Communicators, your LinkedIn profile sucks

Communicators, your LinkedIn profile sucks

You got a job. Hooray that’s awesome. Yeah sure, I’m going to need you to come in Saturday. I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. But you’re a straight shooter with upper management written all over you.

Like 414 million people in the working world, you’ve probably set up a LinkedIn profile to answer the question you’re asked everyday: what is it you’d say you do here? The problem is that like nearly half of all LinkedIn users, the profile you set up was incomplete. It doesn’t say anything and it looks like you work just hard enough not to get fired.

To use the patois of modern youth: It sucks.

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Fortunately for you and your LinkedIn profile, it gets better. Here are some reasons your profile sucks and some ways to make it suck less.

Add some details. Too often people want to do the bare minimum when completing a profile, setting up a page that lists little more than current title and previous employers. Now, you know it's up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum but LinkedIn provides an unlimited portal to express yourself. Take advantage of features such as languages, patents and projects to showcase yourself and stand out amongst a sea of Michael Boltons.

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LinkedIn is not a resume. Resumes are static documents delivered on a page, meant to communicate work experience in a clear and concise way. How much of that reads like an all-star LinkedIn profile? Not very much, so why do so many people continue to treat LinkedIn like it is an online version of the CV? Use LinkedIn as an extension of your own awesomeness. Start with the summary. Tell a story that grabs someone’s attention and invites them to go deeper into your experience. Think of each job description as a way of carrying the thread throughout, so people can see the unique experiences that were gained at each stop and how they helped shape you into the special snowflake you are today.

And that’s just the beginning. LinkedIn allows you to wear as many pieces of flair as you can pin onto your suspenders. Did you write a blog post on Muck Rack? Tell the world about it in the publications section. Build out each stop on the career journey with additional media such as documents and presentations.

LinkedIn is your news wire. You invite people to connect and in return they request to follow you. Why would they follow a resume? Spoiler alert, they aren’t. There’s a great chance the people you are connected to are interested in many of the same things you are. So why not share what you find interesting with your community. LinkedIn makes it simple. Copy a link, paste it under “share an update” and faster than you can say “that’s my stapler,” you’re in the content publishing game. It doesn’t stop there, comment, like and share news you find interesting on those that you follow. It will help you discover interesting content, while strengthening the relationships with your community and adding more pizzazz to your boring profile.

Active language please. Sentences in the active voice have energy and directness, which keeps an audience engaged and carries them through the profile.  Active voice is less wordy than passive voice. Eliminating unnecessary words always improves a piece of writing, whether it is a professional email or online profile. People writing in a business environment try to hard make sentences sound “formal,” which often translates into a passive-voice snooze-a-palooza. Save your LinkedIn followers the pain of wading through a sea of passively constructed business jargon and get straight to the point.

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Your network can go anywhere if they want another boring website but their coming to your profile for atmosphere and the attitude. A few simple steps can move your boring online resume into a site people want to look at.

Have any other LinkedIn tips? We'd love to hear 'em!

Eric Hazard is a vice president at Cognito where he helps financial companies tell interesting stories to the world. When he’s not at the office he enjoys hiking in New York’s Catskill mountains and amusing gifs of panda bears. Follow along on Twitter.

Photo: Rubber stamp via Shutterstock

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