Linkedin Profiles – My Shocking Findings

My latest tips on building a Client Winning Profile for Linkedin are now on a free, short video – click here to watch it.

Last night I was finalising a training course I ran today on Linkedin. I was having a quick look round at people’s profiles for good/bad examples – and what I saw shocked me.

First a little bit of background:

In my landmark post 10 Linkedin Tips for Professionals (still showing on page 1 of google for “linkedin tips”!) the very first Linkedin tip I shared was to build what I called a Client Focused profile.

When most people join Linkedin they do one of two things.

After going through the process of telling Linkedin your education and previous jobs you get the chance to create a summary. This is the main thing people will look at when they visit your profile – it’s your opportunity to say exactly what you want them to read when they do so. Most people spurn that opportunity.

Either they put nothing in their summary at all, or they essentially copy the text from their resume and talk about the jobs they’ve had, the responsibilities they’ve held, the achievements they’ve made, etc.

It’s a huge mistake.

Your achievements and responsibilities may be great for a resume – but are you actually looking for a new job right now? Did you join Linkedin to use it as a place to store your resume for all to see? Probably not.

Most of us aren’t looking for a new job most of the time. But we are on the lookout for new clients most of the time.

For the vast majority of professionals, their Linkedin profile summary should be written to give the right impression to potential clients or potential referrers (depending on whether they typically get their work mainly directly, or mainly from referrers).

It’s not hard. Figure what impression you want to give to clients and referrers and write to create that impression in your profile.

Perhaps you want to come across as an expert, or someone who’s approachable and easy to do business with. Or experienced. Or fun. Or empathetic.

Whatever it is, figure it out. And prove it in what you write. Your profile summary is the thing that’s looked at more than any other – and it’s under your control.

It will be looked at by potential clients who you meet and then who check you out online afterwards. It will be looked at by potential referrers who you offer to connect with.

It’s not rocket science. Don’t mess it up.

And yet last night, when I looked at a random set of profiles I was truly shocked by what I saw. They were awful.

I searched for profiles containing “managing director” in the job title.

What I got in the first 10 I looked at were:

2 who had nothing in the profile summary at all.

1 whose summary said “for information go to www.mysite.com/myprofile” (if he couldn’t be bothered to copy and paste a decent profile onto Linkedin what on earth makes him think the people reading his page would be bothered to copy and paste his website address to go and see it?)

1 who just listed some consulting jargon words. Business Process Reengineering, ERP, etc.

3 Who said nothing about themselves – just what their company did. No personal connection at all.

1 Who told me all about his vision, his favourite mottos, the rules he lives by (but nothing about what he might be able to do to help me).

And only 2 who had reasonably descriptive profile summaries that actually said who they worked with, and how they helped them – so that I was able to see whether I’d be interested in connecting with them further.

And these were all very senior people.

Frightening really.

Enjoyed This Blog Post? Get Free Updates And More...

Get my very best tips and strategies to help you attract and win more clients. Sign up below. Get Free Instant Access >>
   

Comments

  1. says

    Ian,
    More frightening then the profiles you’ve described is the executive without a profile. Frequently when I meet people at a conference or I’m preparing to meet with someone, I’ll review their LinkedIn profile. Over the last few months, I’ve been shocked to find that many people have no presence what so ever! This includes more than a handful of HR folks. My profile (http://www.linkedin.com/in/keithbossey) is not perfect, but I have spent some time trying to make sure it represents me as both a potential hire AND tells a story to a potential client. What does it say to people when you have no profile at all?

  2. says

    Hi Ian,

    love your original LinkedIn post.

    I defence of the jargon words: These people may actually sell to jargon word buyers, ie. people that are looking for these skills.

    I myself use jargon words in my profile, such as “Joomla” (a widely known website content management system), because I know that people are searching for that word. Its not for a solution buyer, but someone who thinks they know the solution already.

    HTH, Jochen

  3. says

    Hi Jochen – You’re right – jargon words are OK if your reader understands them – it marks you out as an “insider”.

    But this profile didn’t just use jargon words. That was all it had. It was just a list. No words surrounding them to say what he did with BPR, the results he’d delivered for his clients, etc. Just a list of 5 jargon words. Then a list of 5 industry types.

    Ian

  4. says

    Well said Ian! I often despair at how quite senior people present themselves on LinkedIn – they don’t think through how others will experience their profiles. One of my personal pet peeves is not uploading a photo – it’s amazing the difference a friendly face can make as to whether you want to connect with or contact a person.

  5. says

    Hi Ian,
    Yes, it is shocking..I manage a couple of groups the people to who want to join the groups usually don’t even have a photo or anything written about themselves.

    I wonder if it’s because it’s so much easier to get on Linkedin now..and I am not sure that they offer any videos. However the Profile is very important – it’s the foundation of getting connections, of getting offers and for people who want to hear back from you.

    An update of one’s profile should be down frequently.

  6. says

    Really think this is an important post and the previous one also. I am tending to look over data like this more often as I find snipets and more content that any other way. Personal experience and what you have learned is going to help me alot, so thankyou.

  7. says

    I too am shocked at how poorly profiles are completed. I look each day to see who viewed my profile. I look at their profile to see if I know them or their company. Why did they look at my profile? Should I proactively contact them?

    With virtually no info about them I cannot tell what they do or why I might want to connect with them.

    Rob

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>