LinkedIn is arguably the most important social media platform for all things in your work realm. As a result, you will want your LinkedIn Profile to be updated to create the best possible impression and to maximize your chances of being found by recruiters and others who might offer you a future job. Here’s some advice on a few simple steps you can take to improve your profile as well as some pitfalls to avoid.
Do: Distinguish yourself by creating a headline that can stay with you even if you leave your current job. What are you great at? What differentiates your skills? Add a little something here that makes you stand out in a positive and descriptive way.
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Don’t: Avoid simply listing your current job title and the name of the company you work at.
Do: Create a summary and be sure to list some of your unique strengths. This is another place to add keywords to help you be found should a recruiter be searching for someone with your expertise. (Note: the verdict is still out about whether you should compose this section in the first or third person. Increasingly experts encourage a more informal approach to this section so you can express your true personality. My recommendation is to go in the direction that makes you feel comfortable. If you do use the first person voice (e.g., I am a great at fill in the blank), don’t be overly cutesy or sarcastic. Keep it upbeat and positive.
Don’t: Do not leave this section blank! You would be amazed how many folks ignore this section and lose out on an opportunity to further differentiate themselves.
Do: Be sure to list several relevant skills in this area so people can endorse you for your true talents.
Don’t: Stay away from creating a laundry list of every little skill even those that may not be your true competency in an effort to seem like you can do anything. People appreciate truth in advertising.
Do: It is a good idea to list all the different positions that you have held going back no further than 15 years and include your accomplishments and outcomes within the description.
Don’t: Stay away from just listing your most current job and neglect to flesh out your full experience. It will make you look lazy.
5) Causes & Groups
Do: Add the Causes or Organizations you volunteer for or support as well as the Groups you are affiliated with and follow. It will help you tell your story and add dimension to you as a professional.
Don’t: Do not ignore Groups. Be sure to join several Groups as they provide a great opportunity to grow your network, learn from others, and stay current in your field. They can also be very helpful resources if you are thinking of moving into a new direction in your career by providing useful information to help you pivot.
Do: Be sure to include a photo preferably one that is professional and flattering. Ignoring this reflects poorly on you. People may think you do not have the ability to handle simple navigation within LinkedIn like uploading a photo — do not let them think that!
Don’t: Stay away from posting unprofessional photos of yourself wearing sunglasses or in an obscure place or position. Do not include of photo of you with others in the photo or too small to see your face. Think of this photo as a chance to make a positive first impression. Don’t ruin your initial chances by posting a mediocre, hard to see, or obscure photo.
This post originally appeared on Butterfly Careers.
Butterfly Careers is a boutique career coaching consulting practice that helps individuals find meaningful work. It offers resume writing, cover letters, LinkedIn Profile building and editing, career coaching, job interview preparation, career transition guidance and job search assistance. Visit www.butterfly-careers.com to learn more.