Me and my wonderful husband Jacob

I feel like an awful wife: For years, my husband Jacob has had a neglected LinkedIn profile and knowing what I know about social media, I never nagged him in wife fashion to fix it up.

Looking back now, especially at the times he was out of work, the neglected profile seems like a mistake. Yet I don’t think I realized how big LinkedIn had become. At the end of 2012, LinkedIn had an estimated 202 million members. Lewis Howes writes on Copyblogger that people are finding seven-figure investors, dream jobs and sponsorships on the network.

Even though Jacob and I are both happily employed now, it’s still important to keep our social media house in order and LinkedIn is part of that. So let’s look at a few quick things we can both do to improve our LinkedIn presence and usage.

First off, Jacob needs to have a professional profile picture as opposed to no picture. “Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong,” LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams said in a Forbes article.

Next thing we both need to do: craft engaging headlines on our profiles. I’ve been writing headlines for years as a journalist, so I should be able to do this for myself and help Jacob if he needs it.

Then, we’ll need to update our profiles to fully reflect our past work and educational history.  Jacob only has one job on his profile from six years ago, and I removed some of my work history from my profile to match my resume. This is a “LinkedIn mistake,” Williams says.

After we get our profiles fully updated, we’ll need to start building a bigger presence on the network and actually become part of the community by posting status updates and joining groups (I have already joined some).

LinkedIn has been low on my social priority list, but that will need to change, especially since it can be a valuable tool in a journalist’s toolbox. It didn’t even dawn on me to use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find current and former employees of companies I may be covering.

Though LinkedIn is another great tool for “putting yourself out there” professionally, it’s still important to protect yourself, as the passwords of some LinkedIn customers were apparently hacked last year. I went in and adjusted what can be seen on my public profile so my entire work history is not visible. I’m the only Amanda Winkle out there with my work history and I don’t want people taking that away from me.

ImageBefore you had to join LinkedIn for class, did you have a profile already? Were you active on it?

With the recent password hack, and people now suing the company for allegedly hacking into their email address books, do you have privacy concerns about the network?