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10 Tips for a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I’ve heard that my profile on LinkedIn is important. Why? And how can I be sure mine is as good as it can be?

A: My opinion is that the resume as we know it will be gone in the next few years. Many organizations want you to apply using their online application, and many are now encouraging you to import your LinkedIn profile into the application. So that’s one reason your profile is important, but there is an even more critical one.

Your profile is how you get noticed. Recruiters and executive search professionals actively use LinkedIn to find candidates for job openings. So your profile is essential to your job search.

You can find consultants to write your profile, but I don’t think that’s necessary if you follow some easy steps.

  1. Remember that this is your opportunity to sell yourself, so don’t hold back on showcasing your skills and strengths.
  2. Use the keywords that will get you noticed—the keywords you see in job postings for jobs you are interested in or current buzzwords in your field.
  3. Your summary should be three to five paragraphs long. Consider a bulleted list to showcase the industries you’ve worked in, your unique qualifications, and your key strengths. This will increase your odds of showing up when recruiters are searching for someone with your background.
  4. Don’t give your educational background short shrift. Make it as complete as possible---include your degree, the field it’s in, and the activities you were involved in while in school.
  5. Include your volunteer experience.
  6. List how to reach you—email and phone if possible.
  7. Include a recent photo.
  8. Update your profile often to include new information, such as an article you’ve written or a presentation you’ve given. Your connections will hear about it.
  9. Join LinkedIn groups and contribute to online discussions.
  10. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust.

Your profile is how you get noticed. Recruiters and executive search professionals actively use LinkedIn to find candidates for job openings.  

Once you have your profile completed and posted, the next big step is to connect with as many people as possible to build your network. Start by sending invitations to current and former colleagues. Invite people you know from your volunteer work or other activities. Then, as people accept your invitations, take time to look at who their connections are and, if you know any of those people, invite them to connect with you. Within a very short time you can build up your network.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].


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