Spring has officially arrived. While you clean up your home and store your winter attire don't forget to tackle your LinkedIn profile. It's most likely been a while since you updated your profile, added new connections and touched base with your network. Grab a cup of coffee and get started.
Your profile picture is old.
Use a photo that's no more than five years old on your LinkedIn profile. If it's older than that you're misrepresenting yourself and most likely aging yourself. Perms, feathered hair and Jennifer Aniston cuts retired back in the 80's and 90's. Listen up - those do's, clothes and awkward photo backgrounds are making you seem older than you actually are. Embrace your experience and update your profile so it feels fresh, timely and energetic. Remember, the interviewer has to recognize you when you walk through that door. The best photo is a colorful headshot of you in professional attire. Tilt your chin up, pull your shoulders back and smile. LinkedIn professionals who upload a photo are 11 times more likely to have their profile viewed.
List all your experience.
Experience counts – list it all. A LinkedIn profile with more than one job listed is 12 times more likely to be viewed than one with a single job. And it doesn't matter if you've changed industries. One great example is a friend who said, "I used to work in PR when I first started and now I'm in marketing. How could that help?" It turns out that the agency she interviewed with was very impressed with her PR background. She had skills other marketers didn't. She knew how to sell a brand to the media which is a huge asset when promoting a product. Your volunteer work, freelance, and even internships can positively impact your professional profile. Remember to upload projects and presentations to your profile. This feature trulylets your work speak for itself. Your network can comment on or like your work, which can naturally start a conversation about future projects or jobs.
Create Water Cooler Conversation.
At a loss for what to chat about in the break room? Check out LinkedIn Pulse which allows you to customize your home page through subscriptions to channels for trending news coming from your industry. You can also follow inspirational Influencers like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. Check out what Diane Von Furstenberg has to say about the fashion industry or Workplace Happiness Tips via Gretchen Rubin. Adding these channels will keep the conversation growing and evolving on LinkedIn and at the office.
Make Time to Reconnect.
You've spent time growing your network but when was the last time you reconnected? Don't accept and forget. Your LinkedIn network is as valuable as the relationships you create and sustain. By all means, connect with someone you met at an event or even yoga class. Always give them a reference to remember who you are. You want to take these first-level connections and build them into more robust relationships where you can help them and they can help you. For example, "Hi, I'm Sarah we met at the Engineering Conference in Dayton. We chatted about our businesses and you gave me that great recommendation of a developer." Make a point to message everyone in your network once a year. It's a great way to catch up, keep the conversation going and stay on their minds throughout the year.
Get a Stamp of Approval.
We often trust our friends when they are setting us up on a date, our doctors on what vitamins to take and our local bartender on what new special drink to try. A recommendation always helps set you apart. Ask clients, co-workers and former bosses to pen one for your LinkedIn profile. Ask them to highlight a particular skill, such as event planning or your social media skills. Consider asking for a recommendation while you're in the midst of a project working your tail off. That's when your hard work is top of mind and they're more motivated to do it. That recommendation will live on your LinkedIn profile and act as evidence to your amazing work.
Check on the Competition.
We all know that job hunting can get discouraging. If you're not seeing results it might be time to give your profile a bit of makeover. Have you tried checking out your competition? It doesn't hurt to see how other people in your industry are presenting themselves. On LinkedIn, use the Advanced People Search feature to see "what other people in your industry are listing as skills and specialties." Research the buzzwords in your field and insert them into your profile. Many recruiters use software to sort for these types of words or phrases.
It's all about the Match.
How do you take initiative and actually find the job of your dreams? Take advantage of your own ability for some online reconnaissance. Follow companies that you're interested in, and identify groups that contain your industry's best and brightest. That way, not only do you get a sense of who you want to work for, but by the time you get to the interview stage, you're also able to bring all of your unique talents and experiences to the table and help them to see that not only are they the perfect fit for you, but also that you are the perfect fit.