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How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile and Personal Brand

LinkedIn is quickly becoming the #1 place for job seekers to search for new opportunities. Many professionals treat their profile like an exact replica of their resume, which can fail to catch attention in a busy social network. A more compelling profile will work in your favor, whether you are actively job searching or simply looking to network with others in your industry. It’s time everyone started treating their profile as an extension of their resume; letting their experience, skills, and a little bit of personality shine through. Here are some tips and tricks to optimize your LinkedIn profile:

Complete the Basics 

Profile Photo– Make a visual impression with a high-quality and well-lit professional headshot that is at least 200 x 200 pixels.

Customized URL– Use this to easily tell people how to find you online. Typically this should reflect your full name, and nothing else.

Headline– This is shown directly under your name and is used in search engines for others to find you. Use valuable keywords that your target audience uses often.

Contact Information– Don’t leave this out. When you fill out contact information, LinkedIn will give you more visibility in search engines. Customize it further by changing the default labels to words your audience will recognize.

Education, Certificates and Awards – Not only does including this round out your experience, your education background is a great starting point for others in your alumni network to find you and start a conversation. In addition to work accomplishments, include awards that showcase your personality.

Use Video Introduction 

You can now add a video introduction to your profile. This is a great place to tell stories, share client testimonials, and showcase your work. Introducing yourself with video makes your profile more personal, especially if others in your industry are not using video.

Get Endorsements and Recommendations 

The Skills and Endorsement section of your profile is a prime channel for keywords. Think about which of your skills is most important for your industry and have those endorsed by friends and colleagues. Select skills that will have a high-volume of search in your industry by avoiding buzz words and sticking to the basics.

Rearrange Your Profile 

LinkedIn allows you to reorder sections of your profile in any way you prefer, so make it work in your favor. For example, if you have won awards, you may want to move these below your summary section.

Own Your Content and Communication 

Posting regular updates helps keep your profile name top of mind to others in your network. Take your content beyond resume material; you want to be personable and write as if you are having a conversation. Always write as if you are speaking to the people you want to network with.

Grow Your Network 

When you are searching LinkedIn, the results vary based on your network. The larger your network, the more likely you are to show up in search results. You can use several different tactics to grow your reach: connect with previous employers, teachers, colleagues, and school friends. In addition, you can join online groups with similar interests and goals.

If You’re Job Hunting… 

Let Recruiters Know You’re Looking– In your Dashboard, there is a “Career Interest” bar. Turn it “on” to let recruiters know you are open to new opportunities.

Pick Your Location– Recruiters browse by location. Change your profile location to the area you’re hoping to land a new position in.