The one thing you should never include on your LinkedIn profile

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Megan Murray
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As women chasing our #careergoals, we welcome any secrets for success and are, of course, keen to pass them on along the way (we don’t shine if you don’t shine, remember?).

To climb the ladder in 2017, you need as much experience as possible, jumping around your industry in order to secure that promotion or higher salary.

More importantly, though, the digital age demands that we keep all of our online profiles shiny and up-to-date, projecting our best possible selves on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn in case a potential employer comes a’looking.

Read more: Supercharge your career prospects: 6 ways to boost your LinkedIn profile

But there’s one pretty big thing that might be holding us back from being approached by said employer. 

So, we hear you ask - what is the culprit, the ink stain on our perfect LinkedIn profiles?

Ready yourselves – it’s that fab selfie you’ve picked for your profile picture.

That’s right: it turns out our employers are far less impressed by our selfie angles than our mates are, with a new study showing that a whopping 88% of hiring managers think it looks “unprofessional”.

What’s more, out of the 2,186 employers surveyed by Envirofone, 58% said they would point-blank not hire someone that had used a selfie on their LinkedIn profile.

While we have the freedom to use social media to voice our thoughts and opinions, it is wise to bear in mind that anyone can see these posts – including your potential new boss

Speaking to Cosmopolitan, Richard Mavers, director of group marketing and online strategy at Envirofine, pointed out that it’s not just your profile picture that gives off a first impression to your future boss.

“While we have the freedom to use social media to voice our thoughts and opinions, it is wise to bear in mind that anyone can see these posts – including your potential new boss,” he said.

Touching on the study’s findings that 60% of employers will look up your social media accounts, Mavers continued: “It’s now common practice for employers and hiring managers to use social media to screen candidates’ tweets and Facebook posts to see if they would be a good cultural fit within the company.”

Which means that, yes, you might want to re-think spamming your Instagram with messy night out pictures (or, y’know, just make your profiles private). 

Being as we’re planning on giving our LinkedIn profiles a wee update anyway (begone, foul selfie), we decided to go the whole hog and give it a complete makeover.

And, after speaking to some of the best in the business, we’ve got a few helpful hints to make sure your LinkedIn profile is absolutely living it’s best life.

1) Optimise your headline

LinkedIn’s Head of Global Consumer Communications Darain Faraz says that the headline and url of your profile are more important than you probably realised. Faraz explains that, “your headline follows your name in search hit lists and sums up your professional brand, so make sure it’s eye-catching, includes industry buzzwords in your headline – and don’t forget accreditation initials specific to your field, which recruiters also search for.”

“Don’t forget to customise the URL below your headline; this will increase your search results and make it easier to direct people to your profile (which can be particularly useful if you have a common name). A customised URL also looks great in email signatures and on business cards.”

2) Pick a professional photo

So we know what kind of photo you’re not supposed to have...but what should you be thinking about when taking that all-important snap for your LinkedIn profile? Career expert and managing director of Personal Career Management Corinne Mills recommends keeping it simple. “Avoid any photos with busy backgrounds and stick to head shots that show your professional side. It’s best to appear business-like and dressed in the way that you would normally be at work."

3) Drop the self-deprecation

Of course modesty is a wonderful quality, but unfortunately females have a tendency to feel embarrassed about showing off their achievements. Start updating your status or adding new projects to your profile to make people in your network aware of your successes. “Add rich media, create an infographic CV, create a Prezi or SlideShare presentation about you” Kathryn Foot of Careercake says. 

“Link to blogs, articles, websites or published papers, anything that shows people your capabilities and accomplishments.”

For more advice on how best to upcycle your LinkedIn profile, check out our comprehensive guide here.

Images: iStock


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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.