Spring into Action: Time for a Little Professional Spring Cleaning!
As I sit at my desk looking at the snow, I am dreaming about spring, which leads me to think about spring cleaning. What does spring cleaning look like in terms of your professional life? For me, it involves the questions, “Have I tended to the professional relationships that I needed to tend to? Are there new professional relationships that need to be “planted”? Are there professional relationships that need to be “pruned”?
One of the tools that I wrote about in our last newsletter was LinkedIn. It is a tremendous tool that has lots of free functionality! Here are some ideas to start your own professional spring cleaning on LinkedIn:
- Review your Profile. Is your profile ‘complete’ according to LinkedIn? The algorithm that LinkedIn uses is based on having a ‘complete’ profile, by their definition. You will show up higher in employer searches if your profile is ‘complete.’
- Is your photo on your profile? This is one of the most important things to have on your profile. Not only does LinkedIn’s algorithm rank that high towards the completeness of your profile, so do potential employers. They want to know that you are a real person. If your photo is a bit dated, take a new photo. Make sure it is professional looking. It does not have to be taken by a professional. It should be a headshot from your neck up. If the photo is taken from your shoulders up, make sure you are dressed professionally.
- Review the contents of your profile. Is it current? Are there new things to add, like new projects or results in your current job, new memberships or roles in professional associations? Are there things to delete - perhaps jobs that you had 20 years ago? Is your summary current and fresh?
- Do you have at least three ‘Recommendations’? These are incredibly helpful to potential employers because they are not something you can write for yourself. They give potential employers an opportunity to learn about you from other people’s voices. They will indicate HOW you do a job, which is something an employer can’t get from your resume.
- Look through your Connections. See which connections you’ve kept in touch with over the past year. Reach out for an update from at least ten of your contacts. Ask what they are doing and tell them a bit about what you are doing. Be sure to include a couple of sentences on a project that has really energized you in the past year. If you are thinking about the next step in your career, mention that too.
If there is a company or a job that you’ve always wanted, use the Search People functionality. LinkedIn allows you to search for people who work at that company. They can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level connections to you. If they are a 2nd level, that means one of your 1st connections are one of their 1st connections….so message your 1st connection asking for an e-introduction. Be clear on the reason for your request. Be mindful that you are asking your contact to put their credibility on the line on your behalf. Be very respectful of that.
Browse for Jobs. You may not be looking for a new job, but it can be fun to see what’s out there. LinkedIn has a lot of job postings. If there is a company that you’ve always dreamed of working for, explore the jobs it has posted. If there is a specific job that you would like to have, search for job postings with that title. If you find a job that looks interesting, LinkedIn makes it easy and free for you to apply. Go ahead! What have you got to lose?
Good luck with your professional spring cleaning!
— Melanie Sanchez-Jones