For a person going back to work after several years off, there may be nothing more anxiety producing than putting together a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has become the defacto way for professionals to showcase their career paths and network with one another – and it is critical to have a profile if you’re re-entering the professional world.
Creating a professional profile on LinkedIn doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, if you dedicate just one hour a day for seven days, you can have a working professional profile to help you re-engage with your network and land a great position.
Day 1: Fill in the facts. Create or update your profile to include your education and job history. Stick just to the titles, employers, schools and dates – don’t worry about writing descriptions or getting creative today.
Day 2: Update your picture. Find or take a headshot of yourself in a context that most closely matches the environment you want to work in. The goal is to look like you belong in the job you want. For example, if you are looking for a role in banking, make sure you’re dressed like a banker. If you want to get into wedding planning, use a picture that has one of your weddings in the background. If you want to work for a startup, you might wear something casual and trendy. Make sure your picture portrays you in a way that makes it easy for a potential employer or client think your look is a “fit” for the role you are taking on.
Day 3: Get clear about what you want. Today is the day to step away from your profile and do some soul searching. Write down what your ideal next job looks like. What functional area, industry, location or title are you looking for? Brick-and-mortar office or virtual? Full-time or part-time? Who do you want to work for or with? Be honest with yourself about what you want. If you look at the job description you write and it doesn’t electrify you, keep working at it. If you don’t know what you want or can’t get excited about it, your connections, potential employers and recruiters won’t either.
Want to learn the last four steps to building a dynamic LinkedIn profile in just one week? Join me on Oct. 14 at Make It Better’s Re:Work 2015, where I’ll break down what it takes to put your best foot forward on LinkedIn.
Theresa Sullivan, coach and founder of Wayfinder Advisors
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