Give your LinkedIn profile a speed-makeover

in linkedinAs summer meet-ups and after-work drinks turn into more formal fall networking events, now would be a good time to take action on cleaning up your LinkedIn profile. Why? I can’t stress it enough: your LinkedIn profile is without question one of the first places new contacts, clients, and co-workers will look to get the 411 on who you are – personally and professionally.

A few days ago, I was inspired when Vancouver marketing blogger, Rebecca Coleman, shared her own motivation for seriously updating her LinkedIn profile. She included a helpful infographic detailing a step-by-step process for improving your profile, which she advises you do every 6 months or so. When you have a few hours to dedicate to the cause, I highly suggest you follow that guide. It’s comprehensive, for sure, but so worth it.

In the meantime…because I, for one, am sill in the midst of back-to-school madness and fall reviews, I thought I’d share this simple 3-step LinkedIn audit that I use to help last-minute applicants put a quick polish on their profile prior to interviews:

Get your LinkedIn profile ready for fall networking:

You can follow these 3 easy steps for an instant professional makeover of your current LinkedIn profile – before you hit the conference floor.

1)   Does your profile follow best practices of the visual web? That big wall of text you call your LinkedIn profile – that’s a good way to look out of touch. Give your personal “landing page” a quick marketing overhaul and break up lengthy blocks of content with eye-catching images and videos embedded right into your work history and summary sections. As said on Techlicious.com: “this is a great opportunity to let prospective employers see your crowning achievement…[though] a wide range of formats including PDFs, Power Point Presentations, pictures and videos.”

Visual Profile Checklist: Include photos of awards, screenshots of webpages, links to e-books, blogs and other relevant profiles along with any professional Slideshares or PowerPoint’s you’ve created.

2) Does your profile tell your story? A blank summary section invites your profile viewers to connect the dots about your career themselves.  And that’s never a good idea. Your LinkedIn profile is a powerful vehicle for representing yourself, professionally, in the best possible light – not to mention, attracting the attention and opportunities you’re working so hard for. Even with a 100% complete and well-written work history, your professional “summary” stands out as the place people will look for more information about you and your career (role progression, passion, interests, goals). Don’t miss the opportunity to write your story. A good summary section (written in first-person, of course) is a golden opportunity to carry on the conversation – post-networking event – with all the more personal details you didn’t get a chance to squeeze in between sessions.

Professional Summary Checklist: Include: major accomplishments, career goals, strengths, leadership philosophy and/or anything else that you think makes you #standapart.

3)   Does your profile picture look like you? And for that matter, is anyone else besides you in it? The general consensus is that dogs, children and definitely beer-swilling significant others have no place in your signature visual stamp.  The results of this LinkedIn ‘photo’ experiment say it all: the trick is not just looking “professional” but capturing your personality too.

Profile Picture Checklist: Full colour, tightly framed, mellow background, no ‘selfies,’ personality. Professional headshots can help with all of this, but so can a speedy faux photo-shoot with an office friend.

Before the “Join my network” invites start flying this fall, I hope you’ll take the time to spice up your LinkedIn Profile. It’s certainly at the top of my personal to do list. In fact, while you’re there, why not send me a request? And remember, when people visit your page, they’re looking to gain information about you as a professional. If you’re out networking this fall, make sure you deliver a second impression as good as the first.

How does your LinkedIn profile stand up? When you’re updating your LinkedIn profile, what are some of the first sections you target?  Let us help with your fall LinkedIn refresh: we’re offering a limited time free LinkedIn report card to help you #standapart. Click here for more information.