Gone are the days when it was your outfit, body language and elevator pitch that created first impressions. Now it’s your LinkedIn profile that plays this critical role, so you’d better make sure that it scrubs up well!

If you are attending a new business meeting or interview, then the person you are meeting will probably have checked out your credentials on LinkedIn first, in order to gain a deeper understanding around what you are about. Therefore, it’s vital that when they take these steps to discover more about you, the impression that they get it a good one, after all you only get one stab at this! You wouldn’t turn up to a meeting without a freshly pressed crisp shirt, so the same logic should be applied to your LinkedIn Profile. Let’s call it cleaning up your professionally online brand. Here’s 5 key steps on how you should go about it…

  1. Ensure that your career history is fully fleshed out and up to date. Set aside some quiet time to do this and refer back to old CVs if you need to refresh yourself on some of the finer details of your past roles. Make it clear what your responsibilities and achievements were in each role. You’ll be surprised by how your connections will resonate with your career and experiences if you provide them with the full details.
  1. A picture says a thousand words. How does your profile picture stack up against others? Do you look professionally presented and like someone you would want to employ or do business with? If you just quietly shook your head, then think about getting a professional photo taken, or failing that ask a partner or friend to take a photo of you dressed up in suitable attire for your profession.
  1. Are you well connected? If not, then it’s well worth taking the time to run through your collection of business cards and to connect with your key peers on LinkedIn. You’ll be surprised at the interconnections that you will discover within your network. Connecting via LinkedIn will also provide the perfect reminder to your contacts of your line of work and areas of specialties. It could even spur some new business or job opportunities.
  1. Do you have professional recommendations from peers? People love to be reassured that the person they are meeting comes highly recommended, so why not reach out to a handful of your colleagues (both past and present) to ask for a glowing recommendation of your work. This is a two-way thing, so remember to repay the favour!
  1. Are you seen as a thought leader? To help improve the impression that you make on others on LinkedIn, you could try sharing regular updates on topical issues pertaining to your industry. If you are a blogger, then remember you can drive traffic to your blog by copying and pasting it into a LinkedIn Publisher Posts and include a link to the original blog. Not only will you provide your connections with a sample of your writing style but you will help to position yourself as a thought leader within your field. Win, Win!

These five steps are a good place to start improving your profile. Once you can tick these off, then you might want to check out some additional useful links too. Happy ironing!