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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

Jes Thompson was browsing LinkedIn about a month ago when she came across the profile of Lissa Appiah, the founder and lead career strategist at WeApply Canada.

Ms. Thompson, who had been trying to make a career transition for many years, was feeling burned out and knew she needed support.

“After spending about 10 years in higher education … I had no idea how to market myself or speak confidently about my talents outside of the field,” she said.

Ms. Thompson reached out to Ms. Appiah and booked a consultative chat.

As the new year quickly approaches, many Canadians will be thinking about making a career change or asking for a promotion.

According to Ms. Appiah, updating your LinkedIn could help with both.

“LinkedIn allows you to be found by a global audience,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for you to connect with people who are in your industry and other like-minded professionals who can help you in your career advancement and your career development.”

Over the last year, LinkedIn has been busier than ever with “record engagement” as conversations increased by 43 per cent, according to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn. Plus, employers were spending 60 per cent more to market jobs on the platform.

Over the past month, Ms. Appiah has been working with Ms. Thompson to update her LinkedIn, revamp her resume and coach her through other career decisions.

Here are four tips Ms. Appiah shares with her clients when they update their profiles:

  1. Update your profile picture: It’s easy to keep up the same photo for years, but consider updating your photo – and if you don’t have one, add one. Your photo should look professional and show you from the shoulders up. It doesn’t have to be taken by a professional, but “it should not be like a selfie or something that you post on other social media platforms.”
  2. Have a clear target or focus: Know what type of industry, employer and role you’re targeting. “Having a clear focus will allow you to speak directly to that audience,” she says. Once you have a clear focus, this will affect the updates you make in tips three and four.
  3. Optimize your profile: Recruiters and prospective employers use LinkedIn like they would Google. That means if you want to appear in searches, you need to “ensure that the necessary keywords that are related to your focus are found in your profile.” You can find those keywords by looking at relevant job postings and finding inspiration from other profiles in the industry you’re interested in.
  4. Update your headline: Your headline is the section right under your name. By default, it displays your current job title and the company you work for. However, that may not be optimized, and Ms. Appiah suggests updating your headline to make use of the 240 characters to better showcase what you have to offer. “It’s one of the first things that people see, to know what you do and get a sense of what value you have to offer for them.”

Ms. Thompson, who is currently looking for her next opportunity, says updating her LinkedIn has been helpful so far.

Beyond seeing a small increase in profile views, “I feel far more confident because I feel like my value, and who I am comes across more clearly now. So I think the confidence piece is huge,” she says.

What I’m reading around the web

  • What’s the opposite of an exit interview? A stay interview. This article in CNBC predicts that we’ll see an uptick in managers conducting stay interviews in response to “the great resignation.” Keep reading to see how these interviews help reveal what motivates employees to stay with a company.
  • If you’ve ever had the desire to pick someone else’s brain on any topic, you’ll love the concept of the Human Library. Now active in 80 countries, the Human Library allows you to find and meet subject matter experts, or someone with a certain lived experience, virtually or in-person.
  • You’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s lonely at the top ‘’ and it rings even more true for CEOs that are hired from outside of a company. Take a look at this interesting analysis of what makes outside CEOs successful – or not. Spoiler: It has little to do with their qualifications or background.
  • Remote work has its pros and cons; especially when it comes to loyalty. This Financial Post article digs into the issue, showing how the isolation of remote work can reduce loyalty to current employers, while the revival of in-person meetings or interviews may push workers closer toward new employers.

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