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Guest Post by Richard McMunn

The job market is becoming ever more competitive and challenging. The financial crisis that has hit countries all over the world, has led to an increase in unemployment and a squeeze on the labor market as a whole. This means that if you are looking for work or even just looking to change jobs, you need to do everything in your power to give yourself the greatest advantage. So then, what is it that you can do to give yourself that advantage?


Social media is everywhere and the job market is no exception. With a strong LinkedIn profile, you can give yourself a real edge over your competition. The key is to get the attention of potential employers and make sure that the information you provide about your experience, talents and skills is presented in a way that will showcase them. So here are the 5 tips for a strong LinkedIn profile.

1.      LinkedIn is not just an online C.V.; it is how potential employers are going to perceive you. So the first part of a strong profile is a head shot. This image will be the first thing that employers will see when they come to your profile. Make sure that it is a complete head shot, and that the facial expression is confident and pleasant, it should obviously be a professional looking image. Having an image on your profile will make your profile more memorable and make those interested in hiring you feel more confident about you.


2.      LinkedIn gives you the option to have a headline on your profile. Use it. The headline appears below your picture, so make it something descriptive and interesting. The headline should give information either about your current position or the key skills you feel you have. Do not leave this part blank, many employers won’t go into your full profile, so this might be your one chance to get their attention.


3.      Make use of key words. In your headline and throughout the rest of your profile, use strong, descriptive words to describe your skills and experience. Don’t resort to bland overused phrases like ‘extensive experience’, ‘motivated’, ‘dynamic’ or ‘team player’; rather use words like decisive and productive. Keep the thread strong throughout the profile.


4.      Use a proper email address. If you don’t have a dedicated professional email or address set one up. Do not use the same email address you held in high school, this is a professional email and using your name in the address will further secure your name in the mind of potential employers.


5.      LinkedIn is a network and it is to your benefit to connect with as many other people with LinkedIn profiles in your field as possible. You can also join groups which coincide with your career interests and specialties. To draw attention of others, engage in the groups regularly and contribute your expertise.


Bonus tip: Even if you have a great job that you are happy with, don’t just start a LinkedIn profile and then forget about it, keep it current. That is your professional digital business card.


Your LinkedIn profile is often how potential employers are going to find you so make sure to keep an up to date and complete profile. There is a progress bar which will indicate if your profile is complete or not. LinkedIn gives you the chance to impress employers before you have even met them, and in this current job climate it would be foolish not to take every advantage that you possibly could.

About Richard McMunn: Richard is the founder of How2become.com, the UK’s leading training and recruitment website for public sector careers. They focus on providing students with knowledge they need to prepare for and pass selection processes for specific careers such as the police and fire service. The website currently offers over 150 different titles.


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