Recruiters and hiring managers expect every professional to have an active LinkedIn profile. However, they will ignore you if it’s badly written, incomplete or out of date. Despite this, the majority of users still simply set up their profile and then abandon it.
You can’t afford to do that if you’re job hunting or trying to build your personal brand. Not least because LinkedIn is constantly tweaking its features. It has also rolled out major changes to the look and feel of its interface.
If you want to keep on top of all these changes, you should subscribe to LinkedIn’s official monthly blog. However, to help you, we have summarised some of the key changes to look for below.
Five ways to refresh your LinkedIn profile today
Whether you are a prolific user or occasional visitor, you need to ensure your LinkedIn profile continues to look professional and credible.
A staggering number of profiles still don’t include a headshot. Yet LinkedIn’s own research shows that profiles with photos are seven times more likely to turn up in searches. The new layout means your headshot really does take centre stage.
Your face now shows as a circle above your headline, rather than a square to the left. The circle gives you less space, making it even more important that you choose a professional looking picture. Face forward so you look like you are making eye contact and use a tightly cropped close up. You can find more good tips on taking a LinkedIn photo here.
Only the first two lines of your summary now show up automatically. Readers need to click on ‘view more’ to see the rest of the summary. As such, you really need to make the most of those two lines. That means getting your main selling point and some key words across. Try to make them engaging and encourage the viewer to read on. Give this careful consideration because getting it right is crucial.
You used to see a profile’s top 10 skills before the ‘view more’ drop down option. Now LinkedIn only shows the top three. It selects these automatically according to how many endorsements you have received.
However, you can re-order your skills to show the three where you add most value first. This overrides LinkedIn’s automatic selection – and encourages your followers to endorse you for your most relevant skills. You need to ensure your top three skills are important, searched for and aspirational.
Order of content
LinkedIn now has a standardised layout. This means you can no longer customise your profile by moving important content to the top. Consequently, the words you use throughout your profile need to work harder. Make sure they are compelling and easy to read, as well as SEO optimised.
It’s not just about your work experience
LinkedIn is more than a list of job titles. It can give potential employers, clients and business partners a real sense of who you are. This does not mean posting photos of your baby or office party, no matter how cute.
Instead, make sure you give details of your voluntary work, charities you support or boards you sit on. Don’t underestimate this feature. According to LinkedIn data, 41% of employers consider volunteer work to be as important as paid work.