Nowadays, the moment you apply for a job, you are instantly examined on social media; the first being LinkedIn. Employers are are using these social outlets to verify who you are (in more ways than one), while also looking for any red flags. As a job seeker, social media can be your best friend or your enemy. You can use sites like LinkedIn to attract future employers or you could be unintentionally turning away your next job offer.
While editing your LinkedIn profile may seem time consuming, it is 100% worth the effort. It’s more of a red flag to have an incomplete, sloppy profile opposed to not having one at all. Even if you are a passive candidate not looking for work, keep in mind that recruiters and managers are searching for employees just like you, daily. Without even knowing, you could be pushing your dream opportunity away.
5 Tips to Keep in Mind
Your Profile Picture
One of the most common mistakes I see on Linkedin is not having a profile picture at all-this is a red flag to employers as they commonly feel that the profile they are viewing is not legitimate. The second most common mistake I see is an unprofessional profile picture. Pictures of your baby; your pet, “selfies”; hugging a friend or family member, should stay on Facebook and off of LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile picture should be only you (unless of course your business is “people” & your photo is you working with them). Keep the photo friendly and professional. Depending on the job you are seeking the meaning of the term “professional” will vary. If you’re looking for IT positions, a professional picture of you in action with technology can catch someone’s attention. Otherwise, the best picture is a head shot of you smiling, wearing something you would wear to work.
Customizing your public profile URL has its advantages, especially when sharing your link with hiring managers. It’s much nicer to have a URL that is linkedin.com/YOURNAME rather than a bunch of random letters and numbers. Here’s how to get your own custom URL through LinkedIn’s help center:
When employers check out your profile, they want to see what you’ve done. It’s not impressive to a hiring manager to just see your job title and where you worked. Take a little extra time to craft a description of what you did at that organization. If you need inspiration, look at other profiles with similar titles to you. Additionally, your future employer wants to be wowed with amazing work you’ve done. If you can, include links to projects or presentations with past companies- these are unique to you and will separate you from the crowd. If you don’t have projects to share, talk about your accomplishments in the job description section.
Networking is one of the greatest ways to find your next opportunity. You should start by connecting with people you know, have done business with or worked with. When a prospective employer looks at your profile, they may have mutual connections that make them feel more “connected” to you. It’s also a great conversation starter “I see that you know ‘this person’, I worked with him/her at company XYZ and I’m interested in getting to know more about your company”.
While you don’t want to go crazy adding people you don’t know on LinkedIn, it’s a good idea to branch out by asking close connections to introduce you to new people. This moves relationships along and expands your network of professionals. Additionally, make sure you are sharing status updates to engage with your new network. You can become a LinkedIn author and show off a little; this is what will get you noticed and set you apart from the others. Be sure to also follow company pages, including staffing agencies. These will show you the most recent job postings in your field and help you stay on top of opportunities.
Let’s be honest; anyone can claim they have any skill nowadays, but endorsements confirm them. If you claim that one of your top skills is “project management” and have 25 endorsements, you have a better chance of an employer picking up the phone to call you. The best way to get endorsed is to 1) Make sure you have accurate skills on your profile 2) Endorse others: people like to give back to who has helped them and 3) ASK. It’s acceptable to ask coworkers to write recommendations on LinkedIn for you when you’ve done a great job.
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