Opportunities are out there. To ensure you find them, or they find you, an updated resume and LinkedIn profile are cornerstones. Below you’ll find tips, both for those that are a bit rusty or those who think they’re “done” updating.
- Create a long Master Resume with everything you’ve done and include extra-curricular accomplishments. Then MODIFY the resume for each job you apply. Its ok if this version is longer than 2 pages.
- When modifying your resume for a specific job use the KEY TERMS that are listed in the job announcement. Use these same key terms in the cover letter. Since many online applications search for key terms to evaluate applicants, this will help your resume to get identified (Applicant Tracking Software).
- A resume should POP, meaning it should tell an interesting story, and not just a list of facts. Use lots of verbs and quantify success whenever possible.
- Make it VERY easy to read – use bullets.
- Don’t give away your age (young or old) by giving dates you graduated or listing every job (only the most relevant recent positions or the last 10 years).
- One page – if possible but NOT longer than 2 (don’t use a small font to squeeze in more information). Be succinct and tailor to the specific job.
- List what you accomplished, not what you were just responsible for and quantify whenever possible.
- List LinkedIn profile in contact details (personalize URL link)
- Include what makes you different in your summary.
- EX: Fluent Spanish speaker with Master’s in Latin American Studies and extensive work experience in Brazil looking to relocate to Brazil to work in supply chain logistics.
Public profile and Private Notifications
Update your profile (or at least a good portion of it) so it’s public to be viewed by recruiters and potential employers. But your notifications for updates should turned off, as you don’t need to broadcast every time you make a tweak to your profile. Go to Privacy & Settings to modify what activity others can see.
Just Signing up isn’t Enough
It’s not enough to just be on LinkedIn, you have to use it properly and be prolific. What is “proper” runs the spectrum and there is a lot of different opinions. So do a check-in with yourself and ask yourself if what you are about to post is helpful to others or adds value.
Not having a photo conveys that you have something to hide, and you don’t want to leave a potential employer guessing as to what that might be. Also, making sure the photo is appropriate is critical. It needs to be recent and professional. It doesn’t have to be a glamour shot, but you do need to present your best self. You can show personality, but hold back from goofy and unprofessional. AND If you wouldn’t wear it to work, don’t wear it in the photo!
If you want to test out what others think of your photo, use Photofeeler.
Boring Professional Headline
Don’t botch this. You have 120 characters at the top of your profile to grab someone’s attention and inform them of what makes you stand out above the crowd.
Be specific and explain what value you add to your company or industry.
Blank Summary Section
Don’t leave this blank, it’s the bridge between the professional headline and sections for your experience and skills. Think of this like an elevator pitch. It gives an overview of who you are, what you’ve done and what you hope to achieve as a professional. Plus, it should make the reader want to continue scrolling down your profile page. You have 2,000 characters to tell this story.
More than Just Facts and Figures
A Google search will tell a recruiter where you’ve worked, what you did and for how long. Use LinkedIn to tell a story that Google can’t. Explain your responsibilities. Highlight projects you’ve worked on and contextualize your skills. Answer why you are good at your job, and why they should hire you.
Cutting and Pasting your Resume
If you have a Master Resume (see above), then you can cut and paste this version into LinkedIn. If you only have a short version that fits neatly on 1-2 pages, now is your time to really expand on LinkedIn. You can get in great detail on your experience and accomplishments. Upload visual work samples. The great thing about LinkedIn is you can update it with what you’re working on at any time, as often as you want.
Lying about your qualifications is grounds for termination and it doesn’t matter whether you directly told the lie or indirectly by having the lie on your Resume or LinkedIn profile. Be sure you’re giving accurate information and assessment of your professional life.
Yes, having many LinkedIn connections is important. It’s ok to have loose connections; these can turn into something powerful. But attempting to connect with someone you don’t know nor have any common ground is awkward at best. There should be some overlap or at least explain why you want to connect.
Using the default LinkedIn Connection language can come across as lazy and impersonal. This makes ignoring your request easy. Ok, I sometimes use the default if I just chatted with the person and we are already aligned around staying connected – it’s quick, easy, and honors my efficiency value. BUT, if I don’t know the person or it’s been a long time since we’ve talked live, then writing a tailored request to the person explaining why you’d like to connect is important.
Be transparent about your intentions to connect and honor their response (or lack thereof).
If you’re going to pitch business or if you’re a recruiter wanting to keep tabs on promising engineers - then state this. Coming across as someone that really wants to connect and then switching into sales mode is annoying at best.
If someone denied your connection request, don’t keep sending more requests.
If you’re part of a group, don’t just use it to self-promote; adding value is the best promotion.
Recommendations and Endorsements
It’s so easy to endorse connections for skills that it often seems silly and not very meaningful. It’s amazing how often I’m endorsed for a skill I’ve never utilized with the connection endorsing me. So when you endorse someone, do it with meaning and intention. Don’t be stingy but make it meaningful and real.
Recommendations are much more meaningful and valued, because it must be written by the person. I encourage asking for a recommendation when you know you’ve provided someone value, such as at the end of a project (from your client and/or co-workers). Also, if someone has done a good job for you or has been great to work with, offer to write the person a recommendation (Bonus Karma points).
LinkedIn is for Business Networking
LinkedIn is not the same as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., so use it for its intended purpose. It’s not the place to post pictures of your kids, rant or flirt. It’s a place to post articles of value pertaining to your industry or field. It’s to give insight or to help others in their business life.
Customize your Profile URL
To have a customized URL for your profile instead of a jumble of random characters, do this:
- Click on Edit next to the given URL
- Second box in the right side column – click customize your public profile URL
- Delete the random numbers and type in your name
- Include your customized link as a header or footer in your resume.
For more LinkedIn tips, I recommend getting a LinkedIn for Dummies book.