How Not to Write a LinkedIn Profile

There is plenty of advice available about how to write a great LinkedIn profile, but not as much about how not to do it. In fact, you can do all the “right” things and still have a useless—or worse, a dreadful—LinkedIn profile. Sometimes even the so-called experts fail the perfect profile test.

LinkedIn Japan

photo credit: TAKA@P.P.R.S / Flickr

If your LinkedIn profile seems lacking somehow, check to see if you’ve fallen in the “what not to do” trap.

Have You Heard the One About…

You’ve probably read that your LinkedIn page needs to stand out. Your business personality has to shine through. Your listing has to be different so it doesn’t look like every other business on LinkedIn.

Perhaps you’ve added a couple of jokes to your company profile to achieve this goal. Are jokes a good idea on LinkedIn? Not if you want a great LinkedIn business page like this one. Humor is subjective; what some people find funny isn’t funny at all to others. And remember—your page is visible to people all over the world, some of whom may not understand the subtle nuances of your language. Even the best jokes fall flat for some, and that makes such humor too risky for LinkedIn.

Use Lots of Wordy Words

The more words you use the better. The people behind your company are articulate, smart and knowledgeable—what better way to show it than using lots of words? While you’re at it, use big words—the bigger the better, right? Wrong! Your profile should be concise, focused, easy to read and accurate. No one will read a business profile more than four or five sentences long.

And the big words? Forget them. Some studies show that readers mistrust people who use a lot of multi-syllable words. Keep it simple. There’s room on your LinkedIn page to add accomplishments that prove your company’s worth.

Hear Me Now—I Am the Greatest

Ali the Greatest

photo credit: Ivan Chinchilla / Flickr

Pour it on thick with phrases like “exceptional customer service” and “outstanding product lines” and you’re sure to impress. Well, not exactly. Unless you have facts to back up your superlatives, leave them out of your profile.

Actually, leave them out even if you do have facts and figures to back up your claims. There is room down the page to list your company’s specialties, expertise and accolades; keep them out of your profile.

Keep ‘Em Guessing

Your business description should be clever and inspiring. You don’t develop logistics software; you “design the workings of tomorrow’s world.”

Stop. Probably the worst thing you can do on your LinkedIn profile is make readers guess what your business does. It’s not cute, it’s not funny; it’s simply infuriating. Use visuals and text to state your business mission clearly. You’re trying to attract partners, employees and business alliances. You won’t get any of those if you don’t come out and say what your business does and who benefits from what you have to offer.

Who Needs Facts?

Who wants to read a bunch of numbers? Potential clients and partners viewing your LinkedIn profile, actually. Readers are looking for facts, data, statistics and numbers that prove you know what you’re doing.

LinkedIn is a networking site, but it’s not Facebook. A great LinkedIn profile and page includes milestones, awards, data, project results and hard facts to show how your business excels and that it has a proven track record.


LinkedIn can be a powerful business tool if you use it the right way, so it’s time to take a long, hard look at your LinkedIn page. Rewrite and optimize your profile and upgrade your visuals.

Whatever your business does, networking with other LinkedIn members can bring tremendous benefits. You can’t afford to pass them up.


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