Don't let your LinkedIn profile gather dust.

As a professional, you probably know that you should update your resume regularly, even if you're not in the job market. Regardless of your profession or level, keeping your resume fresh and up-to-date is essential, especially in a turbulent job market.

But what about your Linkedin profile?

LinkedIn is important — we know this — but it's not something you should set and forget, even if you're not looking for a job and it's especially crucial if you are. Think about it. According to Linkedin's own statistics there are over 738 million members, 55 million companies, and more than 14 million open job postings on the site today.

Here are 5 reasons you should keep your LinkedIn profile updated at all times.

1. LinkedIn is a valuable networking tool

You've heard it before (and even from us), networking is essential to your professional success. The power of networking goes far beyond the job search. Yes, knowing the right person can be a difference between landing your next dream job and not getting the interview, but that's just one aspect of networking.

Think about all of the people who are in positions like you want to be in. Reach out and connect with them. You might be amazed at what you can learn from them. Even if you don't message with them directly, when you connect, you'll see their posts and can learn from their expertise. 

Networking is an essential building block for your career. From getting hired to career development, it's one of the most essential things you can do to keep your career moving in the right direction. Linkedin is the best website to help you do just that.

2. Keeping your personal brand polished

How do you want the professional world to see you? That's your personal brand. It's putting your best foot forward and advertising the very best of what you bring to the workforce and the world. Social media is a great resource for building your personal brand, and Linkedin is the best of the bunch. 

It's more than just an online resume. Here are just a few things you can do to boost your personal brand on Linkedin:

  • Polish your headline. This is your elevator speech. 

  • Think hard about your photo. Does it represent you the way you want to be seen?

  • Tweak your profile URL. You can customize it to something shorter and more memorable. 

  • Publish articles on Linkedin. This can mean linking to your own website content or creating fresh, new content specifically for the Linkedin crowd.

  • Join (and be active in) groups that are of professional interest to you. 

  • Engage with others who have posted on the site. Keep your comments positive and insightful as much as possible. 

Remember, your personal brand on Linkedin is what you want it to be!To do this, you need to stay active and continue to update your Linkedin page to stay current. 

3. Ensuring you are discoverable and Google-friendly

Google and Linkedin play nice together. If a prospective employer decides to Google your name, your Linkedin profile will be one of the first listings to pop up. As such, it's a golden opportunity to make a great first impression. 

Go ahead. Enter incognito mode and Google your own name. If your Linkedin profile doesn't show up, you might want to adjust your settings to allow Google to access it for public display. You're working hard to make your Linking profile shine. Make sure it shows up when people are looking for you!

4. Showcasing your skills and optimizing for the jobs you want

You probably know that Linkedin lets you create a list of skills to add to your profile. But are you using this feature to your best benefit? You can add up to 50 skills and that might seem like a lot, but don't take it lightly.

First of all, you want to max out your list. That's a no-brainer. But what you don't want to do is simply go down the list and tag the first 50 skills that you possess. Think about the skills that are essential for your specific career. Then, think about the skills you have that are less common. These are the ones you want to add first.

If you're not sure what to look for, do a job search for your job or, even better, the job you really want. What skills are listed in the job posting? Do this a few times and you'll start to see which skills can help you check the boxes for jobs and companies you really want. 

Just like resumes need to be optimized for applicant tracking systems, LinkedIn profiles should be optimized for the roles you are seeking. Matching the skills listed in a job posting to the skills on your LinkedIn profile is a great way to ensure your profile doesn't get passed over.  

Once you've added your skills, reorganize them to put your show-stoppers right at the top.

5. Recieving recommendations

They say word-of-mouth is the best advertising, right? That's exactly what the “recommendations” selection of your Linkedin profile is. It's a chance for prospective employers and connections to see what others have to say about you. Is it all positive? Of course it is. They're called recommendations, not reviews. But, some are better than others.

Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations. If you don't you may never get them, even if you rock at your job. Be brave. Don't just ask your closest coworkers and former coworkers. If you had even modest dealings with people higher up the ladder, even the CEO, reach out and ask for a Linkedin recommendation. A few high-profile recommendations look great on your profile. 

When you make your request, nudge them to talk about certain aspects of your talents. This way, you can highlight specifics that can work as real-world proof of your experience and skills sections. 

Linkedin is your living career tool

When it comes to career growth, Linkedin is a handy-multitool. It works as a public resume, cover letter, references and a personal branding website. As your field and your career change and grow, your Linkedin profile should change and grow, too. 

Updating your Linkedin profile keeps you current and part of the conversation. Don't get left behind! You're constantly learning and improving your career. Your Linkedin profile should spread the word. 

Need to update your LinkedIn but don't know where to start? A LinkedIn Profile Makeover can save you time and showcase your value.

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