With the job market tight and qualified graduates continuing to pour from colleges and universities, making use of networking sites such as LinkedIn may mean the difference between finding a job and being unemployed. But how can you make the most of such a site and really make your LinkedIn profile shine? If you’re looking for some ways to improve your LinkedIn profile, here are ten tips you might find useful.

1. Proofread

Proofreading probably sounds like common sense, right? However, reviewing the information you place on your LinkedIn profile before you make it public can make a world of difference when it comes to presenting your profile information in a professional manner.

10 tips for an effective LinkedIn profile

2. Have Someone Else Review Your Profile

Proofreading isn’t always enough to ensure your profile is up to par and ready to be seen by the world. Therefore, before putting yourself out there, consider having someone else review the information Рpreferably an objective third party, not your mother, a spouse or significant other who may be looking to prop up your ego.

3. Structure

There’s another thing to consider before stepping back and resting on the laurels of the good work you’ve done on your profile. While you may have cut and pasted or copied information that you knew beforehand was proofread and polished from a resume or some other source, this doesn’t mean it made the transition to LinkedIn as you assumed it would. Once you’ve placed your information on LinkedIn, you should ensure it is presented as you want it to appear.

4. A Proper Balance

Okay, so you have your profile up and running with plenty of great information about yourself – now what? There is a fine line when creating your LinkedIn profile between blatant self-promotion and eating a little too much humble pie. Certainly you want to sing your praises, but you to much “me, me, me” can sound egotistical and be a turn off to those viewing your profile.

5. Websites

The “Website” portion of your LinkedIn profile can be a useful tool or a dangerous enemy. As a tool, you can use this section to guide people to other sites that might contain relevant information about you and your work. However, placing links to certain social networking or non-subject related sites could give away a little too much information about you and your personal life or distract those who are viewing your profile from more relevant information.

6. Twitter

Adding a link to your Twitter account on LinkedIn, could be a great way let people know you are up on latest social networking trends and give them easier access to information about you. Just remember, if you put it out there, the information it reveals becomes a part of how prospective employers might view you, your work ethic, and personality.

7. A Professional Picture

You probably won’t want your profile picture to be one of you hanging with your friends at a bar, doing body shots, or you in some sort of compromising or unprofessional pose. Even a picture with a child or significant other could be a detractor to some. You never know what messages even seemingly innocent images may send. A good headshot is typically the safest route to go.

8. Staying Updated

By check and updating your profile with regularly and when changes occur in your personal and work history, you can better avoid falling behind the curve when it comes to staying ahead of the competition. While a history of past work experience is important, most employers will likely want to know what you’ve been up to lately when it comes to keeping you and your resume current.

9. Utilize Recommendations

Getting recommendations from others on LinkedIn can be a useful tool in providing evidence of real world experience as well as work ethic and education.

10. Specialties

By listing areas and applications in which you are qualified or have certain experience, you may be able to set yourself apart from the competition. Be careful not to over-embellish though, as doing so can leave you looking bad if or when it comes to an interview and you are asked to explain or describe your supposed qualifications.

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