The Truth About Keeping Up with Your LinkedIn
LinkedIn has added a new layer to professional networking and career growth, making connections easier—but also creating the need to keep your profile up-to-date and to stay in touch with valuable contacts. Rather than letting your LinkedIn languish, follow these tips to make the professional platform work for you.
It’s easier than you think
Whether you’re a fan of social networking platforms or not, the first step to making your online career profile work in your favor is acknowledging that it’s not meant to be difficult—and that it doesn’t have to be a huge time suck. The following best practices, while fairly simple, can help you to get started on the right foot:
- Use a professional photo—and if you don’t have one, have a friend take your photo against a plain backdrop or use one that can pass as a professional headshot (not one from a party that you’ve cropped your friends out of).
- Add a short description of each role you’ve held, highlighting key achievements.
- Add your location, current position, and industry, as LinkedIn uses these to better tailor search results.
- Include a brief intro/summary of your experience and interests to give profile visitors a better sense of who you are.
- For more tips, I suggest this list of common career profile mistakes.
Refresh your profile — regularly
It’s fairly obvious that updating your LinkedIn when you’re looking for jobs is a good idea—but the time in between can be just as important. Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, having an up-to-date profile helps recruiters find the right candidates, and might land you an interview for something unexpectedly great. In addition, if you’re recruiting for your own team, having enough details on your profile can help the right talent get in touch.
That said, don’t assume that “keeping up” is a huge burden—instead, simply make a habit of reviewing your profile every few months to add new accomplishments, promotions, or extracurriculars you’ve taken on.
Make your feed more relevant
If your LinkedIn feed delivers content you’re actually interested in, chances are you’ll check it more regularly—and thus have a better sense of what your connections (and even industry experts) are thinking about. You can follow companies and people you’re interested in, whether or not you’re connected—and unfollow connections whose content you aren’t interested in. You can also hide posts that aren’t relevant, which helps the algorithm better understand what you’d like to see, leading to a feed you actually enjoy scrolling through.
Keep in touch
There’s no doubt that valuable connections can be made over LinkedIn, but—just as in the offline world—it’s important to stay top-of-mind in order to be more than just another random LinkedIn connection. If you’re trying to build a relationship with someone you haven’t met in person, give them something of value—an article that’s relevant to their interests, a unique perspective on something they post about, or a congratulations for a job change or other professional accomplishment.
Importantly, when it makes sense, try to convert some of your digital relationships to in-person ones. If one of your connections posts about an interesting event nearby, make an effort to attend and meet face-to-face. Don’t be afraid to ask people for coffee if there’s something specific you’d like to pick their brain about. But use common sense—networking over LinkedIn is similar to networking in-person in that people have a keen eye for authenticity, so be targeted in your strategy to connect with people you’re genuinely interested in meeting with.