The Problem With the “Can You Take a Quick Look at My Profile” Request

  At least 4-5 times per week, I'm asked by new LinkedIn connections, and other people I don't know, to take a quick peek at their profile and let the requestor know if I have any suggestions on improvements they can make. Unfortunately, this isn’t so easy. In fact, there are several problems that can occur from such requests and it can actually be a great disservice to job seekers. Even worse, if you ask inexperienced job seekers to take a look at your resume you may just be shooting yourself in the foot. Here’s why you shouldn’t be asking people to take a quick look at your LinkedIn Profile and make suggestions:  

Your resume deserves more than 30 seconds.

Your LinkedIn profile is a document showcasing your career, hard-earned achievements, and the overall basis of your livelihood. Therefore, asking someone to take a quick peek or do a “30-second review,” as the last requestor asked of me, is a huge disservice to your career. Can you do anything worthwhile on something so important in 30 seconds? The reality is you can’t even find spelling errors in your profile in less than 30 seconds. In fact, it took me more than 30 seconds just to write this paragraph. If you want to get the most out of someone reviewing your resume you need to give yourself and your profile the time it actually deserves.  

You aren’t giving any context.

Even if I felt like looking at your profile and giving you specific feedback for free, I cannot help you to the best of my ability because you’ve given me no context. What jobs are you pursuing? Has it been over 10 years since you last looked for a job? Are you looking to change careers while currently employed? The last scenario warrants different advice than someone unemployed looking to stay in the same field--and vice versa. Therefore, asking someone to take a quick look at your resume is futile because they know nothing about what you are trying to do. As such how can they give you the best advice?  

Advice is not one size fits all.

To further expand upon the last point, another reason why asking someone to take a quick look at your LinkedIn profile is a disservice to your career is because there is no such thing as one size fits all job search advice. This is my biggest pet peeve in chat rooms where free advice is given out all day long by well-intentioned, but ill-advised job seekers and newly, self-appointed LinkedIn experts. I see the same advice given to staff-level, expert tradesmen and white-collar executives. Similar tactics suggested to returning-to-work parents after working in the home for 10 years and gainfully employed execs looking to transfer industries and locations. This is insane! The same way the same résumé layout is not best for all job seekers, the same LinkedIn Profile treatment does not suit all job seekers. You can seek some examples of how to format different resumes and LinkedIn profiles by visiting our samples page.  

Have you considered whether or not you found a good source?

Is the advice giver familiar with your field or industry? Do they know how LinkedIn is used within your areas of expertise? Have they been successfully hired through LinkedIn and/or hired people through LinkedIn? These are extremely important questions to consider when asking people for advice. Certifications and self-appointed expert status is not enough. You need to consider what external validations of their expertise exist to see if the advice giver knows their stuff specifically to your situation.  

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