After a long winter (as they always seem to be in Canada!) spring weather is finally starting to emerge. Across the country, Canadians are optimistically shedding their winter cocoons and stepping into what little sun they can find this early in the season. Spring is definitely in the air, fuelling our spirits, promising renewal and inspiration. Often – but not always – that inspiration energizes us, drawing us to drawers and workspaces we can barely find beneath layers of winter work.
Spring’s a great time to revisit your short- and long-term career goals and make sure your personal brand supports those goals. As part of that process, declutter, clean, and refresh your online presence and especially your LinkedIn profile!
why keeping a fresh linkedin profile is important
Before you wonder why on earth we’d focus on LinkedIn, let’s examine this social media phenomenon more closely. LinkedIn launched in May 2003 with 4,500 network members. Today’s LinkedIn claims to have over 467 million members, of which over 13 million are Canadian. That means 1 in 3 Canadians has an active LinkedIn profile!
If you’re not a LinkedIn member yet, you absolutely should be. If you are, you should maintain your LinkedIn profile as one of your most valuable tools for representing yourself in the workplace, whether or not you’re currently seeking employment. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. Its members represent 200 countries worldwide. Professionals sign up to join at a rate of more than two new members per second. Currently, the network includes 65 million business professionals around the world. Members include over 40 million students and recent college grads, LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
how to spring clean your linkedin profile
- Update your headshot photo. Don’t have one? It’s worth the investment to have it done professionally. You only need to update it every 3-5 years. It should represent you as approachable and professional. Leave the party shots for Facebook and Instagram.
- Polish your messaging. Keep in mind that your photo and headline are your first impression. Polish your headline so it’s engaging and make sure it represents you as accurately as possible.
- Make sure all the info is current, including career changes from company to company, as well as changes that occurred in your existing job. Chances are if you’ve been at your job for any significant length of time, your role has evolved.
- Add recent training or education. Whether you’ve been at your job 10 months or 10 years, you’re probably always learning new things to keep it interesting. What new skills have you picked up? Have you recently honed your presenting skills? Attended a conference?
- Keep content short, sweet and to the point Your LinkedIn profile is a high-level snapshot of you and your experience, not War and Peace. That said, make sure it has enough of the right content. Work experience and achievements are key.
- Use keywords to make your profile visible. It may take a little research on your part, but determine what keywords that hiring managers in your industry will look for. Sprinkle them throughout your profile (but only if they make sense!) to make it easier for the right people to find you.
- Include links other social media channels. You want to be connected across all relevant media. Just remember that LinkedIn is a professional network. If you wouldn’t share the link with your boss, don’t put it on LinkedIn, either. Keep personal stuff for your friends.
- Be specific about your skills. Hiring managers want to know about the benefits you bring to their workplace. Make sure you include years of experience, recent successes, awards, articles, presentations and contributions you’ve made to your workplace.
- Update your recommendations. Hunt down some new, relevant ones, too, if you can. It’s one thing for you to talk about how wonderful you are, but much more powerful when it’s someone else singing your praises.
- Be active on the social parts of LinkedIn. Consider adding value to your profile by linking to relevant that others may find interesting, or posting content of your own. You want to create reasons for people to revisit your profile and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups. It’s a great opportunity to build an international network of people who share your interests and it shows you’re connected, current and engaged.
Happily employed or out there knocking on doors, the reality is recruiters and potential employers are using LinkedIn to find you. If you’ve applied to a position, the hiring manager or her assistant has scoped you out on LinkedIn and will often use that second impression of you (the first being your resume and cover letter) to confirm their intention to bring you in for a face-to-face interview.