I've been reading a number of articles and posts recently about how to sharpen up your LinkedIn profile for your job search in the new year. Some of them have some of the same old advice we've all been aware of for a long time. There are some that haven't yet been addressed that, to me, are glaring inadequacies that someone needs to kill with fire, and I'm here to point a flamethrower at them. Won't you join me?
1. The Car Selfie. It's commonly accepted that LinkedIn profiles need a great photo to be strong tools in your job search portfolio. Indeed, recruiters are much more likely to look at a profile with a photo than one without, which lies in complete contrast to my typical advice on a resume, where I urge people not to include a photo. But hey, you go with the trend. However, I just cannot understand why people take the car selfie and put that as the profile picture.
We've all seen them. A very nicely posed person, perhaps a woman with makeup completely on point, great hair, but what's this? A seatbelt? A headrest? Are you telling me you have no one in your life that you can't ask to take your picture? This is supposed to be putting your best foot forward as you seek a job. Take the time to stage and take a great photo. You really have no excuse. Even if you have no friends, no family and live as a hermit in a cave - phones have timers on their cameras! Prop that thing up on some books and stand against a blank or attractive backdrop. Act like a grownup, people.
2. Overly snarky hot takes. I've been seeing this a lot lately, particularly on the hot topics of the day. Some people seem to be interested in going LinkedIn viral, so they say something controversial about a topic of the day. Perhaps they'll take a controversial position on something, and say it so condescendingly that you just want to close your computer and take a long walk to forget about the internet for a while.
I'm so tired of this. Not only that, is this the person you want to demonstrate that you are to your potential future employer? Go ahead, weigh in on today's topics. Be an influencer - it's great for your prospects. But for heaven's sake, can we not find ways to do that which don't tear other people down? Positivity always builds more than negativity does, and finding solutions is always much harder than pointing out problems. Be the problem solver, and you'll go much further.
3. The stock LinkedIn cover photo. You know that blue rectangle behind your profile photo? If you haven't taken an opportunity to put something back there, you're missing out. It makes your profile look unfinished, to me. In addition, you have a chance to put something on your profile that shows a nice pop of color, a great photo you took or something you designed. If you're in a visual field, this is a chance to show something off you did. Why not take the opportunity? Besides, that stock photo is boring. You don't want people bored when they open your profile. (N.B. Subscribers, you'll be getting my trick to a perfectly sized, shaped and centered cover photo in your upcoming newsletter!)
Writing all of this has made me think about how different the job search has become even since I started looking for a job. The first time I ever looked for a job was while I was in high school, and I actually went out to businesses and inquired in person. Then I looked in the classifieds when I was in college. I put my first resume together as a graduate, and back then I was mailing, faxing or hand delivering it. It was the only tool at my disposal. Now, a resume is just the start, and you have to make a different resume for each role you apply for, lest you not be taken up by the automated resume reader. Then, to really be in the game, you need a strong LinkedIn profile and social media presence. And you're not going anywhere if you're not networking. This is getting really complicated! I feel for job seekers nowadays.
So, time to hear from you. What are you doing to polish up your profile?