Chances are that you already have a LinkedIn profile. Creating one may have been one of your first steps, or you may have built one as an afterthought. Either way, it is important to maintain this profile. For many employers, your LinkedIn profile will be their first stop when doing background research on you as a candidate.
If you have let yours gather dust over the months, do not worry. With just a little time, you can turn your profile from a neglected snapshot of your past to a hub for information on your skillset and experience.
The following is a brief checklist of steps you can take to rejuvenate your LinkedIn profile.
1. Update/upgrade your profile picture
Your LinkedIn profile picture will likely be the first impression many people in your professional life will have of you. Luckily, it is one you can easily craft. Take the time to provide a high-quality professional image of yourself.
Make sure you pick the proper setting and attire for the event. This will vary between job fields and location. If you are having trouble deciding, a safe bet is to use the clothes in which you would dress for an interview.
2. Expand your network
Having colleagues, classmates or former supervisors who can vouch for your skills adds to your credibility as a job candidate. Not only should you expand your network as much as you can, but you should keep in touch with those contacts who can be valuable endorsements and references.
3. Reconcile your work history
Make sure what you have on your LinkedIn work and volunteer history matches what you are putting on your résumé. The last thing you want is for an employer to notice a significant discrepancy between the timeline you gave them and what you advertise online.
Go over your résumé line by line and compare it to what you have provided on your profile to make sure your dates, job titles and accomplishments match up.
4. Catalogue your skills
Use LinkedIn’s Skills and Endorsements field to keep an inventory of key skills you have gathered. Not only will you be advertising your skillset to viewers, but you will have an easy-to-access catalogue of what you know for future job applications.
5. Create some content
If you are looking to showcase your writing skills, you can use LinkedIn to publish a series of blog posts. Having your own website can be costly and time-consuming, so if you are just looking to show off your writing skills, consider using LinkedIn as a home base.
Once you have a healthy LinkedIn portfolio, you can take advantage of some of the following LinkedIn features to help you with your job hunt:
- LinkedIn Job Board – LinkedIn’s own job board is an excellent first step. It operates as any other major job board with the bonus of showing you which potential connections are involved with the companies you are browsing.
- Interview Prep – For those nervous about the interview, LinkedIn has a catalog of interview questions (ranging from common to industry-specific). Here you can get handy tutorials on how to craft incisive and professional responses to many dreaded or unexpected questions.
- Salary – LinkedIn also has a database where you can search for salaries by job title and location. LinkedIn will provide you with a salary range for your selection, the median salary, salary comparisons by company, and salary comparisons by region.