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If you’re incorporating a lot of networking into your job search, but haven’t roped the LinkedIn advantage, you’re possibly missing out on more than a few ideal opportunities.  And if you do have a profile, but it’s sorely lacking in even the basic information, A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and Hound.com founder, says it’s worse than having no LinkedIn profile at all.   “By not maintaining your profile on your networking pages, and especially LinkedIn, you’re basically saying, ‘I’m perfectly OK with a half attempt’ to potential employers”, says Barnes.  As you’re browsing the Hound.com database of job opportunities, including a LinkedIn badge or link on your resume puts hiring managers right smack dab in the middle of who you are, what you can do and your past experiences.  It’s as powerful as a well written resume.

While Facebook is primarily used for friends and family, there are those who keep their Facebook pages clean and streamlined because they are aware that potential employers are routinely taking a look.  Twitter, although growing in leaps and bounds, simply serves little, if any, purpose in the search for a new job, says A. Harrison Barnes.  “You can’t tweet your way to a job in 140 characters”, says the career coach.  LinkedIn is that tool to use if you’re wanting to share a bit about who you are and what you bring to the table.

Many people equate their LinkedIn profiles to an electronic business card; and as such, that’s the ideal way to look at it: consider your profile as just that – a well designed business card without the printing expense.  Barnes also recommends expanding your network as much and as far as possible.  You may know of the dream career, discovered while searching the Hound.com database, and while it may not be the right choice for you, one of your networking contacts might be a perfect fit.  It’s a “win win” for everyone – you do a good deed, one of your contacts is able to land a great career and the employer gains a valuable employee who already has the training and experience necessary to do the job.

Finally, Barnes recommends keeping your skillsets clear, but open. For instance, you may have mastered code writing in several areas for Microsoft, instead of listing each one, keep it broad and include your experience with code writing as a whole.  Many contacts incorporate the search feature on LinkedIn and if you’ve too-narrowly defined your skill set, you might be missing out on those contacts who can point you in the right direction for future certifications or information on the upcoming trade show.

LinkedIn has been around for a few years, and each year, it becomes a powerful power tool.  Its members continue to multiply – and for good reason – everyone is finally acknowledging the power that it brings to a community of professionals from around the world and in every business aspect you might imagine.

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