Whether or not you're looking for a new job, it's always a really good idea to make sure your LinkedIn profile and resume are always up to date and as professional looking as possible. Take it from personal experience--you never know when the job you've got today just might not be around tomorrow.
Here are 9 things you can do right now to make your LinkedIn profile and resume really stand out.
1. Leave out the personal information
Take out really personal information such as date of birth, ethnicity, religious affiliations, reasons for leaving your previous job, or other unnecessary information.
2. Fill in the gaps in your work experience
Most all of us have occasional gaps--big or small--between jobs. Instead of leaving them there for everyone to see, fill these gaps with volunteer experience, an internship, or some other activity that will ensure you don't look like you were sitting on your sofa watching TV for 6 months.
3. Use a PDF--not a Word file
If you're sending an electronic version of your resume, make sure it's a PDF and not a Word or other word processing file. While the formatting of a PDF will look the same on most any computer, different computers can make word processing files look dramatically different.
4. Use a professional-looking email account
Don't use your too cute email address from high school or college (email@example.com, for example)--select a professional-looking email address based on your name.
5. Check for misspelling and bad grammar--and then check again
With spell checkers and online dictionaries everywhere you look, there's really no excuse for mistakes in your LinkedIn profile or resume. Have a trusted friend, relative, or work associate give it a second look just to be sure.
6. Include a pro headshot
If you want to look serious to a prospective employer, it's really worth spending some money on a professional photograph--preferably a headshot. This applies only to LinkedIn--unless you're applying to be an actor or model, you shouldn't include a photo with your resume.
7. Keep it simple
Avoid using all sorts of crazy fonts and colors of type in your hard-copy resume. Stick with Times New Roman font and 11 or 12 point size. Your name and your headings can be a bit bigger, but don't go too crazy.
8. Provide a concise list of duties
Don't load up your resume or LinkedIn profile with page after page of job duties. Boil each job down to its essence--focusing on the things you have done to bring real value to your company.
9. Avoid generic job titles
Some companies come up with job titles that are remarkably nondescriptive, such as "manager" or "clerk." A prospective employer is going to wonder, "Manager of what?" or "What kind of clerk?" If you've got a generic job title, add to it in a way that explains exactly what it is you do.