Do these four things today to improve your LinkedIn Profile!

We’ve all heard the advice - when looking for a job your network is the best place to start and with 546 million users in more than 200 countries LinkedIn is considered the world’s largest professional network. In fact, Ninety-four percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. That makes it one of the most important tools in your job search arsenal. Lucky for you, creating a professional LinkedIn profile is really very easy.

Master these four things and you are well on your way -

Profile picture - Think of your picture as your profile’s first impression - a virtual handshake of sorts. It needs to be both professional and welcoming.  

Cheryl Czach #cherylczach

Do I look competent, likable and influential?

Not sure your photo conveys the right message? I recommend Photofeeler. Just upload your profile picture and find out how competent, likeable and influential you appear. Using Photofeeler is free once you build “karma” by rating other user’s photos. I uploaded my profile pic (above) and 102 folks rated it. 66% felt I looked competent, 41% rated me as likable (ouch) and 76% felt I looked influential. You can upload several pictures and select the one with the desired response.  

Headline - Your headline appears after your name at the top of your profile. LinkedIn automatically populates it with your current job title and employer. But don’t waste this prime profile real estate! Instead, change the headline to something more descriptive of what you do, or better yet, what you want to do. Change Program Manager at ACME, Ltd. to PMP certified Program Manager, who never shies away from a challenge.

Summary - Aside from your photo, your summary is the most important area of your LinkedIn profile as it’s the part most likely to be read. Use first person language, be brief but informative, and show your personality.  According to Inc.com -

“The place on LinkedIn to tell your story is in the summary, which is that space below your name, title and location. Some people leave this place blank; others re-purpose copy from their resume or experience section. Don't do this! The summary is important, because it is the narrative of who you are and the career you have built.”

Need some inspiration? Check out 5 Templates That'll Make Writing the Perfect LinkedIn Summary a Breeze .

This is not your resume - Lastly, it’s important to remember your profile is not your resume. While you will list your jobs and education, your descriptions will be brief and conversational. Like your summary, use first person language and focus on accomplishments rather than responsibilities.  

Bonus Points: Want to get the most of your LinkedIn presence? Join and participate in groups. Like any social media platform, you get noticed when you participate. LinkedIn will let you join up to 50 groups and while that may seem daunting, I recommend joining a few and then actually participating in them.

Happy networking!