The end of the year has arrived — faster than ever!
You’ve changed over the past twelve months. You are a different person now than you were in January. This is the perfect time to update your LinkedIn profile.
Take a few minutes to log into LinkedIn and visit the Edit Profile page, read through your profile and see whether it still describes you.
You can update your profile to move things around, change them or get rid of them if they’re no longer accurate or relevant.
It’s a very good idea to update your LinkedIn profile at least once a year, or more often if things are changing in your work or career. *I think the same is true for updating your resume. Every year it’s a good idea to update these very important documents that you use to either apply for a job or use to get recruited.
Here are five ways to update your LinkedIn profile before January first:
1. Update your headline
2. Update your Summary
3. Update your Skills, Projects, etc.
4. Enhance your profile with media
5. Grab your unique profile URL if you haven’t already
Your headline is one of the few parts of your profile a LinkedIn user will see when they conduct a search on the LinkedIn user database and your profile is one of the search results.
Your headline is critical because it tells a visitor to your page — or someone who sees your name and headline in a list of search results — how to think about you.
It is understandable that people tie themselves up in knots trying to come up with the perfect LinkedIn headline. Don’t worry about finding the pitch-perfect headline right now – the end of the year is stressful enough on its own.
For now, choose a LinkedIn headline that more or less captures what you do professionally or how you want to be seen professionally by people who don’t know you.
Here are some LinkedIn headline ideas:
1. Controller for Growing Businesses
2. Art Director and Print/Web Graphic Designer
3. 2017 Marketing Grad Seeking Entry-Level Role
You can use your headline to announce that you’re job-hunting if you aren’t working right now.
You can think about LinkedIn headline over a few days or weeks and change it whenever you want.
Personal branding is hard. Sometimes a good friend can be your best branding partner. Your friend will tell you how your friends and colleagues see you. Our friends often know us better than we know ourselves. *Look on LinkedIn for people who are working in the industry or have the job title that you’re looking for and see what headlines they are using. Many people have their job title, which doesn’t always describe what exactly it is that you do for work. Use descriptive words that make you more marketable during your job search.
Next on our update list is your LinkedIn Summary. You can write your Summary in paragraph form. Your Summary tells the story of you as a working person. It can be simple or complex. Here’s an example:
I’m a Public Relations person who loves to get the word out about exciting products and services. I’ve gotten my employers and clients covered by CNN, the Chicago Tribune and the Wall Street Journal.
You can decide how long or short your Summary will be.
Take this opportunity to update your Summary with your 2016 projects, learning and accomplishments.
If you can’t remember what you accomplished or learned in 2016, that’s a reminder to get a journal and start keeping track of your triumphs next year. *I have an “accomplishments document” that I try to update monthly with everything that I’ve done that month, including volunteering, conferences and everything to do with my job. I open my Outlook Calendar and start writing based on some general topics that are relevant to my type of work. This document makes updating my resume and LinkedIn profile easier. It also helps when going into a job interview, I have my most important accomplishments at the forefront of my mind when I’m talking with the hiring manager.
If you read through your LinkedIn Summary and can’t see any way to change it based on your 2016 adventures, you may want to ask yourself why your job still deserves you.
The right job gives you continual learning. That is all you will ever have to sell employers and/or clients.
After updating your Summary you will scroll down through your LinkedIn profile to read what you’re currently saying about yourself in the many LinkedIn fields and categories.
You can list and describe projects you worked on in 2016 or previous years. You can describe any talks you’ve given, internal or external presentations and committees or task forces you served on. *In the “projects” section of LinkedIn you’re able to tag your colleagues who helped you with that certain project. Then that project will show up on their profile as well. The job description section limits your characters within the text so the project section is a great way to supplement for the larger scale projects that you’ve completed.
You can have fun building out your LinkedIn profile. Business people like to deal with people who are well-rounded. It builds trust to know that someone is more than just their resume. You certainly are!
You can add to or prune the list of Skills that your LinkedIn connections can endorse you for. *If you want people to endorse you for a skill set, it’s a good idea to endorse other people for skills that you think they do well. The same is true when asking for a recommendation on LinkedIn. It’s appropriate to give someone a recommendation and then ask them for one in return. People are more likely to recommend you when you go about it this way, rather than just asking them for a recommendation.
Your Skills listing is one way of conveying the things you do, think about and care about professionally.
You can be very serious or you can get silly in listing your Skills. LinkedIn can be a cold place, and many users will appreciate your efforts to warm it up.
Now your LinkedIn profile is looking sharp! Next to do is to add media. You can upload presentations, images, video and other visual or aural content to enhance your LinkedIn profile, and I recommend that you do.
If you don’t yet have one of your favorite images at the top of your LinkedIn profile, why not add one now? If you don’t like your LinkedIn profile photo, press one of your friends into service to take a new photo to replace the old one. *Be sure that the image that you choose for the top of you LinkedIn account is part of your professional brand not just a picture of something random that you like in your personal life. I love my dogs but I’m not going to post them on my LinkedIn because that’s not part of my professional brand.
If you have not yet created your unique LinkedIn profile URL, now is the perfect time to do it. *I think this is very important. Many times when you’re filling out a job application you’re able to add a professional website to your application. It’s much easier to use your name rather than random numbers and letters like most people have.
To start, click on the Profile link in the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the your LinkedIn homepage. A pull-down menu will appear. Click on Edit Profile at the top of the list.
On the Edit Profile page you will see a URL beneath your photo. That is the URL for your LinkedIn profile. If it is a long, gnarly URL full of random characters, you need a customized LinkedIn URL. To get one, click on the gear icon next to the gnarly URL.
Doing that will take you to the page where you can create a customized, unique LinkedIn profile URL with your name in it, like this:
Why do you need a customized LinkedIn URL? It is a handy thing to have!
You can include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature, on your resume and on your consulting business cards — a box of which is a tremendous gift to give yourself this holiday season.
You deserve your own, personal and individual business cards as you stride into 2017, running your own career. *I think this is especially true if you are in between jobs because when you meet people at networking events, you’re able to give them a card. I also think this is great for students to have when they are attending career fairs. Some recruiters love them and others do not, but the choice is yours. I think they’re handy to have even if you don’t give them out frequently.
The new year is a new start, and it’s only a couple of weeks away. Bring your new and constantly-evolving self out to the world through a mighty and up-to-date LinkedIn profile!