You may not be job hunting, but that doesn't mean you should neglect your LinkedIn profile. According to the professional social network, users who list past work experiences on their profile are 12 times more likely to be viewed. That means more chances to be discovered for new opportunities or advanced positions, said Nicole Williams, a consultant and LinkedIn career expert.
"You never know what about your past will be of interest to recruiters, potential business partners or clients," Williams said. "Recruiters are on LinkedIn and by virtue of the way they're searching, such as using keywords and the duration of your career, they'll be able to find you better."
If it's been a while since you last updated your profile, you'll want to refresh some new features and sections. Don't wait until it's too late: Williams suggests spending 30 minutes updating your information each month.
"If you wait longer, you might forget about the great goals and presentations you accomplished," she said.
Here's a look at five smart ways to update your presence on LinkedIn.
[ Recruiters share advice on how they find you on LinkedIn. Read more: 4 Recruiting Trends for Job Hunters, Via LinkedIn.]
1. Edit Endorsements
LinkedIn introduced a new feature called Endorsements almost a year ago. Endorsements let your connections vote up skills and areas of expertise that you've listed within your profile, as well as recommend new skills they think should be included in your profile.
While Endorsements can be a good testament to your proficiencies, it has also been a controversial feature: Some users complain that connections have endorsed them for irrelevant skills. There's even a Tumblr called "Endorsement Bombing" that highlights silly and absurd skills for which some LinkedIn members have been endorsed.
If you haven't paid attention to this profile section before, the good news is you can edit it. To do so, scroll down to your "Skills and Expertise" section. Then, click the "Edit" button and go through the list of endorsements. To remove one, click the X next to it. You can also click the check mark next to "Display your endorsements" to turn this feature off.
Another option is to remove Endorsements from individual connections. To do this, click the edit button and switch the view from "Add & Remove" to "Manage Endorsements." This lets you scroll through each of your skills, view who has endorsed them, and remove individual endorsements.
2. Add A New Profile Picture
According to LinkedIn, adding a profile picture makes your profile seven times more likely to be viewed by others. To add or update your profile picture, click "Edit Profile" under the navigation option at the top, then click the camera icon to the left of your name.
On the next page you can browse your files for a photo to upload and set the privacy settings for your picture. The default setting allows everyone to see your photo, though you can change it so only your connections or those in your network can see it. Your profile picture is automatically visible to anyone you message.
3. Update Your Summary
The Summary section of your profile should detail who you are as a professional: your title, role, skills and experience. To increase the chances you'll appear in someone's search, your Summary should be at least 40 words, LinkedIn says.
It's also important to include specific keywords in your Summary. Develop a list of words and phrases that are commonly used in job descriptions in your field and incorporate them into this section.
4. Mix In Pictures, Videos And Presentations
One of LinkedIn's newest features lets you upload rich media to make your profile more engaging and show off your work. This includes images, videos, presentations and documents.
To add these to your profile, choose "Edit Profile" from the menu at the top. Under your Summary, Experience and Education profile sections is a new icon: a square with a (+) symbol. Click this button to upload a file or add a link to a piece of content you want to share.
When you upload an item, a picture of your content will display with a pre-filled title and description. To edit these fields, scroll to the media sample you want to edit and click the pencil icon in the lower-right corner. Click inside the Title and Description fields to edit the text, then click Save.
5. List Volunteer Experience And Causes
According to LinkedIn, 42% of hiring managers surveyed say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience. To add volunteer experience and causes to your profile, choose "Edit Profile" and look for the "Recommended for you" section in the right margin. Find "Volunteering & Causes" and click the (+) button. In addition to volunteer experience and causes, you can also add information about volunteer opportunities you're looking for and add organizations you support.
Items from pills to power plants will soon generate billions of data points. How will this movement change your industry? Also in the new, all-digital Here Comes The Internet Of Things issue of InformationWeek: How IT can capitalize on the NSA's big data prowess. (Free registration required.)