What is something that everyone wants to do, but rarely actually does it? Did you think to eat healthier? I definitely have said “the diet starts tomorrow” a couple of times this summer. Maybe you thought to save money or go somewhere fun, like Hawaii? All of those may be true, but what about updating your LinkedIn account? To most people that may sound about as fun as starting a diet.
Summer is almost over. We may not have gotten the beach body that we envisioned this spring, but let’s hold ourselves accountable to making sure that at least our LinkedIn profiles can be picture perfect.
Below are five easy steps to updating your LinkedIn profile. Fortunately, you will be able to see results in minutes (unlike changing to a healthier lifestyle!) Let’s get started!
1. Update Profile and Cover Photos
One of the goals of LinkedIn is to maximize your career through connections. We all know that first impressions matter and this is the first thing that catches someone’s eyes when going to your profile. It also shows up when you post something, create a comment, or send a message.
Let’s be honest. People will begin to make judgments right away, and we all know, a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Choose a photo that looks professional, friendly, and approachable. Think about the effort you make to look good at an interview, or even a first date. Use that same enthusiasm when choosing your photo.
You don’t have a profile photo? You are not off the hook. You need to do this step immediately! Rarely are people going to add someone who doesn’t have a photo. How are they going to know that it is really you?
If you have a cover photo, make sure that it accurately represents you and your interests. If you have the automatic LinkedIn background, consider changing it to a photo of you presenting, working with clients, at a work event, etc. Even a general photo of something work-related, like water, is better than the automatic LinkedIn cover photo and can help show people more about who you are and what you do.
2. Develop a Custom Headline
LinkedIn automatically uses your current job title for your headline. If you think about it, for most people, this title is pretty boring. Since this is the first thing that people see – make it unique.
Here are a couple of ideas to help you spice things up:
- Have you been working in your field for a long time? Consider changing your headline from “Safety Manager” to “Safety Manager with 10+ Years of Experience in the Water Industry”
- Are you new to the workforce or even a student? Show people what you’re interested in! Maybe you are Jane Doe, “Future Communications Strategist” or John Smith, “Water Resources Enthusiast.”
- Is there something you have accomplished in your career that you are especially proud of? This is the place to brag if you are a “Professional Engineer | Recognized by Prairie Business’s 40 Under 40.”
- The easiest way is to add what you do. For example: “Financial Analyst Helping Communities and Utilities Better Understand Funding and Finance.”
3. Amp Up Your Summary
The key to a good summary is to use keywords that make your profile more searchable. This section should sound like you and should be written in first-person. Not sure what to write about? Consider the following:
- Career-related accomplishments
- Your passions
- What you excel at, or what you do best
- Facts or statistics
- Why you or what makes you stand out
4. Reach Out and Connect With Others
No matter how many connections you have, LinkedIn only shows the number up to 500. Once you get to 500, it will say 500+. Connect with clients, coworkers, or other successful people in your industry that inspire you. LinkedIn recommends people that you may want to connect with. I find this tool almost creepily helpful.
5. Record Your Growth and Celebrate Your Successes
If your most recent job title isn’t the one currently listed, update it. If you have grown within a company, like our CEO, Grant Meyer, who started as an intern, show that progress. Not only does it help you keep track if you ever need it, but it is interesting and shows people the route of your successful path.
Have you started to volunteer anywhere? Add that.
Have received any awards or certifications? Add those!
Be an active user! Create posts. Share posts that you enjoy, are related to your work, or inspire you. Also, comment on posts! This step is key to boosting your profile.