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Creating a captivating LinkedIn Profile is a vital part of your career search. LinkedIn has more that 475 million users (2 people join every second) world-wide. A powerful LinkedIn Profile can serve as an effective partner to your resume, when done properly. Take note of the following tips:

Professional Photo Headshot - This photo must solidify your professional brand and say "I am a career-minded professional looking to make strong connections with prospective employers and like-minded individuals." If you have not done so already, hire a session with a corporate headshot photographer. This is the first exposure many will have to you professionally, and first impressions matter.

Determine the Purpose for Your Profile - When it comes to your career, every move you make should be strategic. Nothing should be done by chance. Your approach to the development of your LinkedIn Profile should be no different. Before you make any changes, give some thought to whether the profile is for near-term employment or long-term branding. How you build it out depends upon this. For example, a professional seeking employment as a Data Analyst may consider going heavy in that direction. But they may decide to brand themselves as an all-around IT professional for consulting purposes. This will affect your approach to every section of the profile, so make sure and give this some serious thought.

Add a Killer Headline - Unfortunately, many people ignore the headline field since it automatically populates with your most recent job title. Hard to believe, but most people on LinkedIn choose to go with this auto-populate option. But you are not most people. This is prime personal ad space and you should be strategic in how you use it. A well-crafted headline is extremely beneficial.

Construct a Profile that Sells - You can use up to 2000 characters in your profile section. It is important that you keep it tight, relevant, and searchable (not flowery and wordy). This is also an excellent place to integrate concepts and information that don't really have a home in any other section of your LinkedIn Profile.

Make no mistake, the value of building a quality LinkedIn Profile is only going to get more important as time goes on. Ensure that you are taking advantage of every possible strategy for securing your career goals.

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