You haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile since you graduated college.
Because a new year means you may be updating your resume anyway, it’s a great time to hit the refresh button on your LinkedIn profile too. Or maybe you're considering switching jobs. Many applications now ask that you link to it. And hiring managers use it to search for and vet candidates. Still not convinced? Google yourself. We bet your LinkedIn profile showed up on page one. You can't hide forever.
Take a look at the “About” section right under your name, picture (more on that in a sec), and “headline” (current job and company). It’s one of the most prominent spots on your profile and a lot of people don’t even fill it out. Here’s the place where you can state your professional objective and sell yourself.
Describe your experience and the type of role you’re looking for (or currently have if you're not on the hunt) in about 100 words. Think of it like a short cover letter that tells a (work) story. Here's an example: “I was a top salesperson at X company and brought in Y revenue on a yearly basis. I am now looking to contribute my experience working with clients in A, B, and C industries on a growing and motivated team.”
Because your LinkedIn profile is a lot like a first impression, you need a photo that sells yourself. Choose a recent pic, aka what you look like today...Not one to prove how hot you were in college. Avoid distracting backgrounds, shoot the photo in soft natural light, and make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame. Next, edit the “Experience” section of your profile to include all those bullets you likely already have listed on your resume. Next add some skills to your “Skills & endorsements” section. You can list up to 50 and slot them into one of three categories: Top Skills, Industry Knowledge, or Interpersonal Skills. It's a free response section so get creative (though 'professional binge watcher' might be taking it too far). You'll then want to ask former co-workers, peers, or professors to endorse the skills that really make you shine. Because your endorsed skills rank highest, and all other skills default to date added (cough, you can always delete and re-add skills to get your best ones on top, cough). Your connection just has to click on your profile, scroll down, and hit the plus sign next to the skill you want endorsed. This simple act is a thumbs-up for hiring managers and recruiters. Think of it like the new way to ask for references.
Log in every once in a while to post articles you find interesting and to see what the rest of your network’s been up to. Like or comment if that’s your thing or observe at a distance. You do you. The goal is to stay up to date on your connections and industry, not to cyberstalk. Think of it this way: You should not be the last to know that your former manager left her company...six months ago.
It seems like everything’s happening online these days. And that includes selling yourself to potential employers. Like your resume, LinkedIn is a snapshot of what you bring to an (employer’s) table, so don’t put off updating your profile.
Skimm'd by Becky Murray and Avery Carpenter Forrey
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