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Spruce Up Your LinkedIn Profile in 5 Easy Steps

Date published: December 11, 2013
Last updated: December 11, 2013

Just like Facebook, LinkedIn is constantly tweaking its interface and presenting users with new tools and options. Visit your profile often (once a month a minimum, but weekly is best) to make sure that your personal brand is projecting the desired perceptions of Professional You.

Examine these five areas of your profile for a quick-and-easy LinkedIn rejuvenation.

Use your headline creatively

Stop putting your job title in your LinkedIn headline. Seriously, just stop it.

The first question you might be thinking is, “What’s a headline?” I’m so glad you asked. A LinkedIn headline appears immediately underneath the profile owner’s name.

The second question you might be thinking is, “What’s wrong with putting my job title as my headline?” I’m doubly glad you asked. LinkedIn gives you a field specifically for your job title a few spaces below your headline in the Experiences section. Don’t waste this precious space with redundancy. Headlines show up in search; job titles do not. If you really want to stick out, put something clever to entice clickthrough to your full profile.

Fill out your summary

The LinkedIn Summary is the new Objective Statement. The difference is that you don’t need to use that old-fashioned sentence structure, and it’s perfectly acceptable to be wild and creative with it.

What you need to remember, though, is to be brief and to use specific, descriptive language about your life-long career goals. Your experience and skills (what you’ve acquired and achieved in the past) have a place elsewhere on the LinkedIn profile. Think of the summary as your elevator speech to the world. What are your high-level, long-term professional ambitions?

Add media to your work experience

This is a relatively new addition to the LinkedIn toolkit, so you might not know how to find it. Navigate to your profile, click the “Edit Profile” button next to your photo, and scroll down to the place you’d like to add media to. Then click the “new” button highlighted below, which will prompt you with the option to add a link or upload a file.

This is another place to think outside the box. Treat your LinkedIn profile as an extension of your traditional resume — as a way to elaborate and dote on yourself in ways that would otherwise be overkill.

Blogs that you contribute to, websites you've developed, and your YouTube Channel are all appropriate places to link to. A whitepaper you wrote for your employer, a presentation you gave at a conference, or a photo of a piece of art you created are all acceptable files to upload.

Revisit your Skills & Expertise

The Skills & Expertise section of LinkedIn is quite possibly the most abused segment of any profile. Unfortunately, your connections will likely do the abusing (often unknowingly), so you will have to do a smidge of upkeep on your end.

One click to endorse someone is a lot easier than taking the time to write a thoughtful and well-articulated recommendation for them. So when LinkedIn randomly asks one of your connections if you’re skilled in Google Analytics and a whole slew of other semi-related keywords, they might click “Endorse” based solely on assumptions rather than fact.

Luckily, LinkedIn alerts you of endorsements. Take the time to read them and be bold (and honorable) enough to reject them if they aren’t accurate endorsements.

Write recommendations for others and hope they reciprocate

First of all, don’t half-ass a recommendation for someone else. Not only will it be prominently placed on the referral’s profile, but it’s also forever displayed on your profile (toggle between “Received” and “Given” under the Recommendations header for a review of the recommendations you’ve written for others).

Moreover, the concept of reciprocity teaches us that people feel an obligation to give when they receive. So when one of your connections is alerted of the glowing, gratuitous recommendation you wrote about them, hopefully they’ll be moved to do the same for you.

It’s a neat concept that works both ways, so remember to always return the favor when you get a new recommendation. And just like your mother taught you — if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

How do you use LinkedIn’s tools to show your creativity and stand out in the crowd?

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