Lindsey Perkins Wade
It’s okay to admit you’ve neglected your LinkedIn profile for an undisclosed period of time. We all know what our profiles would look like in a perfect world, but we live in the real one, with client emergencies and other distractions that can turn our days upside down.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much time to bring that sparkle back to your profile. Here are five things to do so your LinkedIn profile becomes more like something you’d show off rather than shove in a drawer when you have company.
Update your profile photo and cover photo
How old is your profile photo? Do you even have one? Time flies and before you know it, your profile photo is seven years old. If you want to treat yourself and have a polished head shot, consider hiring a professional photographer to take new portraits. Otherwise, make an appointment on your calendar to remind yourself that a coworker needs to take your photo at work.
Besides your lovely headshot that shows people you’re human, LinkedIn added what they call a background photo, which is similar to the cover photos on Facebook and Twitter. The current recommended dimensions for this photo are 1,584 pixels wide by 396 pixels tall.
You can use this area to highlight company products/services, awards you’ve won, a quote that motivates you or a call to action, whether that be urging visitors to connect with you or sending people to a specific landing page to sign up for a newsletter, download a whitepaper, etc. If you don’t have access to a graphic artist or social media pro, give Canva a whirl to finish the task.
Update your current headline
This prominent area is a great place to leverage for your current goals. In the old days, your job title would appear in this area. Now, the social media platform gives you the freedom to write anything you want.
Tell people what you do, that you’re looking for certain opportunities or what drives you to do your job well. Include keywords if you’re hoping to show up in LinkedIn search results for certain queries.
If you’re stuck, ask yourself: What do I want people to know about me if they only look at my headline?
Add contacts you’ve met in the last six months
Adding connections as you go is the ideal process, but sometimes work gets in the way. If you’ve been distracted, think back about the new people you’ve met this year. Scroll through your inbox to jog your memory. Then, look up these people on LinkedIn. Personal notes accompanying the invitations help, and they could restart a conversation you had months ago.
If you’ve never synced your contacts with your email, you could also do that now, instead of adding contacts one at a time. In this process, LinkedIn imports and stores your contacts and gives you full control of who you ask to connect with.
For more information about the various ways to connect with people, visit LinkedIn’s Help page on the topic.
Grab your custom URL (or update it)
Did you know you can now include your name in your profile’s URL? These individualized URLs are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have a common name, you may want to add a keyword to your URL that describes what you do, such as public relations, or the industry you specialize in.
You may already have a customized URL, but you should check to see if it’s up to date and doesn’t have any extra characters that don’t serve a purpose.
As of right now, LinkedIn allows you to change your URL up to five times within six months. For more information about how to do it and the latest rules, check out LinkedIn’s Customize Your Public Profile URL.
Ask yourself, “what’s missing?”
Did you join a board this past year? What about volunteering pro bono for a nonprofit? Is there a professional organization you became a member of?
Add those things to the appropriate areas of your profile and brag about your accomplishments. If you got promoted, say so. If a campaign you worked on increased sales, write that in your job description. People won’t know how wonderful you are if you don’t tell them the results you garner.
Did your company win an award for a project? Add a picture of the award to the appropriate job in the Experience section. LinkedIn allows you to add rich visuals, like PDFs, JPGs, PowerPoints and more. Take advantage of it.
Lindsey Perkins Wade is founder and president of digital marketing consultancy LP Media Group, which helps clients get things done in the realms of social media, content marketing, PR and more. A graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, she’s passionate about education, stewardship and collaboration in the workplace. She also runs Sustaining Texas, a website devoted to teaching people about efficient resource consumption.