“Set it and forget it” is not a good strategy for most things in this changeable world. To get the best performance out of your car, your team, even your wardrobe, you need to constantly be thinking about and tinkering with how to improve them.
Your LinkedIn profile is no different.
Recently, in helping others rework or create new LinkedIn profiles, I have been surprised by the lack of attention given to this highly-visible branding platform. Some people who signed up years ago have neglected their profiles ever since. For the most part these are high-powered people with lots of contacts and plenty of successes in their professional lives. Yet, there is a reluctance on their parts for self-promotion and personal positioning. They are very comfortable reciting the mission statement or the product pitch for their company. Yet, ask them to give me their elevator pitch about themselves, and you would think you are asking for them to explain the theory of relativity. Once we are finished editing, a common refrain I hear is “Whew, I’m sure glad that is done!”
But you shouldn’t be done. LinkedIn is just a snapshot in time. And it will be different next week, next month, with your next job, and your next great achievement. LinkedIn is a living document and should be refreshed and optimized as often as you can to improve your relevancy.
If you are a job seeker, you should know that recruiters are highly sensitive to stale, outdated information. Your work chronology must make sense, be without explainable gaps, and it must be current. They want to know what you are doing right now – ideally what you are doing right now is exactly what they are looking for. As soon as you finish a new project, or assignment, or achievement, add it to your profile.
For consultants, business owners and sales professionals, you should know that professionals come to your LinkedIn profile from all over the Web. It may seem arbitrary or nearly impossible to track how they found you, but it actually can be fun. Explore patterns and think about data insights such as the keywords that led people to your profile, and check those words in your professional title, summary and job experiences.
My initial opinion on the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” option on LinkedIn was, “This is sort of creepy!” But, now I find it very useful. Almost every day I go in and look at who has viewed my profile. It’s become kind of a game. Who is this person? Why are they looking at me? Do I know them? How did they find me? Beyond the excitement of seeing who thought I was interesting enough to look at, any insights I glean can become potential content for my profile.
There are plenty of ways to learn the best practices for crafting a rich profile. Google that phrase and you will find lots of ideas. If you want to do your own research, one of the easiest ways is to browse the most-viewed Members in your network in the “How You Rank” tab, and look at their profiles. These are the superstars of LinkedIn Profiles and you can probably learn a lot from them about how they position themselves.