Improve Your LinkedIn Profile by Stephanie Cox

 Organizations will look at your LinkedIn profile before they decide to hire you. Direct hire recruiters will look at your LinkedIn profile before they decide to contact you. Your LinkedIn profile should be a professional accurate representation of yourself. Some human resource managers feel resumes will become obsolete in the future and they will just look at your LinkedIn profile!

Start with a professional picture if you decide to use one. If so, keep it professional. This is not Facebook — selfies are not appropriate nor is showing too much skin. Spend the money and get a good picture. And keep your picture current. If you’ve gained 50 pounds since you took that picture your interviewer is going to be taken aback when you show up. Interviewers don’t like surprises. It is discriminatory to base a hiring decision on gender, race, religion, age, skin color, disability, national origin or familial status (pregnancy) but it still happens. 

Make sure your profile is complete and accurate. Do not embellish or falsify dates. Too many people who either worked or are working with you now can bust you if you stretch the truth, your dates of employment or your responsibilities or titles. 

Ask for and give recommendations. Giving someone a recommendation is a great way to ask them for one. 

Broaden your network. Reach out to people but don’t use it as an opportunity to sell. High school or college alumni, co-workers at previous employers, and friends are good places to start.

Join groups and follow organizations. If you are trying to get a job at a company, follow them. Reach out to people who work there that went to the same school you did. If you get an interview, be sure to ask them some preparatory questions such as do they know the person you are going to interview with and can they tell you something about them – hobbies, schooling, interests? What do they like about the organization? What is the culture like?  Do your homework. 

Post articles or links of interest about your industry. Start setting yourself up as the expert in your field. Educate don’t sell. 

Like or comment about other people’s posts. Everyone likes to get positive feedback. Even if you don’t agree with the post, you can start a civil conversation with your point of view.  

Update your LinkedIn regularly and look at what other people are doing.  And a quick note about Facebook. If you are in a job hunt, keep your Facebook professional or make it private. Employers will look at it. 

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