So you’ve added a solid Summary, Headline, and Experience to your LinkedIn Profile. What’s next?
A great headshot that exudes leadership qualities, conveys confidence, and makes employers eager to meet you.
If you’re unsure how to select a photo for your LinkedIn Profile, you have plenty of company. Many job seekers pull in a hastily cropped family photograph or select a picture with a vacation scene, rather than taking the time to use the right LinkedIn headshot.
However, just like your best interview suit or a powerfully written Profile, a positive, personality-infused LinkedIn photo can make a great first impression. These tips will help you avoid a LinkedIn photo disaster (especially the kind that turns off potential employers): (more…)
Want to use LinkedIn for your job search, but afraid that your employer will find out?
Worried that your boss or colleagues will react to changes in your Profile?
You probably know there’s no way to make your LinkedIn Profile 100% private; however, these tips will help you update LinkedIn during your job search – without giving yourself away:
1 – Apply your Profile changes – but slowly.
You already know that a well-written, keyword-optimized Profile will reap many benefits for your job search. However, just because you’ve carefully constructed your Profile content doesn’t mean you must update it all at once!
Consider adding a paragraph to your LinkedIn Profile on a regular basis, filling in the details of each job or adding information to the Projects section. You could also populate the Skills & Expertise section with one competency at a time.
This slow-update strategy can help make your updates less obvious to others (who would need to monitor your Profile constantlyto figure out your intentions).
2 – Update your Profile from the bottom up.
A great keyword strategy includes using common terms and skills for your field and expertise, with plenty of repetition on important phrases.
Because LinkedIn search algorithms rely on these keywords to “rank” your Profile, you can add them in nearly every section. This means the terms you select will help boost your findability, no matter where you’ve placed them (although they count more in heavily indexed fields, such as your Job Title).
Start getting found for your important skills by updating your Profile from the oldest job first, then slowly working your way to your current role. Since most users check your Profile from the top down, similar to how they’ll read your resume, you can start benefiting from the increased keyword content without giving yourself away.
3 – Tout your employer’s achievements in your Profile.
Many people use LinkedIn to promote their employer’s products or reputation, since prospective customers will be can comb the site to find out more about the company offerings.
Here’s where updating your Profile can make you look good to your boss: by including details on new services or the company’s competitive edge, you can surreptitiously add keyword terms or skills that make you look good at the same time.
For example, an operations executive might mention “new production and process improvements that place XYZ Company among the fastest industry-wide for delivery,” or an IT project leader can specify “initiatives that incorporate cloud-based strategies and allow us to offer increased data security to customers.”
In short, there are ways to inject more content into LinkedIn – and benefit from it – without exposing your job search to others. Start with deliberate, well-planned updates to your Profile for a better reception from employers.
Not if you’re hunting through your phone or searching family pictures for your avatar.
If your photo doesn’t enhance your credibility, it CAN hurt your job search. This especially true if you’re posting any old photo without giving it serious thought.
These items should NOT take center stage in your LinkedIn likeness:
1 – Your spouse’s shoulder.
Standing close enough to another person that their hair, shoulder, or cheek can be seen in your photo? Busted!
Cropping yourself out of a party shot, family photo, or other group picture implies that you’re uploading any available shot to LinkedIn.
However, employers might assume you’ll take the same off-the-cuff approach to your career. Get past your reluctance to have your photo taken by asking a friend to take some flattering shots or by visiting a pro.
(Note: even a businesslike “selfie” is preferable to cropping yourself out of the family reunion.)
2 – Your kitchen.
Hey, I love your style! However, LinkedIn photos should represent your business side, not your taste for interior decorating.
Consider using a shot that shows your “work personality,” incorporating the backdrop of your office, manufacturing facility, boardroom, or laboratory. Even a great outdoor pose can strike the right note.
3 – Too much of YOU.
You certainly wouldn’t wear a revealing blouse to your interview, so why show this on LinkedIn? (OK, please don’t show this on LinkedIn.)
What if hiring managers in your field have an old-school approach to vetting candidates? You won’t find out, other than being excluded for a job opportunity.
So, save the tank top, glamour shot, or strapless dress for another use.
4 – Your wide-eyed selfie.
Maybe you CAN take a great picture of yourself… or maybe not.
If you’re wearing an air of surprise or the background appears distorted, your selfie is not doing you any favors.
Consider asking a friend to snap a few shots of you in different areas and lighting conditions. The same friend can also give a thumbs-up to your attire, expression, and demeanor in the photo you select for LinkedIn.
So, what’s the best alternative to these LinkedIn photo fails?
You can’t go wrong with job interview attire or clothing typical of your workday (open-collar shirt, suit and tie, blouse and sweater, etc.). Pick a shot that represents your best “work personality.”
This way, you’ll be sure to attract the right kind of attention, demonstrating your intent as a serious contender for a new, challenging professional role.
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