How to Build a Comprehensive LinkedIn Profile
When searching for a new job, a few standard pieces likely come to mind: an updated resume, detailed cover letters, solid interview preparation, and being polished + professional when meeting with your potential future employer. Each of these key things fit well together to help ensure a smooth and successful interview process. Now that we as a society live and breathe on the internet, it is almost guaranteed that an employer will be sure to look at a potential candidate’s internet presence prior to hiring. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aside (for tips on this, check out John Woronowich’s article regarding social media presence!), there is a chance that an employer will look at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile. Here are a few helpful tips on creating a LinkedIn profile that is both employer and recruiter approved.
Keep it Up to Date
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to a candidate that I reached out to on LinkedIn under the impression that he or she worked for a certain firm, and it turns out they had left years ago and were currently employed somewhere else and just had not updated their profile. Shortly after you start a new role, update your LinkedIn. You wouldn’t send a prospective employer an outdated resume, so eliminate confusion by keeping your profile up to date and consistent. In addition, keeping your profile up to date is helpful to recruiters as well. As recruiters, we have the ability to see whether a candidate is “open to new opportunities” should the candidate choose to turn that option on – that’s right, you have the ability to let recruiters know you are open to making a career move and only recruiters can see this on your profile! It’s a helpful tool to open yourself up to hearing about new jobs that recruiters think your background and skill-set sync up well with, without necessarily sending out your resume.
It’s All in the Details
A LinkedIn profile should generally serve as a condensed resume. Therefore, while it’s not necessary to include every bullet point you would list on a resume, a profile should include some details regarding your title, department or team and job responsibilities. If your current position is listed as “Paralegal” at a law firm, but nothing further, how will an employer or recruiter know if you’re skilled in corporate transactions or that your focus has been in real estate? If you a manage a team of people or you helped train your team to use a new software system your firm implemented, include it! Details like these illustrate how dedicated you have been and why you’d be an excellent asset to any employer. Also, it’s always appealing for employers to be able to quickly spot if a candidate is skilled in certain software or databases, has any relevant professional affiliations and certifications, and is proficient or fluent in multiple languages. The details matter.
LinkedIn isn’t Facebook
I think it’s fairly easy to see where this one is going, right? LinkedIn is NOT Facebook – it is a professional networking platform. Thus, I recommend you refrain from posting any photos of your trip to Europe on LinkedIn and STRONGLY advise you do not start or be involved in political debates! You never know who will happen to stumble across your posts when scrolling through their feed. LinkedIn isn’t a dating website either. Messaging people in a non-professional or suggestive manner is definitely a big no-no. People utilize LinkedIn to make professional acquaintances and to stay up to speed on the job market – not to make a romantic connection. Finally, while Facebook and Instagram may be full of photos of your loved ones and selfies of you and your friends at the beach, LinkedIn really isn’t the place. Aim to have a professional photo of yourself as your profile picture and stay away from pictures including other people, pictures that may be a little too revealing, and selfies.
While a LinkedIn profile should not serve as a replacement resume, it is an extremely beneficial supplement to your resume when used appropriately in the hunt for a new job. I guarantee almost any recruiter will view your profile when you apply for a job, and chances are high that an employer will too. Keep your titles and dates current and in order on your profile. Add detailed job descriptions and duties below each of your previous and current roles. Lastly, save Facebook for Facebook and always maintain a polished profile while keeping your activity and language professional.