You wouldn’t send an outdated resume to a potential employer—so why let your LinkedIn profile wither away with old information?
As the world’s largest professional networking site, LinkedIn isn’t slowing down when it comes to growth. More than two new members join LinkedIn every second—contributing to a total of 467 million registered users that continues to increase.
To make the most of your LinkedIn presence, here are nine easy ways to make sure your profile stays fully optimized.
Bonus: Download a free guide to discover four time-saving tools to help you grow your LinkedIn network faster. Includes one tool that lets you schedule a week’s worth of LinkedIn updates in just three minutes.
How to make sure your LinkedIn profile stays up-to-date
1. Update your profile photo
Your profile photo is the virtual equivalent to walking into an in-person interview—it’s a first impression.
It’s the first thing someone notices about your LinkedIn profile, so make sure it sends the right message. Ask yourself: it professional? How’s the quality? Was it taken in the last five years? Has someone else has been cropped out? Is it an accurate representation of what you actually look like?
Our advice is to update your profile with a good-quality headshot. Refrain from using a webcam image from 2007 (please). No one wants to do business with a thumbnail image of your pixelated face.
2. Update your background image
Now that you can add a background image to your LinkedIn profile, you’ve got another opportunity to further enhance and personalize your online presence.
We suggest that your background image reflect part of your professional life. For example, the industry you work in, a recent product release from your company, or something you care about.
It’s all about establishing a LinkedIn profile that says as much as it can about who you are in the workplace.
3. Change your headline
Your LinkedIn headline is right up there when it comes to first impressions. It’s a section of your profile people will first see when they conduct a search in LinkedIn’s user database.
Headlines used to be matter-of-fact statements about your current role—say, “Junior Copywriter at Hootsuite.” But we’re seeing an increase in unique profile headlines as LinkedIn becomes more creative as a social network and people look for ways to set themselves apart from the masses.
For users who are in-between positions, it’s especially effective to explain what kind of opportunity you’re looking for and what experiences you already have. Instead of putting down “Unemployed and Looking”—try giving your headline more context to your job search, such as “Software Engineer Seeking to Build a Better Future With Companies in the Public Service.”
Hot tip: Turn a bland headline into a memorable one by explaining your job in a way that shows how you solve problems at work.
- Bad Example—Sales Executive at Shoe Company.
- Good Example—Helps People Put Their Best Foot Forward by Connecting Them with the Right Shoes.
4. Revisit your summary
One of the perks of LinkedIn’s recent UX update is a new feature that can craft a profile summary for you:
While this is a good place to start, if you don’t want be defined by an automated combination of words, try your hand at crafting your own summary. ›
Your summary is a good place to do some storytelling. It’s a chance to talk about your achievements according to you. So make it personable. Make it engaging. Talk about where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, and where you see yourself in the future.
This is an opportunity to describe your life’s passion and career prospects in your own words. Take the time to channel authenticity and tell people your story.
Hot tip: Your summary is also a chance to include some SEO in your profile—making your LinkedIn profile easier to find on Google.
5. Personalize your URL
When you sign up for LinkedIn, the default URL that you get isn’t exactly the best.
Instead of living under a jumble of numbers, opt for a vanity URL. With a unique link, it’ll be easier to promote your LinkedIn account on resumes, in your portfolio, and in your email signature. You can update your URL multiple times, so feel free to add in keywords related to your position or industry.
It’s also another place to slip in some SEO. For example, you could try a vanity URL that includes your job title, company, or industry. Colleagues, organizations, and recruiters are most likely the ones trying to search for you. Personalizing your URL is a way of making sure that your LinkedIn profile is the first thing people see when they look you up on Google.
6. Add rich media and include projects you’ve worked on
Rich media—video, audio, and clickable content people interact with—can make all the difference between a basic LinkedIn profile and one that really takes the cake.
Check your portfolio. Since the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile, have you created a website, launched a product, run a unique campaign, or been quoted in an article? Include it!
And now that video is becoming more and more prolific, you might also want to consider including YouTube cameos or interviews you’ve appeared in.
This step is about providing real examples of your work.
7. View your activity or post content
Forty percent of users check LinkedIn on the daily—in other words, your social media activity on LinkedIn matters.
Not to mention, LinkedIn’s new interface makes it easier to find out what everyone’s doing.
Like any social media platform, be sure to engage with your network. Like posts, share articles, leave comments, or better yet, create your own content.
For example, Hootsuite’s CEO, Ryan Holmes, is big on producing thought leadership pieces and publishing on LinkedIn pulse. Anytime there’s a hot topic out in the social media world—he’s on it.
Think about a topic you could write about that would bring value to your readers. Tell your audience about a big career move and the rationale behind it. Or you could speak to industry trends or company culture. This demonstrates knowledge in your field and it’s a good way for people to get to know you better.
If you’re out of ideas when it comes to posting fresh content, look towards your own organization for inspiration. At Hootsuite, we use Amplify—our mobile advocacy solution—to give our employees access to on-brand content they can share on their personal social media handles. It’s efficient, easy-to-use, and promotes the professional interests of our employees.
8. Fill in the gaps
Lest we forget the core foundation of your LinkedIn profile: the details of your work and education history. Just like an actual resume, you wouldn’t want to send your profile to a hiring manager with missing information.
Make sure every part of your profile is completed—with no obvious gaps or blank spaces. LinkedIn has an input for nearly all things work-related, such as awards, test scores, and contact information. Filling in these sections is what takes your LinkedIn profile from good to great.
Don’t forget about the little aspects of your profile. For example, as a new graduate, you might want to mention some key university courses that relate to your field.
9. Gather recommendations
Nothing is more powerful than a peer-to-peer endorsement. Recommendations is an awesome LinkedIn feature—it’s like asking for a professional reference but without the hassle of a formal letter.
Not only does it boost your credibility, but it also showcases a review from someone who values your work. LinkedIn makes requesting a recommendation easy—reach out to colleagues, business partners, clients, and other professional contacts.
Like a real resume, you should update your LinkedIn profile on an ongoing basis. Keep this checklist on hand to ensure you never miss a thing.
Do yourself a favor and use Hootsuite to manage your LinkedIn. Schedule updates, target posts, and engage with your professional network in one fell swoop. Try it free today.