How to spring clean your professional online profile

If your online profiles no longer reflect your recent work experience and current goals, it can send mixed messages.

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It’s not often a trend becomes so viral it becomes a verb — but this spring, ‘Kondoing’ became a thing. Thanks to the Netflix success of Marie Kondo’s Japanese method of decluttering, many households are taking on the challenging of determining which things bring ‘em joy — and which ones fall short.

Though the strategy doesn’t apply perfectly to your career, it’s smart to give your professional online presence a once over. After all, these days, Googling is usually step-one in the hiring process for most managers.

And if your online profiles no longer reflect your recent work experience and current goals, career expert for Top Resume, Amanda Augustine says it sends mixed messages.

“If your LinkedIn profile hasn’t been updated in some time or an old version of your resume is still displayed on a job board, chances are you won’t be considered for the right types of positions,” she continues. “Even if you’re not actively hunting for work, it’s good to know what relevant opportunities are available, should you decide to make a move.”

So how can you tidy up — and see results? Here, leading career experts share their best organizational hacks:

Make sure your profile is keyword optimized

You’ve heard about search-engine optimization before, even if it isn’t directly part of your role or industry. While you probably don’t need professional training on research and development — utilizing keywords can upgrade your professional profiles. Specifically, on LinkedIn.

Career branding expert Wendi Weiner says more than 94 percent of recruiters source potential job candidates on LinkedIn — and if you aren’t using the right language to attract them, you’re missing out. She suggests focusing on three or four key areas of focus within your industry that mirror the work you are doing. She explains this will help you to brand yourself as an expert within your field.

“If you are in sales and marketing, digital communications, client relationship management, and business development are core skills that are often found in job descriptions and keywords that recruiters would be looking for,” she gives as an example.

Be mindful of privacy settings

Pop quiz: when was the last time you checked your privacy settings?

This goes for most all accounts you have online — from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and beyond. Career expert Elizabeth Whittaker-Walker reminds, anything and everything that has your name associated to it will appear in searches, whether you like it or not. Each account, for instance, should serve a different purpose and thus, have a different protocol.

“If you are job seeking, you may want to make all or part of your professional profiles public, so that potential employers are able to see your amazing accomplishments. If you lead sensitive work and are connected to high profile clients, you may not want your connections to be visible to the public–or people outside of your network,” she explains. “If some of your online profiles are purely social, make sure the public only has access to photos and posts you wouldn’t mind being posted in a newspaper or in your company’s conference room.”

Create new content

You by content, Augustine means get creative. While you don’t have to start a blog or build a personal website, those are some time-consuming measures that’ll definitely have all-eyes-on-you. If you don’t have time — or you’re not in a field that requires this type of work — consider updating LinkedIn in the same way you would Facebook.

“LinkedIn allows its members to publish articles on their profiles. There is also an option to add multimedia — videos, images, presentations — to your profile, which allows readers to get a more comprehensive view of you as a professional,” Augustine recommends.

This sends the message to employers and recruiters that you’re listening and you’re engaged, and more importantly, ready to hear from them.

Obtain new connections and recommendations

Hey, wintertime is when we all hibernate — but as the sun comes out, so should your appetite for networking. Weiner notes if you haven’t grown your reach in a while, now is the time to put effort into fostering connections. She suggests digging deep into the target companies that interest and intrigue you, and touch base with people at a lateral or higher level.

“From a best practice standpoint, this can lead to effectively building relationships with key persons of interest that will open more doors in the long run for your career,” she explains.

On that note, for anyone that you’ve worked with in years past — from managers to clients and colleagues — ask if they’d write you a digital recommendation. This adds character and validation to your LinkedIn profile, making you that much more attractive.

Make your profile action-oriented.

Whittaker-Walker says the more detailed and results-driven you can be on your online profiles, the better. Since this is what your potential future boss could read to see if they want to interview you or not, you definitely want to make sure it’s impressive.

She urges professionals not to merely say what you did — but describe the impact on your team, your company, your industry and so on.

“If you were responsible for training and managing 3 new team members last year, describe the impact of your training and management on their performance and how both impacted your company’s success,” she continues. “Make sure you also update your profiles with the work you accomplished on major new projects and describe its impact.”

Lindsay Tigar|is a seasoned lifestyle and travel writer