How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is an important tool for networking and job searching. Make sure your profile is updated and in-depth.

The way you represent yourself on your LinkedIn profile will greatly affect your networking potential and likelihood of getting hired. Simply having a profile is not enough.  A well-developed, professional site will make you stand out among a sea of colleagues. Try these tips to make sure your LinkedIn profile is the best it can be:

Have a Professional Photo
Profiles that do not have a photograph are pushed to the bottom of LinkedIn searches. According to the network, profiles with photos are viewed fourteen times more than profiles with the gray avatar. Be sure your profile gets views by uploading a photo. Don't use a selfie or a cropped shot from your family vacation - this needs to be a professional headshot. Put on an outfit that you'd wear to an interview and grab a friend with a camera. Take some pictures of you smiling in front of a blank wall. No friend with a camera? A local photo studio will offer headshots with top-notch lighting and they will know exactly how to pose you for the perfect profile shot.

Let LinkedIn Help
When you sign on to your account, hit "View profile." To the right of the photo area is the "Improve your profile" option. Click the button and it will guide you through areas of your profile that need more information. This is the best way to see what you are missing and to add any information that may have changed from the last time you updated. You can also follow the LinkedIn blog to learn insider tips about how to use the site and proper networking etiquette. The blog also offers valuable advice on job searching, careers in business and other professions.

Make Connections
Find your superiors or people you look up to on the network and add them. Browse their sites to learn about the proper wording to use for the industry - you may want to use similar terminology on your own profile. Professional industry-relevant language shows viewers that you know what you are talking about. Just be sure that you know what ROI is and that you really do understand Google Analytics before listing them as skills on your profile. Potential employers may ask questions based on what they see on your profile. 

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. To find out more about WGU's online degree programs, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers

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