Your profile also emphasizes your activity on the site, placing recent updates at the top of the profile. Previously, a user could get away with one status update a week; that is no longer the case. It is important to regularly join or comment in groups, update you status, answer questions or respond to other status updates to ensure that you show regular positive activity on LinkedIn.
Your profile also places a lot of emphasis on your background. A strong summary of your skills is now more important than ever. People tend to skim online summaries as well. Long-worded statements and long paragraphs are much more likely to be ignored. We advise the use of a more targeted, direct summary that highlights your best professional qualities in a few lines or less (focus on your intellectual, interpersonal and job skills). If you feel the need to include more information, put it in shorter paragraph form. The longer the paragraph, the more likely that crucial parts will not be read. Always lead off each section and each paragraph with your strongest points, as people who skim are less likely to go past the first few words.
Here is an example: “Motivated education professional with strong leadership and team building skills. Educated and experienced with dynamic analytical and problem solving abilities. Dedicated, pays close attention to detail. Personable and engaging with the ability to motivate coworkers and team members. Heavily invested in the success of personal, team and organizational goals.”
In addition, a bulleted section highlighting your core competencies complements your summary statement. For the maximum impact, focus your competencies on actual tasks and abilities you will be able to utilize in the professional world (e.g. social media, program development, strategic planning, leadership, etc).
As a powerful networking tool, one of the most valuable parts of LinkedIn is the ability to contact those individuals in whom you are interested. One of the ways that LinkedIn tries to make money is by making it difficult to contact these people of interest. If you are not directly connected to someone, you usually cannot send them an e-mail or see their contact information without paying $10 for an “In-Mail” (A LinkedIn generated email that can be sent to any LinkedIn user). It is hard to justify that expense for someone you don’t know when reviewing “cold” profiles, so it is crucial to make it easy for people to contact you. We advise students to put their e-mail address at the end of their summary statement so that interested parties can contact them without paying.
Social media has rapidly changed the world. It is no surprise that the agent of that change, Linkedin, is always in a state of flux. Success has always required time and effort. Students often mention that as soon as they master the use of social media, things change, and they have to adjust everything they had produced. While that is true, and it can be frustrating, the opportunity LinkedIn provides cannot be ignored. An updated profile designed to maximize your visibility and marketability is critical for success. Seize the moment and stay ahead to help you get ahead.
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