There’s no getting around the fact that updating your LinkedIn will never be as gratifying as Instagramming your breakfast, but the 10 minutes you spend giving your profile a revamp could be the difference in being offered that next big opportunity. So don’t wait until you’re looking for a new job to start using LinkedIn properly. “It takes time to build a quality profile, connections and network,” says LinkedIn expert Kylie Chown. “Think of your profile as an insurance policy. Put the work in now so that you can draw from it later.” Got a few minutes to spare now? Here’s what to do.
Treat your profile like an article
Think about the two main reasons you clicked on this article: it was the headline and image that got you, right? Those are the same two aspects that stand out on a LinkedIn profile as well, because as much as LinkedIn works like an online CV, sticking to a straight telling of your roles and responsibilities will create little impact. Kylie says, “Your headline is key to getting click-through to your profile. It’s a bit like when you do a google search, the headline of the website is what gets you to click through to the site.”
You can get creative with the headline if you like, but just keep SEO in mind so that potential employers can discover you. Kylie explains, “Recruiters and potential employers search for keywords, job titles and skills, and individual LinkedIn profiles are returned in search results. This means that before you tweak your profile, you need to know what words recruiters or potential employers would use to find you, and then include these keywords so that you can be found.”
As for your photo, unless you are paid to party, save your cocktail pics for Snapchat. “If you are using LinkedIn for your career, your photo should reflect how you would present at an initial interview,” Kylie says.
Play it cool
Just like you wouldn’t go out to a packed bar on a Friday night, stand on a stool and announce to the crowd that you’re looking for your future Mr/Mrs, you can’t be that desperate on LinkedIn either. This is why Dennis Koutoudis, founder of social media consulting company LinkedSuperPowers, recommends deleting all variations of the following in your headline:
“Looking for a new employment opportunity!”
“Ready for my next job!”
No, no, no.
“The goal of your LinkedIn profile is to stand out in your professional field, not ask [a potential employer] something from the minute they visit your profile,” Dennis says. “Make your LinkedIn profile professionally attractive, not too needy and too eager to find a job.”
Another big no is trying to please everyone. “Presenting yourself as a fit for all things to all people is not good at all. Your LinkedIn profile visitors (potential employers, recruiters, etc.) will see right through this and it will not help you as a job candidate,” Dennis says. “You must be aware of the saying, ‘Jack of all trades is master of none’?”
Tweak it on the regular
If you want to be top of the search results, it helps to stay active. This includes, “How frequently you’re logging in, the amount of liking/commenting/sharing (and on what topics), and your responsiveness to comments and shares,” LinkedIn specialist Sue Ellson says. “Endorsement for skills by other experts, recommendations of more than six, both given and received, and a minimum of 60 connections also helps.”
Then, whenever you have a few minutes to spare each week, keep making small tweaks to your profile until it really represents who you are. “If you are clear, you can actually make yourself unattractive to the wrong employer and attractive to the right employer,” Sue says. “For example, if you live to be creative, independent and autonomous, for goodness sake, say so! The last enterprise you want to be in would be formal, hierarchical and bureaucratic.”