ask.fedweek.com | Create an effective LinkedIn profile

I am constantly surprised about the pushback I still get about LinkedIn. While it is certainly true that the private sector uses LinkedIn more than the government, in my experience, government agencies are getting onboard. In fact at one agency where I recently conducted training, I was told that people who didn’t have LinkedIn Profiles didn’t get interviews—even internal candidates! Whether that is right or wrong, good or bad, is not the point. If you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile you need one; if you do have one, it can probably be better. So, here are 10 things you can do right now; keeping with our theme for the month, together these should take less than 30 minutes:

  1. Add your picture. And make sure it looks professional—no beer cans, phantom arms hanging over your shoulder, and make sure we can see your face.
  2. Customize your LinkedIn URL. Here’s how: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/87?lang=en.
  3. Customize your LI Headline—by default the headline is your current job but you can change this and use the 120 available characters for move maximum affect.
  4. Increase your number of connections; for maximum effectiveness, try to get 350-500 connections.
  5. Review your skills and endorsements and edit them to make sure they truly represent you in your best light.
  6. Create a Profile Summary, if you don’t have one already; this is 2000 potential characters to tell your story. Note that LI’s 2017 updates allow only the first 2 lines of the Summary to show so make them count!
  7. If you are job hunting, let recruiters know. LinkedIn has a feature to notify recruiters that you’re in the market. (Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage and click View profile under your name. Next, in the Your dashboard section, click Career interests to access the Career interests page, then in the Career interests section, toggle right to turn this feature on, and finally, toggle left to turn this feature off.)
  8. Do you have more than one LI account? Merge them. Here’s how: https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/account-management/merge-connections
  9. Include accomplishments in the experience section. These should not be identical to the accomplishments you have in your resume but you should demonstrate that you have added value to your employers.
  10. Follow people in your industry/career field. If you’re not doing so already, join a couple of groups and follow people you admire; this will help ensure that your LI feed is a real value-add.

BONUS: Add your customized LI URL to your resume.

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.