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Do you really want to stuff up your LinkedIn profile? Here’s some advice: don’t stuff it with keywords.


I have been working closely with many corporate clients lately, optimising their brand across social media. I help people hit the front page of LinkedIn searches.

So, you see… I have this gripe. And I’m qualified to complain.

There’s a really annoying trend that seems to have emerged lately where people have stuffed their LinkedIn profiles full of keywords — kind of like the early black hat cowboy days of SEO.

I have deleted identifying details to protect the wicked, but here’s an example of a stuffed profile:

Here’s another example:

Found on the same profile…

Please! Don’t do this. You are doing damage to yourself and the company you work for. If you stuff up your profile, I am sure at some stage your internal brand police will come running.

Your LinkedIn profile is your personal brand. It is, however, also your company’s brand as you represent it. Imagine if your company’s web site looked like this. Imagine if you presented a resume that looked like this.

Like your resume, the format and presentation of a LinkedIn profile needs to be easy on the eye. It needs to be easily readable. You need to make an argument to hire you. There is no point hitting the top page of a LinkedIn search with your chosen keywords if the only thing these words spell out is confusion.

Keyword stuffing makes you look desperate for attention. If everyone does this it becomes a race to the bottom to get up to the top.

So, let’s get back to basics with LinkedIn.

If you’re writing your profile, think about what you look for when you want to connect with or hire someone.

LinkedIn is a search engine for people. If I have been hiring, I’ve looked for people who look like they know what they are talking about. I’ve looked at their experience. If I haven’t been able to get a handle on what someone’s done and who they’ve done it for because they’ve stuffed the first 10 experience sections full of keywords, I’ve moved on.

I don’t want to look at someone who looks like they’re shouting keywords at me. I’d only hire a SAP stuffer if I needed my LinkedIn profile stuffed with SAP.

I’m pretty basic. I respond to an approachable summary, a solid list of recommendations, some sharing of ideas, and someone who is active in their industry groups. That tells me this person’s interests, and that they are using technology to keep them abreast of the latest ideas in their field.

That’s the type of professional I want to hire.

Karalyn Brown is a former HR and recruitment consultant who now dispenses job search “wisdom” on her blog InterviewIQ. A social media marketing fan, she spends much of her time building up her business through tweeting, targeting Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.