Get rid of your embarrassing LinkedIn profile forever

Follow these six simple steps for a profile that doesn’t make you cringe.

“I love your LinkedIn profile … It’s so …YOU!”

That’s what Mary Hutchison, my realtor and long-time friend, told me after she looked at my profile for the first time. Little did she or I realize at the time, but I would go on to share that story in every LinkedIn profile training session I’ve done since.

It perfectly summarizes what you want people to say when they see your LinkedIn profile. I talk to so many people who tell me “Someone invited me to LinkedIn, so I just quickly created a profile and click “Accept” when I get invitations” or “I have a LinkedIn account, but my profile is horrible.”

Keep in mind that people search LinkedIn every day: recruiters, clients, prospects, salespeople and more. So when your profile comes up in a search and they look at it, does it accurately represent your personal and professional brand?

Whether you’ve come to realize it, in today’s world, each one of us is the sole representative of our personal brand. You owe it to yourself (and to everyone who views your profile) to make sure your brand is accurate.

So how do you know if your LinkedIn profile hits the mark? The following questions will help:

1. Do you have a picture? Are you smiling? Is it a good shot of your head and shoulders? Is the background clean?

2. Do you have a well written summary that shares your professional story blended with things in your personal life that you are passionate about? Does your personality come across to the reader?

3. Have you accurately listed your work history? Did you put a description of each position using “I” language that tells the reader what your responsibilities, skill sets, accomplishments, etc. are?

4. Have you listed your interests, volunteer activities, and groups and associations so people know the types of things you are involved in when you aren’t at work?

5. Do you have recommendations from people you’ve worked with throughout your career? Have you taken the time to give recommendations to people you’ve worked with who are awesome?

6. Do you update your LinkedIn status at least once a week with information that is helpful or may be of interest to your connections? Do you pay attention to the updates of those in your network?

If you answered “yes” to each of these questions, then you are well on your way. If you didn’t, spend some time updating your LinkedIn profile until it gets there. When you’re finished, ask some trusted friends or business colleagues for feedback.

Don’t let your LinkedIn profile be an embarrassment any longer. Update it, or remove your account. No LinkedIn account is better than one that doesn’t accurately represent you!

Mic Johnson is a social media and business coach at Blue Gurus. This article first appeared on BlueGurus.com.

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