6 Simple Steps to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile… by Hannah Pace

If you use LinkedIn, you are looking to make connections. Not only do you want to find people, you want others to find you. Once you’ve been noticed, what will compel someone to connect with you? To maximize your chances of making the right connections, follow these simple steps:

1. Don’t skip the profile picture. LinkedIn is not the place to use your company logo as an avatar. This program is intended to connect people, not businesses. A face with your name maximizes your chances of being contacted. It helps people recognize you, proves your account is valid and lends to greater credibility.

2. Update your status regularly. This is that “What are you working on?” box right under your headline. Its location is highly visible, increasing its importance. This is the perfect place to add industry keywords to heighten your number of profile hits. If you are into Twitter, you can opt to have your tweets posted in this spot. Only choose this option if your Twitter is kept strictly professional.

3. A reader has spotted your profile. They see your photo, read your status update and scroll directly to your summary for more information. Be compelling and take advantage of this free space. This is a chance to fully brand yourself. Think of it like an Executive Summary on a resume, but feel free to add a few personal interest touches like tennis, travel or art. Use this section to its greatest potential.

4. Even if you list previously held positions, it means nothing without a detailed description. Listing positions is great for catching the eye, but be sure to add details to sell your specific skill sets. This is another great place to utilize the power of keywords.

5. Be sure to list every school you’ve attended and all previous (career-related) jobs. One of the ways you’re found is through company or school searches. Be thorough – it all matters. Even neglecting to list your high school can lower your chances of making connections.

6. Have you noticed that if you don’t have three recommendations on your profile, LinkedIn doesn’t deem your profile complete? As an alternative to requesting recommendations, write them for others. Not only will this strengthen your connections, you will most likely receive them in return.

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