We know what you are thinking — is LinkedIn still around? Do people still use it? And we have answers — yes and yes.
LinkedIn may be the dinosaur of social media but it is not extinct yet. In fact, it is the only one of its kind.
Did we just say that LinkedIn is social media? It is. Although it does not offer walls, timelines, or grids you can wish someone a happy birthday and congratulate them on their work anniversary.
In all seriousness, it is used for professional networking. Networking is social, right? LinkedIn is the professional social media platform. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your virtual, interactive resume and it is not restricted to 1 page!
Just like a resume it should contain information about your past jobs, education and volunteer experience. It should also be up-to-date. Even if you are not currently job hunting, you never know what could come out of it. An employer could be impressed with your profile and send you an offer you cannot refuse.
If you haven’t logged on in awhile, recall that password and get comfortable. We have listed 7 ways to improve your LinkedIn profile. Do it now, thank us later.
1. Post a professional headshot
Unless you are an actor, you typically will not include a photograph of yourself with your resume. However, a photograph is absolutely necessary for your virtual resume, and a good one at that.
Do not post the same photo that is on your Facebook. You need a professional headshot. One that shows your face clearly and does not have a busy background.
2. Update your information
As we mentioned above, your profile should contain current information. Make sure your location is updated (visible just below your profile photo in the header section). This can be easily missed. It should be the city in which you currently live. Employers search within their local communities for talented individuals to join their company. You do not want to miss an opportunity to be included.
Update your skills as well. LinkedIn makes it easy to add a skill to your profile. It suggests skills based off the information you have already have on your profile. Stay away from including social media as a skill, unless you have actually managed accounts other than your own.
You should also list the most compelling skills first. Although important, being proficient in Microsoft Office is not a compelling skill. Make room for ones that make you stand out.
According to LinkedIn, if you list at least 5 skills, your profile could be viewed up to 17 more times!
The interactivity of LinkedIn is fantastic. Once you start adding your employers to your profile, you will see that the companies themselves become links and their logo will appear as an icon. This is a great tool for employers looking at your profile to identify the companies you have worked for and learn a little bit about them, if they are not widely known.
3. Make your profile public
You may have your other social media accounts set to private for good reason but you DO want your LinkedIn profile to be public. How else is an employer going to view your profile? Do not worry, the information that you include on your profile is not personal.
To make sure your profile is public, click on the “Me” button in the menu bar at the top of your screen, then click the Settings & Privacy option from the dropdown menu.
4. Ask people to endorse you
Just as important as it is to list your skills, asking people to agree with you is just as important. It is a reassurance to an employer. It says that not only do you think you have that skill, but your fellow coworkers think you do too.
It helps build your professional reputation. It does not take long for someone to do it for you. In fact, you may be notified that people have endorsed you without you having to ask.
5. Customize your URL
This sounds harder than it is, we promise. LinkedIn makes it very simple to do. While in the edit version of you profile, you’ll see “Edit URL” on the right sidebar. Once you click that, it will allow you to edit your URL right then and there.
Why change it? It is more professional to see linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastname than it is to see a computer generated number sequence. If your first name and last name are already taken, try adding your middle initial or your industry after your name. For example: GailRThomas or GailThomasProfessor.
6. Request recommendations
Recommendations from people are another great way to build your reputation. They act as unofficial references. You can request recommendations from anyone as long as they are one of your connections.
Play nice and offer to write a recommendation for them in return.
7. Write a compelling headline
Think of your headline like an objective on your resume. It’s designed to grab the attention of an onlooker and attract them to your profile. Pull out the thesaurus and get to writing!
You may notice that when you add your current job to your profile, your headline will automatically update to the title of that position.
This is rarely a good attention-grabber. Change it to something that describes what you do. The headline is a required piece to the profile so you cannot leave it blank. Make it memorable.
Now that you’ve completed these 7 steps and your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, what’s next? Well, if you are looking for a new job, take a look at the jobs posted by location or keyword. If you are happy with the job you have, sit back and relax.
Remember to log in periodically to add a new skill or connect with new people. You’ll be surprised at who you find. You will also accumulate a list of connections that can help you in the future.
Speaking of — who you know — have you read “5 Relationships Every Career Woman Must Have” yet? Don’t miss out on the networking opportunities you have right now!