After a brief trip into the NexGoal toolbox last week, we have decided to return back to our “Three for Thursday” ways here in the content department. This week’s focus returns to a constant source of frustration for some job seekers—LinkedIn.

Commonly viewed as a “living resume” by some, jobs seekers do not seem to utilize LinkedIn to the most of its capabilities. Sure, it isn’t as “cool” as Facebook or Twitter, but creating and managing a top-notch LinkedIn profile could help you ascend to new career levels you never thought were a possibility.

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With the next evolution of LinkedIn on the horizon (I had the privilege of recently viewing the upgrade coming for users in the near future as part of an Influencers’ community), making sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and accurate is going to be of the utmost importance. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three ways you can create or update your LinkedIn profile to stand out from the crowd!

Take Advantage of the Summary Section

The difference between LinkedIn and an actual resume you send to an employer is you can personalize it more because you are not bound by the one/two page requirements of most resumes. The best place to do this is the summary section.

In this area, you have plenty of space (2,000 characters to be exact) to tell employers what you can bring to their company. Do not just reiterate what you have done at past companies, instead utilize industry jargon and keywords to draw connections to the skills you possess and help you stand out from the first moment they read this section.

In my personal summary section, I chose to let other LinkedIn users get to know me on three levels. The first level is in regard to my sports writing background, then the second is directly tied to my current industry experience. Finally, I put a short statement on what I bring to companies right there in the summary section.

You can obviously tailor this section to fit your industry and career desires, but make sure to put some thought and effort into developing something original for this section. The more you can stand out, the better chance you have of someone reaching out to you about a career opportunity.

Make Your Profile a Portfolio

Did you know you can add videos, images, documents, presentations and more to each of your positions on your profile? Seriously, it is a great feature that can help enhance your profile from just another resume to a small portfolio website that stands out from the crowd.

Pretend you are a hiring manager for a second. Say you are looking to hire someone for video editing and are searching on LinkedIn. How great would it be if you could actually view a video they have edited before reaching out to see if their skills match what you are looking for?

Well, that is exactly what LinkedIn allows job seekers to do—and many are taking advantage of it, so you should too.

Connect With People!

LinkedIn is all about connections, so you need to actually have some for the social networking website to be effective. You can connect with people you know in your personal life, former colleagues, those you have met at networking events and so many more. In fact, when you log on you even have the option to scroll through recommendations for people you may know based on your current connections.

Why is this important? Put simply, the more connections you have the better chance your profile shows up in search and recommendations for others. If your name and job title stand out to someone, that could then trigger them to reach out to discuss a possible opportunity for career growth. So go connect, now!

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