What do I mean by “invest” in a Linkedin profile

Q: Recently I heard you speak at a workshop.  You mentioned that it is smart to “invest in a robust Linkedin profile.”  What does that mean?  Do I have to pay for a profile?  How do I get started?

A: I am so glad you asked!  I love talking about Linkedin and the ways it can help job hunters.

Linkedin is a professional netwowrking tool.  More recruiters are scouring Linkedin for candidates.  You do not have to pay a fee to Linkedin to create a profile.  You do  not have to pay someone to create a profile for you.  You can build one yourself.  By invest, I meant to invest time and energy in building a Linkedin profile.  Now what do I mean by robust?

Here is what I mean by robust:

  1. A professional headshot is a must on Linkedin. Profiles with a photo get a longer look. You don’t necessarily have to hire a photographer, however it shouldn’t be a picture of you at the beach either.
  2. Populate your profile with key words. Often recruiters are using key words to find candidates. Make sure that your profile is filled with key words that will land you at the top of  search.
  3. Fill out the profile completely. Add volunteer experience. If you know Spanish fluently, say so.
  4. Keep it professional. I have three good-looking rescue dogs. They are not featured or mentioned on my Linkedin profile.  It is not Facebook.
  5. Look at profiles of others. What do you like about the other profiles? What do you dislike?  Learn from the other profiles, especially ones that are in your industry.
  6. If you are openly job hunting, you can include your resume.
  7. Include your contact information. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a great candidate, only to find dated or non-existent contact information.
  8. Add links to relevant sites, especially if you have a website or an online portfolio.
  9. Complete your education. Sometimes recruiters search for certain colleges. Make sure that your college is listed.
  10. Recommendation are helpful. Ask a former manager or supervisor for one. Try to have at least three or four.
  11. Join relevant groups on Linkedin. They may be related to your alumni association, career interests or geography. Sometimes recruiters search for candidates within a specific group.  You can move in and out of groups over time.
  12. Check your Linkedin profile periodically. Update it and keep it fresh. Like your resume, your Linkedin profile should be keep current.

Linkedin is often view at a database of candidates by recruiters.  Make sure that your profile represents your background, education and career interests in a professional and complete way.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.