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    Your LinkedIn profile offers an opportunity to make yourself “real” to potential employers. In other words, it helps you catch employer attention by coming across as a real person, rather than a canned presentation. The question is: Are you taking advantage of that opportunity?

    What Your LinkedIn Profile CAN Do—and Can’t

    Having a LinkedIn profile can’t make employers immediately fall in love with you as a candidate for their positions. If it were that simple, every job seeker would throw together a quick profile and be inundated with job offers!

    A profile that distinguishes you from the general herd of job seekers CAN give you a chance to shine. That is, to stand out in employers’ minds as someone they should carefully consider.

    On the other hand, a slap-dash profile you upload with little forethought can and probably will turn employers off. It might almost be worse than no profile at all. Careful attention is called for.

    Avoid These Critical Mistakes in Your LinkedIn Profile

    You could stumble in numerous ways on the path to creating your profile. A few of the potentially most detrimental mistakes include the following:

    • Ignore the importance of keywords. Employers search by keywords and phrases. Some of those words might focus on items uniquely interesting to each employer, but you can make a reasonable guess about others. Your headline, job titles, and Skills and Endorsements section matter hugely in terms of keywords.
    • Start your Summary slowly and ramble on for several paragraphs without a clear value message. If you don’t have a Summary or begin it with a vague, general statement, you might already have lost the employer’s attention. Tip: LinkedIn only displays about 160-170 characters (two or three lines) of your Summary unless visitors click “see more.” Don’t waste that space!
    • Provide only a bare-bones Experience section, with little real indication of what you’ve achieved throughout your career. Some people view this section as a “teaser,” meaning they give at most a small, tantalizing view into their roles. However, employers aren’t in the business of playing guessing games. They need to get a good idea that you’re worth investigating—fast.

    Take Full Advantage of Profile Opportunities

    Although LinkedIn isn’t perfect, it does offer numerous opportunities to communicate your value and make you appear more real to employers. If you fail to make strategic use of those opportunities, you hand the advantage to your competitors. No savvy job seeker does that!

    For example:

    • The headline allows 120 characters and spaces to incorporate keywords and short branding messages. Using your current job title as the headline doesn’t maximize that space.
    • The Summary provides up to 2,000 characters and spaces to communicate who you are and why that should matter to employers.
    • The Experience section allows that same number for each position you held. That’s a lot of real estate to make critical points in your favor.
    • You’re allowed up to 50 items in the Skills and Endorsements section. If you only put in a handful or include many that don’t position you for your desired goal, you’ve missed the boat.

    Whether you’re a fan of LinkedIn or wish it would just go away, you ignore its potential at your own peril, professionally speaking. Instead, choose to make it work for you—make you real to the employers you’re targeting.

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