Dust BunnyLinkedIn has quickly become the most important professional networking tool at our disposal, but there are many of us who don’t utilize it to its fullest potential. Only about half of LinkedIn users’ profiles are complete and 42 percent of LinkedIn users regularly update their profile information.

Most of us with outdated and rarely visited LinkedIn profiles will claim that it’s too much to keep up with, there are too many social networks, or there’s no time. Well, let’s get real about the amount of time that it would probably take to ensure that your LinkedIn profile stays up-to-date and useful. The average smartphone user checks his/her Facebook 14 times a day. Hopefully that stat puts in to perspective the actual amount of time we spend on social networks. This doesn’t even account for access via other devices.

As people get comfortable with their role in a company, they tend to neglect this awesome professional marketing tool. Take 20 minutes and follow some of these great tips we got from an infographic from MaxzimizeYourSocial.com to wipe the cob webs off of your LinkedIn profile.

Picture It

Did you know that a profile is 7x more likely to be viewed when it has a picture? Furthermore, profiles get more activity when the picture is regularly changed. Some LI (that’s what the pros call it) members will change their profile picture monthly to grab attention.

The Mac LinkedIn integration makes it possible to change your LI picture right from photobooth. This makes changing up your profile picture quick and easy. Be sure to always use professional pictures of good quality with good lighting.

Make It a Habit

It is very easy to forget about your profile if you aren’t an avid LinkedIn-er. Get in the habit of adding each now experience and skill that you gain. If you can’t be trusted to do this on your own, set a monthly reminder. Each month, make it a priority to change your picture, add a skill and send out endorsement. These small updates will amount to a stellar LI profile.

Make a Group Effort

If you never really engage in a group, there are other benefits; joining groups will allow LI to offer you targeted and relevant information. Eighty-one percent of LI users belong to groups and within those groups there are over 200 conversations starting each minute. These groups are a great opportunity to connect with like-minded folks and learn from your online community. Being a part of a group allows user to connect with one another via the Group Messaging feature.

Let’s Get Visual, Visual

LI is great because you have your own corner of the internet to showcase your skills, experience and even work. Displaying your work now means more than just listing skills. Upload projects and real life examples of your work here. Show people what you can do. You can share presentations, Slideshares, articles and so much more.

Customize and Brand

Did you know that you can customize your LI address? Customizing your address makes it easier to share and simpler for people to find you. You should also have your Twitter, email and other social accounts available on your profile. The whole point is networking, so make yourself contactable.

Throughout your profile you should include standard industry terms and keywords. These are how people will find you. This is particularly important when crafting a search-friendly professional headline.

Updating and actually using LinkedIn is well worth the small amount of time it takes to engage. No one sits up at night and worries about expanding their social network. It is rarely seen as an urgent part of your professional life, but it is. Growing a social network grants us opportunities that we would have never had access to before.

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