Deadly LinkedIn Mistake: Anemic, Incomplete Profile

by Meg Guiseppi on March 16, 2015

I’m constantly surprised by how many executive job seekers still haven’t fully embraced LinkedIn for job search and career management.

Sure, they all at least have a presence on LinkedIn . . . usually a minimal profile with job titles and educational background.

But too many of them have very little content in the many profile sections LinkedIn provides.

LinkedIn All-Star

3 Reasons a Sparse, Anemic LinkedIn Profile Can Actually Hurt Your Executive Job Search

1.  Personal Branding

Your LinkedIn Profile is an ideal place to build and communicate your personal brand and unique value to your target employers. But you need plenty of brand-reinforcing content to accomplish that.

2.  Obsolescence and Age Discrimination

An incomplete profile and lack of activity on LinkedIn can mark you as a poor-fit candidate. You appear to be out-of-date with the new world of work, and not social media-savvy.

Both of these can contribute to the ageism factor — a major challenge for executive job seekers over 50. You don’t want to be out of the running, before you’ve even been considered.

3.  Findability

Perhaps even more importantly, plenty of keyword-rich content is what drives LinkedIn’s search engine to push your profile to the top of results when executive recruiters and hiring decision makers search for candidates using those relevant keywords.

More Content = More Relevant Keywords = Greater Chance of Being Found

Many of your competitors – for the jobs you want, at the companies you want – know this, and have worked hard to fully develop their profiles.

Just to keep pace with them, you need to do the same . . . even if you do no more with LinkedIn than passively sit there with a complete profile.

LinkedIn says “Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn’s criteria for a complete profile:

  • Your industry and location
  • An up-to-date current position (with a description)
  • Two past positions
  • Your education
  • Your skills (minimum of 3)
  • A profile photo
  • At least 50 connections

(If you’re reading this post much after it was published, these criteria may have changed, so check that link for the latest. Like all social media, LinkedIn constantly updates and upgrades functionality and features.)

You can measure your progress towards a complete LinkedIn profile by viewing the “Profile Strength” indicator at the top of the right column, on your “Profile Edit” page. If your profile shows “All-Star” – like the graphic above – you’ve met all the requirements.

More Information about LinkedIn and Executive Job Search

LinkedIn, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search: Perfect Together

5 Toxic Beliefs That Can Derail Your Executive Job Search

Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

How Do I Find a Job in the “Hidden” Job Market?

How to Network Your Way Into a Great-Fit Executive Job


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg Guiseppi March 16, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Beth, I’m so glad my post was helpful. You’ve made an important point. We all do need to get busy on LinkedIn, whether or not we’re actively job-hunting. Thanks for commenting!

2 Beth Hawkes March 16, 2015 at 8:21 am

Thank you for explaining what makes an effective Linkedin profile. It’s a learned skill we all have to do to succeed.

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