I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Savvy LinkedIn users know the value of the circles of connections–why my first-degree contact has first-degree contacts, who are now my second-degree contacts, the contacts of whom are my third-degree contacts. Some become LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs; some keep their contacts more or less private. Wherever you are on the spectrum, you need to know that despite LinkedIn’s best efforts, some profiles are fake. Be wary of these false profiles, so you don’t get sucked in to their scams.

How to Recognize a Fake LinkedIn Profile

  1. Your name is in all lower-case letters. I’m not sure why improper capitalization correlates to a fake LinkedIn profile, but it does, anecdotally speaking.
  2. No photograph or headshot. Although not having a current photo is not necessarily a reason to decline to connect with a prospective contact, the fact that a profile has no personal or professional information leads me to believe that I’m reading a fake LinkedIn profile.
  3. The LinkedIn profile does have a photograph, but when a quick search of that photo on Google’s image search function yields some alarming search engine results. Typically, these images show that these images are being posted to multiple profiles, none with the same name. Sometimes they come from paid image sites. You need to judge whether the photo is credible.
  4. The text of the LinkedIn profile is thin. The person’s education is unlikely, given the person’s location and current profession. The work history is spotty, unusual, or unrelated to anything else in the profile. There is no description of the person’s employment, and there is no summary statement explaining the individual’s career path and what he or she offers the marketplace.
  5. The LinkedIn profile has fewer than 50 contacts.  Of course, every new entrant into LinkedIn has zero contacts–this is hardly the worry. A new profile with legitimate content and built out appropriately raises no red flags. But if the profile has few connections and some or all of the foregoing issues, there is high probability for this to be a fake LinkedIn profile.

A Real-World Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Let’s take this to the streets and evaluate a connection request I received yesterday. The email included the generic request for connection. While this isn’t a huge red flag necessarily, it’s never a great idea to generically invite someone to connect. But a fake profile “owner” can’t invite someone authentically, with a real request, because there’s no actual network to invite someone to.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

When I clicked through, I see the following LinkedIn profile:

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Take a look at the elements of the profile relative to the enumerated description above:

  1. The person’s name is in all lower-case letters.
  2. There is a photo today, but there wasn’t yesterday, when I first viewed the profile.
  3. The photo is not of the profile “owner.” I saved the photo and searched for it on Google Images. As I suspected, the image is someone’s private photo (as posted on Flickr, of an individual celebrating Manila Day). Clearly, this is not a professional photo of the profile “owner,” as the individual named in the private photo is different.
  4. The content of the profile is thin, misspelled, and not descriptive. Typically, profile owners write their actual job titles, not a vague description, and savvy LinkedIn users fill out their complete profiles. Moreover, the place of employment is listed on the company’s web site as Iowa. The profile owner lists Houston, TX, as his place of employment.
  5. The profile has <50 connections.

Are These Faults Enough?

You might say that none of these faults in this particular LinkedIn profile definitively indicate that the LinkedIn profile is fake. You’re probably right–any one of these, independent of the others, is not cause for particular alarm or disconnection. However, taken together, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I’m 99 44/100% sure that this is a fake LinkedIn profile. It lacks authenticity and honesty, and doesn’t even attempt to represent a real human being.

How to Be Authentic in Your LinkedIn Profile

There are many resources on how to write a terrific LinkedIn profile. Rather than describe the many ways to engage in an effective LinkedIn strategy, I’m going to offer one piece of valuable insight: Be authentic.

To design and implement an effective LinkedIn profile, not only do you need to complete the fields within it appropriately, you need to demonstrate that who you are online is who you are in person.

The reason fake LinkedIn profiles raise eyebrows–if not all-out alarms–is that there is no substance behind the skimpy text. What is your substance, and how does your online presence match your true self in the eyes of your audience?

Want to report a fake LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn’s customer service can help.

Connect with me (Amy L. Adler) at http://linkedin.com/in/amyladler.

Find a Mentor for Executive Job Search

Find a Mentor for Executive Job Search

Throughout your executive career, you have probably mentored several people. Now, you are looking for a mentor for your executive job search. Finding a mentor for your executive job search is not difficult if you know your specific expectations, goals and objectives. You want to look for someone who will assist you in achieving what you desire. Their knowledge and experience will provide you with different perspectives on issues, career challenges and opportunities.Mentor for Executive Job Search

To find your mentor in your executive job search, you should be willing to:

  • Look outside your field–A mentor does not have to be in the same field or industry as you. Often, you can get insight and objective opinions from someone who is not involved in your industry. This type of mentor may expand your thought processes about your career.
  • Collaborate on projects–This is a great way to get to know potential mentors. You are both invested in a common goal. Working together can deepen your relationship and provide you with common interests.
  • Make your relationship reciprocal–Your mentor will want to know how you are doing, what progress you are making, and what is working for you. Share your results. Offer your insights should you be asked for opinions on projects that your mentor is involved in.
  • Determine when and how often you will meet–You both are busy people. Predetermining this information sets the expectation that you both will be professional and prepared to work. This is not a social meeting.

Your meetings with your mentor will vary in length and topic, depending on your needs. Prepare for your meetings and the ensuing discussion. Your meeting may consist of updates on your current projects, potential opportunities, and professional development strategy.

As you develop your relationship, your interaction with your mentor may change. Your mentor may discover that your opinion is a valuable resource for his or her own endeavors, and you might have insights that can inform that person’s growth as well.

Remember, you are sharing knowledge, insights and opportunities.

Your relationship with your mentor can become a long term commitment that is beneficial for both of you.

 

Job Search Research on Target Companies: Prepare for Your Interview Success

Job Search Research on Target Companies: Prepare for Your Interview Success

You’ve done a lot of work preparing and searching for a job and now it is time to research the company prior to the interview. Researching a company is critical to having a successful encounter with the hiring agent. You want to be able to walk into the interview with confidence.

Research the Company BroadlyResearch Your Target Companies for Interview Success

  • Check the website-you can discover a tremendous about of useful information about a company’s financial health, recent news and community involvement.
  • Check with your network-see what your partners know about the company-both pros and cons.
  • If possible talk to current and past employees-check out the work environment.
  • Learn who the competitors are and what impact they have on the company.
  • Research local business journals, national news, databases, and more. Learn whether the company is growing or contracting, if it has recently launched new products, or if it has received an influx of investment money—this can tell you a great deal about the company’s current trajectory.
  • Research the company’s top employees on LinkedIn.

As you prepare for the interview, keep in mind that you are not just learning about the company and its culture, you are learning about the type of people that they hire. Through this type of research you are developing your own presentation plan on how to handle the interview itself.

Narrow Your Research to Prepare for Your Interview

  • Review your information and target key areas that you may want to discuss during the interview.
  • Determine how your strengths can help the company move forward and achieve its goals.
  • Create talking points that you will be able to use to discuss the company’s unique values.
  • Be prepared to explain how hiring you will benefit the company.
  • Develop questions to ask during the interview. Show your interest in the company. Don’t be afraid to ask about future goals of the company.
  • Use LinkedIn and Google to look up the name of the interviewer. Learning names and titles can help you feel more comfortable during the interview. Check to see if you have any common interests.

The more that you learn about a company prior to an interview, the more confident you will be going into the interview itself. You will have an idea ahead of time if you are a good fit for the company culture.

Resume versus Job Application: What’s the Difference?

Resume versus Job Application: What’s the Difference?

. . . and why does it matter?

Many companies require that you fill out a job application even though a resume is already in the hands of the hiring manager. While this may seem to be unnecessary repetition on your part, there are several reasons that companies want both the resume and the job application–reasons that benefit both the candidate and the hiring company. But if the information you provide on these two important career documents do not match, proceed only at the peril of your interview, and possibly your career.

Your Resume

Your resume is different from your job application.

Think of your resume as an advertising vehicle on your background. It provides the branding that you want to bring to your interviewer and makes you shine in the interview process.  It develops your branding and details the assets you bring to a future employer.

A resume provides a job candidate with an organized and structured method to present work experiences and achievements, educational background, membership in professional organizations and pertinent community involvement. Continuing education courses should be added to the resume especially if they are aligned with the prospective company’s interests.

Your Job Application

The job application offers a company a legal document that states that all information provided is true and allows the interviewer to look further into your background. Well-designed employment applications often will ask for more complete details as to why a person left a position or compensation history.

Applications are part of your official record with a company. Making sure that your resume and application information aligns is important. An interviewer will catch discrepancies even if done in error.

Both the resume and job application need to be complete and written honestly. Lying on either is an issue, especially since the job application is considered a legal document. Most applications have wording that states that all information provided is true, complete and accurate. Should a company discover that information was falsely stated, could result. It is wise to be completely honest on both the resume and the job application.

Does Your Resume Match Your Job Application?

Recent news, including notable cases at major media companies, suggests that a mismatch between your resume and job search is cause for immediate rejection by a target company (or termination, if you’re already employed). Don’t risk it. The more honest you can be about your career history, the more authentic your career story is. If you are having trouble telling your career history, due to some complexities in your career timeline (terminations, job hopping, and so on), then find an expert career coach and resume writer who can help you message that story appropriately.

4 Easy Steps to Preparing for Your Interview

4 Easy Steps to Preparing for Your Interview

Congratulations! All of your hard work has paid off—you got the call for the interview! Now you need to prepare for a successful interview with the person or team who makes the hiring decisions. There are several steps that you can take to maximize the value of this meeting for you and for your future manager and to make your interview go smoothly. Follow these 4 steps to preparing for your interview to put yourself on track.

Go to your interview proud and prepared for success with these 4 tips.

Go to your interview proud and prepared for success with these 4 tips.

4 Easy Steps to Preparing for Your Interview

1. Research the company prior to going to your interview—Your research on the company is the foundation for your questions for the interviewer about the needs and experiences of the company. Learn what the company’s values, missions, and goals are, and be prepared to ask interesting questions about the company’s position in the marketplace. Good sources of company information, beyond the company’s own web site, include Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, regional business journals, and publications by industry associations.

2. Put yourself in control by being prepared and showing your positive attitude. Your insightful self-knowledge about your experiences and expertise will help to open career doors for you during your job search. Study your own resume, and practice your answers in front of a mirror or camera, so that you can retell key points of your career history that are relevant to the position you’re seeking. Practice answering the hard questions: “Why were you terminated” and “Tell me about yourself” are perhaps the two most difficult, but these can be interview killers if you do not prepare ahead of time with answers that succinctly address the question and focus on the future.

3. Clean up your social media—Many companies will search your social media prior to hiring to look for red flags. Items that can cause you to lose that spot in the hiring lineup. Apps such as Social Sweepster can help eliminate posts to your social media that may cause concern to potential hiring managers.

4. Look the part—You need to be perceived as a member of the team and as someone who can fit in with the company’s culture. Whether the environment is business casual or office professional, you need to know how to present yourself. This having been said, you will not go wrong by dressing “up,” even for a casual environment; you can always hang your jacket on the back of your chair if everyone else is in t-shirts, but you will not ever be able to dress up a golf shirt if everyone else is in suits and ties.

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