Cyber Monday Banner

3 Ways To Ruin Your Job Search With A Poor LinkedIn Profile

When I first began my industry job search, I was completely out of my element.

I didn’t even know if I was qualified for any job outside of a university.

It seemed like all I knew was academia, and all the skills I had revolved solely around the lab and publishing research.

But, I didn’t want to be in academia anymore.

Academia had left me depressed, anxious, and completely unsure of my future.

I wanted a job in industry.

But, how did people get non-academic jobs?

I had been submitting my resume online for months, but never heard anything back. It was extremely frustrating.

I had no idea what to do.

But, it all changed when I started networking.

Instead of spending all my time trolling job boards, I went to events, I met new people, I joined professional societies, and I got involved.

This opened up many new opportunities for me.

But, when I started following up with these great new connections, I realized the importance of my professional profile.

I realized that my LinkedIn profile mattered.

People wanted to connect with me. They wanted to see my resume. They wanted my business card.

In academia, you are told that your LinkedIn profile does not matter and you are defined by your publication record.

This is not true in industry.

I quickly revamped my LinkedIn profile and created an industry-style resume.

With a solid professional profile and quality networking plan, I was on the right path, and it was only a matter of time before I had my first industry position.

Why You Must Perfect Your LinkedIn Profile Before Reaching Out To People

When making professional connections, in order to follow up, you are going to need a professional profile.

This means you are going to need a LinkedIn profile, a business card, a resume, etc.

Each of these items is a part of your professional appearance.

Many times, when networking online, the very first thing a new connection will see is your LinkedIn profile.

According to Jobvite, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to screen candidates.

These recruiters are using LinkedIn to judge not only your qualifications, but also how you would fit into the company.

Your professional profile is your first impression on new connections and potential employers.

A study at Cornell University, as reported by Science Daily, found that first impressions, although formed in seconds, can alter the way you are perceived, even after 6 months.

In other words, overcoming a bad first impression is very difficult — you must do all you can to make the best first impression possible.

This includes having a high quality professional profile.

And, the great thing about your professional profile is that you have complete control over how it looks and what information it contains.

You are in control of that first impression.

Don’t ruin a potential job opportunity with a bad professional profile.

3 Ways Your Bad LinkedIn Profile Is Ruining Your Job Search

Having an outstanding resume or LinkedIn profile is not enough to get you hired, but having a bad professional profile is enough to prevent you from getting hired.

Networking should be the foundation of your job search.

But, to network effectively, you need to have a tidy professional profile to direct your connections to, which includes both a resume and a LinkedIn profile.

Networking is time and energy intensive, so don’t ruin that hard work with a poor professional profile.

Here are common 3 mistakes PhDs make in their professional profile…

1. Having a bad LinkedIn profile picture.

Meeting someone in person, shaking their hand, and looking them in the eye builds an incredible amount of rapport.

But, sometimes it’s not possible to meet a new connection in person.

Online networking through LinkedIn is very common and can add great value to your job search.

But, it can be much harder to build rapport when networking online, and you can’t actually meet in person.

In order to build rapport as quickly as possible, you must have a professional and inviting LinkedIn picture.

A bad or non-existent profile picture is a definite way to have your connection requests denied and messages ignored.

Having no picture or a picture of something that is not you makes your profile seem fake.

Someone you don’t know is not going to connect with you if they cannot see you.

According to LinkedIn, profiles with a photo receive 21 times more views and 36 times more messages than profiles without a photo.

But, you shouldn’t have just any photo of yourself as your profile picture.

Your profile picture should look professional.

You should be wearing business attire (not a lab coat).

You would never go to an interview in casual clothes or looking disheveled, and the same should be true for your profile picture.

Put effort into this photo, the same way you put effort into the other parts of you job search — don’t just take a selfie.

Finally, your picture needs to be inviting, and smiling in your photo is a great way to do this.

You want to look confident and approachable. You want to look like someone who would be great to work with.

A nice smile, good lighting, and high quality photography will give a great first impression to anyone you invite to your LinkedIn profile.

2. Not using keywords throughout your profile.

The real power of LinkedIn is that it can show your profile to hiring managers and recruiters that are looking to fill positions.

But, without an optimized profile packed full of keywords, you will not reap this benefit of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn uses an algorithm to rank your profile within searches that people make.

For example, when a hiring manager searches “biotech project manager Atlanta” LinkedIn searches for profiles that contain these words.

If you are a postdoc looking for an industry position like the one above, the only way you will appear in the hiring manager’s search is by having these exact words in your profile.

If your headline on LinkedIn is “postdoc/graduate researcher at xyz university” you have already set yourself up for failure.

Instead, your headline should contain the words, biotech, project manager, Atlanta, and any other major keywords for the positions you are interested in.

And, the addition of keywords does not stop at your headline.

Every single section of your LinkedIn profile (from your summary to your hobbies) should contain keywords relevant to the industry positions that you are interested in.

Every section is an opportunity to increase the likelihood that you will appear in a hiring manager’s search results.

This means that each part of your profile should be completely filled out.

Write as much as you can to fill up the word limit for each section, because this gives you more chances to include important keywords.

You can target your LinkedIn for more than one type of position.

Just include as many keywords as possible for each of the different industry positions you are targeting.

Done correctly, this will dramatically boost the number of searches that your profile appears in, and therefore increase your chances of being contacted by a hiring manager or recruiter.

3. Writing a robotic LinkedIn summary or having an incomplete profile.

Your LinkedIn summary is not a place to copy and paste your resume.

The summary section of your LinkedIn profile is your hook.

This is where you should write in the first person and show your personality a bit.

You do not want to sound robotic and boring, as this is the first part of your profile someone will see and will determine if they continue reading or not.

That being said, you should still use keywords and maintain a professional voice in your summary.

The layout of your summary should be very readable.

Consider using bullet points and space them out so there is ample white space.

This makes your summary much more readable and will encourage the viewer to continue scrolling down to see the rest of your profile.

As someone scrolls through your profile, it’s important that you profile is complete.

Each section of your profile, from your work experience to your skills, should be completely filled out, with consideration for the positions you are interested in.

A hiring manager is interested in your qualifications as well as your potential fit within the company.

Use each section of your profile to highlight keywords and skills that are required for the jobs you are interested in and demonstrate that you would be a great addition to any workplace environment.

Your professional profile is a key part of your job search strategy. In online networking situations, it is your first impression and it is how recruiters and hiring managers are judging whether you deserve an interview or not. While a good professional profile is not enough to get you a job, a bad professional profile is enough to keep you from getting hired. Make sure you get your professional profile in order before reaching out to people. This means making sure you have a good LinkedIn profile picture, a concise, industry-style resume, and a completed LinkedIn profile. Once your professional profile is in order, you are ready to leverage your network and get hired into the industry position that you want.

To learn more about 3 Ways To Ruin Your Job Search With A Poor LinkedIn Profile, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.

Join Cheeky Scientist Association
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly
Catherine Sorbara, Ph.D.
Catherine Sorbara, Ph.D.

Cathy has a PhD in Medical Life Science and Technology and is COO of the Cheeky Scientist Association. Cathy is passionate about science communication including translating science to lay audiences and helping PhDs transition into industry positions. She is Chair of Cambridge AWiSE, a regional network for women in science, engineering and technology. She has also been selected to take part in Homeward Bound 2018, an all-female voyage to Antarctica aimed to heighten the influence of women in leadership positions and bring awareness to climate change.

Similar Articles

Is Your LinkedIn The Cause Of Employers Ghosting You? 7 Techniques To Get Noticed On LinkedIn

Is Your LinkedIn The Cause Of Employers Ghosting You? 7 Techniques To Get Noticed On LinkedIn

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

I began my job search optimistic and determined. There was a job posting that seemed to be written specifically for me. I had all the qualifications, the work was extremely interesting. It was as if I had written exactly what I was looking for in a job and there it was on a job site. I spent all my time on the resume and did not touch my LinkedIn. I felt for sure I would get it, it was just too perfect. Finally, I hit “submit” and waited. For weeks, I heard nothing but I was patient. Then I got…

7 Surprising Moments To Use Silence During An Interview

7 Surprising Moments To Use Silence During An Interview

By: Alejandra Viviescas, PhD

I remember this interview as if it was yesterday. I was just a couple of months out of grad school and actively reaching out to potential clients to establish myself as a freelance medical writer. My biggest mistake was not using silence to my advantage.  This was my third round of interview with this client – I had already made it through the phone screen and the writing test – and it was supposed to be the last. It was a virtual panel interview with the lead editor and fact checker.  I had been preparing for this for weeks, researching…

7 Steps To Take Before The “Second Wave” Of Hiring Freezes

7 Steps To Take Before The “Second Wave” Of Hiring Freezes

By: Sarah Smith, PhD

When I started writing my dissertation in September, I kept my head down. I was focused and determined. I ignored all social gatherings, all other responsibilities, this was my prime directive. 200 pages later, it was done, approved by my committee and my defense date was set, March 7th, 2020.  The defense went great, standing room only. For the first time in months, I could breathe.  Little did I know this would be the last in-person defense at my campus for the foreseeable future. Not even 10 days later, the world would shut down, the pandemic closed everything. I was…

3 Techniques To Climb Your Way To the Top of LinkedIn Keyword Searches

3 Techniques To Climb Your Way To the Top of LinkedIn Keyword Searches

By: Elizabeth Deyett

When I told my labmates I was working on my LinkedIn profile, they said what for? In their eyes LinkedIn was not for academics. Obviously, since I was getting a PhD in academia, there was no place for me in industry, I had to stay in academia. And so, I stopped asking them to connect. I stopped asking other academics within my university to connect too, and soon I stopped asking everyone to connect. My LinkedIn profile laid dormant for several years while I went through grad school. As I neared the end of my PhD, I realized I wasn’t…

5 Ways To Protect Your Informational Interview And Get A Job Referral

5 Ways To Protect Your Informational Interview And Get A Job Referral

By: Aditya Sharma, PhD

The world is your canvas and informational interviews are your paintbrush. What does that even mean? I was a PhD looking for an industry job, and that was the kind of advice I used to get. But this one I really struggled with: You’re a PhD – you can do anything. Hearing this sentiment over and over again was not empowering for me, but infuriating. Why? Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Sure, I could do anything…  But that still left me very lost. The tide shifted when I discovered informational interviews. An informational interview is when…

Follow These 5 Resume Rules For A Successful Job Search

Follow These 5 Resume Rules For A Successful Job Search

By: Aditya Sharma, PhD

Are you submitting your resume to online job postings? You might be surprised to learn that your resume is never even seen by a human being. 98% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking software, according to Jobscan. Large-size firms (those that employ more than 500 individuals) receive many thousands of resumes every week. The only way their hiring departments can be functional is by using tracking software to weed out unqualified candidates. This puts applicants in kind of a tough spot - optimize your resume to get through the tracking software or get used to rejection. Even highly qualified…

Top 5 Reasons Your PhD LinkedIn Profile Is Not As Great As You Think It Is

Top 5 Reasons Your PhD LinkedIn Profile Is Not As Great As You Think It Is

By: Surayya Taranum

According to its parent company Microsoft, LinkedIn has 630 million professionals in over 200 countries registered as members.Over 30,000 companies in the US use LinkedIn for recruiting new hires, and over 3 million US jobs are posted on LinkedIn every month.Hiring trends in industry show that employers are increasingly factoring in the social media profiles of job candidates in their recruitment processes. That means, a professional LinkedIn profile and online engagement is a critical component of job search strategy for PhDs.What does your LinkedIn profile look like?

A Great LinkedIn Profile Isn't Enough - Networking Was The Key That Opened Doors For Me In Industry As A PhD

A Great LinkedIn Profile Isn't Enough - Networking Was The Key That Opened Doors For Me In Industry As A PhD

By: Natalie Fredrette, PhD

If you are using the internet as your main tool for learning about new job opportunities then you are missing out on the vast majority of available jobs. You’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. For example, PayScale reported that between 70-80% of jobs are not advertised. Many companies do not advertise positions because the role will be filled through a referral faster than the advertisement can be made. Other companies incentivise employees and prefer candidates who come with a referral. The Association For Talent Development reported that you can expect to earn 6% more if…

7 Actionable Strategies To Build A Strong LinkedIn Network When You Are A PhD With No Industry Experience

7 Actionable Strategies To Build A Strong LinkedIn Network When You Are A PhD With No Industry Experience

By: Michael Pace, PhD

LinkedIn is a huge professional networking platform and it is growing. Hootsuite reported that 2 people join LinkedIn every second and, LinkedIn currently has more than 590 million users. This is an incredible resource for you to leverage. If you are not using LinkedIn you are missing out on a powerful resource. Plus, Forbes reported that 45% of the people on LinkedIn are in upper management. This is a place where you can connect with and learn from company leaders. Within the vast network of LinkedIn you will be able to find people in the companies and positions that you…

Top Industry Career eBooks

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the top 20 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.