The other day I was on the phone with a friend who mentioned she is job hunting. I quickly opened up a new tab on my laptop to check out her LinkedIn profile only to find no profile photo and the bare minimum information about her.
That’s when I told her LinkedIn would be a good place to start not only because it’s often one of the top links that pops up when someone Google’s you, but because it’s especially powerful for job hunting.
It got me thinking, though, that even though I’m not job hunting right now, I do still go into my LinkedIn profile every few months to do general maintenance and make sure it’s up to date. But why have I been doing that?
Upon reflection, I came up with several reasons.
LinkedIn is still an incredible place to network. Keeping your information like current job and skill set up to date helps other professionals find you. I can’t tell you how many direct messages I’ve received on LinkedIn from people I didn’t know that are super valuable and end up leading to project work together. But they might not have found me if they didn’t know the kinds of projects I complete at work, which is something I actively update in my job description.
Whether you’re actively looking for new projects or just open to learning what others might be interested in collaborating on, I’ve found it really valuable to keep my LinkedIn up to date purely for the networking.
Related article: 9 Tips to Take Your LinkedIn Profile to the Next Level
Second, personal branding.
LinkedIn is a core part of any personal brand, primarily because if you have a LinkedIn profile it’ll probably come up in one of the top spots when someone Google’s your first and last name.
So not only is it simply good practice to have it updated for your personal brand, but it can, in fact, help you continue to grow and shape your personal brand. Here’s how, if you’ve been on LinkedIn for any amount of time, you know that it’s a recruiter’s best friend.
Even though you may not be currently job hunting, like me, it is always good to hear from recruiters to see what they notice. When they reach out to me, I ask myself “Are they recruiting me for the kind of job I would want to work?” If so, great! My LinkedIn is doing its job and people understand what I do. If not, what can I do or say differently to make it clear what I’m talented at?
I’ll often refine my summary or the description of my current role based on what recruiters are noticing about me.
Third, career progression.
Either when recruiters reach out or if I happen to be on LinkedIn and they advertise a job to me, I generally use the opportunity to learn more about where I want my career to go.
I’m very interested in what other public relations (PR) people work on and what kinds of work companies are hiring PR people to accomplish. I created an Evernote folder where I save job descriptions that are one or more levels above what I currently do so that I can have an idea of what a future career in PR looks like for some professionals.
Finally, it helps you later on.
It’s generally a good practice for all of the reasons above but it’s also helpful if in the future you are job hunting.
I remember chatting with a friend several years ago and she was in the process of updating her LinkedIn and she immediately clicked off the button where it tells your network that you’re making changes. She said something along the lines of “Oh, can’t let my current boss know that I’m looking for a new job!” Which is definitely something I know so many people struggle with.
If your LinkedIn usually looks really empty, and suddenly looks fantastic, your boss might be suspicious. On the other hand, if you always keep your LinkedIn up to date, and it’s really not that much work to do that, then it won’t raise any red flags. Plus, already having an updated LinkedIn profile makes it easier to kick off the process of job hunting since you might already know a few recruiters.
Quick ways you can keep your profile updated
I don’t spend a lot of time at all keeping my LinkedIn profile update but I truly believe it’s paid off over the years.
Add new accomplishments
Were you successful with a really great work project? Add it to your LinkedIn! I love the section where you can add media to your profile. I’m always adding new press mentions that I help obtain and any links to other projects that I’m particularly proud of. This is quick, visual, and should be easy to remember since you’ll likely be excited and relieved once these big projects are out in the world.
Republish articles to LinkedIn
Do any writing for work or for your own blog? Republish it on LinkedIn as well! Not only is it genuinely a good place to spread your content, but it’s a great way to keep your profile top of mind for connections and keep aligning your LinkedIn profile with the kind of content that you want to be associated with.
Update your headshot
Get a new headshot? Make sure to update it on LinkedIn as well. I think unprofessional photos stick out like a sore thumb on LinkedIn, which is largely a network of otherwise very professional photos.
So next time you get a headshot done for work, or even if you just have one of your friends take a picture on a day when you’re loving your hair, it’s always worth updating your image to make sure it’s clear, professional, and still looks like the current you.
Do you keep your LinkedIn up to date? If not, are you going to start? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or send me a tweet at @hailleymari! You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter to learn what I’m reading, recording, and writing.