By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
These days LinkedIn profiles are a necessity in every professional’s toolkit. The site has proven to be a valuable networking tool with its nearly 150 million users, but creating a LinkedIn can be a huge undertaking. Sure, you know to include a professional headshot, captivating summary, and catalog your job experience, though certain elements aren't necessary or appropriate for the platform. Removing the following elements will guarantee you’re putting your best foot forward on LinkedIn.
Make sure your photos on LinkedIn represent you in the most professional and appropriate manner. LinkedIn can be an excellent way to leverage your professional brand — that starts with imagery. Let others know you’re serious about your profession by posting a high-quality photograph in which you’re dressed in a professional manner. This image is meant to portray you at your professional best, not personal best — don’t include your pet or your baby.
Research shows professionals who smile with their teeth, dress professionally, make eye contact and crop their photos from head to shoulders are perceived as being more competent, likable and influential.
Remove any photo from your LinkedIn that presents an inaccurate representation of your appearance. Using outdated or over touched photos will only harm your networking experience — recruiters or other professionals will be confused when you look different than your LinkedIn photo. To avoid making other professionals feel deceived, provide a recent and truthful photo of yourself.
GRAMMAR, SPELLING AND USAGE ERRORS
A simple grammatical or spelling error can be a huge deterrent to connections. In fact, research shows that a grammatical mistake on your LinkedIn profile can negatively impact your career. To eliminate any errors, compose your LinkedIn copy in a word processor like Word or Pages. Then, run spell check on that document and copy and paste the information into LinkedIn — this will ensure you remove any hidden errors.
POLITICAL OR RELIGIOUS RANTS
LinkedIn is a platform to establish connections with professionals — it's not the place for your personal beliefs. Remove these from your profile to allow new contacts to view you without bias and remove any negativity from your profile.
Remove any information (think sales data, spreadsheets, plans, etc.) that you have not been authorized to share. If a recruiter or connection requests this information, you must ask permission from the owner of the information or disguise company names on the information.
Your date of birth, ethnicity, religious affiliations (unless you’re in a religious field) and any other personal information should be removed from your LinkedIn profile. Removing these will protect you from internet predators and from being judged by other professionals on LinkedIn.
CRITICISM OF ANY PERSON OR GROUP
Remove any criticisms or negative feedback you've posted about another person, group or company. Appearing negative or sour could detract potential contacts from connecting with you. Also, if you've received any negative feedback, make sure to remove it from your profile — your LinkedIn profile should be subjective and positive.
HIGH SCHOOL JOBS
If you graduated high school more than 4 years ago, it’s time to remove your high school jobs from your LinkedIn profile. However, if you haven’t yet established yourself in the workforce, including your earlier job experience can show employers that you’re experienced. You should also include your early work experience if you have certain experience that you’d like to play up. Instead, fill your profile with more recent and relevant experience.
UNPROFESSIONAL EMAIL ADDRESSES
Only include simple and professional email addresses in your profile. LinkedIn isn't the place for your funny or cute email addresses, so remove any that don't put your professional foot forward.
GAPS IN WORK EXPERIENCE
While most professionals don’t always move straight from one job to another, it’s important to remove any gaps in work experience from your profile. Fill this space with any volunteer work, projects, or consulting you did in between jobs.
Removing these unnecessary and unprofessional elements of your LinkedIn profile will ensure you’re developing a respected professional image on LinkedIn. With your improved profile, you’ll be able to network with confidence.