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Five Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Better

Lots of people have joined LinkedIn, which is a good first step, but to get the most out of this networking and career site, users must do much more than simply registering and throwing up their resumes.

LinkedIn is extremely useful when job-hunting -- not only for the contacts you make with the service, but because your LinkedIn profile will be one of the top results in a Google search on your name... but that's also the bad news if your profile is weak, outdated, lacking key information, and/or inconsistent with your resume.

What is LinkedIn? It is the world's largest professional networking service with hundreds of millions of members. Its mission is to connect professionals from around the world -- and make them more productive and successful.

So, first step: If you don't have an account, sign up. Second step, add your resume, skills, accomplishments, and more. Third step, follow the advice in this article to make key and drastic improvements to your profile.

Five Keys for a Stronger LinkedIn Profile

1. Develop a Clear and Consistent Strategy. Most importantly, you need a clear strategy, a clear brand message about who you are, what you can do, and where you're going.

Start with deciding your career focus and direction. What is your career position? What is your brand promise? What do you deliver to employers that you want to be obvious for anyone reviewing your profile?

Make sure you have listed all relevant experience, education, and training on your profile -- and that your profile is as complete as possible. Obvious, but remember that your profile is a living document, and you should always keep it as current as possible.

Finally, remember that all your other professional social media accounts should have the same clear and consistent message about your career brand.

2. Edit and Enhance your Headline and Summary. Once you have your career brand strategy, it is time to develop and/or edit your headline and summary. Didn't know about these two features? Perfect. Now you know where to start.

Your headline will be your current job title and company unless you choose to edit it. When job-hunting, use those 120 characters to your advantage by clearing stating your brand promise -- what you can do for prospective employers.

Your summary is perhaps the second thing people see after your headline. LinkedIn gives you 2,000 characters to make a case about who you are, your career brand, your background and expertise, what you offer prospective employers. Think in terms of the qualifications summary from your resume; in fact, these could and should be one in the same.

3. Add a Professional Photo. I will absolutely not add anyone to my network that does not have a profile picture... but remember that a picture says a thousand words, so don't just throw one up from last summer vacation on the beach.

Don't believe me? Studies show that LinkedIn members with a photo receive 21 more times more profile views and up to 35 times more messages.

Invest in a professional headshot... now, that headshot may vary in style and type based on your career brand and your career focus, but if you are seeking a white-collar job, then it should follow standard job-hunting protocols.

4. Publish Content on the Platform. If you do not have another outlet to highlight your knowledge and expertise -- such as your own website or blog -- consider writing a few articles that showcase your career brand.

Writing an article on LinkedIn is fairly easy. From the home page, where you can post an update, simply click the option that says "write an article."

Keep in mind that whatever you publish should be strategically chosen and carefully edited and proofread. These articles are your chance to shine brilliantly -- or crash horribly.

For tips on writing an article, read this piece from The Muse: How to Write a LinkedIn Article if You're Not a Writer (and Still Sound Credible).

5. Ask For -- and Give -- Recommendations. Many employers report going from the headline and summary sections right down to the recommendations section -- to see what others have to say about you, but also to see what you have said about others.

When job-hunting, it makes sense to have your current references -- and other past colleagues and bosses -- post short recommendations about you. Don't worry, you can ask folks to edit their recommendations and you can choose which recommendations can be seen on your profile.

Remember to share the love too -- because job-hunting and networking are all about giving AND receiving. When you write a LinkedIn recommendation, follow these simple six-step guidelines -- and feel to share this advice for those writing recommendations for you too. First, keep the recommendation short, focused, and specific. Second, start your recommendation with a powerful statement that describes the person's greatest trait/asset/skill. Third, share how you know the person. Fourth, focus on the one or two things that impressed you most about him/her. Fifth, if you have not mentioned it, add something about the person's personality, collegiality. Six, end your recommendation with a final positive recommendation/endorsement.

To ask someone on LinkedIn to write you a recommendation, go to their profile page, click on the three dots to the right of their picture and choose "request a recommendation." These features were a bit squirrely when writing this piece, so if these directions do not quite work, go to: LinkedIn Help.

Additional Help: From the Social Media Marketing Society... 12 Resources to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower peopleto achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+.


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