Now Is the Best Time to Update Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is to professional networking what Facebook is to professional lurking - you've likely always been part of the social platform but probably don't use it as often as you should, except to check up on neat job postings or lurk your ex's employment changes. Maybe you created a profile because your high-school civics teacher told you to, or your mom recommended it when you finally began that overwhelming job search once you graduated from college or university.
Regardless of why you first began using LinkedIn, most people are want to simply add a photo, throw in a quick blurb and mention a few companies they've worked for. If you actually deep-dove into your profile, you might have added volunteer experience, skills for endorsement, and the school you attended.
But LinkedIn doesn't work like all other social platforms, and treating it like an Instagram feed or Facebook page doesn't hit the mark. Recruiters, companies, head-honchos and fellow professionals are using LinkedIn to find qualified candidates and connect with people in their industries, like yourself - after all, LinkedIn allows for direct access to professionals across a range of industries, and if your profile is just okay, you may not be catching the right person's eye.
Because of its effectiveness as both a marketing tool as well as an awareness tool, there are a few tips you can employ to update your LinkedIn profile and stay ahead of the curve. This is especially true if you're ready to find a new role, work with a new company, or network with people in your field ;)
You should probably have an updated (and professional) photo - pics from 20 years ago don't count
A piece of friendly advice: your LinkedIn photo matters. Not everyone has access to a professional photographer for headshots, but selfies, images of you partying in college, or pics of you holding your pup don't count as appropriate LinkedIn photos. Instead, opt for a photo of yourself where your face is clearly showing, your expression is open and inviting, and there's no cats (or alcohol) to be found! If you can't get a headshot, have a friend or family member snap a photo of you using your iPhone or Smartphone camera against a neutral background, and don't wear anything overly revealing or distasteful. We like to think of LinkedIn profiles as calling cards, so starting with a quality profile image will only benefit you.
Write a killer summary, but keep that ego in check ;)
LinkedIn allows you to add a summary at the top of your profile, where you can offer a quick explainer about yourself, what you do, your experience, and even what you're looking for (new roles, volunteer opportunities, you name it). But not all summaries are good summaries. Whether your write in first or third person, it's important that you highlight your best assets and skills while also noting what sets you apart. Have experience designing mobile apps or interfaces for tech startups, with a background in web design and coding? Mention that! Did you create a new HR system at your company which helps win your business accolades in your field? Highlight that! But avoid puffing up your ego - your summary should showcase what you do and what you're capable of, in a humble way.
Add articles, designs, portfolios, or other pieces of visual content you've created
People who look at your LinkedIn profile aren't just skimming it to check out your profile or background photo; there's a chance most are visiting your profile to learn more about you and your experience. If you've written helpful articles pertaining to your industry; have a portfolio of graphic design projects; have photography files that showcase your skills, it's time to add those to your profile. Show people what you're capable of and you may just end up catching the eye of someone who could use your skills (and pay you for them, to boot). Visual content also adds colour and vibrancy to your profile.
Carefully consider your endorsements
Just because you're a professional beer pong player, can do neat vape tricks, or shower regularly, doesn't mean you should add these "skills" to your profile and ask people to endorse them. Instead, focus on adding skills that actually pertain to what you do, the role you may want in the future, and ones that make you unique. If you're an accountant who just so happens to do photography on the side while designing logos for local companies, including skills like "Graphic Design," "Photography," or "Branding" are far better than including weekend activities as "skills." By tidying up the list of skills you'd like others to endorse, you're allowing more people to see what you're great at, and the value you can bring to them.
Write articles and post updates, but don't abuse them
Writing articles for LinkedIn and posting updates are both great ways of reaching people in your networking circle, or connecting with those outside of it. But it's important you don't abuse these features. The content you put on LinkedIn has to provide value to the people reading it, which means any articles or status updates you post should offer information, tips, advice, or work-related updates that people can actually take value away from. Remember, LinkedIn is not Facebook or Instagram; you don't need to flood your page with click-baity articles, photos of your lunch, etc. Instead, post semi-regular updates about your work, something you've achieved, how you've helped a client, etc.
Ask for recommendations
Recommendations are one of the simplest ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out, and getting them? It's pretty effortless. With just a few clicks, you can ask your connections on LinkedIn to provide recommendations for you; from previous employers to fellow colleagues, friends and family you may have worked for, etc. The great thing about recommendations is that they help lend an air of legitimacy and validation to your hard work and skill set; most recommendations will speak to your experience, why people enjoyed working with you, and the value you brought to a company. And because it's so easy to ask for them, there's really no reason why you shouldn't have at least one recommendation on your profile ;)