Does Your LinkedIn Profile Look Legitimate or Fake?

Of course you want your LinkedIn profile to look legitimate, here’s some things you might want to consider:

 

● Name – Don’t use all Capital or all Lower Case letters.  It sounds obvious, but I’m surprised how many people don’t pay attention to how their name looks (click on “view profile” under Profile in the top menu bar to see how yours looks).  Also, be sure your first name is in the first name block, and your last name is in the last name block.  Reversing them not only looks unprofessional, it keeps people from easily finding you in a search.  Including a title with your name also can make searches harder.  Only include prefixes or suffixes if they are widely known and they are part of who you are trying to represent.  Don’t use your company or ministry name as your name, or a part of your name.  It makes searches harder, and is against LinkedIn rules.  See Company or Ministry name below for suggestions.

 

● Photo – A professional head shot with a neutral background is best.  If you want to be recognized as serious, a beach shot might not be desirable.  Save your photos that include a car, a pet, or a mountain for facebook, unless of course you are a car dealer or a veterinarian and the photo represents your professional image.  Don’t use a logo, it might represent who you want others to see, but it can keep friends and clients from recognizing you, and it’s against LinkedIn rules.  Not including a photo might sound like it prevents possible predigest or harassment, but it keeps you from looking personable and professional.

 

● Company or Ministry Name – This sounds obvious, but many fake profiles use generic names and link to websites that hide their identity.  Using your real company or ministry name and including a website address to support that will make you look professional.  Also, if possible, be sure the website link you use includes some reference to your being involved with them.  A list of staff members with photos and descriptions is great, and you can include a link to your LinkedIn Public Profile to make it look even more professional.  If your company or ministry has a website domain, be sure you create a Company or Ministry Page.  Click on Companies in the top LinkedIn menu bar, then on “Add a Company” at the top right.  Once you have a company or ministry page, you can add details including services offered, and clients can recommend those specific services.  You can find more advantages to company pages and additional information at:  http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/06/19/targeted-status-updates/

 

● Summary – This one is really important because readers can quickly find out who you are and why they should contact you from a good summary, and LinkedIn uses key words in your summary to find you in searches.  The first paragraph should include the key words that people searching for you might use, and a good description of what you do and why people might want to contact you.  LinkedIn gives you 2000 words but you need to get your message across in the first several sentences.  It’s a missed opportunity to not have a great summary!

 

● Headline – Your LinkedIn headline is just below your name, and should not be your title.  A good headline will be something that makes people “want” to click on your name to read your profile.  It should tell people why they should contact you.  They can see your title in the Current and Past Experience listings below so leaving your headline as your title is another missed opportunity to grab the reader’s attention.  Every time you add a new position, LinkedIn will change your headline to your new job title, but you can uncheck the box to keep it from changing.

 

● Connections and Groups – Your connections and groups can also represent who you are.  If you only have a few connections, viewers could question if you are new or a real person.  It’s very important to Check Out who you accept invitations from!  Go to their profile and read their summary, their recommendations, and what groups they belong to.  Inappropriate Groups can be a clue to the person’s character, beliefs, lifestyle, or professionalism.  Before joining a group, check out who else is a member, and who the group owner is, the name might not tell the whole story!

 

● Inappropriate Profiles and Comments:  If you discover a fake or inappropriate profile, you can flag it by clicking on “Flag” on the bottom right of their information box.  If you read an inappropriate discussion in a group, you can flag it by clicking on “Flag as a Promotion”, or “Flag as Inappropriate” under “More” just below the discussion.  When profiles or comments get several flags they are reviewed and can be deleted.  Keeping LinkedIn profession is in everyone’s interest!

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