These days your social media serves as your professional calling card. Our team of career experts all agree: keeping your LinkedIn and Facebook presentable and up-to-date is just as important as maintaining your resume!
If you’ve been less than diligent in marketing yourself online this year, don’t worry! There’s still time to do a fresh-up and the end of the year is a perfect time to get everything in order, so grab some hot cocoa, pull up your keyboard, and get your online presence up-to-date with these 7 easy steps!
Before you begin…
Let’s take some time to think about the purpose of social media in the context of your career.
LinkedIn is one of the most important online tools you can use to advance your career. Unfortunately, it’s also probably the most underutilized. While almost everyone has a LinkedIn profile, not everyone knows how to best use it to their advantage.
Facebook might not seem as obvious, but it’s also a great addition to your online strategy. Other social media has its place and is certainly part of your online presence, but as LinkedIn and Facebook are the two big ones, we’ll focus on how an end-of-year update on these two platforms can help you to focus and streamline your online image.
1. Update Your Photo:
Have you had the same profile picture up for ages? You don’t want to show up for a job interview looking nothing like the person they reached out to! Make sure your profile picture is not only recent, but appropriate – dress sharp and look your best! And don’t forget that it should be a headshot: after cropping, 80% or so of the photo should be your face. Pro tip: make sure you name the file “yourname.jpg” before uploading. This will make help ensure your photo (and your page) to show up on page one of results when someone Googles your name. Worried that you don’t have another photo that’s professional enough? It might be time for new headshots.
2. Revisit and Revise Your Summary:
Your summary is the first place people look when they visit your profile. Make sure it’s exactly that—a summary of who you are and what you’re all about. Anyone reading your profile should know right away what you’re good at, where your experience lies and what you’re looking for. While the summary is more relevant to LinkedIn, you can have a Facebook summary, as well. Just make sure it’s appropriate since it will be public. Also, you have much less to work with on Facebook—there’s a 101 character limit, compared to LinkedIn’s 2,000 character limit.
3. Make Sure Your Contacts are Up-to-Date:
This is more important on LinkedIn, but also relates to Facebook if you use it for professional networking. You want to make sure your contacts are current and relevant. If you haven’t been adding people to your network as you meet them in real time, you’re in luck. LinkedIn has a great feature to add people you know through your e-mail contacts list. If you’ve already done that, then you can add the people you’ve missed by going through your e-mail conversations and calendar appointments for the past year, as well as the business cards you’ve collected. Identify people from your team, your company, and your community who you’ve met within the past year. Make sure to add not only colleagues but clients and business associates, as well. The whole point of social media—particularly LinkedIn—is networking.
4. Update your experience:
Ensure that your experience is up-to-date. What have you done in the past year? Any new positions or responsibilities at work? List any great accomplishments and add them to your LinkedIn portfolio. While you’re at it, review your uploaded resume and re-upload if necessary!
5. Take Advantage of All the Features:
LinkedIn is a great place to share your thoughts and interesting industry-related news and articles with your colleagues. This can help build your reputation as an active and engaged member of your professional community. You can even write and share your own thoughts. Posting regularly on LinkedIn and other social media will show that you’re relevant and in the know on current events. You can also upload all sorts of multimedia on LinkedIn, so why stop at your resume? Feel free to include photos or videos of you working or giving presentations. You can also include PowerPoint presentations and other projects.
Another great feature of LinkedIn is the ability to list certifications, publications, patents, languages spoken, test scores and other accomplishments. Use these features to your advantage and make sure everything stays up-to-date throughout the new year.
6. Take a Look at Your Groups:
We’ve all been guilty of joining groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, only to never actually interact with the group. Don’t let any networking opportunity go to waste! Don’t let your groups be dead weight on your profile—get involved. You could be a part of a great conversation or even get noticed by just the right person. Make sure your groups are up-to-date and relevant. Any groups you joined that no longer apply to your career goals need to be cut.
7. Make Sure Your Online Presence is Squeaky Clean
This is a great to make sure there’s nothing less than flattering about you floating around out there online. Take a look at any parts of your Facebook profile that might be public—your summary, past and current profile photos and cover photos, public posts, posts you’ve been tagged in, etc.—and make sure there’s nothing you wouldn’t want your boss, a colleague or a potential employer to see. Of course, we’re more careful with our LinkedIn profiles, but the same thing applies. Take a look and make sure everything checks out. And it never hurts to Google yourself! You can even easily set up a Google alert to automatically email you if any new information pops up about you online.