linkedin-logoCareer advancement in the 21st century looks drastically different than it did even a decade ago. Climbing the proverbial corporate ladder isn’t as much of an option as organizations outsource, offshore and flatten their hierarchies. Instead, you have to continually develop your personal suite of skills by taking lateral moves, and sometimes steps backwards, that help you move towards the fulfillment of your larger personal mission. There are thousands of online portals that allow you to look for meaningful work, but the most important piece of professional online real estate you can have is a LinkedIn profile. Here are eight (8) insider tips to ensure your profile is robust and noticed daily.

1. 85% of Job Opportunities Come Out of 2nd Level Connections – A LinkedIn employee shared the research at an event I attended recently. I encourage you to review your connections’ profiles, learn about who they’re connected to and ask for appropriate introductions. There is a high probability that your connection’s connection will help you land your next job.

2. Success Patterns of Other People – If you review the profiles of five people that currently hold your ideal job, look back at the progression in their careers to help you craft your story and resume. Attempt to use their keywords or phrases in the development of your resume and LinkedIn profile. The steps in their careers will open your eyes to paths that you may not have considered before.

3. Contact Information Section – At the top of your first level connections’ profiles, you can click on the “Edit Contact Info” button and enter information as though you were keying in into a contact management system. After every interaction with him/her, enter key data like interests, family member names or specific tasks you promised to deliver.

4. Interests – Near the bottom of your personal profile is an Additional Info section for Interests. When conducting informational interviews, use the person’s interests as a warm opening to break the ice and get a robust conversation going.

5. Your Top 5 Endorsed Skills = Your Personal Brand – There is significant power in how people perceive you. If you are struggling to identify your personal brand message, review your profile to see the top three to five skills that others have endorsed you for. If others perceive you as already having specific strengths, be sure to leverage those ideas in your cover letters, 30-second commercials and when interviewing.

6. Import Your Resume Word for Word – Advanced applicant tracking systems are now allowing you to apply for jobs with your LinkedIn profile. When applying on company websites, you do not have to take the time to upload your text-based resume. Ensuring that your resume and LinkedIn profile are the same also helps to relay a consistent brand message from the perspective of the recruiter.

7. LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool – The new feature is incredibly helpful in seeking out 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections in a specific geography, company, industry, function or from a particular educational institution. Instead of taking hours to send emails and making phone calls to find someone, you can find connections in your target companies in less than 30 seconds.

8. Create a Connection Acceptance Follow-Up Template – As you meet and connect with more people, it is important to connect with them on LinkedIn as quickly as possible. When your connections accept your LinkedIn invitation, immediately send a response back that includes what you are following up on, mention a shared connection (person or interest) and close with a suggestion for developing a further connection.

Creating a robust LinkedIn profile and then remaining active daily is very important. Without this focus, there is likelihood that you’ll become conversationally irrelevant. You want to be remarkable (worthy of making a remark about) in the eyes of your stakeholders. The above eight (8) tips will help you do just that.

Remember…find a career that you would die for…and then live for it!