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Writing your LinkedIn Profile

by Kim on April 8, 2015

If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, you should be, even if you aren’t currently seeking a new position. Preparing a powerful LinkedIn profile shows that you are savvy enough to be “plugged in,” while cementing your brand image and professionalism.  You want to be able to say “Yes,” when someone asks if you can forward your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn started back in 2003, and since then, has grown to over 300 million users, opening many more doors and immediate exposure to a global audience – something not previously possible until the birth of this unique professional service.  While having a profile is imperative in today’s market, and can help you generate greater interest when it comes to networking and job searching, it shouldn’t be relied upon as the only tool in your job search toolbox.

Your LinkedIn profile is also the ideal way to ensure that you have a permanent and professional web link out there for anyone to view, which can still be changed and added to as your career progresses. It also helps you organize your current contacts, cultivate new (valuable) contacts, improve your networking base, showcase your career accomplishments and demonstrate any community or volunteering activities. While it’s expected that an outline of your work history will be included, it also affords you the ability to broaden your visibility and be a little more creative than a traditional resume would be.

With the plethora of services offering “LinkedIn” Services, it’s hard to know exactly what the “right” way is, or what people expect to see. When LinkedIn started, there weren’t instructions as to how to write a great profile, nor are there any “rules,” other than you should utilize each section to maximize your presence.

Some services suggest using humor…some think you should merely copy your resume…some think that you should use as little information as possible, to tweak greater interest (not something I recommend). The fact is, there is no right or wrong way to write a profile, as long as it gets the message across that you are a doer, an achiever, an innovator and/or someone who truly knows their industry or craft.

Focusing on your expertise and unique skill gives you a leg up when it comes to being located through searches, as much of the industry jargon on your LinkedIn profile will automatically  become searchable.  However, try not to go overboard in listing too many disparate skills, as you don’t want to be perceived as unfocused or too “generic,” especially if you are targeting a specific industry niche.

The experience section is where you’ll want to showcase your accomplishments, not necessarily the “nitty gritty” of your daily grind. Readers need to see a very brief explanation of your job description, and more detail as to how you solved problems, overcame challenges, came up with winning ideas and delivered measurable results.

You can further exploit your online footprint by including information about professional affiliations, memberships, activism, volunteerism, awards, notable presentations, trainings and the like.

Taking advantage of a well-developed LinkedIn profile is a smart thing to do for your career and should not be ignored no matter where you are in your career.

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