Stand out and let
the job come to you!
If you're looking for a job (or just new clients), it's time to get that LinkedIn profile working for you. These days, potential clients and employers know that more info is just a web search away. What does your profile tell them?
More and more, employers are turning to the internet to handpick candidates for open positions. Why put out a job listing and hope the right candidate calls you, when you can just go find them? One of the most popular sites to search is LinkedIn. Even if you’re responding to a job listing, make sure your LinkedIn profile is a quality resource where employers can get more info about you.
Come on… vogue!
Your profile picture is the first thing a potential employer will notice. Make sure it says what you want it to say. It should be a professional (and professional-quality) headshot.
How you’re dressed depends on what industry you’re in, though a nice button-down in a color that compliments your coloring is always a good go-to. Keep your jewelry small and tasteful and your hair neat and conservative. If you’re a creative professional, you can probably get away with something a bit flashier, but remember that less is more. Avoid these profile picture mistakes:
- Don’t use a candid photo that shows you engaging in your favorite hobby (unless you’re trying to get a job as fisherman or golfer). Depending on your industry, it's OK to be a little more creative, but think about how a potential employer might see it — will you look creative or just unprofessional?
- Don’t use a photo that has someone else in it. It’s not only confusing, it’s unprofessional. No matter how good you looked out with the girls last night, save it for Facebook.
- Don’t look like you’re taking a glamour shot. Your hair should be styled in a way you’d wear it to work. Don’t wear too much makeup, either. Most photogs will tell you to wear a bit more than usual because the camera washes it out a bit, but don’t go overboard.
- Don’t make the mistake of wearing no makeup. Even if you don’t typically wear it, keep in mind that even George Clooney wears makeup during photo shoots. Feel free to keep it light so you still look like yourself.
- Don’t use something that’s not a photo. Caricatures are hilarious, but unless you’re a cartoonist, they’re inappropriate for LinkedIn. Don’t show photos of objects that represent your profession or a logo, either.
Bring your summary into this century
Remember the 80s and 90s? Back then, we were encouraged to use a slew of fancy buzzwords to get an employer’s attention. Creative, organized, effective, experienced, track-record, multitasking, communication skills, dynamic, results-oriented… even if these things are true, try to strike as many of them as you can from your profile.
Instead, use specific action words that describe your accomplishments, not your personality. While you’re there, make sure everything is up-to-date and reflects your most recent accomplishments.
Learn how to write your LinkedIn profile using these 10 résumé tips >>
Before you finish this step, do one last thing. Make sure your contact info is updated!
Leverage the extras
Unlike a résumé, your LinkedIn profile comes with some extra features you can take advantage of. Make sure you use as many of them as you can.
Quick tip: The best way to get recommendations is to give them first. Go through your list of connections and endorse everyone you’ve done business with, then ask them to return the favor.
- Request recommendations from connections on LinkedIn. Don’t worry, you get to see and approve them before they show up on your profile.
- If you are involved in any projects or have been published, add those in their respective fields.
- Add any languages you speak, what organizations you’re a member of, awards and honors, courses and test scores, patents and certifications, along with any volunteering that you do or causes that you actively support.
- Add the keywords from LinkedIn’s skills and expertise section to describe your skills. People who are on LinkedIn can actually endorse you in these areas. Don’t be afraid to ask them to endorse you.
Watch your language, young lady!
LinkedIn isn’t just a place to post your profile. It’s social media and social media means interaction. When you post things, make sure they’re things you’d be comfortable with a future employer seeing. Always triple-check what you’re posting to make sure there aren’t any major spelling or grammar errors.
More tips for job hunters
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Interview tips for the stay-at-home mom
How to be happily employed in a tough economy