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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

10 Ways to Create a Winning LinkedIn Profile

Whether or not you’re looking for a new job right now, you need to have a solid presence on LinkedIn.

With more than 450 million users worldwide, it is easily the largest professional network on the planet. It’s not only large, it’s highly effective in helping professionals in any industry get and stay connected.

So why should that matter to you? LinkedIn is your chance to get your name and face in front of hundreds (or even thousands) of professionals in your industry. If you’re looking for a job, that’s essential.

However, it’s not enough to just have a LinkedIn page. You need a great LinkedIn page that draws attention, says the right things, and helps you really connect with the people who can help you expand your career. Here are 10 simple tips to creating your winning LinkedIn profile.

1. Your picture.

The simplest thing you can do to upgrade your LinkedIn profile is to add a good headshot. Be creative if that fits with what you do or who you are, but remember, this is the first impression people will get from your page. If you don’t have a professional headshot to use, it’s worth the investment. With the huge numbers of people on LinkedIn, those without a photo are easily pushed aside. “When I’m looking at candidates, if there is no photo, I’ll skip right past them to the next one,” says Mary, a Compensation Manager.

2. Your headline.

Your headline is the first text that shows up right below your name on your profile. The default settings will fill this in with your current position and that’s okay for starters. It can be whatever you want. You have 120 characters to work with, so why not add on a little? Think of it as a small billboard advertisement for you and what you do. Instead of just listing the job title, mention your specialty and how you benefit your company or customers.

Example:

John Doe

Advertising Sales Rep helping clients create winning branding strategies. Over 300 Successful clients.

Just like that you’ve told them your job, what you really bring to the table, and provided a little credibility. Easy and effective.

3. Your summary.

Your summary can be a longer form of your headline. Here you have 2000 characters to work with so you can dive in a little deeper. Don’t just focus on what you have done in the past, but what you really do well and what you can bring to a prospective employer. Keep in mind that keywords are crucial here. Use words that you want to be strongly connected to in your field.

Attention spans are short these days, so don’t use up all of those 2000 characters. Keep it to less than half of that. Be creative and paint a picture of who you really are as a professional.

4. Your experience.

You can do better than simply cutting and pasting your resume. You don’t have the same two page rule here, but you do have internet readers’ short attention spans. Include any jobs that you deem relevant to where you want your career to go. Limit your bullet points to two to four per job, but make them interesting and impressive. Use good action words to show, not just what you did, but what you accomplished in each position.

5. Use visual media.

Did you know that you can add a background photo/cover photo on LinkedIn just like you can on Twitter and Facebook? It’s simple to do and it makes your page stand out. What kind of theme do you want? Choose something that speaks to your profession or your personality.

LinkedIn also allows you to connect other media to your profile. Youtube videos, infographics, you name it. Get creative with relevant media and make your page jump off the screen and demand attention.

6. Customize your URL.

Your LinkedIn URL is located right below your photo on your profile page. This is the web address for your profile. The default will have your name and some gibberish numbers on it. Why not make it something more relevant? Again, it only takes a couple of minutes and it can make your URL much more memorable.

7. Make connections.

It seems obvious, but it can be easy to forget sometimes. You need to keep growing your connections as you meet people. Having a lot of connections helps to keep you visible to others because of LinkedIn’s system of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections.

That being said, while you can connect with people you don’t know, it’s preferable to connect with individuals whom you know personally, have worked with, or met in a professional capacity.

8. Ask for recommendations.

This is a big one. Think of people that you’ve developed a good working relationship with in the past. When you edit your profile, there is a link to click that says “Ask for Recommendations.” Click on it. You then choose what you’d like to be recommended for and can choose a list of people from your connections. Send it out and hope you get some great feedback.

Recommendations are a key to making your page stand out. Employers want to know that others have approved of your work.

Help your karma out and recommend some of your connections back.

9. Keep your page active.

LinkedIn is more than an online resume. It’s a networking social media site. That means to get the most out of it, you need to remain active. Check out what other people are posting. Engage them with thoughtful comments. Like and share posts that strike you as helpful.

Join groups that are on LinkedIn. Whatever your professional interests are from marketing to accounting, there are going to be groups talking about it. Join one or two and interact within that group. It’s a great way to meet some new people and share ideas.

10. Check your profile strength.

If you look at your current LinkedIn profile, there is a gauge on the right hand side that gives you a “Profile Strength” measurement. Essentially, this is telling you how completely you’ve filled out your profile. Keep adding more and using the site’s tips until that gauge rates you “All-Star.” It’s simple, but it can help you realize if you’ve overlooked something.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool and one that’s really easy to use. Make the most of it by optimizing your profile to grab attention, sell your skills and validate your accomplishments. You want your page to be visually appealing to visitors while making it easy for them to get a feel for who you are and what you really can do for them professionally. These 10 tips make a great start for building your winning LinkedIn profile.

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!