Errors on my LinkedIn profile

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Recruiters notice how you use your LinkedIn profile.

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LinkedIn can make or break your chances of getting an interview – you probably already know that. But just like your CV, what you forget about your profile is just as important as what you keep there.

As for the latter, we’ve given you plenty of tips on what should be there – from brilliant summaries to headlines that attract recruiters.

But today we are talking about the first one – all the things you need to leave out. Or, in most cases, remove them before you cringe at another hiring manager and remove X.

I know, it looks dark. There is one silver lining, however, and that is that removing these items won’t take you more than five minutes.

1. Present verbs in past role descriptions

You could be very effective in keeping your CV up to date (and, if not, you can start now). But keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date is a whole different story – most of us just slap another post without taking the time to update others.

Unfortunately, few things confuse recruiters more than seeing you use the present tense to describe your accomplishments in three different positions. So, scroll through your jobs and make sure the accomplishments listed under your previous roles (everything except your current position) are in the past. It might sound trivial, but with hiring managers spending no more than a few seconds perusing your profile – and with the riches of the Internet vying for their attention – the smallest mistakes could cause them to click another page.

2. Microsoft Word endorsements

Make no mistake, we think you are a Microsoft Word expert. But if in your “Skills and Endorsements” section Microsoft Word – or even Microsoft PowerPoint – is listed before your more unique skills like programming, image editing, or writing, you are missing out on an opportunity to stand out. Remove your Microsoft Word mentions completely or rearrange them so that your most wanted skills appear first.

Remember: recruiters want to know why you should be selected over everyone else, and telling them that you have a good grasp of Microsoft Word – arguably the most common skill of all – doesn’t help your case.

3. A complete list of all the university courses you have taken

While it’s helpful to include courses relevant to your career in the “Education” section of your profile, hiring managers don’t want to read every course you’ve already signed up for. Which means they’re going to start hovering and maybe missing out on important information if you just throw a bunch of class numbers at them. So, only keep the ones that present your skills best, and delete the others.

Expert tip: Don’t forget to put relevant courses you took outside of school at the top of your list. Unlike college courses, these stand out because they show you take initiative when it comes to deepening your skills.

4. Unprofessional profile photos

I am always surprised by the number of selfies I see on LinkedIn. While you certainly don’t need to pose in a three-piece suit or fancy dress, you also don’t want to be the candidate who came across to have a less than professional photo. Right or wrong, it’s the first thing people see.

Replace it with one in which you seem likable, knowledgeable, and influential. Don’t know which image to use? Try Photofeeler, a site that lets you upload photos and find out what others think about you.

5. Long job descriptions

Finally, if your profile has job descriptions that are several paragraphs long, it’s time to make some changes. You don’t make recruiters’ lives easier by presenting your work in large chunks of text. No matter how you format it, there’s a good chance they’ll hover over it. So use bullets (copy and paste from Word or another writing application) as you would on your resume. This will ensure that everything that is important will come out immediately.

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