You’re newly on the job hunt and realize that in addition to updating your resume and gathering references that you need to update your LinkedIn account. Good on you to realize the importance of LinkedIn in your job search! The goal of this article is to focus on the six sections anyone should update on his or her profile.
Please note that this is not an article regarding How To Create a LinkedIn Profile or How To Write a Resume. I’m writing under the assumption that you already have both and are looking for the most efficient updates to look current and professional.
You know this part– make sure that your latest work history is included.
Tip: Confirm that you’re referencing the company name the same way that LinkedIn is so that your profile gets “linked” to the company profile. If you’re having trouble, try looking up profiles of coworkers to see what they have listed.
2. Education & Skills
Have you obtained any new certifications? Taken classes? Learned new skills? Be sure to include them here.
Tip: Note that the Education section is strictly for degrees. Add the Courses, Certifications, and Test Scores sections, as needed.
By default, your Headline lists your current job title & company. You can, and should, get out of default mode and brand yourself instead. Are you a “Dedicated Healthcare Professional”? Perhaps a “Skilled Engineer Looking for New Opportunities”? On LinkedIn you’re identified by Name AND Headline, so make the most of this section.
This is a great LinkedIn feature and works a little differently in this context than it does on your resume. The same? Let folks know what you do and what you’re looking for. The difference? You can be a little less formal here than on a resume. Consider your brand and craft something that reflects it.
Tip: Another difference is that you have more space to work with on LinkedIn, which can be a blessing or a curse. DO take advantage of the space to write something that will make folks want to learn more. DON’T rewrite your entire work history– redundancy doesn’t impress HR.
If you don’t have a profile Photo, add one. There is a ton of advice out there regarding the best type of picture to use. I’ll stick with my mantra– reflect your brand. The best picture for a CFO will be different than the best picture for a Graphic Artist.
Tip: As stated, “best” is relative but do remember that LinkedIn is specifically about your career. Save photos of your wedding, pets, and other people for Instagram.
Similar to confirming your references, consider asking folks for a LinkedIn recommendation.
Tip: If the person is on LinkedIn there’s even a template for making the request– though it’s a MUST to personalize the canned writing. You’re asking someone for a favor, after all. Show that you appreciate it by taking a few minutes to customize the request.
Those are my universal top six recommended updates for the recently renewed job seeker. That said, here are two more features that can be especially useful for some folks.
LinkedIn has several section types applicable to Volunteering if you want to include this type of information in your profile.
Tip: It is more common to list such information on LinkedIn than on a resume, but the same rules apply– think about your brand and determine whether this info would be helpful or confusing for HR.
BONUS: Custom Profile URL
The default url for your profile is messy. LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to create a permanent profile url that is suitable for adding to your resume or a business card.
Tip: URLs are available on a first come, first served basis so you may need to try a few different combinations.
That’s it, really. Good luck with the hunt!