You know I am a big proponent for anyone in business using LinkedIn. Like most things in life, if you invest the time to learn how to use it, you will enjoy the ubiquitous Return On Investment. You can also screw it up, preventing you from achieving your goals for LinkedIn and potentially destroying your reputation as well. What follows is an example of screwing it up.
Case in point:
Recently a social media friend of mine, Jeff Sheehan shared an observation about a growing number of people “keyword-stuffing” their LinkedIn profile. As I explored further with him on the phone, he shared example after example of LinkedIn Profiles that were stuffed with specific keywords over and over. I presume their goal in doing this is to rank high in LinkedIn search and even Google search.
Here is an example of what one of these Profiles looks like:
Notice the keyword that is being stuffed here: Accounting Manager. Just reflects poorly on the individual. If he would have stopped there it probably would not have done anything other than reflect bad taste.
Now look at the Experience section of the Profile, and notice the Titles of each role, the dates of each role and the description of the work he did/is doing in this position:
What is the possible good that can come from this action? If it is purely to rank #1 in LinkedIn search results for “accounting manager” he has succeeded. #1 in the world within LinkedIn under “accounting manager”. What has he done to his reputation, to the perception that others have of him, his integrity and even his common sense? There are a large number of examples like this. Search “social media expert” and see how the #1 ranked Profile has built his profile.
If you were searching for an “accounting manager” to hire and open this Profile, what would you do? Call him? Probably not. Read further, not likely. Or would you remove him from consideration and possibly ridicule him for using such tactics? I suggest the last reaction is the one that most of us would have. What does his employer think of this?
It is not only hurting this individual. What about those that are further down the list whose Profiles are accurate, reflecting their expertise and work experience accurately? What about the overall value of LinkedIn search in general? Adding insult to injury, many of those using this practice are actively teaching it as a tactic to others. Fortune magazine actually has several of them ranked as “influencers” of social media!
Sadly, there are those that hold themselves out as experts in LinkedIn, training others that this is the way to LinkedIn fame and success.
What is my purpose of pointing this out? To let you know that if you are using LinkedIn Search in your business routine, double check the profile to make sure you are not being misled by this practice. Also I want to bring it into the discussion, to encourage you to flag it as “misrepresentation” to LinkedIn, and most importantly, to get you to think before you do things on LinkedIn or any other social platform that can damage all that you have worked so hard to achieve in your career. Just think!
Search the important keywords for you and your industry and discover if you are a victim of this practice. Let me know what you find. Let me know if you are OK with this practice.