Whether you have a New Year’s resolution to boost your network or you are gearing up for a job search, sprucing up your LinkedIn profile is a great way to start the year. Let’s look at some strategies for starting your year off right, and setting yourself up for even better connections and opportunities in 2019.
6 ways you can refresh your LinkedIn profile for career success
Update your profile photo
The human eye tends to gravitate toward images first, so when you’re making over your LinkedIn profile, thinking about your photo is a good place to start. How old is your current photo? If it’s several years old at this point, consider replacing with a newer photo. You may not have changed much, but it’s still important to keep things fresh.
Remember, your LinkedIn profile picture should be a natural-looking headshot, or at least a photo of you solo. (No party pics, for so many reasons.) You don’t have to be doing a Zoolander-esque Blue Steel pose to show everyone you mean business, so a little smile and approachability can go a long way. It also doesn’t have to be an official production—a candid shot is fine as long as it’s a clear shot of you and is appropriate for any professional context.
Upgrade your headline and summary
Your LinkedIn profile is the very definition of “first impression.” A hiring manager or recruiter might be browsing, or checking up on you to supplement a job application. You want the first thing they see to be attention-grabby, but informative.
Here are some examples of strong headlines:
- Salesperson of the Year
- Innovative Project Manager
- Creative Social Media Maven
Your summary should be an updated snapshot of where you are in your career right now. That means taking stock of the past year and thinking about what you’ve been working on, what you’ve achieved, and what you’ve learned about your industry. The summary isn’t a full-on resume, but it should be a brief paragraph or two for a reader to get a quick sense of who you are as a professional, at this moment.
Check your settings
This is a good idea with any social media account these days, but you should take this opportunity to do a yearly review of your LinkedIn account and privacy settings. Who’s able to see your profile? Who’s able to contact you? Are you officially open to opportunities from recruiters? All of this information is in your Account settings page on LinkedIn. The “open to opportunities” setting is most important if you’re about to kick off a job search. It’s not available to the world, but can bring opportunities your way that might not otherwise pop up.
Update your keywords
Most industries move pretty fast these days, so the trends and buzzwords from the last time you updated might not be so relevant anymore. A little legwork can help you modernize your profile for 2019. Look at job descriptions in your field. What kinds of skills are they looking for? Are there new software programs or skills that are emerging? What kinds of qualities are they looking for? Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, browsing the current job openings can tell you what the landscape looks like and what language employers are using. Then you can apply that to your own profile, using keywords that can catch attention.
Update your experience bullet points
This is especially true if you haven’t really touched your LinkedIn profile in the past year. Consider what projects you’ve done and whether you’ve picked up any new skills, certifications, or accolades. Part of LinkedIn’s appeal is that it can serve as a kind of living resume in addition to its social media aspects, so take advantage and make sure your professional bio is up to date.
Review your connections
If you want to broaden your LinkedIn connections or maybe get rid of some that are no longer relevant, now is the time to do it. Look at your current connections and think about whether you want to keep them in your orbit. Browse connections-of-connections and see if there’s anyone new or interesting you’d like to have in your network. Search content or blog posts in your field and discover potential connections that way. If you want to maximize LinkedIn this year, make sure you’re getting the most out of the massive network of human connections.
Your LinkedIn profile is one of the easiest targets for upgrading your professional life this year. It puts your most up-to-date information out in the world, so pay attention to it and keep it fresh! Some great new connection you make now could lead to awesome opportunities in 2019.