by Bob M, ResumeEdge Certified Writer –
Since its inception in 2003, LinkedIn has grown by leaps and bounds, having reached the 200 million user plateau in January 2013. As the most reliable place for professionals to interact, especially for job seekers to connect with employers, it is extremely important to be mindful of your current profile and possibly take advantage of some of the site’s newest features.
Build an Ongoing Presence
The LinkedIn profile, unlike your conventional resume, is meant to be dynamic, which means that simply creating your account and populating it with basic information is likely not going to be enough. Your first priority, as a networking platform, should be to add connections.
According to a 2011 Pew Research Center report, adults aged 18 to 34 average 319 LinkedIn connections, while those 35 to 46 average 198. Building these numbers doesn’t happen overnight. This is an ongoing process. Consider your current and former co-workers, classmates, instructors, and even family. Also, try and create unique invitation language beyond the standard “I’d like to add you as a connection.”
With your profile, things can and will change with your work history, as well as your training. Plus, it is always recommended that your profile is complete with a professional-looking image. Be sure to review all of this information on a regular basis. You never know if you’ll have something new to add into these sections.
You should also consider providing updates as well. This can be accomplished either by writing an update, sharing a link of interest with your comments, or uploading files that you feel will be of interest to your network.
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Take Advantage of the New Features
If you’ve logged into your account recently, you have probably noticed some considerable upgrades to the functionality of your LinkedIn profile. In fact, when you view your profile, you’ll see an Improve Your Profile button right next to the Edit button.
What will appear when you click on the Improve Your Profile button are prompts for possible upgrades. For example, you can now list relevant courses under your Education section. At the end, you will also have the opportunity to share your updated profile on Twitter or Facebook.
You also have the ability to include links and files when you edit any of your current sections. This is particularly beneficial if, for instance, you have a Web page or document that will help your experience or education stand out.
The most significant upgrade to LinkedIn is the users’ ability to add in sections such as Publications, Projects, and Patents. These new sections include a feature that lets you include fellow collaborators in the event that they are also LinkedIn members. This inclusion will be highlighted on both your profile and your collaborators’, setting up potential opportunities for new connections.
As a job seeker, you must make certain that you have every advantage when approaching a potential employer. Making sure that your LinkedIn profile is regularly updated and taking advantage of its newer features will certainly give you a better chance to display your skills and strengths.