LinkedIn is a powerful social media platform for job seekers. Recruiters use it to qualify potential candidates, business owners use it to stay connected, professionals use it to network. If you’re looking for a job, LinkedIn is one of the best places to explore new opportunities, promote your skills, and get hired.
Here’s how to update your LinkedIn profile to help you stand out to potential employers—in a good way—and get the job you want.
1. Update Your Profile Picture
A picture is worth a thousand words, so choose a profile picture that sends the right message. The good news is that, thanks to smartphones, a high-quality image is relatively easy to come by these days, so you won’t necessarily need to hire a professional photographer to make it happen. Your headshot doesn’t need to be perfect, but it needs to be professional. Wear something appropriate, make eye contact with the camera, and don’t forget to smile.
2. Grab a Custom URL
Here’s a personal branding tip—customize your LinkedIn profile URL. It should look something like linkedin.com/in/yourname. This will make it easier for you to share your profile with others and get found. On your Profile page, choose “Edit public profile & URL” in the top right-hand corner of the screen. From there, click “Edit your custom URL” and ditch the clunky letters and numbers LinkedIn automatically generates for you.
3. Power Up Your Headline
Did you know that your headline doesn’t necessarily need to be your job title and company? Instead, you can and should use this space to showcase the skills and experiences that are relevant to the types of jobs you’re pursuing. Be sure to include relevant keywords and showcase your greatest strengths—just keep it to 120 characters or less! For example, you could update “UX Designer at XYZ Company” to “Experienced UX Designer | Product Manager | I help companies design and develop successful software applications.”
4. Snag Some Recommendations
When a potential employer or recruiter lands on your page, they’ll be looking for confirmation that the skills and experiences you’ve listed are in fact legit. Recommendations are a great way to gain some third-party validation and score yourself a spot as a stand-out candidate. There are two main ways to make this happen: you can ask for a recommendation through your profile page, or you can write someone else a recommendation and hope that they write one for you in return. Either way, be sure to say thank you!
5. Update Your Profile Regularly
Much like your resume, your LinkedIn profile should be kept up-to-date to give potential employers an accurate representation of you and your professional experience. Even if you’re not quite ready for a career change right now, it’s always a good idea to keep your profile current. Don’t let it collect cobwebs—stay active so that when the time comes to find your next opportunity, you’ll be ready.
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