5 Tips For A New Profile In The New Year

 In Career Tips, LinkedIn

If you are like many people, you may have on your new year’s resolution list the goal of obtaining a new job.  But you know how it is.  You start off the year with high aspirations and enthusiasm.  But after a month or two you settle back into your old routine, and you don’t accomplish all that you had planned.

One thing that will help you start making progress towards your goal is to redo your LinkedIn profile.  Nearly all companies now use LinkedIn to source and vet their candidates, so if you want to jumpstart your job search, redoing the profile is a must.  If you want a new job in the new year, you probably need a new profile.

Here are some tips for putting some sparkle and shine on that profile to attract the attention of recruiters:

  1. A new headshot. Your photo on LinkedIn is usually what other users see first.  And since first impressions are lasting impressions, the photo needs to portray you in the best possible light.  If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and get a professional portrait done.  Make sure you look friendly and approachable in the picture.
  2. A new professional headline. Your headline will automatically default to your job title at the most recent organization listed on your profile.  But you have the option to change this headline to anything you like.  If you are like most users on LinkedIn, you have never changed your headline.  You can distinguish yourself from your competition by developing a headline that doesn’t merely give free PR to your company, but something that showcases relevant skills that employers would be interested in.  This is really important because your headline shows up every time you interact on LinkedIn.  Use that space to your best advantage.  It’s prime real estate.
  3. A new professional summary. The professional summary needs to be hard-hitting, and it needs to give the reader enough of a teaser to make the person want to read on.  You can highlight core competencies in this section and give a high-level overview of relevant skills and experience that an employer looking for someone with your skill set would be interested looking for.
  4. A new experience section. Maybe you, like many other LinkedIn users, have fallen into the trap of only including minimal information in the experience section.  In other words, you only mention job title, name or organization, and dates of employment.  If you want a new job in the new year, you will need to give employers a more compelling reason to contact you than that.  You should include strong quantified accomplishment statements that demonstrate how you have contributed to organizations in the past.  This gives potential employers confidence that you will make similar contributions to them in the future.
  5. A revamped education section. Your education section may need an overhaul.  For one thing, you need to make sure that it is up to date.  Have you taken any recent coursework?  These may be classes that you took for credit or they could be classes for continuing education.  Then you need to evaluate whether or not having dates of graduation works for you or against you on the profile.  If you have a recent degree, it is to your advantage to list the date.  But if you received your degree more than 10 years ago, you may want to consider leaving the date off.  LinkedIn gives you the option to include the dates on your education or not.  You don’t want to inadvertently date yourself on the profile.

Cheryl Palmer is a career expert who has regularly been quoted in The Ladders, the Wall Street Journal, CBS MoneyWatch, and CNN Money.  She is a career coach, resume writer, and LinkedIn expert.  Download 5 Master Strategies to Land a Job Through Social Media at www.calltocareer.com.

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