Personal Branding: Why Wait for a Job Search?

By Karen Catlin.

I used to think I didn’t need to update my LinkedIn profile page. I had a great job, and I wasn’t interested in looking for a new one. Sound familiar? In fact, many women who came to my “Advancing Your Technical Career” roundtables at last month’s Invent Your Future conference felt the same way. With our busy lives, LinkedIn just isn’t a top priority.

But, something happened that made me change my mind. I was about to speak at a conference, and the organizer introduced me using my outdated LinkedIn profile. I was so surprised! Should she have asked me to verify the information before using it? Absolutely. Did I update my profile the very next day? You bet.

I then started thinking of other reasons I should update my LinkedIn profile, even when not searching for a job.

7 reasons to update your LinkedIn profile today:

  1. Personal Branding. Develop a crisp, unique personal brand and highlight it in your profile. Show yourself in the best possible light for internal opportunities such as special projects or stretch assignments.
  2. Reorganizations. A leader might want to read about your background and skills as they plan a new organizational structure. Your profile should reflect your most recent experience and accomplishments.
  3. Ditto for Acquisitions. In fact, your LinkedIn profile may help you keep your job at the new company. Be impressive and unforgettable!
  4. Hiring. Candidates may look you up on LinkedIn before deciding to interview with you.
  5. Selling. You want to represent yourself and your company well with customers and clients, who may look you up before a meeting.
  6. Networking. Connect with every person you meet professionally. You never know where the connection will lead, but chances are you’ll rely on your connections to grow your career in the future. Build your network regularly so it’s there when you need it.
  7. Attracting a sponsor. Sponsors may want to know more about your background before recommending you for something. Make them proud to know you with an outstanding profile and an extensive network. (For more tips about engaging a sponsor, download my free publication.)

Bonus tip #8: Are you concerned your manager might think you’re looking for a new job because you updated your profile? Just change your settings to NOT inform your network when you edit your information. I learned this tip in a tweet from Nora Denzel, one of the panelists for the closing keynote at the IYF conference. Thanks, Nora! You can follow @ndenzel on Twitter to get more career ideas and inspiration.

Perhaps you’re now thinking of why you look up people on LinkedIn. If you’re finding even more reasons to update your profile, please share them in the comments. I’d like to hear from you!

And, if you don’t update your LinkedIn profile regularly, set aside time to do it today. Spending just ten minutes on this task could open career doors you didn’t even know existed.

About the author: Karen Catlin, a former software industry executive, is now a leadership coach and author of “Use Your Inside Voice“, a blog about the intersection of leadership and parenting. She is passionate about helping women have successful careers. You can find her online at http://www.karencatlin.com, view her LinkedIn profile, or follow her on Twitter @kecatlin.

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