If you need to earn money to support yourself and your family, then you are a job seeker; you are either an active or potential job seeker. 

And as such, you have to understand that whether you like it or not Social Media is now part of the equation when looking for a job and making a career transition as an employee or entrepreneur. 

This Forbes article highlights 11 social media tips for job seekers, and my tip is specific to the necessity of a LinkedIn profile. 

LinkedIn profiles are no longer optional, in our opinion, regardless of industry. If you know your profile can use help, then we invite you to take action TODAY to improve it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can think of it as an evergreen document to which you can make improvements every week. 

Research shows that having a photo in your profile increases your chances of engagement significantly. So don’t be shy and add one. A professional headshot is best, but if you don’t have one, add a good picture in the meantime. You can use a picture you have for now, and ask a friend to take a picture for you if taking a professional photo is not in your budget. 

When choosing an existing picture, look for a RECENT photo (less than 12 months old), where both eyes are visible to the camera, your hair, collar, and makeup are consistent with your professional industry, and where you have a pleasant demeanor. Avoid pictures with a distracting background or where you are posing with other people.  

It may also seem evident, but your professional experience should match that listed in your resume. So many times, we see profiles where the tone, goals, and experiences are entirely different than the resume we see for the candidate. For example, we’ve seen people apply for a vacant accounting job using a resume focused on accounting experience, but when reviewing their LinkedIn profile, they are highlining their cake-baking business. This is confusing to the readers and shows a potential lack of clarity, focus, and commitment to a hiring manager. If you have specific needs and need guidance on how to approach your situation, we suggest investing to work with a coach even if the short term to clarify the best way to position yourself. 

Last, but not least, your LinkedIn profile should be consistent with your personal branding in highlighting what you are known for, and how you stand apart from others in your field. This will help in establishing your online reputation and, in turn, create opportunities to speak with decision-makers who are looking for someone like you to solve their problems and fill their vacancies.