After writing a recent post on what to do if you get laid off, I thought it would be helpful to expand on what you should be doing with your LinkedIn profile. So whether you are currently looking for your next job or are happily employed, here are some tips everyone can apply to their LinkedIn profile presence.
1 - Work on while employed, not just while you are looking
Don't neglect your LinkedIn profile if you are not looking for a new job. This should be an asset of yours that should be updated regularly. Execute a great project? Update your profile, and link to it so you can reference it later, or show off your work to future employers. Did you run some metrics for the quarter and you saw some favorable improvements? Add a bulllet to your current role description sharing how you helped increase leads, revenue, etc. x% over whatever time period. These types of activities are all so much easier to do as they happen instead of months or years later, when trying to remember your greatest accomplishments so you can talk about them today.
2 - Ask for recommendations.
I'm always looking for opportunities to get fresh LinkedIn recommendations - both from people I work with directly, but also those in different departments and levels. All of this demonstrates my ability to work cross-functionally, which is a real strength regardless of your position.
That being said, it can be intimidating for people to start from scratch - so don't just blast people with open-ended LinkedIn recommendation requests: often you may not get a response. In your request, I would provide bullets on what you'd like them to focus on - which should contain keywords describing your expertise. For example, ask them to describe your role in a recent project you worked together on, or stress your leadership skills if you are looking to move up in your next role, etc. Not only is this a lot easier for people to do, but it provides some validating content on what you want to be known for.
3 - Customize your URL
This sounds like a basic one, but you are able to customize your LinkedIn URL. It's so much easier to share a link that is your profile name, instead of a bunch of numbers. Depending on when you read this, the instructions may change: but today, if you are on your LinkedIn profile page, the top right has an option to "Edit Public Profile & URL" where you can customize the text. Mine is simply www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyosgood which is my maiden name (there are a LOT of Ashley McManus, and I want to stand out!)
4 - Invest in a professional headshot
Please, please don't use that photo of you from a wedding. Yes you look amazing, but you also need to look clean and professional. Either invest in a professional headshot or get a friend to take one up close with a simple backdrop, zoomed in and cropped at the shoulder.
Think about how you want to be portrayed: what vibe do you want to give off? Hair up or down? Glasses? Clothes? Accessories? How can you portray your creativity in you headshot? All things to consider.
5 - Brevity is your friend
Similar to resumes, we don't need gobs of text to describe your roles, summary and focus areas. Think about keywords again and get to the point: how can you bring value to an organization? Why would someone hire you? What tone can you use to attract the company you want?
The Bottom Line
LinkedIn is a huge source for hiring managers, recruiters and other roles at your future employer. Put your best foot forward and give your profile some love today, or schedule some time over the next few weeks on your calendar to make some updates. Think about who you can ask to recommend you, and make sure you file away the action item to update your profile with links whenever you accomplish something great, so you will be able easily reference this in the future.
The tech industry has been rampant with layoffs in recent months. As someone who has had their position eliminated in the past, I know how much this can suck. So if you find yourself suddenly without a job today, it can be disorienting to say the least. In addition to the income loss, the daily grind that you had become so accustomed to has now come to a stop and it's normal to be paralyzed. So what now?
Here's what I recommend you do:
1 - Take 2 weeks off to reflect.
The WORST thing you can do right now is throw yourself into the job search. You are not in a place to thoughtfully apply to your next role. Take some time now to honestly reflect about the work you were doing: what did you like about that job? What didn't you like? Where do you want to go next? Take this decompression time to realign with yourself and think about where you really want to be: it can be a great chance to psych yourself up for the job search ahead.
2 - Tap into your network.
I am a big fan of having a personal board of directors: that is, a group of people you surround yourself with who invested in your professional success. It can be past bosses, old professors, even coworkers who want to see you develop and grow. Reach out to them first and explain your situation, and see if they know of anyone who is hiring or share what you are looking to do next. This is where the 2 week reflection comes in - you have had the time to look back and decide what would be the best fit for you now. If any recruiters have reached out to you in the past (maybe you have connected with them?) reach out to them as well saying that you are looking for your next opportunity.
3 - Update your resume and LinkedIn Profile, if needed.
Spend some time on your LinkedIn profile: are all your latest accomplishments on there? Courses you have taken? Have you asked coworkers for recent recommendations? Especially if your position was eliminated, and you left on good terms, it's perfectly acceptable to ask colleagues or even your old boss to provide a good reference for you. Think about what you want to be known for and what you want to do next: I would provide bullets of what you'd like them to write for you, which makes the process easier for them. Make sure to also spend some time refreshing your resume so you have it ready to go upon request.
4 - Take reflections from step 1 and go hunting.
You know where you want to go next, type of role you want, and maybe even have a shortlist of companies that are hiring thanks to your network. Now is the time to dig in and start with the applications. It can take up to 6 months to secure a new role, so patience and persistence is key. If you don't get an offer, ask for feedback: where can you be stronger?
Also block off some time every day to focus on the job search, and structure your new daily routine around it. Maybe its a good time to take that professional development or in-person course you've always wanted to do - now that you have the time, and can update your LinkedIn profile / resume with it...not to mention, do a little networking with the instructor or classmates. I would also recommend looking to see what local events are happening around you - often groups of professionals have regular meetups and you can socialize while figuring out who is hiring.
Bottom Line: One door closes, another opens
This experience sucks, I've lived through it. Take the time to grieve but when you come out on the other side, try to reframe this as an opportunity. Think about what was not ideal at your prior job, whether it's an increase in salary, more flexibility, or something else you want that is important to you. Best of luck in your search, and in the meantime grab this interview guide to nail your future interviews!
Why is it so hard for women to talk about money?
It's a struggle that I've felt personally and am trying to think of ways to NOT pass that on to my daughters (I'm attempting now to talk to my 5 year old about money, so we'll see how that goes!) But I wanted to bring some attention to the topic in an attempt to dive deeper into the mindset struggles I notice women around me deal with when it comes to money and asking what they deserve.
The Financial Mindset Struggles we Need to Change
3 Tips on Asking for What You Deserve
So you recognize this discomfort that you have: great, now let's do something to change it. Here are three things you can do right now to make improvements in your money mindset.
I love talking about how awesome working women are. Check out this recent podcast for more!
I'm a motivated, self-starting marketer and working mom looking to make a difference in the world - one story at a time.
Let's get you set up for success!
Have a podcast? Let's talk.