By Libby Parker

 

Having a LinkedIn profile is essential in today’s job market. It is the first step a potential employer will take to find out if you are the right fit for their company or organization. Here are some steps you can take to set your profile apart from the competition.

 

1. Brand Yourself

Present yourself in a way that is professional, yet approachable. LinkedIn profiles that have profile pictures are way more likely to be reviewed. However, this photo shouldn’t look like something that would be on other social media sites. Pick a photo that represents who you are as a professional. In addition, select a background photo that shares a little bit about yourself such as a landscape form your hometown, a quote, or another creative image.

 

2. Write a Strong Summary

This is a chance to sell yourself to potential connections. Your summary should take your headline to the next level, highlighting your experience, your specialties and your professional style.

 

3. Keep the Basics Updated

There is no excuse to have outdated information on your profile. Whenever you start a new position or get a promotion, add it to your profile and include bullet points that express how you added value to the organization. Be sure to use diverse verbs when describing your tasks and roles at an organization.

 

4. Find your Connections

LinkedIn is first and foremost a networking site. This is a chance to connect with employers, colleagues, influencers and potential business contacts. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know, but be appropriate and always personalize invitations.

 

5. Join Groups

One great way to connect with others is to join LinkedIn groups. This could be a group run by a publication, a group for people within a specific industry, or something related to career or student development. Join in discussions and start engaging with other professionals with similar interests and backgrounds.

 

6. Add Special Sections

LinkedIn gives you the option of adding several types of sections to give your profile a well-rounded feel. Add sections for posts, languages, honor or awards, volunteering, and causes you care about.

 

7. Ask for recommendations

Recommendations and endorsements are an essential way to take your profile to the next level. Don’t be afraid to ask people to recommend you. Be selective and pick people who you have solid working relationships with. Not your family. Reach out to inspiring people who have helped you along your professional way. Share specific details that you would like them to highlight to help them write a better recommendation. Another way to increase the likelihood of receiving a recommendation is by writing one for someone else. They will probably return the favor.

 

If you follow these steps, your LinkedIn page is guaranteed to stand out and make a great impression. Any other suggestions for making the perfect LinkedIn? Feel free to comment below with your tips!