4 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your LinkedIn Presence

April 7, 2011


For those of us who live in cold weather climates, turning the calendar page to April is a glorious moment. Although it’s still cold outside, you know that spring really is on the way.

If you’re like me, that first whiff of warm air also gives you the decluttering bug. That’s right -- it’s spring cleaning season.

While most of us do some spring cleaning in our homes and offices, today I’m going to talk about spring cleaning online. These days, our computers and databases and social networking profiles can become just as cluttered and musty as our closets and garages and desk drawers.

If you feel as if your LinkedIn experience could use some sprucing up this spring, try implementing these 5 tips:

1. Kick-start your keywords. If you’re not attracting a lot of interest to your LinkedIn profile, take a look at what words you use to describe yourself. They might be doing more harm than good. Last month, LinkedIn released a list of the top 10 LinkedIn profile terms that are most overused by professionals based in the United States. According to LinkedIn data, those terms are:

  1. Extensive experience
  2. Innovative
  3. Motivated
  4. Results-oriented
  5. Dynamic
  6. Proven track record
  7. Team player
  8. Fast-paced
  9. Problem solver
  10. Entrepreneurial

Why should you avoid these words? They’re not “bad” in and of themselves, but because they are so common on LinkedIn profiles, they can appear empty or meaningless to a potential employer or networking contact; there’s nothing memorable about them. If you have these words on your profile, try replacing them with more specific descriptions of your accomplishments and skills.

2. Feature a new photo. One of the first things people see when they click on your LinkedIn profile is your headshot. Could yours use some improvement? Your LinkedIn photo accompanies all of your status updates, group discussion comments and any other activity on the site, so you want it to be a positive reflection of you. I like LinkedIn photos that are high quality (not blurry or grainy), professional (not casual snapshots or screen grabs of wedding photos with the spouse cut out) and those that feature a smile or positive expression.

One recent trend I’ve noticed is taking one’s photo in career context. For instance, if you work in the sports industry, take a photo in a stadium. If you work for a university, take a photo in front of the school’s main building or statue. This immediately places you in context and makes you memorable. (Note: It’s okay if you don’t want to include a photo for privacy reasons, but if you’re going to post a picture, make sure it’s a good one.)

3. Add a few apps. Another smart way to perk up your profile is to add some