It’s the New Year, a time for fresh starts and clean slates. I suggest that you use this time of year to audit and polish your LinkedIn profile. And, start with the delete key if you’re one of the many folks that went app-crazy when LinkedIn started offering app after app after app.
Just because LinkedIn offers you beaucoup opportunities to share all sorts of information, that does not mean you have to succumb. Quite frankly, many of the extra things they offer you aren’t doing your career or business any good, and might actually be hurting your online presence. There is such a thing as over-sharing on LinkedIn and when it comes to managing your career or a job search, less can definitely be more.
Use Your Head and Listen to Your Gut
If you even think something shouldn’t be in your profile, or seems like “too much,” then don’t include it. Trust your gut, and if you can, try looking at your profile from a hiring manager or overworked recruiter’s perspective when you start make edits to your profile.
To get you started, here are a few edits worth considering:
Ditch Twitter. You tweeted what? Unless you’re a writer, industry figurehead, or columnist for a well-read blog or content site, don’t bother linking your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile. I know it’s hard for some to resist, but odds are usually pretty good that someone important will finally look at your profile on the day you tweet, “I can’t stand it anymore! I hate the Green Bay Packers!!” I skipped the link to Twitter and when I tweet something professionally relevant I just use my LinkedIn status update to share it.
Refine Your Recommendations List. Ask your career or job search coach to help you reduce the number of recommendations you’re including on your profile. You don’t have to include them all. Only display those that are most relevant to your current goals and definitely rethink including those from former colleagues that were only peers, or those painfully generic or unsolicited ones. For example, I wouldn’t display this one from an office admin from a past job:
“Sandy’s a true professional. She always worked hard to keep her clients happy and often offered a helping hand to others when her schedule allowed. She was also usually the first to hold an elevator door for a coworker.”
Watch What You Read. Book club picks? LinkedIn is definitely not the place for sharing which books your book club is currently reading. I advise using Goodreads for those. It’s acceptable to include the books you’re reading if they’re related to your business or industry, or you wrote them.
Display Fewer Groups. Are you a joiner? Take a good hard look at the number of groups you have displayed in your profile. LinkedIn allows you to be a member of up to 25 groups, but you do not need to share them all with anyone that looks at your profile. Think about displaying only those that are relevant to your industry or profession or reinforce your brand.
Include Your Best Pubs and Papers. Limit yourself to the best of your best when including white papers or published articles. Most career related folks don’t ask for these things until you’re near the final rounds of interviewing, and even then, they’ll only want those relevant to the job or industry.
Beware How You Are Found. Keep the "Events" shown to only those relevant to your profession or industry. And, even then, use discretion and the less is more idea.
Keep Vacays on the DL. I don’t use the trip-sharing app for vacations, but I do take advantage of this app when my upcoming travel is tied to a speaking engagement or conference.
Don't Share Personal Information. “Come here often?” I’m not sure why they ever made it an option to display this, well, unless they plan to launch a dating portion to the site, but I recommend that you leave off your birthday and marital status.
Sandy Jones-Kaminski is a self-described networking enthusiast and the author of "I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???" She’s been an executive in the HR industry and was recently the VP of Networking for one of the largest chapters of a national professional development and trade association. Sandy shares her professional insights on personal branding and effective networking via webinars, one-on-one coaching, workshops and by facilitating in-person networking events called Pay It Forward Parties. You can connect with her via her website at http://www.belladomain.com or via firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.613.8508.
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