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Is your LinkedIn profile powerful and alive? Or is it just an empty shell? LinkedIn, with over 300 million profiles world-wide, has become the leading social media site for professional networking that allows members to create business connections, search for jobs, and find potential clients. It's considered to be the premier professional networking tool. Here are six things you can do today to give your LinkedIn profile power and help you connect with colleagues, potential employers, and jobs.


1. Add A Photo

Does your profile show your picture? A photo adds life and attraction, and surveys show that recruiters are more likely to read a profile with a picture. But don't post any photo. Make it the right photo. The background should be a professional or neutral setting; no cropped party photos with someone's disembodied arm across your shoulder. No blurry selfies. Post a photo that shows you at your professional best. Photofeeler.com can help you post the right photo by giving you feedback on three dimensions: competent, likeable, and influential. Their site has some good tips for selecting your photo.

2. Maximize Your Headline

Your headline – the words attached to your name – can have up to 100 characters. Do don't just post your job title; maximize your headline to state your brand. Post searchable words that describe you as a professional. Rather than “Mary Jones, Attorney," you could try, “Mary Jones, JD, Visionary management leader specializing in emerging business." Rather than, “Fred Smith, Marketing Director," you could try, “Fred Smith, International Brand and Marketing Director with a passion for sophistication and imagination." Use words that describe your strengths like maximizer, connector, analyst, specialist, expert, guru.

3. Personalize Your Summary

Rather than writing your summary in “resume language," write it in first person to make it come alive. Use your summary to describe your value proposition, your approach, your humor and insight; you as a professional. First, tell us what you do in one or two sentences: amplify your brand in plain English without jargon. Then, tell us how you are great at what you do: what do you bring that others in your niche do not? Tell us how you add value in your profession. Perhaps you can share a quote that inspires your work. Also, tell us what you want and how to reach you. You can conclude your summary with a statement such as, “If you're looking for someone to embrace your cause with fervor, contact me." Or you could say, “With my experience and expertise, I can confidently help your company achieve its targets and reach its blue-sky goals. Contact me."

4. Add Something Pro/Personal

Pro/personal is something about you both personal and professional – something humanizing such as sports achievements, volunteer work, or interests that humanize you and show us your expertise. Make your pro/personal statement an illustration of your brand and your professional qualities. I can say, “I'm driven," but when I mention that I recently trained for and completed a marathon, it shows my drive. I can say I'm committed to corporate social responsibility, but when I describe the volunteer hours I spend at the local food bank, it illustrates my commitment to my community. Recently, I had a client who came across as a quiet analyst. Then, she told me that she used to roller skate for the local roller derby team. Suddenly, her drive and assertiveness came to life.

5. Use Keywords

Keywords are search terms that make you easily found by customers, recruiters, and corporations. List your technical skills, professional knowledge, distinctive education and qualifications. You do this in the body of your summary or in a paragraph titled: Specialties.

6. Show Your Work

You can show your presentations, articles, or portfolios by uploading a link or file. If you have examples of your work to share, don't miss this opportunity to show it. Once you've made changes to your LinkedIn profile, get feedback from Profilegrade.com on how effective your profile is. Try it and see what improvements you can make! For more LinkedIn tips, Career Enlightenment, a Portland-based social media site for job seekers, is a good source. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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