(1) A professional looking photo. This should be a high quality photo of you (and just you), no selfies or group photos! It doesn’t have to be a professional photo, have a friend with a smartphone take a few shots in a well-lit place with a clear background.
From our interview with Pamela Shand: “First, a good picture. And not just a selfie. Make sure it’s straight on, well lit, with a plain background, something that looks clean and crisp. Use a picture that speaks to your career and your brand. It doesn’t necessarily have to be really formal.”
(2) Indicate that you’re #OpenToWork. You don’t have to do this, but we encourage you to. Recruiters frequently prioritize reaching out to people who say they’re "open to work" on LinkedIn because they believe that they’re more likely to respond to their messages.
Here’s how: go to your LinkedIn profile and select “open to” right under your photo. Here you can mark yourself as open to work, indicate what job titles you’re looking for, in which locations, what kinds of employment, and more. You can also edit the visibility of this, selecting to show all LinkedIn members or just recruiters that you are #OpenToWork.
(3) Update your work experience. Update your work experience to include the verbiage you chose for your resume. Make sure your resume and your LinkedIn are telling the same story. If you’ve been working for a while and took some experiences off of your resume, you can take them off of LinkedIn. A good rule of thumb is to always have your last ten years of work experience listed. For work experience more than ten years ago, keep it if it’s serving you but don’t feel pressured to keep old or irrelevant experiences there. If a company asks for a more detailed work history, you can provide one, it doesn’t need to be part of your regular resume.
(4) Write a headline. A headline on your LinkedIn is a must. It should be something more interesting than just your name and your current job. It’s like the professional summary at the top of your resume, your headline should grab the reader’s attention and give them a good idea of who you are without them needing to read the rest of your profile.
(5) Add an “about” section. Your about section is like an extended professional summary. It should talk about you, your accomplishments, your aspirations for the future and ideally, it should have a little personality. Use our “How to answer ‘tell me about yourself’ in an interview" blog for inspiration.
(6) Fill out your skill section. Include all of your skills here, both soft and technical skills. If there are overlapping or redundant skills like “artificial reality development” and “AR development”, include them both. That way, regardless of which term a recruiter is searching for, they’ll find your profile.
(7) Endorsements and recommendations. One of the best ways to use LinkedIn during your job search is to pay it forward. Endorsements and recommendations are a great way for you to give your profile some legitimacy and support friends and colleagues.
Once you've gotten your profile up to date, make a LinkedIn engagement plan that feels authentic and sustainable. We get it, not everyone is a social media fan. However, like it or not, LinkedIn is an important tool in your job search toolbox. When a recruiter lands on your page, you want to show that you’re engaged and active. Recent activity on your profile will indicate to them that you’ll answer their messages.
Here are some ideas of things you could do:
Download a printable version of the checklist here.