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Are you using LinkedIn well? A lot of factors go into a good profile and smart utilization of this important resource. Here are 9 important LinkedIn tips for your job search--from your URL to networking.

Upload the right photo

Your photo should be a recent, head-and-shoulders shot of you smiling against a plain background. You should be wearing business-appropriate clothes (something with a collar). See these LinkedIn Profile Photo Tips for more help.

Customize your URL

When you sign up, LinkedIn generates an automatic URL (your LinkedIn page address) with a version of your name and a string of numbers. That’s not great. It’s much better to have a cleaner, clearer URL without all the numbers. Ideally, it will look like linkedin.com/yourname. (Or as close to your name as you can get. There are a lot of people on LinkedIn, after all.) How do you do that? Go into 'Edit Profile' and edit your Public Profile URL. It will let you type in what you want your URL to be. Click 'Set Custom URL,' and you’re done.

Write a clear headline

Way too many people have an unclear job title headline (Accounts Manager, Sales Rep…). Be clear about what you do. Think about what search terms a recruiter might use to find someone like you. Think about the big picture (accountant, engineer, sales rep) as well as the specialty (non-profit, software, medical). Here are more tips to write a good LinkedIn headline.

Write a compelling summary

Your summary is how you’re introducing yourself. The first few lines (what people see first) are vital. Use those to sketch out the big picture, and then use the rest of the summary to fill in the details. Hit the highlights—the most important or impressive things a recruiter or hiring manager should know about you. Try to make it easy to read or skim. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Use bullet points to draw attention to key information. (Still not sure what to say? Check out what leaders in your industry are doing for ideas.)

Quantify your accomplishments

Just like with your resume, you want to add numbers, dollars, and percentages to your accomplishments. (When you look at what you did, ask ‘how many?’ ‘how much?’ ‘how long?’ etc.) These numbers will grab attention for you.

Join groups

Groups are fantastic resources for you. You can learn about important events and trends in your field, make important connections, and even find job listings that may not be anywhere else. Join interesting discussions and become more widely known in your field. Make sure to join career-focused groups—not job seeker groups.

Connect

Don’t be shy about connecting with others. That’s what LinkedIn is for. Take a minute to personalize your invitations beyond the basic one LinkedIn provides. For instance: remind them of where you met, offer a genuine compliment, or mention something you have in common.

Don’t just connect. Make the effort to offer endorsements or recommendations where you can. That can encourage others to do the same for you—which is great for your profile.

Follow relevant people

Who are the leaders and innovators in your arena? You may not be able to connect with them, but you can follow them. They may be talking about coming trends, discussing their experiences, or offering advice. This can be invaluable information for you.

Get on LinkedIn once a day

Don’t do all the work to set up a great profile and then fail to utilize the network. At least once a day, get on LinkedIn to see what’s happening, check your messages, and answer invitations to connect.

LinkedIn is a large, varied, and valuable resource for you. Use it well.

linkedin profileWant more help and direction? Check out my LinkedIn Profile Tutorial.

Best of luck!