When and How to Update Your LinkedIn ProfileApr 04, 2023
Imagine if you only cleaned your house once per year. Not only would the task be daunting, but it would also take forever. By the same logic, a regular “cleaning” of your LinkedIn profile makes keeping up with your online presence much more manageable. Every section of your profile should receive your stamp of approval at least once per year, if not more often. Use the following list as your guide to address LinkedIn profile sections at the appropriate cadence:
- Quarterly, or
- As Needed
I recommend tying your LinkedIn profile update sessions in with another routine, like your end-of-year business review, or blocking off five to 10 minutes on your calendar for dedicated LinkedIn profile review time once per quarter. If you need more time for edits, you can always carve out 30 minutes later for the action items you identify in your audit.
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Unless some other change triggers you to revisit these sections (see the “As Needed” checklist below for reference), review the following sections and update them for accuracy at least once per year.
- Profile photo: Your profile photo should ideally be fewer than 12 months and no more than 18 months old.
- Password: For security purposes, update your password a minimum of once annually, if not more frequently. I recommend using a password manager like LastPass to prevent login frustration and keep your information secure.
- About: Review your professional summary and make sure it still reflects your story and ambitions at least once per year. It never hurts to use this time to drop your write-up into a word processor or have a friend review it to check for errors, too.
- Education: Assuming you don’t have a new degree to add to this section from the past year, simply check to make sure everything is spelled and listed correctly. As long as your institution has a presence on LinkedIn, you should also see logos in the Education section. If for some reason the correct logos have disappeared, double-check that you’ve spelled the institution exactly as it appears on LinkedIn.
- Causes: Edit or add causes you care about annually so that your network knows what issues matter most to you.
- Skills: This section is one of the more “set it and forget it” areas of your profile, but it’s a good idea to revisit it from time to time and make sure it still reflects you. The best practice is to use all 50 slots available in the skills section.
- Languages: Unless you’re a real polyglot, you probably won’t need to update your languages very often. Still, don’t forget to scan through this section each year to make sure it still reflects your proficiencies.
- Licenses & Certifications: Give your licenses and certifications a dust-off once a year to make sure they’re complete and up-to-date.
- Courses: Use your annual scan-through to add any training you might have completed within the past year.
About as often as you change your oil, hop into your profile to make sure everything is up-to-date in this section.
- Settings & Privacy: Because LinkedIn settings and privacy options change somewhat frequently, it’s a good idea to go into the backend of your account and poke around two or three times a year. I recommend keeping your entire profile publicly visible.
Go ahead and make a standing calendar invite with yourself for a quick quarterly tune-up of your LinkedIn profile with special attention to these key sections.
- Background image: About every three months is a great time to swap out your background image for something fresh and double-check that LinkedIn hasn’t changed image dimensions. If you want to level up, try updating your background seasonally to align with holidays or important company or cultural initiatives.
- Featured: This personality-packed section of your profile should never feel stale. Review your Featured section at least once quarterly for broken links and missing images. Unless something else triggers an update sooner, try adding new Featured work, like an image from a company event or a high-performing post, during this quarterly review.
- Experience: Read through your Experience section, with special attention to your current role, about four times a year to make sure it still reflects your history and responsibilities.
- Volunteering: As part of your quarterly review, take a look at your volunteer section to make sure the dates are accurate and your roles are complete. If you’ve picked up something new or ended a prior engagement, reflect the change in this section.
- Recommendations: This often-overlooked feature of LinkedIn profiles is one of the most powerful. To make the most of this section, request one recommendation from a colleague and give one recommendation to someone else every quarter.
- Publications: Links for online publications move all the time, so check this section at least every few months to ensure everything is still working as it should. If you’ve published or been featured in something new, don’t forget to add it as part of your review.
- Honors & awards: Reflect on the past few months to make sure your honors and awards are still up-to-date. If you received something new, add it now or schedule a follow-up time soon to do so.
If something changes in your personal or professional life, there’s a good chance your LinkedIn profile will require a bit of updating. If you experience any of these changes, save yourself some time later and address the relevant profile sections.
Trigger: New title or company
Switched roles recently? Congratulations! Make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects the change so that people in your network know where to reach you and what you’re up to now.
- Contact info: If you’re using your work email, phone number, office address, and company websites on LinkedIn, be sure to update them to match your new role so you don’t miss any important invitations, InMail, or messages. Do a quick skim through the rest of your profile to see if there’s any other spot your old contact info is still lingering—like your About section or Featured work.
- About: Typically, the About section should be pretty evergreen, but when you start a new job, it’s a good idea to lay eyes on it again and make sure the summary you’re using still reflects your professional story.
- Experience: Close out your previous employment and change the role description to past tense. Then, add your new role to your experience section and craft a new description. Pro Tip: Be sure to draft your information in a separate document since LinkedIn does not have a spell-check feature.
Trigger: New accolade or feature
Whether you’ve been named Salesperson of the Year or you were written up in your local newspaper (or both!), include your accolades in your LinkedIn profile.
- Featured: If you want to highlight the award or publication more prominently, add a photo, link, or file and description to your Featured section.
- Publications: Update if you’ve been mentioned in or written a new article, including but not limited to press about an award you received.
- Honors & awards: Update once you’ve received the new honor or award.
Trigger: New volunteer role or membership
If you’ve recently decided to get more involved in your community or industry, say for example as a board member or donor, go ahead and add the volunteer role or organization to your LinkedIn profile before you forget.
- Volunteering: Add a volunteer role and description to highlight any meaningful new work for which you are not paid. If the entity you volunteer with has a presence on LinkedIn, be sure its logo populates in your update.
- Organizations: Add an organization role and description to highlight your membership with professional non-volunteer organizations, like your local chamber of commerce, country club, or trade association.
Trigger: New skill acquired
As soon as you receive your certificate of completion or diploma, pop into your LinkedIn profile to reflect the changes in the appropriate sections.
- Education: Update the degrees in your Education section upon graduation. If you begin a new program, you can include it before you graduate as long as you make it clear with an anticipated graduation date in the future that you have not yet earned your degree.
- Licenses & certifications: Start showcasing your licenses and certifications on your profile as soon as you receive them. Adding “— In Progress” after the name of the designation is also appropriate if you’re actively pursuing a license or certification.
- Skills: Swap out an existing skill or add a new one whenever you acquire a new skill you want to highlight on your profile.
- Courses: Add new courses whenever you complete relevant training that pertains to your role or industry but is not a degree, license, or certification. You can also use this section to highlight new knowledge you’ve gained in the process of working toward a license or degree.
- Languages: Update your proficiency in a foreign language or add a new one whenever you hit a new language benchmark, such as completing a course.
Trigger: Event or activity
If you’ve attended a trade show, participated in a fundraiser, or completed some other notable event or activity, consider highlighting it right away in your profile.
- Featured: Keep this section as updated as possible to showcase what you’re doing in your company or community. It’s a great place to extend the life of your posts, too.
Keeping your LinkedIn profile fresh and true to who you are doesn’t feel like a chore when you break it up into bite-sized chunks. Set a date with yourself to tackle the annual, biannual, and quarterly checklist of refreshes you’ll need to keep your profile in tip-top shape.
Remember, there’s more to LinkedIn than your profile. In addition to this important part of your online reputation, you need to be actively engaging and consuming information on LinkedIn. To set a strong weekly LinkedIn routine, check out my guide, 9 Weekly Habits of a LinkedIn MVP. This free checklist will help you master the game of networking on LinkedIn in just a few simple actions. You won’t want to miss these easy strategies that yield big results.