By Kayla Druga, Talent Manager, Arconic Human Resources, and PA Women Work volunteer
We all know this time of year is perfect for cleaning out our closets or the garage, but it’s also perfect for dusting off our LinkedIn profiles. The professional networking site, launched in 2003 and now boasting over 774 million members, is an ideal place to showcase your professional skills in your search for new opportunities.
Here are some ways you can update your profile to best reflect your background and attract the right audience:
Your Photo and Headline
Having a profile photo is one of the fastest ways to get others to notice you on LinkedIn. Be sure that the photo you use is recent and professional in nature. If a professional headshot is not in your budget, ask a friend or colleague to take a professional picture for you. Remember that this photo is an employer’s first glimpse of you and avoid using cropped, personal photos.
Take a moment to review your headline. If you have not created one, LinkedIn will default to your current title and company. Use this space to provide a quick, succinct impression to capture your potential audience’s attention. If there was only one thing you wanted someone to know about you, what would that be?
Be sure that your contact information is up to date. Many LinkedIn users will list a company email address on their profiles but fail to update it when they leave an organization. Be sure that the contact information you provide, including any links to other social media sites, is professional in nature.
Your Summary section should provide a snapshot of your abilities, accomplishments, and future goals. Think of this as your elevator pitch: if you only had one minute to tell the hiring team of your dream job about yourself, what would you say? Make sure that any videos, links, or documents (like a portfolio, writing samples, or resume) are up to date, active, and relevant to your career search.
For many of us, the work experience section can become cluttered as we progress in our careers. Don’t be afraid to remove older or irrelevant experience that no longer relates to your future goals, or short-term positions just to fill gaps in between full-time positions.
It’s also important to be sure the experience you do have listed are focused on your specific accomplishments, not those of the company for which you worked. In addition to your key responsibilities, use this space to highlight projects or specific accomplishments achieved in the role.
The Skills section is another area that can really benefit from some annual clean-up. Be sure that the skills you are listing are current and relative to your job search. Additionally, be as specific as possible when listing your skills. For example, millions of LinkedIn users list procurement as a skill, but less than 10% of those users have IT procurement experience.
While this may seem like an overwhelming list, approach spring cleaning your LinkedIn profile much like you would your house. By taking it section by section, using care and consideration throughout, you can be sure that your profile best reflects your background and goals.
If you are job searching and need further assistance with your LinkedIn, or with other challenges you’re experiencing, consider signing up for one of PA Women Work’s free programs or upcoming classes.