February 11, 2013 

LinkedIn is known as THE virtual resume and has become the #1 method for job searching, professional networking and recruitment on the web. For this reason alone, establishing and maintaining a LinkedIn account is vital and, when done correctly, can significantly increase your chances of finding and being found for potential employment. Here are a few ways to assure your LinkedIn account is in tip top shape to help you advance in your career:

1. Complete Your Profile
Just as you would for your resume, makes sure to take time and fill out your LinkedIn profile thoroughly. This must also include posting a clear, professional-looking image as your profile photo to increase your ability to be found online and build your network.

2. Join Industry Groups
A great way to stay up-to-date and in-the-know is to join a number of LinkedIn groups that are related to your industry and interests. Your participation within these groups can help build relationships, create opportunities to collaborate professionally and facilitate network opportunities for future employment. Can’t find the group you’re looking for? No problem! Take initiative and start one of your own.

3. Request Recommendations & Endorsements
Life on LinkedIn can be very symbiotic. One of the best ways to receive skills endorsements and favorable recommendations from others is to be willing to endorse and recommend them in return. Obviously, this depends on your ability to honestly and fairly portray others in a positive light. If not, it is okay to turn down a request. But the golden rule is essential when looking to promote your own profile.

4. Request an Introduction
One of the advantages of LinkedIn, as a social media platform, is the ability to see how and through whom you are connected to someone for networking purposes. Even if you have no professional or social tie to someone who works at a specific company or in a specific position of interest to you, if they’re contact info is available on their profile, do not hesitate to reach out to them for career advice or assistance. Of course, remember to pay it forward in the future.

5. Expand Your Network
Remember to sign on regularly to accept any LinkedIn invitations you may have received and send out invitations to others whom you may have met through networking events, meetings or from business cards of those you have met in the past that you now have stashed away somewhere collecting dust.

6. Increase Your Profile Searchability
Potential employers and recruiters search for candidates through LinkedIn by using specific keywords that are relevant to the skills of a position they are looking to fill. The best way to assure that you come up in the top of their search is by strategically placing these industry-related buzzwords throughout your profile. Check out a few other profiles for jobs you would like to have in order to collect a library of relevant keywords to use and add some of these terms in your default headline, as well.

7. Create & Contribute
Another way to bring more attention to your profile is to post relevant, industry-related information through LinkedIn and group news feeds, and contributing stimulating commentary regularly on topics of interest. Creating a voice and encouraging dialogue is a great way to build an audience and establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Have you ever been recruited for a new position through LinkedIn? What other tips can you share for customizing your profile?

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