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15 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Paper résumés aren’t exactly passé, but they surely have lost much of their punch

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11. Show your heart

There's a section devoted to describing your volunteer experience, what role you played and what the cause was, along with a place to write a detailed description. You can also type in specific opportunities you're looking for, such as joining a nonprofit board or providing pro-bono consulting. You can also include causes you care about, such as animal welfare, the environment or education.

"Highlighting your passion and commitment to projects signals to employers that you don't spend your time away from work on the couch but rather at charity meetings and events," says Williams. According to LinkedIn research, 42 percent of hiring managers surveyed say they view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience.

12. Check out the competition

Review LinkedIn profiles of other professionals in your field and see how they've described their work. You might get ideas of keywords to include in your summary description, or ways to clarify the work you do in a clever, non-jargon way.

13. Shuffle the sections

You can change the order of your current positions and education entries to emphasize something more prestigious. Of course, if you don't have many endorsements or recommendations yet, you may want to slide that section down the profile to make your lack of supporters less obvious. Once you begin getting endorsements for your top skills, you can reorganize the content.

14. Bump up connections

If you only have a few connections, it's going to make a potential employer feel like you just joined the network — which might signal that you're not that tech savvy. Once you hit 50 connections, LinkedIn will start giving suggestions of people you should connect with, so that will help you build up your network of potential business contacts more quickly.

15. Write your own personal notes

Don't use the generic e-vite that automatically pops up when you click to send a request. It may sound old-fashioned, but etiquette never goes out of style.

Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills.

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