Photo by Vance Osterhout on Unsplash
It’s that time of year when gym memberships soar and everyone drags out their lycra for a spin. But what about your social media profiles? Ruth Callaghan suggests some New Year resolutions for your LinkedIn.
Is your professional profile looking a bit flabby? Is your CV four years out of date, your contact list in a stack of lacky-banded business cards and your staff photograph of a much younger, wilder you?
Perhaps it is time to give your most important social profile a 2018 makeover.
LinkedIn is the most important social media account most corporate workers own — but it is also the one that gets the most neglect.
You might Tweet on the bus, Snapchat your cereal or be religious in remembering Facebook birthdays, but nothing sets you up for career advancement like a lean, lithe LinkedIn profile.
Why? It comes down to your searchability.
LinkedIn has cornered the coveted top 10 spot on Google so that if you search for a person by name their profile will likely be one of the first results.
That’s great news if you are promoting yourself like a champion, but less cheery if your profile is a shadow of your current self.
Here are five quick resolutions to give your LinkedIn a workout.
Resolution One. Lose weight.
Perhaps you over-indulged in the early days of LinkedIn. Did you absorb some unfortunate connections who now bloat your feed with pictures of kittens or endlessly rage against the machine? Did you pile on some real estate agents or unwisely add a lifestyle guru or three? Quietly now, just over the break, when no one is really looking, try to shed a few dullards, grifters, bloviators and opportunists. You don’t need to go too far,
but while you are at it, tag your contacts
so you know who’s who. Start the year trim and tidy.
Resolution Two: Be who you are right now.
Your LinkedIn profile degrades faster than you think. Job titles change, posts about what you are up to become out of date, and your skills — which should be developing daily in your job — often don’t reflect what you can do. Scheduling a monthly refresh of who you are, what you do, why you do it and where you are adding value immediately makes you sound more interesting: the sort of person people might seek out to engage in business, for example. A complete profile also helps you move up the search rankings, so work towards getting ‘all-star’ status — a little like having a black belt in spruiking your credentials. Start by getting your summary in shape
but don’t go overboard
or use too many buzzwords.
Resolution Three: Put your best face forward.
The numbers according to LinkedIn experts are pretty clear
. LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times the profile views and 36 times the messages of a profile without a photograph. And if your photograph is professionally taken, you boost your connections again — 14 times the views of an ordinary photograph. Smile and style until you look the part.
Resolution Four: Sing your praises.
Speak a language? Just learned to parse data sets
over the holidays? Took a Google coding course
and passed? Even incremental additions to your skill set make you a more interesting and saleable prospect on LinkedIn. Of course, if you haven’t spent your Christmas break skilling up in Ruby on Rails
don’t despair. You can boost your profile simply by mining your existing resume for gems you didn’t highlight before. Did a Youtube video? Link it. Presented something decent at a conference? Add in a Slideshare.
The more you enrich your profile, the more search terms exist that allow people to find you.
Resolution Five: Make new friends.
You met all those people at pre-Christmas work functions, now’s the time to reach out and add them to your contact list — while the meeting is still fresh in their minds and before they get flat out at work. You can Google different formulas to write irresistible requests
for connecting on LinkedIn, but the truth is, you should keep to people you know, have met, have as colleagues — or who you can reach out to knowing there’s a good reason they will want to make your acquaintance. As with email, being able to cite a common contact can help. It's particularly important if you are thinking of selling. Only 4% of B2B buyers
appreciated salespeople reaching out cold but 87% felt favourably
about someone introduced as part of a professional network.
So that’s it. You don’t have to re-invent yourself this New Year; re-invent your social profile instead. The rest of 2018 might go pear-shaped but at least your LinkedIn will be fit for purpose.