LinkedIn is the number one social networking site for professionals, with some 200 million users worldwide. In May, LinkedIn celebrated its 10th birthday in style. Users enjoy LinkedIn for its platform that allows them to share their career accomplishments and connect with other industry pros.

Yet, amid this celebration, there are some who have spent the better part of the last year unemployed or underemployed. This can make things seem a little awkward when setting up a new LinkedIn account or making updates to an existing one. Job seekers may not have a clear direction on what to add as a current position, or past employment for fear of looking negative to a potential recruiter.

The good news is that it’s possible to update your LinkedIn professionally when unemployed or in the midst of a career change. Here’s how.

  1. Include a professional headshot photo. It’s been said that people get an impression from you just from one image. This is certainly true on LinkedIn as well as other social networks. Just consider that the space for a picture has grown in the last few years. Get a friend or photographer to snap a professional looking headshot of you and use that on your LinkedIn profile. You will be a golden child of recruiters.
  2. Write an eye-catching personal description. Hiring managers are using keyword searches to find your LinkedIn profile. Make their job easier by including keywords in your personal description. This serves as your 30-second elevator speech, so make sure it’s interesting and relevant. Keep the humor and snarkiness out of it. Feel free to state what you are looking for.
  3. Include relevant jobs to your career goals. This is something that all LinkedIn members need to be mindful of when building their profiles. You do not want to list your entire job history on LinkedIn. Instead, only include assignments or positions that are relevant to your career goals.
  4. Ask for recommendations and endorsements. To make your LinkedIn profile stand out to recruiters, ask your former colleagues and friends to endorse your skills. Request recommendations in a professional manner. Use these as documented proof of your professional value to potential employers.
  5. Highlight your professional achievements. While you may not be currently employed or you may be in transition to a different career, you can take the focus off of this and put it on your achievements instead. List any education you’ve completed, awards and recognition you’ve received, and any future achievements you are working on currently (like a college degree or certification).
  6. Take temporary assignments. While you are unemployed, you can take on temporary assignments and list the staffing agency as your employer. This way, you are communicating to potential employers that you are actively seeking a new career opportunity and maintaining your skills.

If you are looking for employment in Chicago, contact the staffing experts at Davis Staffing today.