We’re kicking off another new year, so as you’re making your annual resolutions, changing the batteries in your smoke detector, and compiling your bucket list for the year ahead, it’s a great time to reassess your LinkedIn profile! We’ve noticed that many tend to take a “set it and forget it” approach to their LinkedIn profiles, but this may not be the best way to make the most of today’s most prevalent professional networking site.
Even if you’re not currently on the market or actively looking for a new opportunity, your LinkedIn profile is a great tool to network and brand yourself in a way that can boost your professional presence online. Having an updated profile that clearly showcases your marketing research and insights skillset, as well as your career progression in the field, may also open the door to interesting opportunities before you even start to contemplate making a move.
If used strategically, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool to help you navigate your career and uncover new opportunities, so we’ve compiled some tips to help you get the most out of your profile.
1. Keep your information up-to-date
This may sound obvious, but make sure you always have your current information updated (company, title, location, education, etc.). If you move across the country, take on a new role, or receive a promotion – don’t forget to update your profile!
We recently spoke with someone who had been promoted twice in the past few years into an Associate Director position, but her profile still had her at the Manager level. She had no idea until we mentioned it and finally realized why she’d been getting contacted about positions that were much too junior for her.
2. Make good use of the summary section and headline
Take advantage of this real estate for anything you might want your network to know about you. This is a great place to define your title or role, or, for instance, to note that you’ll be relocating to the Bay Area in the spring, which can signal to recruiters that your current Cincinnati profile is perfectly suited for a San Francisco role before you even make the move.
NOTE: Including a job title such as “Consumer Insights Director” versus something a little less clear and kitschy such as “Marketing Standout” gives someone a clear picture of your background without having to dive too deep into your profile.
3. Describe your most recent roles
Try to include at least a brief description of your recent positions. Some people worry that providing details may increase unsolicited reach-outs, but from our experience, it can actually cut down on untargeted attempts. For example, if you have strong primary research experience across both qualitative and quantitative, adding in some examples of specific methodologies you’ve used can help signal that your skillset may be the perfect fit for a specific opportunity.
4. Show progression
We recommend that you clearly define new roles and promotions you’ve received in order to exhibit your marketing research career development. If you’ve been at your current company for 7 years but you only list your current role and title on LinkedIn, it likely won’t be as impressive as showing that you joined the company as a Research Manager, got promoted after a couple years to a Sr. Manager, and now you’re a Director leading a team. Highlighting your growth is appreciated and is another way to demonstrate career progression.
5. Ensure dates are consistent with your resume
As soon as a hiring manager or recruiter receives your resume and identifies you as a potential candidate for an open role, they often check out your LinkedIn profile as a cross-reference, so make sure the details are consistent! Major discrepancies between your LinkedIn and your resume may be a red flag or raise unnecessary questions, so ensure your profile reflects your resume timeline.
NOTE: If you’re unemployed, you can either choose to add the end date of your last role or leave as through “present”. Some professionals prefer not to advertise that they’re unemployed, but including an end date can also communicate that you may be open to a new role.
6. Cut the clutter
If you’re a few years into your career and already have some relevant marketing research or insights experience under your belt, it’s a good idea to remove some of the first jobs you held (i.e. summer jobs, part-time high school gigs, etc.) before you established yourself as a professional.
NOTE: Some of these experiences are great to include when looking for internships or landing your first full-time role after college, but as you gain more relevant experience, the starter jobs you held as a teenager can dilute your profile and distract from your relevant tenure in the marketing research field.
It’s not mandatory, but we recommend including a photo in your profile – research shows that this increases response rates – and LinkedIn has some handy guidelines about how to choose one. Don’t worry, you don’t have to put on a suit and spend $500 hiring a photographer to get a formal headshot. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to take a photo that looks professional (clear image, decent lighting, neutral or simple background) and reflects the tone or culture of the roles you’re seeking.
If you have access to a photograph that shows you in action in a professional event – possibly from a speaking event or as a panelist at a conference, that could be a great option as well. Use your best judgement, but we tend to advise against a selfie that’s too casual (at the beach, in a car with your seatbelt on, etc.) that may contradict the profile you’re hoping to build.
8. Check your listed email address
Make sure the email you have linked to your profile is current and one you monitor regularly. You don’t want any pertinent emails going to your old AOL or school email address from 2002 and getting lost in an inbox no one checks. It’s also a good idea to use a personal address in lieu of your work email so you avoid communication about a potential job search going to your current employer. And, if you’re in an active search, this is how you hear you might be picked up for an opportunity, so make sure you keep an eye on your email to see if there are any developments!
Bonus LinkedIn Job Search Tip:
If you are in an active search and use LinkedIn to apply for new opportunities, make sure you include a current resume with your application. Some of the new one-click features make it easy to apply to new jobs on the go, with without a resume attached, your application is more likely to go unnoticed. Take the extra step to link a resume for your best shot at getting noticed.
Like a resume, it’s best to think about your LinkedIn profile as an evolving entity as you progress throughout your career, so try not let it go forgotten for long periods of time. Because job titles in marketing research and consumer insights are not always consistent between organizations, your LinkedIn profile can illustrate the value you bring —– more information about your responsibilities, tools and methodologies you’ve used, and the kinds of things recruiters and hiring managers look for when trying to fill roles.
Making these updates may only take a few minutes, but can have a huge impact on your marketability within the marketing research and insights industry. At Burtch Works, we always say the best time to start looking for a new role is while you’re still happy in your current one, and keeping your LinkedIn profile in check may bring a new opportunity your direction at just the right time!