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6 Steps to Polish Your LinkedIn Profile and Land Your Dream Job

Saving money can be a continuous struggle for those facing unemployment or harried by low income. To gain an edge over the plethora of job seekers vying for employers' attention, there are key LinkedIn profile tips you can follow to ensure that your experience, skills, and talents are showcased effectively.

LinkedIn is a growing online network for professionals and companies used worldwide. In addition to acting as a networking platform for many industry leaders, job hunters can use LinkedIn as a tool to uncover relevant job opportunities based on the personal information provided in their profiles.

Job growth is forecast at 170,000 jobs per month in 2012, according to the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). While this insight presents a glimmer of good news for the nation's unemployment rate, interested applicants must pull as many job-seeking tips out of the bag as possible--including optimizing LinkedIn profiles--to remain visible to hiring companies.

LinkedIn Tips For a Strong Profile

Too often, LinkedIn users view their profiles as simply an electronic resume, failing to recognize that with the right strategy, they can win the exposure needed for their career's next big break and finally make their savings account a priority. A survey conducted by LinkedIn found that 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies hire employees through LinkedIn. Here are a few easy LinkedIn tips to help your profile shine for recruiters.

1. LinkedIn profile head shot. Whether companies find your profile by conducting a LinkedIn search or through a string of common connections, the first thing their eyes land on is your profile picture. This image should be a full head shot and facial expressions should be pleasant and confident.

While it's understandable for some Internet users to prefer to remain anonymous on the Web due to privacy reasons, adding a LinkedIn profile picture not only makes you more personable, it makes your name and credentials more memorable. Plus, pictures make it easy for others who you've met at a conference, retreat, or meeting to find you and connect professionally.

What not to do: Refrain from uploading inappropriate photos of yourself onto your profile. For example, unless you're a professional surfer, a picture of you in your swimsuit doesn't set the best first impression. LinkedIn users should also make sure the photo is not blurry or taken at extreme angles.

2. Open with a solid headline. LinkedIn gives users the ability to create a headline for their profile. This headline is featured directly below your picture in employers' search results and is the main snippet that sums up what you do.

If you're currently employed, change your LinkedIn profile headline to something descriptive. Instead of blandly stating your official job title " Account Coordinator at XYZ Company, " adopt a statement that is meaningful and shows what you've contributed, like "Effective account strategist and relationship builder."

Besides, companies have different titles for jobs that function in the same way, so an Account Coordinator for one employer can mean something completely different to another. Statement headlines ensure that your skills are clearly defined.

What not to do: Never leave the headline section blank. Many companies don't click into every single user profile that pops onto the search result. Headlines are your chance to grab their attention and get them curious about who you are and what you can do for their company.

3. Keywords are key. Incorporating well-rounded words throughout your LinkedIn profile to describe strengths makes it easier for employers to find your profile and identify whether you're a good match for an open position. LinkedIn Profile keywords like decisive, determined, productive, and steadfast are all indicators of your professional abilities. Use keywords like this throughout your LinkedIn profile, including in the headline and Summary and Experience sections and the Skills fields as well.

What not to do: Conversely, weak and overused terms lose their merit among recruiters. The most overstated phrase used among U.S. LinkedIn user profiles is "extensive experience," according to LinkedIn statistics. Do yourself and your career a favor by avoiding these 10 played-out words:

1. Extensive experience

2. Innovative

3. Motivated

4. Results-oriented

5. Dynamic

6. Proven track record

7. Team player

8. Fast-paced

9. Problem solver

10. Entrepreneurial

4. Proper email address. If you haven't already, establish a dedicated professional email address under your name. For example, Jane.Smith@aol.com is an appropriate e-mail handle to add to your LinkedIn profile and it reinforces your name into recruiters' memories.

What not to do: Your profile may live on the Internet, but that does not mean your old high school email address has a right to be displayed on your profile. Like a professional resume or formal document, you should not expect employers to send e-mail correspondences to you at "xxbabydollxx@aol.com."

5. Connect with other LinkedIn users. Above all, LinkedIn is an easy way build connections with other influential professionals in your industry. Join LinkedIn groups that align with your specialties and career goals to get current news in your trade sphere.

Also, you can offer your advice and knowledge in the LinkedIn Answers forum. Here, LinkedIn users post industry-related questions for other professionals to answer. With either community forum--Groups or Answers--any time you interact with peers your head shot, headline and link to your LinkedIn profile are accessible to the community.

What not to do: Don't let your LinkedIn profile go stagnant by starting a user account and not updating it with any activity. If engaging with others directly makes you uncomfortable, at the very least, update your profile with Twitter feeds about relevant topics.

6. Get your profile to 100% complete. LinkedIn helps new users get their profiles the most visibility with a profile progress bar showing how close you are to completing your profile.

Getting your LinkedIn profile fully completed entails adding a head shot, headline, summary, experience, educational background, skills, and importing your resume. Each category field filled out is another piece of your professional framework that employers can explore..

What not to do: Don't let your profile linger below the 100 percent mark if you can avoid it. Doing so is only a disservice to you, your career, and inevitably your bank account.

By adhering to these simple LinkedIn profile tips, users can get the exposure needed to find new job prospects and expand their financial success.

Jennifer Calonia writes for www.GoBankingRates.com, which provides readers informative personal finance and investing content, as well as the best interest rates on financial services nationwide. Visit www.GoBankingRates.com for more savings and job seeking tips.



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