Following the trail: Building your digital footprint

by Iain Hopkins18 Jun 2012

 Your digital footprint doesn’t stop with blogs or forums, of course. LinkedIn’s annual list of ‘most overused’ terms in profiles (see box) indicates that it’s vital to stay vigilant with purposely set up professional profiles as well. Those guilty of using some (or all) of the terms in the top 10 may unwittingly be turning away potential interest in your skills.

"We have the unique ability to uncover interesting workplace trends in our data given the high volume of people with profiles on LinkedIn," says DJ Patil, LinkedIn's chief data scientist. "In this case, we wanted to reveal insights that help professionals make better choices about how to position themselves online whether they are reaching out to new clients or networking with peers."

Lindsey Pollak, a career and workplace expert, adds that phrases like 'extensive experience' and 'proven track record' can appear empty to a potential employer and may do more harm than good when included on a profile or resume. "If you're using any of these 10 terms, wipe them out. Instead, note that you have eight to 10 years of experience or that you increased sales by 300 percent. Include meaningful phrases that apply specifically to highlights you've achieved in your career."

Here are three tips professionals can act on to increase the number of people viewing their LinkedIn profile:

Tip 1: Accentuate your profile

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and includes all the roles you have had. You are 12 times more likely to be viewed for potential opportunities if you have more than one position listed on your profile. Also, add a profile photo – people never forget a face.

Tip 2: Grow your network

Connect to at least 50 trusted contacts. Simply import your contacts to start finding first, second or even third degree connections working at companies you want as clients or would like to get in touch with.

Tip 3: Lift your profile in Google search results

Have you done a Google search for your name? If you haven't, you should. People are Googling you before meetings and interviews. Get your LinkedIn profile to come up higher in search results by customising your profile URL.

 Death by overuse

According to LinkedIn, the top 10 most overused terms used in profiles by professionals based in Australia are:

1. Extensive experience
2. Innovative
3. Motivated
4. Dynamic
5. Proven track record
6. Team player
7. Proactive
8. Skill set
9. Highly skilled
10. Entrepreneurial


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