Time for some real talk: Your LinkedIn profile probably sucks.
I know mine sure did. If you have one -- 50% of Americans with a college degree say they use LinkedIn, but only 9% of those with a high school diploma or less do -- you probably haven't updated it in months, maybe even years.
I made my LinkedIn profile several years ago, and except for a few basic job updates, I barely looked at it. But considering that unemployment rose to 4.4% in March -- with the promise of even higher numbers for April -- a LinkedIn profile makeover could be rising to the top of many of our coronavirus to-do lists.
Here's how I tackled mine.
5 LinkedIn Profile Tips: Stand Out in Less Than 30 Minutes
Improving your LinkedIn profile doesn't need to take long. A half-hour is all you need to make a huge difference.
1. Customize Your URL
You've got a customized URL for your Facebook and Instagram pages, so why not LinkedIn? It looks more professional (and is way easier to remember) if you make your URL something like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.
2. Delete That Selfie
How's your profile photo? If it's a selfie or has your buddies cropped out on either side of you, it's gotta go.
Your photo is your first impression: Make it count. Nowadays, everyone carries a camera in their pocket, so get outside in some natural light and have a friend snap a few nice, professional-looking headshots.
3. Write a Killer Headline
Other than your photo, your headline is often the only thing people will see, since those are the only things that pop up on search pages. You have a generous 120 characters to sell yourself -- use them!
Include your title first, and then consider adding one (or more) of the following:
- Strengths: What sets you apart from the other people in your position? This is also a great spot to include some industry keywords.
- Services: What can you offer the reader? Consulting services? Custom logo design? Make it known right from the start.
- Personality: Show off your humor or silly side. By reflecting your true self, you're more likely to attract employers who are a good fit.
4. Spruce Up Your Summary
Who are you, and why do you rock? Of course, that will probably be difficult to sum up in a few paragraphs, but the summary is your opportunity to try. If you need a little help, check out tips for writing a killer summary that will attract recruiters.
Pro Tip: Recruiters use keywords like "sold," "achieved" and "built" when searching for candidates, so be sure to sprinkle powerful words throughout your freshly updated profile.
5. Ask for Recommendations
It might sound scary, but don't skip this step. LinkedIn makes it really easy to write and request recommendations. Job-search strategist Mir Garvy recommends you have "at least three," and says one to two recommendations for every 50 connections is a "good guideline."
To request one from a supervisor or colleague, click on the arrow near your profile photo, and click "Ask to be recommended." They'll receive a request. Once it's submitted, all you have to do is click "Add to profile."
Pro Tip: If you're feeling hesitant about asking for a recommendation, try writing one for someone first -- then ask them to reciprocate.
Woohoo! At this point, your profile should be lookin' pretty fly. Ask a friend to proofread it, and when you're all done, click on "View profile as" to make sure it shows up correctly to your visitors. Then who knows? Opportunity could come knocking.
This story was originally published by The Penny Hoarder.
Want to Know More About Veteran Jobs?
Be sure to get the latest news about post-military careers as well as critical info about veteran jobs and all the benefits of service. Subscribe to Military.com and receive customized updates delivered straight to your inbox.