Most people who have a LinkedIn account assume that when they retire, they should let it lapse, perhaps even delete it. Doing that, however, is a mistake. While you may not be working as much as you did before retirement, keeping your profile up to date and periodically checking in on the social site is worth your while as you explore your post-full time working life. 

Here are some tips for handling your LinkedIn account as you prepare to step back from your current career. 

Stay Visible

For many people retirement is a time to explore new interests that may or may not be related to the career they held. If you have a LinkedIn profile, updating it rather than deleting it can help keep you on people’s radar or help you consider other options that may arise. 

Edit Your Headline

Sample LinkedIn profile page with headline circled in redIt would seem like adding the word “retired” to the current position listed on your profile headline is the obvious edit, but experts insist that this is a mistake. “Retired” indicates that you’re done with the working world. It conjures up images of someone sitting around, watching daytime TV with a cat in their lap. Instead, use adjectives like “former” or “unretired,” and use the rest of the headline to explain how you want to be of service going forward. If you’re unsure of what you’d like to pursue next, indicate that by listing what you’re open to considering.

Use Your Profile Summary

Sample LinkedIn profile page with red arrow pointing to "about" sectionThe next step is to edit your summary to clarify things. Your LinkedIn Profile summary is the text box at the top of your page, just under your photo. It is meant to be used as an “About” section, and it’s your chance to define yourself in your own words. This is the place to put career choices into context, highlight your biggest achievements, or simply show off your personality. It’s your “cover letter,” and will be the first impression for people viewing your profile. If you’re looking to pursue opportunities like part-time work or volunteer gigs, this is a great place to express what it is you offer and what you’d like to explore. If you have no idea what’s next, this is the place to share that, too! 

Don’t Delete Anything!

Even if your retirement plans are totally unrelated to your career — maybe watching daytime TV with a cat in your lap has been a lifelong dream — deleting your work experience and skills from LinkedIn would be a hasty mistake. Those details help to paint the complete picture of who you are and what you can do. Maybe there’s an opportunity that would be perfect for you, that you’d never discover if that information wasn’t out there as searchable data.

Follow for Inspiration

Woman with short, gray hair and funky glasses bakes in front of a phone on a tripodEven if you’re not looking to attract work opportunities, LinkedIn is an easy way to keep in touch with old colleagues. Retirement can be a rough adjustment, as it usually entails a significant loss of social interaction, so keeping tabs on friends via social media is a good way to stave off FOMO (aka: fear of missing out.) And don’t be a lurker! “Like” when old friends post their achievements and comment on posts that you’re interested in, so that your name is still showing up on people’s feeds. If you maintain some of the more important contacts that you made while working, you never know when those relationships could come in handy. You may not be interested in opportunities now, but there’s no sense in burning those bridges completely … just in case.

In addition to following your own contacts, it could be helpful to follow other inspirational people. As other social media changes, LinkedIn is becoming a place to cultivate ideas and information. There are many influencers — for lack of a better term — on the site that are of retirement age and living their best lives. Why not gather ideas for post-retirement adventures from them?

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