If you're gonna put in a half-ass effort on LinkedIn, you're wasting everyone's time

In my LinkedIn workshops I ask how many attendees are on LinkedIn. Some reluctantly raise their hand, clarifying they're on LinkedIn but haven't touched it in years. I tell them we'll do something about that, because otherwise it's a waste of time.

Alison Doyle of About.com wrote an honest article entitled “Don’t Waste Your Time On LinkedIn.” This is a truthful article that seem out of character for her.

“If you're not going to do it right, there is no point wasting your time (and everyone else's) on LinkedIn,” Alison writes. “LinkedIn is ‘the site for professional networking.’”

Amen. Furthermore, she explains that when she is invited to connect with people on LinkedIn and goes to their profile to glean information on them, only to find a “Private Profile,” she’s unlikely to connect with them.

I understand her sentiment. What motivation would I have for connecting with someone who is secretive? Or someone who has a profile that gives you very little information in terms of their skills, accomplishments, and related experience? The answer to both is a resounding none.

The LinkedIn profile is where it all begins. A profile that is devoid of many important components is the first sign of a half-ass effort. Below are some of the components I see lacking in many profiles.

No photo. This will send a message to recruiters, employers, and potential networkers that you have something to hide—namely age. Whether we like it or not, LinkedIn wants us to be visible. While business people may feel they have no reason to fear age discrimination, jobseekers often feel they do. Jobseekers simply have to bite the bullet and have faith that their age will not hurt their job search.

An undeveloped title is the quickest way to turn someone away from your profile. Don’t be vague and announce yourself as a “Public Relations Professional,” when you’re a “Strategic, bilingual HR leader/business partner who achieves strong results through innovative solutions.” Not only should you give people an accurate sense of who you are and what you do, you'll want to provide as many keywords as possible to be found by recruiters and employers.

The Summary section is often neglected by people who simply copy and paste their four-line résumé Summary statement. Folks, we have 2,000 characters with which to work. Let’s use them to craft a creative, descriptive Summary that states our value proposition and showcases our attention-grabbing skills and experience. Have fun and use the first person narrative, or even third person narrative if you're accomplished.

The History section is also an area where visitors like to learn more about your identity. Simply listing your job title, company name, and dates of employment says, “I’m too lazy to give this any effort.” This laziness will get you nowhere. List three, four, or five major accomplishments at your companies.

The last section I’ll address are recommendations, which do a tremendous job of telling visitors who you are through the eyes of your former supervisors, colleagues, vendors, partners, etc. Ask for and write at least five or six recommendations. This is especially important for jobseekers who need to deliver a quick punch.

Like Alison, I wonder why people who don't want to put the effort into their profile are even on LinkedIn. A half-ass profile will impress no one, particularly recruiters and employers who are looking for talent. If you're going to be on LinkedIn give the people who'll view your profile the respect they deserve--don't waste their time, even if it's 10 seconds.

Views: 1076

Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on April 18, 2012 at 8:02am

I find it frustrating when someone indicates they are interested in career opportunities yet barely have any information in their profile - looks like they put it together in 30 seconds.  If you want me to consider you for a new role - provide me with a robust profile!


Comment by Tracy Wanless on April 18, 2012 at 9:45am

on that same subject of listing you are interested in career opportunities- I reach out to them only to find they are not interested what so ever in leaving their current employer.  Is it maybe a case of people jumping on there, throw out a profile and then don't realize what they've signed up for?  I've wasted a LOT of time trying to talk to them.  People if you are not interested in being contacted for a career opportunity DON'T PUT IT ON THERE THAT YOU ARE.

Comment by Lisa A, Doorly on April 18, 2012 at 9:58am

Tracy - you are so right on this one.  And I have found these people incredibly rude in some of their responses.  Supposedly these are the 'passive' candidates that we are all after but if you are really truly not interested in hearing about new opportunities then uncheck the career opportunities box and save me some inMails.

Comment by Bob McIntosh on April 18, 2012 at 10:52am

I'm surprised to hear that this happens often. Do people forget to deselect "Career Opportunities" in their Contact section? Or do they blatantly write it on their profile? Are they in fact looking for work but are asses when recruiters actually call?

Comment by Elise Reynolds on April 18, 2012 at 11:06am

I am at peace with the fact that most people who say they want career opportunities are not being completely sincere.  Also, I think that might be a status that a person selects in the begining when they join Linkedin and forget about and don't think to change once they are off the market. 

Linkedin is NOT a job board.  Linkedin is a networking site, which is different.  I only get annoyed when people claim to be looking for opportunities when  they are not and they act all harrassed and put out at all the calls they get.  If they are gracious about not being available I am fine with that. 

Comment by Feargall kenny on April 18, 2012 at 11:13am

lisa and tracy. I am working on something to address exactly that issue for recruiters - it should be live by about june 1st - check out http://bit.ly/I64xbF

Comment by Suresh on April 18, 2012 at 11:36am

Recently, I have seen a ton of people claiming to be recruiters (SPAMMERS) and posting jobs in groups. If Linkedin doesn't control this it can get out of hand and Real recruiters will have trouble getting a response.


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