reinforce what you do.

Include your actual job title. Then list keywords with symbols between them.


Learning Assistance Center Director ♦ Staff Trainer ♦ Freshman Year Instructor ♦ Academic Coach ♦ Tutor

Educational Consultant III | Project Manager | Instructional Designer & Developer | Needs Assessment & Evaluation

Marketing Assistant • Email Newsletters • Flyers • Database Management

Your LinkedIn Profile Can Attract and Engage Managers, Recruiters, and Clients

Use these LinkedIn profile tips to avoid mistakes and ensure that recruiters, managers, and prospective clients can 1) find you on LinkedIn and 2) stay engaged enough to read your profile.

If after considering these LinkedIn profile tips you have difficulty or lack the time to revise your profile, contact me. I'd be happy to help you.

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