One of our recruiting clients requested that we send them links to our candidates LinkedIn profiles to begin the recruiting process with them instead of sending them resumes. Who would have thought that this would make me look at profiles differently, even my own. Our client looks so closely at the profiles that we need to be sure the profile is current, relevant and complete. Have you looked closely at your LinkedIn profile lately? If someone had asked me if my profile was up to date before yesterday I would have said yes. I make changes now and then, add a new picture, change a few things in my summary and just recently added a new fancy background (thanks to our ASG creative person, Ruth). I’m a recruiter and spend many hours a day looking at LinkedIn profiles of people I want to talk to, but never really think of updating my own. Looking a little closer at my candidate profiles has led me to realize it has been entirely too long since I updated my own profile. I’ve been on LinkedIn for nine years, so thinking back to when I first signed up and was requested to enter my employment history takes me back way too far. I’m not going to tell you how old I am, but I’m old enough that my employment history was older than a few people on our team. Oops, so today I deleted 10 years of employment history in a flash. Who really cares what I did 20 years ago…nobody and nobody cares what you did 20 years ago either. So if you’ve been on LinkedIn for awhile now, go back and update your employment history. It’s a good idea to review what’s on your profile at least once a year. Start at the top of your profile and make sure there is a professional looking head shot picture on your profile. Remember the picture is one of the first details that people see when viewing a profile and you want to make a good first impression. Do not have a blank profile or unprofessional picture! It makes it seem like you don’t care if people see you or not. Write a current summary and update it at least once a year especially if you have any interest in a new job. Recruiters and prospective employers look at LinkedIn profiles all the time. Take the time to create an interesting summary. Think of the summary as a way of selling yourself—it’s an opportunity to express you and your personality. Your summary can give you an edge with prospective employers or recruiters. When you make changes or update your profile, make sure there are no TYPOS’s in your profile. Some people may think misspellings aren’t that important, but I can tell you to some recruiters or hiring managers, it is a show stopper, so why take the chance? The link to your profile is generated by LinkedIn and is made up of your name along with a bunch of other numbers. Make this more personal by customizing the URL to your name only. All you have to do it edit the link and delete the numbers. It creates a much cleaner link to your profile and you are more likely to appear in Google when someone searches for you. When creating a profile LinkedIn asks you about your education. It may have seemed relevant years ago when you signed up for LinkedIn but most people don’t care where you went to high school. Start with your college education and go forward. Unless of course you just graduated from high school and are just on your way to college. Join groups that are applicable to your business and the connections you are trying to establish. Joining groups allows you to stay on top of market trends and important information within your field. This is a great way to get your name out noticed in your field. And don’t just join. Participate. Talk. Provide feedback in discussions. Complete your profile by getting recommendations from people you’ve worked with. Encourage clients or co-workers to recommend you. You don’t need everyone you know to recommend you. Keep it to a 3 or 4 really good recommendations. This is your professional face to the world so represent yourself well.