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.
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