LinkedIn Profile Critique: Thom Allen

February 24th, 2010 | by Jason Alba |
Want a LinkedIn Profile Critique like this? Let me know.  It is currently priced at $99.

Thom Allen, a local friend, asked me to critique his LinkedIn Profile.  On my LinkedIn DVD there are over 20 minutes of video where I critique five professionals’ LinkedIn Profiles… it was one of the funner parts of doing my DVD.  The DVD is 1/10th the cost of what I charge per hour – if you want a critique I can do it for my hourly rate ($250) or you can simply buy the LinkedIn DVD :p

Let’s get started, from the top of the LinkedIn Profile to the bottom:


  1. GOOD: just the name – not an email, not how many connections you have, not telling me you are a LION, etc.  Clean, not distracting, not noisy.
  2. OK: I like to think of the LinkedIn Professional Headline as an opportunity to share your very condensed elevator pitch… not just tell me your job titles.  Imagine we meet and you say “Hi, I’m Thom, web designer, information architect, entrepreneur.”  That doesn’t do much for me.  Think of this as an opportunity to give me a marketing message.
  3. NICE: it’s a good picture – the key is that it’s a closeup headshot… that’s what LinkedIn (and I) want to see.
  4. NOT BAD: updated in the last 4 days.  This is a great opportunity to tell your LinkedIn contacts what you are up to – I’ve been amazed at how many people actually see your status updates.  Think about keeping this updated at least once a week (or tying it in with your Twitter Tweets).
  5. HMMMM: I got a lunch invitation, which lead to two speaking opps and some book sales, because I had CEO in my profile.  But aside from that I encourage people to put something more value-add as a title.  Don’t make something up just for SEO, but I wonder if you change the title to something your target audience is searching for if they won’t find you more often?
  6. HMMMM: I don’t like the LLC… it does nothing for me.  I have no idea what your company does… where can I find out more?


  1. HMMMM: 13 LinkedIn Recommendations is fine – nothing wrong with that.  However, since you have 500+ connections I would hope to see more Recommendations…. just my thoughts, like I said, 13 is OKAY, especially if they are well-rounded and well-crafted.
  2. NOT BAD: 500+ is fine, but the thing that makes me question the quality of any of those is the ratio of Recommendations to Connections.  At least I look at that and say “okay, he knows some stuff on LinkedIn, enough to be connected to a lot of people.”
  3. OUCH!!: Dude, get my DVD.  Or listen to any of my podcasts or webinars.  This is one of the easiest, fastest things to change.  Go to your Profile page and next to the links click the EDIT link, and then in the drop down click OTHER, and then freehand something more descriptive about your company “My iPhone Development Company,” your blog “My Professional/Photography Blog,” and … My Facebook?  How about “Connect with me on Facebook.”
  4. NICE: Cool, and you are very active there.  I LOVE this new field so I can learn more about you, and interact with you better on Twitter.
  5. PERFECT: You got your vanity URL… nice job.


  1. WEAK: “I’ve pretty much been developing”… you can tighten that language up.
  2. WEAK: “I’ve done everything from coding to design, to product management.” Clean that up but break it down more.  “As a professional developer I’ve _________, which helps companies _______.”  “As a software designer I specialize in ________ and am passionate about _______, which results in ________.”  “As a product manager for various companies I’ve been able to _________ which resulted in ________.” (see notes below, after the 6th bullet point)
  3. WEAK: “I really want to work with” I would find another way to word that… sounds begging.
  4. WEAK: this sound like begging too, but you haven’t given me any reason (any meat) to really think you are going to be my CTO or VP.  Also, it would be nice to know what size company you think you are a match for – Fortune 100 or small company?  Funded or entrepreneur… etc.
  5. WEAK: See your full profile?  I thought I was on your full profile… where else do you want me to go?  There is very little meat here for me to really know if I want to move forward with you as my CTO or VP.
  6. WEAK: Oh yeah… “as a complete afterthought… ”  … this is like listing “and I know how to use Microsoft Office products…”  … it is a “maybe this is an important skill.” If you are good at it then include it somewhere in the Summary.

When you write your LinkedIn Summary I want you to think about using the entire allotted space, which is 2,000 characters.   Tell me stories (like I show in #2, above).  Think Problem-Action-Results.  Give me MEAT.  This summary is way too short to really tell me much about you.


  1. GOOD: This is a feed from your blog.  I am not sure how many people actually pay attention to this, but realize it’s on your Profile so make sure that what you are writing about is on-brand with the rest of your LinkedIn Profile.
  2. HMMMM: Not sure why this even shows up, I thought it only showed up if you added slides… apparently not. Anyway, I LOVE the idea of YOU adding a visual presentation to your Profile, and this is how to do it.  So make up a 15-20 slide presentation about you and your strengths and put something there… !


You are missing an opportunity to put MORE information about your current company, what you guys really do, who you serve, what your role is, etc.  Look at the difference between the first company (1) and the second company (2).  Why are you giving more info about (2) than (1)??


This list of Groups gives me a really good idea of what you like, who you hang with, etc.  It is on-brand and not distracting… not bad :)

There you go – how’s YOUR Profile?

Want a LinkedIn Profile Critique like this? Let me know.  It is currently priced at $99.
  1. 10 Responses to “LinkedIn Profile Critique: Thom Allen”

  2. By Meridith Levinson on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    This is so helpful, Jason! Thanks for being a guinea pig, Tom! I’m definitely going to clean up my LinkedIn profile tonight.

  3. By Scott Cowley on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Don’t worry, Thom. I still like you.

  4. By Paul on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Like the comments – I’ve cleaned up my profile a bit. What do you suggest for the “current” part when one is unemployed? I copied what I’ve seen others do – I put “In transition” at outplacement firm. Now I’m hearing others say don’t do this.
    Any thoughts?

  5. By Jason Alba on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    @Paul, I blogged about that very thing here…

  6. By Paul on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it appears I have to enter a company name and position title? I guess I’ll leave the “In transition” bit and the outplacement firm, but add bit on the description side to better highlight the fact that I’m looking.

  7. By Jason Alba on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    I think we’re talking about two different things. That link talks about what you can do on your “professional headline” if you are unemployed. YOu are asking about the current title/position – I can’t remember if they make you have something current.

    Some people leave what their last role was, others put up a fictitious company and say they are a consultant… for example, I might put Marketing Consultant or Marketing Freelancer @ Alba Consulting…. make sense?

  8. By Jane on Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

    Great blog. Best explanation I have seen of how to use all the features.

    My only disagreement is that too many recommendations looks too cheesy–like you are trying too hard. Recommendations is all about quality not quantity.

  9. By Jason Alba on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    @Jane, thank you… good comment on the quality vs. quantity. I go into this in my DVD and book (my comments here on all points were quite brief).

    My “yellow flag moment” came to the ratio… I don’t advocate getting tons of Recommendations, but if you have a large network without many recommendations I wonder if you didn’t just go to one of those “get tons of connections fast – even though no one knows or cares about you!” places …

  10. By Roberto Lebron on Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

    Dear Mr. Alba:

    Thank you for another very useful article.

    I see that under Engineer Manager/Senior Software Engineer, Mr. Allen writes, “Assisted Principle Engineer…” Since you describe Mr. Allen as a local friend, you may want to point out to him that a principle is a fundamental truth or proposition, an idea. Mr. Allen assisted the Principal Engineer, the Engineer with the highest authority, the Head Engineer. Spelling mistakes like this one can seriously undermine an otherwise well-written profile. Using the Spelling and Grammar Tool in Word and letting other people read over our material before posting it can help us avoid this kind of error.

    Again, thanks.

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