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It's almost a new year, a new you! Or, maybe it's the same you, new year? The beginning of the year marks a time for starting over, refreshing, goal setting and motivation. Even though you should constantly review and improve your LinkedIn profile, right now is a great time to refresh for a successful 2017.
You may be thinking, "This doesn't really apply to me. I have the same job, same responsibilities and same contact information ... no need to make changes here!"
It's more than changing. It's about refreshing, updating and highlighting your accomplishments as a professional as well as staying current with tools and tips that social media platforms, like LinkedIn, have to offer. Count down to the new year by doing one of the following each day and you will be ready to roll for 2017.
1. Update your public profile URL
Turn www.linkedin.com/pub/yourname/29/890/2b9/ into www.linkedin.com/in/sarahwmorris
Make it easier for peers to find and connect with you. Creating a personalized profile URL eliminates not only an eyesore, but allows you to build your personal brand and grow your networking opportunities. Social media also influences SEO and a user's ability to find the information he or she needs. An updated and personalized URL will make you more searchable and allow others to find your appropriate profile.
On your profile page, click the settings icon next to your LinkedIn URL, underneath your profile picture.
It will take you to your public profile settings. On the right side, enter your desired URL and click save!
2. Review your experience and job descriptions
Take a moment to think if you added any new responsibilities over the past year. Your job title may have stayed the same, but with so many new innovations, our jobs are constantly evolving.
Additionally, make sure that your current job description is written in present tense and previous positions are written in past tense. Even if you are at the same company, but have a new position, your former responsibilities should be reflected as such. Unless you are still performing those, of course.
3. Add websites to your contact info
Within your contact information, LinkedIn allows you to display websites. What a great way to promote the company you work for or organizations in which you are involved.
By clicking "other" when adding a new website, you are able to customize the name for further profile enhancement. So instead of the link name saying "Company," you can have it displayed as "Sarah Morris Social."
Provide convenience for your connections so they are only one click away from viewing your products and services.
4. Add new skills for endorsements
Throughout this year, there has to be one new thing you learned or continued to learn in order to enhance your skills. Add it to your profile! Even if it's as simple as mastering Excel, it's still an accomplishment and something you thoroughly understand that brings value to your organization.
An updated skills list is a visual opportunity for your current employer or future employers to quickly review what you can bring to the table. The endorsements also help provide informal recommendations as these are most likely peers who can vouch for your skill sets.
Pay it forward by endorsing your peers if you feel they are knowledgeable about their listed skills.
5. Ask for references
Asking for references doesn't have to be a nerve-wracking experience and simply because you are asking for references, doesn't mean you are looking for other opportunities. The new year brings about a perfect time to reflect on your hard work and accomplishments.
If you switched organizations, the new year brings an opportunity for you to ask previous employers for recommendations (if you feel that you left on positive terms).
If you are at your same organization, the new year allows time for feedback, improvements, and highlights. Most organizations have a yearly review with their employees which covers what I previously stated, but if you are part of a company that isn't as formal, now is the time to start that discussion.
BONUS: Update your profile picture
Your profile picture should reflect the industry you work within. If you are in the creative realm, have a little fun with your photo to show off your personality and your line of work. If you work in a more professional, suit and tie, type of industry, a classic headshot works wonders.
Your photo also needs to reflect who you are ... now. Not five years ago and certainly not ten years ago. The following scenario happens to me quite frequently:
I am "e-introduced" to a person who is interested in getting to know more about an organization they just joined – membership benefits, volunteer opportunities, sponsorship inquiries, etc .... We find a time to meet for coffee and since we have never met in person, I look this person up on LinkedIn so I can have an idea as to who I should be looking for. The day arrives for our meet and greet and I don't see the other party at all ... or do I? It's an awkward game of making eye contact with everyone who walks in the door and mentally asking "Are you who I am looking for?" All because his or her profile photo does not reflect their appearance today.
We always end up finding each other, but make it easy on yourself and those you are meeting by updating your photo.
If you are always working within LinkedIn, most of this is obvious. However, think back to the last time you did update your profile. Often times we get so busy that it's easy to lose track of days, months or even a whole year. Just as time evolves, so do we and so do our skill sets. Keep your profile fresh and stay current with social updates so you can be connected and relevant.