Searching for a job can seem like a daunting task. Besides trying to stay sane during your unemployment, there is a lot of work that goes into finding a new job. But whether you are diligently searching for that next opportunity or just want to maintain a professional network, creating and keeping up with a LinkedIn profile is important. Here are 5 ways to make sure your Linkedin profile is at its best:

1. Add more than just your work experience.

Your profile can contain so much more than what a typical resume might look like. Besides your work experience and your education, you can add any publications you were featured in or wrote for, relevant coursework,  languages you speak, honours and awards, links to your blog or portfolio, and you can also let people follow you on Twitter. You can also join professional groups and associations as well.

2. Ask for recommendations.

When one of your LinkedIn connections write you a recommendation, it shows on your profile for everyone to see. Asking for a recommendation is a great way to show prospective employers that other people were happy to have worked with you in the past. You can ask anyone you currently or formerly worked with including your boss, coworkers, teachers, classmates in college or graduate school, or even any clients you may have worked with on a freelance basis. It may help to refresh the person’s memory to a specific accomplishment or task you’ve done so they are able to write a great review. Don’t forget to send them a thank you e-mail to show your appreciation.

3. Add skills and expertise.

LinkedIn now gives you the option to choose from a list of skills and expertise items. These skills are specific. For example, as a freelance writer, I don’t simply have “Writing” as a skill, but I have “Travel Writing”, “Editing”, and “Interviewing”. Not only is this a great way to show your skills, but many employers will search by these categories. If you have them on your profile, you will then appear in a search and then you could be a possible candidate for the position.

4. Update your profile regularly.

You should always be updating your profile. Even if you have the same job, there’s a good chance you’ve learned a new skill, tackled a new computer program, or even joined a new professional or alumni association. If you are a photographer, artist, writer, or anyone who has a profession where you can show your work, it’s always a good idea to show your most recent projects.

5. Don’t overdo it.

Your profile is definitely more about quality than quantity. If you list hundreds of skills and expertise, people may take you less seriously than if you have fifteen skills. If you have had a few career changes and dozens of jobs along the way, it might be best to only put the job experiences you want employers to notice and those that can help you land a position. Its great to post updates to share new work experiences or possibly a work related event coming, but the same is true for sharing. This isn’t Facebook or Twitter, so be sure your status updates are professional.

What do you do to make your LinkedIn profile great?

Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar is a freelance writer and editor who has learned how to save money without giving up a passion for travel, food, and living a fun life. She has written about personal finance for several years and graduated with a degree in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @KristenKuchar.