Maximizing LinkedIn and Making it Work!!

With roughly one new member joining per second, LinkedIn has rapidly developed into a global professional networking superpower. But with so many people competing for attention on the site, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.    These useful tips are beneficial in getting connected to potential employers:

Include a professional-looking picture. Even if you believe you’re not the most photogenic person in the world, you should still include a profile picture. Why? It shows that you’re comfortable with yourself, and it makes your profile a lot more personable. Like it or not, your picture is one of the first things people (read: potential employers) notice on your page. So, make a good first impression by uploading a headshot with adequate lighting and a fairly neutral background.

Maximize your professional headline. Your professional headline is a piece of prime real estate on your profile. If you just enter a job title here, you’re missing an important opportunity to market and distinguish yourself. Write something catchy and specific to show others who you are (e.g., instead of “Project Manager for XYZ Company,” try “I manage complex projects involving IT and marketing.”)

Note: If you’re in between jobs, it’s okay to lay your cards on the table (e.g., experienced administrative professional looking for my next role in the Chicago area). Or, if you prefer, you can leave your employment status out of your headline and simply focus on the competent professional you are. Either way, think of the professional headline as a ten second pitch to sell your abilities to a potential employer.

Create a vanity URL. Most LinkedIn profile URLs contain a bunch of ugly code and numbers with a slash and then your name at the end. If you have a common name, or want to use the URL on a business card, stand-out from the crowd by customizing your LinkedIn URL. Just go to the “public profile” section to create a more concise and self-explanatory locator.

Consider upgrading to a premium account. LinkedIn now offers paid accounts that help job seekers reach out to hiring decision makers and manage their job searches more effectively. For a monthly fee, you are moved to the top of the hiring manager’s list as a “featured applicant” when you apply to jobs on LinkedIn. Your listing is highlighted and displayed in a more eye-catching way, showing hiring managers that you’ve invested extra time and money to make your job search successful. The paid account also allows you to send emails directly to hiring managers’ accounts, without waiting for an introduction from one of your contacts.

Leverage the new “network activity” section. LinkedIn recently expanded the functionality of the old “network updates” section. It now supports posting links that include images and article excerpts. So if you find an industry article that your LinkedIn connections (or potential employers) might find interesting, post it here. Posting links to timely, relevant information demonstrates that you stay on top of news and trends.

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