I hate my LinkedIn profile. It's boring, and it's not helping me. I'm job hunting, but so far I haven't heard from one recruiter. What am I doing wrong? Go ahead and be blunt. I haven't been able to get anybody to give me honest feedback on my LinkedIn profile, so I welcome your input.
At the moment, your LinkedIn profile doesn't tell us what you want to do in your next job.
Your LinkedIn headline "Multi-skilled Professional" is a non-starter, as my sporty friends would say. It's keeping recruiters from reaching out to you. We have no idea what you do well or what kind of job you're looking for.
You have to make some choices. The reason your LinkedIn profile disappoints you is that it is noncommittal. We can't tell what you do for a living and therefore recruiters are unlikely to reach out to you.
You might be thinking that your decision to incorporate lots of business buzzwords in your LinkedIn profile might overcome the obstacle that your vague LinkedIn headline creates, but here's the problem.
The business buzzwords in your profile are generic. "Strategy," "team player" and "organizational skills" are terms that will not help your profile rise to the top of anybody's "must interview" list. Millions of other LinkedIn users include the exact same keywords you do in their LinkedIn profile.
Anybody who conducts a search on the vast LinkedIn database and pulls up your profile as a search result will also have gazillions of other search results that contain many of the same keywords. Your brilliance is hidden behind a thicket of generic keywords and a bland, featureless profile in general.
The biggest problem with your LinkedIn profile is that we can't learn anything useful about you by reading it.
Your assignment is to find the time and invest the energy to decide what kind of job you want next. If you can't decide between two types of jobs that both interest you, flip a coin. You have to brand yourself for the jobs you want or nobody will give your LinkedIn profile a second glance.
You have good work experience but the descriptions of your past jobs are mushy right now. It looks like you are hedging your bets branding-wise. You don't want to turn off anybody who might come across your LinkedIn profile, but unfortunately the result of your super-general branding is that you don't look like the solution to anybody's problem.
Real hiring managers have real, specific problems to solve. Recruiters in particular are looking for people whose profiles make it crystal clear what those people can do, and what they want and intend to do.
An overly general branding approach says, "Please consider me, your Majesty! I can spin, weave and card wool! I can do whatever you want me to do."
That branding approach is powerless. An empowered brand is one that says, "Here's what I do well. If you need somebody who solve this problem for you, give me a call."
When you commit yourself to your next career move right in your LinkedIn profile, you instill confidence in readers.
Recruiters don't have to wade through paragraphs of generalities to decide whether or not they want to talk to you.
Good branding is clear. It's easy for the person who encounters you to make a quick yes/no decision about you.
Here's the second paragraph of your LinkedIn profile:
I've spent time in Sales Administration, Marketing and Licensing and have learned from all three functions. I work well with teams, am skilled at managing complex projects and have deep knowledge of Excel."
Yes, you have spent time in three different functions but the burning question is, "So what?" What does it mean? What does that time spent in Sales Administration, Marketing and Licensing equip you to do now? You have to decide.
Your branding turns a brilliant value creator (you) into a commodity.
You are not a commodity. You will rise out of the commodity zone when you decide what you want to do and then brand yourself for the roles you want.
Here's an example of that:
I'm a Sales Administration/Sales Analysis pro with a passion for compiling and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data to help Sales and Marketing leaders make smart decisions, faster.
My strong suits are designing custom sales reporting tools, training managers in data-backed decision-making and providing sales analysis models for use in quarterly and annual planning. I love group brainstorming and solo report creation equally well and thrive in a fast-paced environment."
Now a real person comes through. Now you are more than a jumble of keywords and list of skills. Now we see a whole person emerging from your LinkedIn profile.
Not everybody will like your brand of jazz. That's perfect! You don't have to waste talking to anybody who doesn't want to hire a flesh-and-blood person like you.
Here are five ways to attract recruiters and hiring managers to your LinkedIn profile:
1. Flick the switch on LinkedIn that tells recruiters you are open to new opportunities.
2. Flesh out the page recruiters will see when they visit your LinkedIn profile -- information that other visitors to your page will not have access to.
3. Construct a LinkedIn headline that makes it clear what you do for a living. Don't be general -- doing so will drive prospective visitors to your profile away.
4. Write a short Summary for your LinkedIn profile, and use your Summary to brand yourself as a person with a point of view and confidence in him- or herself.
5. Get a fantastic new photo for your LinkedIn profile.
You don't need to get a professional headshot but you do need a photo that shows your face more clearly than the profile photo you're using right now.
Get that photo this weekend and update your profile to put your best foot forward (as well as your best smile). Then, watch recruiters show up!
Article written by Liz Ryan and originally published on Forbes.com