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Welcome to the internet's 14 millionth article on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Yes, we see them everywhere and most are all the same. Upload a professional picture, create a compelling headline, fill your profile with keywords, and so on. Yup, we got it. But there's more to it than that, especially if you're job searching.
I've previously written about what I think should be in your LinkedIn profile, but here are some more things you may not have thought of:
1. Make sure your headline is accurate. I encourage people to use something a bit more exciting than their current job title and company, but if that is what you prefer, at least make it current. I often, and I mean often, see headlines that say something like "Store Manager at Under Armour" but then when I review their work history I see that was their old job. Now they're doing something else.
2. Make sure you list your location. I've seen some profiles that say "Other" in the location section. (I've never been there. Is it nice?) If you're job searching and you don't have a location listed, recruiters won't know what to do with that information, or lack thereof.
3. Make sure your email address is on there - again, especially if you're job searching. Not everyone inmails, or knows how to inmail, or wants to inmail, so make it easy for recruiters. Include your email address so that people can reach you if they need to.
4. Don't just attach your resume and leave the work history on your profile blank. If you're as old as me, you'll remember the days when job-seekers would come in your store, you'd hand them an application form, and they'd return it with "See resume" written all over it. It's lazy. Why force the reader to take extra steps to actually find your work history because you didn't feel like filling out your profile completely?
5. Make sure the dates of your employment are accurate and line up properly. I often, and again I mean often, see resumes and profiles where it looks like someone worked in more than one job at the same time. I know a lot of people do hold multiple jobs at a time, but not too many people work as a district manager at Famous Footwear and district manager at Finish Line simultaneously. Check your dates.
6. Make sure you have recommendations. In fact, in this day and age, if you're job searching and you don't have any recommendations on your profile, that may be a red flag for recruiters. The same way if an interviewer asks you for references and you're expected to get some, you're also pretty much expected to have recommendations on your profile. So get in touch with former bosses, peers, etc. and start asking.
7. Make sure you have skills listed for people to endorse. No, endorsements aren't respected as much as recommendations, but they still provide some value. So go to the endorsement section of your profile and add in some skills. Here are 40 to get you started.
8. If you have education, add it to your profile. It's the same as a resume - if you don't include education on your resume, the reader will assume you don't have any. If you don't include it on your profile, the person will also assume you don't have any. Remember, you don't always know whether recruiters will see your resume or your profile first, so don't take a lazy approach with your profile.
9. Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry and show them on your profile (they'll pop up at the bottom unless you make them hidden). It will show that you're committed to your field, you're active in your online community, and you like to stay on top of what's happening. It also helps show recruiters that you spend some time on LinkedIn, and networking within your industry is a much sought-after trait these days. Check out my groups, Retail USA (45,000+ members) and Canadian Retail (13,000+ members), if interested.
10. Create a custom URL for your profile. Please, just do it. Sometimes I have to really twist clients' arms to get this done, but it's worth it. At the very, very least, it tells the reader that you care about your LinkedIn profile and you spend a bit of time there. (Or maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine, who knows?)
I hope this helps you on your journey. All the best!