If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about your LinkedIn profile unless you’re actively looking for a new position. Even some job seekers spend little or no time on their LinkedIn profiles. Either way, this is a big mistake.
No matter how secure you think your job is or how much you like your job, you need to keep your resume up-to-date and your LinkedIn profile active and sparkling. By sparkling, I mean attention-getting and current.
No job is completely secure, no matter where you work. Even if you own the business, something could happen that causes you to need to look for work elsewhere.
Plus, you want to make sure you’re open to new opportunities that might provide a better salary or more room for advancement. You might even want to apply for positions just to see what’s out there and keep your interviewing skills sharp.
If you haven’t looked for a job in several years, you’ll find that things have changed. LinkedIn plays a big role in hiring these days. Recruiters not only find potential job candidates on LinkedIn, but, more importantly, recruiters and hiring managers will probably look at your LinkedIn profile before interviewing or hiring you. Here’s how to make your LinkedIn profile shine.
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Use a Great Picture
You need a good headshot for your profile, and not a selfie. Have someone take a few pictures of you using a high-quality camera phone. Crop the best one to add to your profile.
Change Your Headline
LinkedIn automatically uses your current job title as your headline, but you’ll want to go further and describe yourself as more than just your current position. One popular method involves writing your role or desired role, your industry and area of expertise and your unique value proposition.
Technical Writer | Legal, Financial, Government, Insurance, Medical | Documentation That Makes Sense
Some choose to write something more like a partial sentence, such as:
Technical Writer with Legal, Financial, Government, Insurance and Medical Experience
Either way, it’s best to spice it up a little bit and avoid using just your plain vanilla current job title.
Write Your ‘About’ Summary
The “About” LinkedIn section tells recruiters the highlights of your career, slanted in the direction of where you want your career to go.
Be sure to include keywords like creative, adaptive and other frequently searched words if they apply to you. Of course, you don’t want to just stuff keywords into your summary, but see if you can sprinkle them in naturally so your profile is more likely to come up in searches.
In the skills section, emphasize the skills that you want potential employers to find. Don’t add everything under the sun just to have lots of skills – concentrate on the skills that are in demand for your field and that potential employers will look for.
How do you know what skills recruiters want? Look through LinkedIn job postings. Check to see what skills the employers have highlighted for the positions that look interesting to you.
Start with a list of everyone you can think of with whom you’ve had some sort of positive relationship in the past – coworker, friend, associate, customer, etc. Personally, I don’t recommend letting LinkedIn have access to your address books or other social media. I’d go through those lists on your own and pick out people you want to connect with on LinkedIn.
I’m not sure there’s really a magic number of LinkedIn connections, but I would shoot for at least 50. If you can’t think of 50 people to connect with right off the bat, search for strangers with LION in their name or description – these are LinkedIn Open Networkers who’ll connect with anyone.
You should try to get some recommendations on your LinkedIn profile if you don’t have a few already. These should come from former associates, coworkers, managers, customers and/or clients who know your work well enough to write about your specific contributions and attributes. You also want people with good enough writing skills to come up with at least a paragraph that’s well-written, coherent and error-free.
Send emails to each potential recommendation writer individually with a personal message asking for the recommendation. Be sure to keep your email short, sweet and to the point. If you worked with this individual on a specific project, mention that in your email to jog their memory a little.
Describe Your Accomplishments
When entering your current and previous jobs, rather than listing your job responsibilities, list your accomplishments, using specifics. Examples:
- Increased sales of XYZ products by 25 percent year over year.
- Skillfully managed a departmental annual budget of approximately $552,000.
- Regularly managed complex projects using Agile methodology with budgets of up to $500,000.
Check Out LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com, offers a wide variety of sophisticated online training options appropriate for many different career paths. You can pursue industry certification tracks, train for a career change or learn additional skills to advance your career.
Categories include human resources, finance and accounting, business and entrepreneurship, customer service, business software, sales, marketing and software such as Microsoft Office products.
After you complete an online class, you can easily add it to your LinkedIn profile. You can get a fully-functional, all-access free 30-day trial of LinkedIn Learning. After the trial, it costs $29.99 per month.
Follow People and Companies
Search for companies and famous individuals who interest you and follow them. You might want to follow vendors your company uses, companies you might want to work for in the future, companies you’ve worked for in the past and want to keep up with, and key influencers in your industry.
Read Your Feed
Your home page in LinkedIn will show your feed, including posts from people you’re connected to as well as companies and individuals you follow. Check your LinkedIn feed at least once a month if you’re not job searching and once a week or more often if you’re transitioning.
Like or share posts you see that are appropriate to your industry. I stay away from anything controversial or even humorous on LinkedIn. This isn’t Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn is where recruiters come to find and investigate potential hires. I try not to post anything that might turn off a recruiter or hiring manager before she even looks at my background.