by Elise Williams | Featured Contributor
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, fresh out of college, in-between jobs, or even a student, you’re most likely on LinkedIn. (And if you’re not, get on it). But it’s not enough to just create a profile and check it off your list. Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to beef up your online presence.
You Don’t Keep Your LinkedIn Up-to-Date
It’s not enough to just list your job history. You should be including your specific responsibilities with each job you’ve held, as well as your skills as you acquire them. Melanie Clayton, HR Manager at Inuvo, advises that you should be updating your LinkedIn profile as much as possible — even if you’ve been with the same company for several years. Chances are you’ve gotten a few more responsibilities since your first day, so Melanie recommends updating your skills whenever you take on new tasks and projects. “Add skill sets as you get them. Don’t just put your profile out there and think ‘oh, I don’t ever have to look at that again.’ It is your professional profile. This is your online resume that’s always out there, so update it as you get new things. At any time, an opportunity could land at your feet. Or say your boss sees it and thinks ‘oh wow, I didn’t know she did that.’”
You should also make sure to include as many industry-specific keywords as you can so recruiters can find you. “LinkedIn is basically a search engine for me to search for certain skill sets. So if I’m looking for someone who’s working for a similar company, sometimes I may search company names to find the skill set that we need. But the majority of the time, I search by skill set. So if I need a developer, I’ll look for specific keywords — like ‘Java’ or ‘C#.’ What I look for depends on what the job description entails.”
You’re Not Making the Right Connections
Connecting with someone on LinkedIn after you meet them in a professional setting is pretty much the equivalent of sending a Thank You card after a job interview. If you really hit it off with someone at a networking event, connect with them on LinkedIn (but make sure to include a reminder for them, like “It was great meeting you at XYZ Conference last week!” just in case). As you finish up an internship or you leave your job (on good terms), connect with everyone you worked with on LinkedIn. You never know when you’ll need those contacts in the future.
You’re Not Going Above and Beyond
Your LinkedIn shouldn’t just be a copy-and-pasted version of your resume. You should include as much information as possible about yourself and then some, according to Melanie. “Not everyone puts everything on their resume, because a lot of people have the assumption that they should keep their resume short; they don’t want to have it completely loaded. Well, on LinkedIn, you can load it because there’s no limit on what you can put on there.”
You should write a bio to grab viewers’ attention. If you’re a writer, you should publish your previous work. (Even if you’re not a writer; if you just enjoy writing, write.) You should share industry articles with your connections. You should endorse others — and don’t be afraid to ask for endorsements in return (from people you’ve worked with professionally, not your parents or friend-of-a-friend).
You’re Not Getting Involved
Along with sharing industry knowledge, Melanie says you should also be joining groups relevant to your industry. “Join groups that are in your wheelhouse. I have to be in the know about HR stuff — retention with employees, the new policies. That’s how I learned about open PTO. I came across it on LinkedIn, and then we did a lot of research. You should be looking for what other companies are doing to stay ahead of the competition. The more groups you join, the more articles you’re going to see on the things that you enjoy reading about.”
You Don’t Have a Professional Headshot
Using a car selfie for your LinkedIn profile is bad. Not having a picture at all is even worse. Recruit someone you know who owns a camera, find a pretty wall to stand in front of, and take a straight-on, simple headshot. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just needs to look professional.
Featured image via WOCinTechChat