If you haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile in months or years, it’s time to take action.Think of it like a makeover for your professional image.
The site has steadily transformed its profile pages from simple resumes to a smorgasbord of interactive tools for job seeking and networking.
It’s no longer enough to just list your past jobs and schooling.
But you have to log onto the site and use these tools.
Nothing says fresh like a new photo. This isn't Facebook, but that's no reason to stick with a stiff, boring head shot. Pick a photo that shows you off well, in a professional light.
Think: not blurry, not a group shot, not a pic with your girlfriend/boyfriend, or you wearing something you can't wear to work ... you get the idea.
What's the biggest accomplishment you had in 2012? The Summary section is the place to tell folks about it.
If you haven't filled out a summary yet, write one. If you wrote one last year, update it.
Is your profile filled with old buzzwords? They make you sound old, out of touch.
So kill them, kill them dead.
According to LinkedIn they are: creative, organizational, effective, extensive experience, track record, motivated, innovative, problem solving, communication skills, dynamic.
Other buzzwords to avoid include: results oriented, team player, self-starter, multitasking.
Most of them are adjectives trying to describe you. Instead use action words--preferably verbs--that show your accomplishments. Here's a good list of them from Money Zine.
What you do out of the office says as much about you as anything else. Employers or work connections can get a sense of you as a person by reading how you spend your time.
Think over your year and update your volunteer info with the new stuff you did. Find this section by clicking on 'edit profile' and then 'volunteering and causes' in the right-hand bar.
And if you didn't volunteer at all in 2012, consider giving it a try over the holiday season or in 2013. Start by looking through VolunteerMatch.org.
The Skills section is one of the ways recruiters find you. 'Skills' are trendy words that change all the time. Is it better to use 'blogger' or 'blogging'? Is it better to say 'mobile applications' or 'mobile phone apps'?
LinkedIn Skill search will tell you. Type the skill into the Skills search box and it will compare that term to a list of other similar terms and show you how popular each is. Edit your profile to use the most popular terms.
Don't forget about the skills you've used volunteering too. Maybe you cook, write, organise, manage people or projects as a volunteer. That counts. Just make sure you've filled out the volunteer section to explain that skill.
To go along with Skills, LinkedIn has added a new feature called Endorsements. You can give a thumbs-up to the exceptional people in your network.
Scroll down to the bottom of your page. See any faces by your list of skills? Those are the people who endorsed you. When you see those faces it feels, good doesn't it?
In October, LinkedIn added a new feature that lets you follow other executive 'thought leaders' including Business Insider's Henry Blodget.
Their posts will show up on your home screen. It's a good way to keep up with big topics in the year to come.
Follow them and their posts will show up on your LinkedIn homepage.
Most people only beef up their recommendations when they go job hunting. But a bunch of new recommendations, especially from friends, are easy for recruiters to spot and ignore.
Lists of recommendations that span months or even years are more impressive. A good word from execs in your industry or at your company are the best, recruiters say.
You may have joined a few groups early on, based on invitations or other outdated reasons. Don't feel limited to joining employee or alumni groups. Clear out the groups that you don't love and try some new ones.
Groups can be one of the best ways to expand your network. Having a group in common gives you a good way to break the ice with helpful professional contacts.
Even if you love your job, it can't hurt to look, particularly if your dream job is still out there.
Where could you see yourself working? When you follow a company on LinkedIn, you can learn about job openings and make yourself seen by commenting on news in the company's activity stream.
There are all kinds of add-ons apps to LinkedIn, from apps that let you find professional events in your town, hear about trendy business books, or see where your LinkedIn contacts are travelling.
Try a new one or two.
People have actually been offered jobs just because they did a great job answering questions on LinkedIn Answers.
Vow to step up your participation next year. You might enjoy sharing your expertise and you could find the answers you've been looking for.
You can use a fancy LinkedIn signature with your regular email that shows off your LinkedIn network.
It links to your LinkedIn Profile and shows the person you are emailing your mutual LinkedIn friends.
If you already have this, try changing it up.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.