When did you last update your LinkedIn profile? Last week? Last month?
Maybe last year?
While many of us update our other social media profiles regularly, a lot of people tend to take a "set it and forget it" approach to their LinkedIn profile. In the course of my work, I see a lot of profiles that lack job descriptions, summaries, or even pictures.
Sprucing up your LinkedIn profile doesn't have to be a time-consuming chore – following the easy steps listed below will have it looking swell in the time it takes for a 1980s makeover montage. So throw on 'Eye of The Tiger' and let's get started!
(Note: if your notification settings are set to announce each change to your profile to your entire network, I'd advise remedying that. You don't want to spam people's feeds with each tweak.)
- Upload a picture – and make it a good one. This shouldn't be on the list because uploading a picture ought to be a no-brainer, but there are many LinkedIn profiles floating around without a face to their name. I also see a lot of pictures that are inappropriate for the context – sunglasses-clad car selfies, gritty webcam pics, and even topless torsos!
Instead of going incognito or showing some skin, aim for something a little more suited to the social media context. That doesn't mean it has to be an expensive headshot of you wearing a suit (although that's great if you have it.) I've seen some fabulous profile images of people rock-climbing, artistic shots of people posing in front of colourful murals, or well-shot candids of subjects caught mid-laugh – these sorts of images can lend a human touch to your profile and position you as a well-rounded person with interests outside of work. Just make sure that the images are well-lit, in focus, high-resolution, and work-appropriate. If nothing else, stand in front of a wall and have a co-worker take an amateur headshot – it will look a lot better than a down-tilted washroom selfie. And don't be afraid to play with the new LinkedIn image filter options!
- Give yourself a compelling headline. Your headline shows up beside your name in a LinkedIn search and is prominently featured at the top of your profile. It's the first hint that you give to people about what you do – and what you can do for them.
Don't sell yourself short by using something like “Salesperson” or “Marketing Professional” as your headline. This isn't the place for you to simply list your title, it's a place for you to showcase what you bring to the table and attract attention. What pain points do you address? What do you do to solve them? Which key words will help bring the recruiters to your yard? If you want to stand out, your headline needs a little more meat. After all, what sounds more compelling? “Marketing Professional” or “Digital Marketing Strategist helping businesses drive revenue through social media expertise”?
- Update your current job. Have you picked up any new responsibilities at your job? Maybe taken on a new role? Are you even with that company anymore? Let your network know what you're up to by making sure that your latest job entry accurately reflects your day-to-day and any accomplishments you've racked up since last updating. It's okay to brag a little bit if you've earned it, just don't get cocky, kid.
- Ask for recommendations. This is the easy part because you're asking other people to do the work of making you look great. Ask current and former clients, employers, or teammates to say a few nice words about your amazing performance or services. Be sure to return the favour if asked – social media is a quid pro quo game and you can never bank enough good will.
Add your location. This helps with networking and attracting recruiters. Simple enough.
Write your summary. Yes, this part will be the most time-consuming. But it's also one of the most important parts. This is where your audience learns more about who you are, not just what you do. What are your values? What approach do you bring to your work? What motivates you? What are you passionate about? How do you help your clients? What are your areas of expertise? Since your goal in this section is to build connection and encourage engagement, try to aim for a conversational, approachable tone. Write in the first-person and try to create a narrative – you're telling a story about you.
If you want people to contact you for further information, include that as a call-to-action and offer a method of reaching you, whether through InMail or by listing an email address or another social media account.
How often do you revisit your LinkedIn profile?