Master LinkedIn : Optimize Your Job Search With These Tips

VIDEO: Tory Johnson on which phrases you should steer clear of on your resume.
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It's time for job hunters to sharpen resumes and online profiles as we enter a new year. With the majority of Fortune 100 companies using LinkedIn's recruiting solutions to identify new talent, the social networking site for professionals is the perfect place to start your efforts.

First step, be original and thorough. LinkedIn compiled the 10 most overused words found in profiles. Review the list to see which ones are in your resume and profile: innovative, motivated, results-oriented, dynamic, proven track record, team player, fast-paced, problem solver, entrepreneurial.

While there's nothing particularly wrong with these words, your goal is to stand out, not fit it, which means you want to use words that are unique to you and your abilities.

For example, instead of saying "extensive experience," which could mean anything, be specific. "Four years experience" would be a better option.

Another generic phrase: "results-oriented." That's never a winner because every employee is expected to deliver results. Instead, share the specific results you've achieved: "secured 10 contracts" or "increased student test scores by 10 percent."

Next, make meaningful connections. With 85 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is a great place to make connections. But beyond that, if you're not making connections, you're not going to maximize the benefits of the site.

You need a minimum of 50 contacts to realize the multiplying power of your network. While you may not have a direct connection to open a door, your contacts -- and their contacts -- may know the people you want to meet. (Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.)

Upload your address book in just one click to connect with people you already know. You can also search by company name if you're interested in meeting someone new. When doing so, be sure to include a personalized note about why you'd like to connect. You went to the same school, you belong to a similar group, or you share a mutual interest. Offer a compliment when appropriate: I loved your speech, I appreciated your quote in that article, I follow your blog. This increases the likelihood that your connection request will be approved.

LinkedIn Job Profiles

Don't seek connections just for the sake of having a big number. Connections are useless unless they're genuine.

Solicit recommendations. A recommendation on LinkedIn is similar to a public referral. Take a few things into consideration about referrals: the clout of the person writing them and their relationship to you, plus the specificity of the recommendation.

For example, "Jane is a great colleague and everyone enjoys working with her." Perfectly polite, but very boring. I prefer reading and writing recommendations that go a step further and explain why she's a great colleague -- what makes her so fabulous?

An improved version might read, "Jane is a great colleague because she handles all of our most challenging customer service issues with ease. She is credited with reducing hold times by 20 percent and she has the largest number of repeat clients in our group. "

This is a much better recommendation because it provides insight on Jane's abilities and accomplishments.

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