Your LinkedIn profile --- Treat it as your Workplace

LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for showing the professional that you are and bringing forth your body of work for employers, recruiters, and colleagues, to see.  It is one of today’s most important social network tools of the work place.   But remember this:  it is not Facebook.  Be careful of inappropriate pictures and incomplete work profile.  Anywhere you would post your professional experience or resume should be treated like your workplace or mirror you as a mature professional. 

The majority of people who want to view your LinkedIn profile are bosses, potential employers, recruiters, employees, and colleague, so be sure to show your profile in the best light possible to obtain that next interview or job.

Here are some tips to keep your LinkedIn profile in top professional shape– and make sure that you don’t end up in the “reject” pile.

 Have a Complete Profile and review it often: Many job candidates ask recruiters to check their LinkedIn Profiles in lieu of sending a CV/resume, fully expecting it to show they meet all qualifications required for the job.  LinkedIn profiles are usually inadequate as a substitute for a resume because the profiles are so summarized; it amounts to a sound bite compared to a CV/resume.  If you are to use it this way, you should make sure it shows

a chronology of your work including major assignments.  At minimum, it should carefully show length of time worked, title, employer, donor, project name or type, and country where you were assigned.

Have a good LinkedIn Profile Picture: A photo is necessary on LinkedIn and we recommend having a good professional looking headshot of you. This doesn’t mean going out and spending money on a professional photo shoot – but using a headshot photo that reflects what you look like in your daily work life.  Please don’t have cleavage showing, or use an obvious vacation photo, or post a selfie photo of you and your friends at a party.  Have someone take a photo of just you, in front of a plain or non-descript background, sitting at your desk is fine and a work related close-up works.

Have good Profile Contact Info: If you are on the job market or interested in hearing about opportunities, you should make it easy for potential employers/recruiters to contact you.  I recommend listing your email address in the Contact Info area, and make sure it’s something professional (likeThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  It should be a personal email that follows you from job to job and not your work email.  You can also add your email to your profile near the bottom in the “Advice for Contacting… your name” area  (so that anyone visiting your profile can see it without needing to be formally accepted in your network).  There is also a spot for you to link websites, twitter handles, FB pages, etc.  This does not mean adding every little piece of the Internet you have a profile on (online dating profiles or personal pages are a NO!)  and Face Book pages that are used for family/friends connectivity are not a good link to display in this profile.   A good rule of thumb is to not list any site or profile that you don’t want your (potential) boss to see.

You can bet that anyone looking at your profile will click on your links, so make sure they are current and showing you in the best light.  If you have broken links or links to inactive profiles, blogs, websites – take them down!  Good links include:  Your current company’s website; your portfolio/blog/personal web page (like about.me); Twitter, etc… any that are professionally oriented.

Another great point to remember – if you say you’re into social media/blogging and you’ve got a site/profile that hasn’t been updated in months or years – leave it off and perhaps turn it off. 

Watch your LinkedIn Activity Feed or manage for fewer automatic feeds…We are in the age of super connectivity and increasingly active social media. You can link your Face Book, Twitter updates or blog posts to your Activity Feed in LinkedIn but it may not always be the best idea to have your personal sites/profiles feed into it automatically. We are all guilty of posting a ridiculous status update or items that you wouldn’t put front and center on your resume!  Or you can’t control what readers may innocently respond after seeing your announcements.  My best advice is to stick to physically posting things to LinkedIn so you don’t run into any issues with the content.  You could have your Twitter account hacked and have to deal with the embarrassment of having porn phishing updates get posted on your LinkedIn profile!

 As more of us are now working virtually and have no need for physical offices, it is important to pay attention to our Virtual Offices.  Our offices are represented by social or Media sites such as our Website, LinkedIn profiles, About.me, or other profiles.  These sites, then, must be kept in tip-top shape to provide the best professional message and represent and build our Brand!