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5 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile for 2014

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If you work for a living (or want to!), you might want to make a resolution to give yourself a great profile on LinkedIn, which is widely seen as the #1 social media site for professional networking.

The time is now, even if you're not currently job-hunting, seeking new clients/customers or looking for any other specific results. Networking works best if you do it continually and ahead of time, not just when you want something! It's never too soon to start building an excellent online reputation.

Here are five steps you can take to ensure you look good online in 2014:

  1. Fill out all of the major sections, including plenty of key words describing your skills and expertise. If you are have any interest in hearing from recruiters, or developing relationships with them in case you need them later (a really smart idea!), you need those key words to help them find you.
  2. Give recommendations and endorsements to people in your network whose work you respect, and request recommendations from people who are familiar with your own work. Here's how. Good recommendations are a powerful credibility-builder. Understand the difference between endorsements and recommendations. Both are valuable.
  3. Include a good photo in which you look professional, approachable and pleasant. A photo makes your profile far more memorable and helps others get to know you. A color head shot is usually best.
  4. Develop a good-sized network. The right number of contacts depends on your goals and profession, but a bare minimum for most people would be many dozens, at least. Connect to nearly everyone you know, for a start.
  5. Seek input from others for a quality result. Read great blogs like I'm On LinkedIn, Now What?, Stacy Zapar's Blog, and Thea Kelley Career Services Blog. And consider hiring a professional LinkedIn profile writer, who will make sure your content is not only well written but strategic, engaging and optimized to support your career growth.

Give yourself the gift of a great online profile, a crucial career tool for 2014.

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