LinkedIn has become as important to your job search as a resume. This powerful networking tool can help you define and publicize your personal brand and can attract potential employers. A multitude of blog posts, infographics and articles are published every day on the subject. Wading through all the information has almost become a full time job! These four key takeaways will get you started building out your profile so you use your network to help you land your dream job.

1. Turn Off Activity Broadcasts. If you’re still employed, be sure to turn off activity broadcasts before you start making updates to your profile. You know how you receive updates on the activity of all the people in your network such as changes to headlines, experience and specialties? This activity is an immediate tip-off to employers or coworkers that you’re looking. To turn off broadcasts, sign into your account and access account settings. This can be found where by mouse-ing over where your name appears in the top right of the page, above the search bar. In the settings, under your profile menu, select the option “Turn On/Off Activity Broadcasts” and make sure broadcasts are off.

2. Customize your URL. LinkedIn will automatically generate a URL for your profile, but you have the option to customize your URL. Customizing flat out looks better, plus it’s easier for people to remember and retype, both of which are a benefit in your jobsearch. To customize the URL, first select Edit Profile under the profile menu. At the bottom of the snapshot area is the current public profile url – click on the small edit button next to the url. In the screen that opens, you look for the Public Profile URL widget towards the bottom right of your screen. Select the option to customize your URL and select something that is unique to you, such as your full name or your full name with middle initial.

3. Change your headline. Your headline will automatically default to your current title. If you’re looking for a job, your headline should refer to the job you want, not the job you have! For instance, Strategic Marketing Executive rather than Marketing Manager at ABC Company. This is your chance to really brand yourself and present yourself as an expert in your field! Changing your headline is simple. Go to Edit Profile within your profile menu, then select the Edit option next to your name. Your professional headline appears below your name.

4. Skills, skills and more skills! Skills are an incredibly powerful new feature in LinkedIn and you can up to 50 to your profile! These skills are like keywords in an applicant tracking system and can help employers find you for the skills you want to be found for. Be sure to enter all your key skills here. To add skills, in the Edit Profile area, scroll down below your experience until you find the skills area. Click on add skill and add away!

LinkedIn is a powerful job search tool, but it definitely needs to be handled with care! It is perhaps the best way to express your personal brand, but it’s also incredibly visible and can leave you exposed in the wrong way if you’re not careful. Make sure that your profile represents you in the way you want potential employers to view you, but also be aware of how your current employer might view your profile while you’re looking.

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I am a professional resume writer with deep experience as a writer and a marketer, and have been writing compelling and precise copy client and employers for over ten years. I attended the Univerisity of Scranton and graduated with honors with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and English and a Master of Arts in English. I was the recipient of my alma mater's O'Hara Award, which is given to the graduate student with the highest overall GPA in their respective department. Following graduation, I pursued a career in corporate marketing. I have broad-based marketing experience in B2C and B2B marketing for pharmaceuticals, publishing, software and retail. I have been lucky enough to discover my passion in resume writing, which combines my love of writing, design and building relationships to help people find their dream job. I take a consultative approach to every project I undertake - if you're looking for a big resume company that works with hundreds of clients at the same time, I am not for you! However, if you're looking for someone who will truly listen to you and work with you to create a winning resume that boosts your confidence in your job search, you've come to the right place. Let's get started on your project today so you can get to doing what you love right away!

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