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LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site in the country. There are around 740 million individual members and 55 million registered companies actively using the site. That makes this free tool an incredible resource if you are a job seeker. But the key to using this resource properly is to start with an up-to-date professional profile. Have you updated yours lately? Here are some tips to get started.

How to Update and Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile will likely be reviewed by any employer that you’ve applied to. It’s also a good passive way for you to be contacted by recruiters. Simply update your profile and turn the settings to “open to work.” Depending on your career path, in today’s job market, that usually means the recruiters will find you. But before you activate that setting, go back and update your profile—especially if you haven’t done so in a while. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start with your profile. This isn’t Facebook, so you should upload a professional picture of yourself in professional attire. Don’t omit the photo and certainly don’t use one that’s outdated, low-resolution, or unprofessional.
  • Add your background. Remember, the background banner on your LinkedIn profile should be as professional as your headshot. Choose a photo that fits your brand image and career path. It should be a JPG around 1584×396 pixels (a PNG or GIF could also work). It’s a good idea to consider this picture from the perspective of the employer. What does your selection say about you?
  • Be very precise in the small details of your profile. In the same way that you’d scour your resume for typos, you should do the same on your LinkedIn profile. Watch out for the smallest of mistakes that could signal to employers that you are careless in your approach to work. Don’t use all lowercase or uppercase letters for your name, either, and do have a few friends take a look at your profile to double-check it.
  • Add job details that mirror your resume. Be precise here, as well. In fact, an easy way to update your LinkedIn profile is to do it right after you’ve perfected your resume. You could even cut and paste some of your resume details on LinkedIn. Keep these details up-to-date, as well. It’s easy to forget to update LinkedIn when you switch jobs, but it’s that kind of attention to detail that matters to employers.
  • Next, write your headline. Start by scrolling through your connections to see what kind of headline or tagline they have. While the headline may seem like an afterthought, it’s actually super important because when a recruiter does an online search, it’s your headshot, banner, and tagline that gets pulled into the search synopsis. You only get around 120 characters to create your tagline, so be clever, smart, and efficient in your approach to crafting the perfect headline.

LinkedIn is a great tool to make yourself seem approachable, smart, and employable. Use this social tool to sell your candidacy and then back it up with the perfect resume to get an employer’s attention. Don’t know if you have a great resume? Send it to our team. We’d be happy to provide our insight into your skills and then talk with you about representing you to some top employers. Call on us. Our services are free to job candidates. We can help.

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