LinkedIn logoSo maybe you sent your youngster off with a new backpack and a thermos. Maybe you shipped your college student off with a few huge suitcases. For you, however, it’s time to get back to the matter at hand – succeeding at work (or finding work) and letting social media help you.

Now is the time to embrace new opportunities to learn, to network, and to make new connections. All with just a few changes and updates to your LinkedIn profile.

Here are five things you can do – all while you drink your morning coffee or sit on a conference call – to get your LinkedIn profile ready to make the grade.

1) Your profile should be a dynamic digital representation of who you are in your professional world. That means it needs to change, grow and develop with you. Why not take a few minutes to refresh your profile, add new positions, interests, even work and volunteer affiliations?  Finally, add a short personal statement – two sentences – on your “vision for success” for your organization or your role as a co-worker.

2) Do a Keyword/Search Engine Optimization makeover.  Industry “buzz words” change. New areas in your field of expertise demand more attention. Even some long-held terms and concepts fall out of favor. You don’t want your profile to be the tweed jacket with elbow patches in a business casual world. Today, update your profile to show you are staying current in your field. The question to ask: when people put in key search terms for your job or industry, will your profile pop up?

3) Brag, even just a little. LinkedIn has added many new categories for your personal profile. Don’t be shy. Add in your honors, awards, certifications, projects, publications, and more. Use links if your work is posted in industry journals or on your company’s website.

4) Help LinkedIn help you! LinkedIn now has a pop-up feature that walks you through your own profile. It asks if each item is accurate. It suggests more things you “could” add to your profile. In addition, LinkedIn is always suggesting more and more people you may want to be linked with. Doing your LinkedIn homework has never been easier. Just a few minutes of collaborating with the site’s proactive help system will keep your profile current and will help you expand your reach.

5) Share the LOVE!  Write a recommendation. Write a few. A great way to help a connection and to have your profile to be seen by someone else’s entire network is to write a recommendation for a trusted colleague. This creates goodwill. It positions you as an expert, and a generous one at that. Finally, writing recommendations for people outside of your own industry (partners, friends, vendors, etc.) helps your name to be seen far outside of your usual network.

Going back to school on your LinkedIn profile doesn’t require writing a term paper. Think of it as scanning the Cliff Notes and still passing the test with flying colors.

(Image courtesy LinkedIn)
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Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen founded Full Court Press in 2000 with a vision of providing public relations, public affairs and crisis counsel to companies, foundations and non-profits who wish to use  strategic communications to make social change.
Ana-Marie JonesAna-Marie Jones is the Executive Director of CARD – Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters, a nonprofit located in Alameda County, California.