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The importance of the LinkedIn profile

Your Linkedin picture
Your Linkedin picture
http://www.flickr.com/photos/smi23le/4613342990

Everyone age 18 and older should have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn used to be primarily used by the unemployed or those currently employed but looking for a new job. That's not the case anymore.

LinkedIn is your online resume. Potential employers, job applicants, prospects and current customers will go to your LinkedIn profile before doing any other internet research on you. In fact, your LinkedIn profile will likely be one of the top three search results when someone googles your name.

You can spend a lot of time completing your LinkedIn profile and not receive any extra benefit. Your profile can be a one-stop resource for anything to do with you. If you don't want all that information in cyberspace or don't want to waste your time, at least complete the following three sections of your LinkedIn profile:

1. Photo - For crying out loud, upload a good picture. Your profile picture should be a head shot and at least appear professional. Do not use a casual picture that is cropped from your beach vacation. The one caveat is if your personal brand is something other than professional, use a picture that matches your personal brand.

2. Contact info - You can control how much of your profile is visible to non-contacts so there is no harm in completing the contact info section of your LinkedIn profile. You may not want someone to contact you now but you should always keep an open mind about new opportunities.

3. Background - The background section acts as your online resume. This is where people searching for you will look first. If nothing else, it shows your work experience. You do not need to go back to your first job in high school. Use only your professional employment experiences.

There are so many other options to complete of your LinkedIn profile. Complete as much as you can but at a minimum you need to add a picture and complete your contact info and background. If you don't have those three areas completed, potential employers and prospects are less likely to connect with you.