Yesterday was the first day of spring, and you know what that means: it's time to open your windows, grab your brooms, and get to work -- because unfortunately we don't live in a Disney movie where adorable woodland creatures will clean the house upon a whistle. But why stop at clearing the clutter from your house? Only 50% of LinkedIn users have complete profiles, and you should want to be on the right side of that stat. It's time to get rid of the digital clutter and clear the social cobwebs. Here are five ways to spring clean your LinkedIn profile:
1. Look at the big picture.
There are 84 million LinkedIn users in the United States and 45 million profiles are viewed every week, so you have to stand out. Your LinkedIn profile picture is the first thing a recruiter or a fellow employee is going to see when they connect with you. Make sure it is:
- Clear: You can see your face, the lighting is good, and it's not cropped out of a larger group photo.
- Focused: There isn't more than one person in the photo; it's clear who you are.
- Professional: Proper clothing and no selfies! You wouldn't put your Instagram photos on a resume, so don't put them on your LinkedIn. The only person who ever got a job making the "duck face" was Donald Duck.
2. Manage your connections.
Over the years you've picked up random connections here are there. Most you know, but some you don't. Sure, you want to show that you have a large network, but that guy that connected to you three months ago trying to sell you a self-help seminar (yes, this is a real example) isn't going to further your career -- so cut him loose. Make sure the people you align yourself with are people you are proud to be connected to. Nurture your network by connecting with classmates who are in similar fields and past co-workers who have moved on to new companies.
3. Update your work experience.
It's important to have your work history on your LinkedIn, but it's safe to say that the job you had in high school slinging pizzas at the corner store can go. Align your profile with the career you are currently in or are looking for. LinkedIn is a living, breathing resume, so treat it that way. Update your job descriptions to reflect the experience and qualifications that will best highlight your abilities.
4. Ask for recommendations over endorsements.
Sure, it's a nice little ego boost to get a notification that your old boss endorsed you for a certain skill, but when that kid you sat next to in freshman Psych endorses you for Google+ it's hard not to be a bit skeptical. Think of endorsements and recommendations as likes and comments (respectively), where a "like" is nice, but a "comment" says and means just a little bit more. As you would get in touch with trusted colleagues and mentors for references, reach out to people for LinkedIn recommendations.
5. Take advantage of new features.
LinkedIn's updates usually fly under the radar, but there are some great new features on profiles that you can use to add to your social networking presence:
- Publications: Was your writing featured somewhere? Share it here!
- Projects: Did you work on something that you are really proud of? It's okay to brag!
- Volunteer Experience & Causes: Is helping people a hobby? Show your selfless side!
Have another way to spring clean your LinkedIn? Share it in the comments below!