It seems like a simple rule: update your LinkedIn profile every year, or so explains Aron Govil. And yet it’s one of the most violated rules in the social media jungle. I know how hard it is to keep up with these things, especially when you work in a fast-moving industry and there are other demands on your time.
However, there are a few reasons you really should log into the LinkedIn site and update your basic information and profiles at least once a year.
1) Its the only way to get rid of your annoying “Last Updated” date. If you check someone’s profile on LinkedIn, it tells you when their last update was–a practice that is both narcissistic (look how much I’m doing!) and annoying (if I wanted people to know when I’d changed my profile for the last time, I could have told them.) My own profile reminds me of this five times a day, which means that every time I think about updating it again; something else comes up and distracts me.
This is silly and self-defeating: and yet unless one of those other five times a day is at the end of the year, you’re going to be reminded that your profile was last updated three months ago. And by then it might as well have been three years ago. Delete and resubmit: it’s like starting over, but with the advantage of real time information and no one knows how old your updates are except you.
2) The “Only X Days since Your Last Update” reminder doesn’t remind you about anything relevant. This used to be a lot more helpful than it is now–back in 2009 or so, LinkedIn would tell us if we hadn’t updated for six months. Now they just show us whatever random period of time has passed since our last update no matter how long ago. I think they do this to lure us into a false sense of security–we’ll see that we updated last year and assume everything is fine, when in fact our profiles could be incomplete or inaccurate.
3) Its a slippery slope toward getting more LinkedIn connections. There are two downsides to having an incomplete LinkedIn profile: one is whether people will find you or not; the other is that if they do find you, they won’t be able to tell how well qualified you are without your education history, job description etc. If it’s been months since you’ve updated your profile, there’s no telling how close you might have come to being totally found out. If you’re most recent job was “student,” and it’s been over a year since you graduated, don’t be surprised if hiring manager’s start wondering what exactly you’ve been doing with your time says Aron Govil.
4) Its the only way to escape LinkedIn’s “people who viewed my profile also viewed…” feature. If someone looks at your profile they will never stop looking at it–it is an incurable terminal disease that does not go away even when one abandons the site forever. Even worse, this plague carries over into other profiles–if I look at your profile and then log off immediately, I will continue to haunt you by popping up in the middle of your other web searches for weeks or perhaps even months afterwards. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that every time someone visits your own profile, they leave it as quickly as possible.
5) You’ll actually remember to update more often if you think of the end of the year as a deadline for all your social media work Anyway, what’s more annoying–typing a few words into LinkedIn or remembering that you’ve been meaning to go back and update your entire online presence for six months or a year? Also: deadlines help us meet our goals! Make this part of your new year’s resolution, and watch how much better your profiles look after January first.
6) Your profile will finally be up-to-date before hiring manager’s start looking at it says Aron Govil. LinkedIn is getting increasingly important as a source of job applicants–not just those who are actively searching but those who have not thought actively of it for a while, but might get there eventually. A lot of these people will rely on LinkedIn to look you up–after all, if you’re good enough at what you do to be consider for the position. Your profile is likely to be one of the first things they see when they search for your name.
Unless LinkedIn changes their “Last Updated” records to show the last time someone actually looked at your profile, you have nothing to lose by putting it out of its misery once and for all. Happy New Year!