Making LinkedIn profile updates periodically is critical to maintaining a strong personal brand. As you evolve and grow professionally, your profile should always best reflect who you are today.
Outdated information doesn’t position you well for anything – growing your network, business referrals, potential jobs, board seats, speaking engagements or media inquiries. Consider the missed opportunities when connecting and developing relationships if your profile is not current.
If it’s been a while since you looked at your content, here are 7 LinkedIn profile updates to make today that will improve impressions, connection and visibility with people you’d like to reach.
Use a good quality professional-looking image that accurately represents what you look like today, not 10 years ago. If you’ve changed your hair color, switched to wearing glasses, grown a beard etc. since your last photo, it’s time to update your headshot. Also, make sure the picture is centered, shows a clear view of your face and doesn't include other people.
This is especially important as you make and receive introductions and attend virtual meetings and events. If the headshot and face people see on video don’t look alike, it can cause confusion and potentially delay follow up communication and relationship development.
Too often, people describe what their company does in the About section of their profile instead of who they are and what they do. Don’t use your personal profile to repeat what’s on your employer’s LinkedIn company page.
This is highly valuable real estate to tell your professional story. While it’s okay to write about your company topline within this section, don’t make it all about them. Even if your role is to develop business, people still want to know about who you are and the expertise and value you bring. Put the most critical information in the first few lines to draw people in so they’ll click, “see more.”
Does your Experience section include those gray squares with blue rectangles instead of company logos? Match employer names to the correct LinkedIn company pages so clickable company logos appear. Experience looks more credible and impactful with visual representation of the brands you’ve worked for.
If a former employer was sold, instead of listing the old company name (which generates the gray square), list the acquiring company so that the logo appears. However, be clear under your title (and description, depending on the situation) that you worked for the company that was acquired.
There are situations where the generic box is acceptable, like if the company no longer exists or if you’re self-employed (and determined for strategic reasons that it doesn’t make sense to have a LinkedIn company page).
Do you over-summarize positions so it looks like you had one title for 10 years instead of the three roles you really held? Showing career progression is highly beneficial. Not only does it demonstrate that you performed well (and the company valued your work and supported your growth), listing more than one position can generate up to 29X more profile views (according to LinkedIn).
Including detail under your more recent positions is also important. Give people a sense of what you did, plus the value and results you drove. While the content doesn’t need to read like a resume, providing some information under the Experience section can result in up to 5X more connection requests, 8X more profile views and 10X more messages.
Volunteer leadership roles often highlight skills and experience that your employment history does not otherwise reflect. Include current and recent positions held in professional associations, alumni groups and nonprofits. Mention specifics, like if you chair a committee, lead fundraising campaigns or if it’s an elected position. Mentoring programs, select speaking engagements and community service are also good volunteer experiences to list.
And, much like the visual impact of displaying company logos under Experience, match each volunteer organization to their LinkedIn company page wherever possible.
List skills that relate to who you are today and how you want to position yourself moving forward. Highlight specific industry and functional strengths, key soft skills and other competencies that provide insight into your unique value and problems you solve. Recruiters and others can find you more easily based on these attributes. In fact, according to LinkedIn, the inclusion of at least 5 skills on your profile translates to up to 17X more profile views and 31X more messages, so this section is a must. Review it periodically too as you acquire and hone new skills over time.
When did you last check what email is listed on your profile? Is the phone number from an old employer? Have you reviewed privacy settings to see who can view your information? The Contact info section is underutilized but still important, so make sure the details are current. People should be able to find you on LinkedIn and be able to reach you off the platform.
Keeping your LinkedIn profile current increases visibility and improves credibility and connection. Make it a habit to review and update sections as you grow professionally. This ensures your profile best reflects who you are today and positions you well to connect with those you'd like to reach.
Want to further improve your profile and visibility? Read more on how to get better noticed on LinkedIn here.