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How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

How important is a LinkedIn profile?

In today’s connected world, an online profile is your virtual handshake. Employers across all industries have gone digital when screening candidates. Both job seekers and recruiters alike are recognizing the importance of the online world when it comes to hiring, and as a job seeker, putting your best foot forward is key.

What are the three best practices for creating a profile or revamping a current one?

• Strike a Pose  First impressions matter in a big way—and that includes your profile photo. Profiles with a photo receive up to 21 times more views and 36 times more messages, so make sure your picture aligns with your role as a professional. Pro tip: You can even enhance it with LinkedIn’s photo filters.

• Show and Tell  Illustrate your unique professional story and achievements by adding visuals, including compelling videos and innovative presentations, to your experience section. Don’t forget to spotlight your education, volunteer experience and other relevant accomplishments. The skills you’ve developed along the way can absolutely translate to the working world.

• Nail the Narrative  Your LinkedIn profile summary is a great place to show off your personality and illustrate your professional brand and career goals. Make your summary at least 40 words long, since this increases the likelihood of it turning up in a future employer’s search.

What’s are some job hunting tips?

• Job Search 101  Look at LinkedIn Jobs to gain an understanding of the job market, the skills needed for your industry and position, and who in your network works at companies of interest.

• Tap into Recruiters  Job seekers can privately signal to recruiters that they are actively job searching by turning on Open Candidates in their career preferences—this way, no worrying about your employer finding out.

How can the service help you stay current?

Follow companies and LinkedIn Influencers, an invite-only group of some of the world’s foremost thinkers, leaders and innovators. You can also add our Trending Storylines to your feed, to help you stay up-to-date on industry trends. LinkedIn Learning is a great place to learn new skills from industry experts online—everything from coding to public speaking.

If you aren’t changing jobs, what should you do to maintain your presence on the site?

A strong, regularly updated profile can be your ticket to a variety of opportunities, including new business and volunteering. Master the art of the humblebrag! Share with your network any accomplishments you’re proud of that help showcase goals you’ve reached and skills you’ve learned. Another great way to showcase your professional identity is by publishing long-form content. You can share leadership advice and insights on the day’s top stories or industry trends to reinforce your professional experience and build your brand across the professional community.

Catherine Fisher is a career expert at LinkedIn.