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The Simple LinkedIn Mistake That Is Killing Your Job Chances

07/24/2014 01:22 pm ET | Updated Sep 23, 2014
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Millions of LinkedIn users are sabotaging their own careers and job search by making an easy to fix mistake -- misspelling words in their job titles and LinkedIn Professional Headlines.

We all know how deadly misspellings are in resumes. Somehow, many of us have not translated that understanding to our LinkedIn Profiles. As a result, we make a bad impression on many people. But damaging credibility is not the only negative impact -- and it may not even be the most serious!

Result of the misspelling: Exclusion from search results on important keywords for our job search and career.

I found one common (but very significant!) word misspelled in over 125,000 Profiles! (See, below.) And those were only the people in my LinkedIn network.

Why Spelling Matters

Your LinkedIn Professional Headline is the most visible part of your Profile. It is the short description of you that appears at the top of your Profile and, perhaps more significantly, beside your name and head shot photo, whenever you or your contributions appear in LinkedIn. And, Headlines often contain misspellings, as you'll see below. Imagine how unimpressive that is when people see it and the resulting reduction in the number of clicks through to your Profile.

The job titles in your Profile are also very important. They are one of the key terms used by recruiters to find qualified candidates. By default, LinkedIn copies the most current job title into the Professional Headline, and you certainly don't want a misspelled Professional Headline visible everywhere on LinkedIn beside your name and photo.

Sometimes the damage is very serious, immediately disqualifying you for an opportunity by clearly and immediately disproving the claims made in your Profile ("detal-oriented" or "senior copy edtor"!).

Other times the damage is more subtle - but potentially much more harmful - when your Profile is not included in the search results on your job title ("Cost Acountant") or other qualification ("Certfied Project Mangement Professional").

10 Deadly Misspellings

The statistics below reflect my research into the Profiles only of the people in my network who live in the USA, hopefully eliminating many non-American English spelling conventions as well as other languages from being counted as errors.

When English is clearly not the native language of the LinkedIn member, a certain level of tolerance is probably given, although that tolerance won't help improve search results. But, when English is the native language, tolerance is probably reduced.

1. Manager -- 125,819 Profiles with typos

It's apparently quite difficult for many of us to remember that second "a" in all variations of the word manage, like "manger" (118,949), "mangement" (6,749), and "manged" (121). Considering that experience in management is often highly sought-after, these typos currently hurt many people.

2. Assistant -- 19,164 Profiles

Assistant is an important term that impacts many positions from "Asistant Professor" to "Administrative Assistent" or "Executive Assistan," and it is regularly misspelled - Asistant (8,077) and Assistent (7,405) are the versions most often visible. Profiles containing the version without the "t" at the end of the word are also numerous.

3. Representative -- 17,796 Profiles

Representative is an important keyword that is frequently mangled. The versions I found most often include Represenative (15,635), Representaive (1,420), and Repesentative (741). And more bad variations must exist, too...

4. Professional -- 6,822 Profiles

Professional is often used in LinkedIn Headlines, like "Real Estate Proffesional" or "Professoinal Baseball Player." The most frequent version of this misspelling in my network currently is "Profesional" (5,424).

5. Executive - 5,846 Profiles

Interesting that several of the misspelled words seem to represent more senior positions, and Executive certainly fits with Manager (above) and Director (below). I found many "Excutives" (5,808) in Headlines like "Sales Excutive."

6. Engineer -- 5,511 Profiles

Engineer Profiles come in many different variations, from running trains to creating software or building bridges. You would think it would be an easy word to spell for someone who had attended an engineering school. However, I found 4,494 "Enginers" (including one very memorable "Sofwar Enginer") and 1,017 other "Engneers" of various flavors.

7. Director -- 4,552 Profiles

Director is typically a fairly senior job, and I would expect such a person to have a first class profile. But, I found a surprising number of Profiles with typos, almost evenly divided between "Diretor" (2,484) and "Directer" (2,068).

8. Business - 4,376 Profiles

Interesting variations of the word "business" appear frequently in Professional Headlines and job titles -- like "Busines Analyst" and "Busness Development" among many. Dropping the last "s" is the most frequent misspelling ("busines") -- 3,453 in my LinkedIn network -- with 923 skipping the "i" in the middle ("busness").

9. Associate -- 3,948 Profiles

The word "associate" appears in many job titles, from Associate Professor to Sales Associate, and it is misspelled with amazing regularity: 1,931 use "Asociate" and 1,206 use "Assocate."

10. Consultant - 3,898 Profiles

Consultants seem to have a pretty good grasp of how important spelling is to their business success. Yet, an amazing number do manage to allow misspellings of the word "consultant" to sneak into their LinkedIn Profiles. I found these misspellings in the Profiles of employees working for some big brand names (Microsoft, Verizon, etc.): "Cosultant" (1,894), "Consultan" (983), "Conultant" (898), and a few others.

More Misspellings:

11 - Accountant: 3,877
Accoutant - 2,287
Acountant - 1,349
Accountent - 241

12 - Recruiter: 3,392
Recuriter - 827
Recruitor - 374
Recruter - 547
Recriuter - 90 ("Sr. Recriuter")
Recruitter - 34 ("Technical Recruitter")
Talent Aquisition - 1,520 (should be "Talent Acquisition")

13 - Senior: 2,640
Senor - 2,319
Senio - 246 ("senio vice president")
Sennior - 75

14 - Instructor: 2,557
Instructer - 1,474 ("Instructer - Psychology")
Instrutor - 1,083 ("Computer Instrutor/Coordinator")

15 - Operations: 2,553
Operatons - 1,790
Opeations - 484 ("Chief of Opeations")
Oprations - 279

16 - Human Resources: 2,045
Human Resourses - 1,223 ("Human Resourses Administrator")
Human Resoures - 548 ("VP Human Resoures")
Human Reources - 274 ("Director Human Reources")

17 - President: 1,615
Presdent - 1,373
Precident - 278

18 - Writer: 1,306
Writter - 1,224
witer - 84 ("Witer/Editor")

19 - Transportation: 1,267
Transporation - 1,238
Transportatio - 29

20 - Officer: 1,150
Oficer - 1,150 "(Chief Operation Oficer")

21 - Technology:
Techology - 1,077

22 - Marketing: 965
Markting - 578
Marketng - 303
Mrketing - 84

23 - Healthcare: 651
Heathcare - 651

24 - Lawyer: 861
Laywer - 104
Lawer - 252 ("associated lawer")
Atorney - 296 ("Asst. District Atorney")
Attorny - 171 ("Real Estate Attorny")
Attorne - 38 ("Supervisory attorne")

25 - Sales: 607
Sals - 519
Ssales - 88

26 - Editor - 559
Editer - 472
Edtor - 87

Finding and Fixing Misspellings in LinkedIn Profiles

Although the Profile Summary and other sections have a spell check function available, LinkedIn's spell check does not apply to Professional Headlines or job titles. Perhaps there are too many unique (crazy?) job titles and other strange words or characters included in those sections. But, maybe LinkedIn should re-think that approach.

My recommendation is to copy and paste your LinkedIn Profile into Microsoft Word -- or your favorite software with a spell check function. The typos should become visible. Then, you can fix them.

Another option is to have a proofreader look at your Profile. In my research for this article, I checked to find misspellings of the word "proofreader" in the LinkedIn Profiles of proofreaders, and found only six of them, out of nearly 50,000 in my network -- a good sign.

For more help with Linkedin, visit Job - Hunt.org's free Guide to Using LinkedIn for Job Search.

Follow me on GooglePlus and Twitter (@JobHuntOrg) for more job search tips. Join the Job-Hunt Help LinkedIn Group for more help with your job search.

Susan P. Joyce is president of NETability, Inc. and the editor and chief technology writer for Job-Hunt.org and WorkCoachCafe.com. Susan also blogs for HuffingtonPost.com and contributes to LinkedIn, YouTern.com, NextAvenue.org, and BrazenCareerist. This post was originally published on LinkedIn.