Four New Ways to Customize Your LinkedIn Profile

Customization and variety are key to making your LinkedIn profile stand out and get you recognized by recruiters. Check out these four new profile sections that do just that.

With more than 80 million registered users worldwide, making your profile stand out among LinkedIn's crowd can be difficult. That's why the professional social network has rolled out a number of features to help you get noticed: LinkedIn Apps give hiring managers a better peek into your work life; reordering your profile sections gives you more control over what you deem is important; and Company Follow gives you an inside look at companies' business opportunities and job leads.

Now, LinkedIn has added an element to its site with a handful of new profile sections you can selectively add to your profile. Among those in the "Add Sections" part of LinkedIn are Publications, Languages, Skills and Certifications.

"These are most valuable for job seekers, passive candidates open to new opportunities, and consultants," says Nathan Kievman, owner of the LinkedIn group Linked Strategies and host of weekly LinkedIn webinars. "Variety in a profile provides you the opportunity to stand out and showcase your talents that otherwise may not come up in everyday conversations, business dealings or interviews."

Kievman also notes that LinkedIn is possibly rolling out these features to benefit recruiters. "It will provide more search results for recruiters to enhance their search for qualified clients. This is LinkedIn's number-one revenue stream, so it makes sense that they would push these tools out there," he says.

[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]

To find the new profile sections, choose Profile > Edit Profile. Below your main profile box will be the "Add sections" button. The new profile sections will appear after your work experience. [Click here to learn how to reorder your profile sections.] Read on for a look at four of the new profile sections.

1. Certifications

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LinkedIn is including a new section specifically to highlight any certifications you might have earned—ITIL, Six Sigma or PMP certifications, for example. You'll be required to include the name of the certification in the form; you can also add the certification authority, license number and expiration date, too, if you want.

2. Languages

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Whether you're bilingual or have elementary proficiency in a language, you can include this skill directly on your profile. LinkedIn lets you add unlimited languages to this section. There are five proficiency levels you can choose from, ranging from "elementary proficiency" to "native or bilingual proficiency."

3. Publications

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If you're a published author, including your pieces of work is essential, Kievman says. "As an author myself, I need to add my books. I love this feature," he says. To add this section to your profile, fill out the title, publication/publisher, publication date, publication URL, any coauthors and include a summary. The more information you provide, the better.

4. Skills

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Kievman says this is the most important profile section for most LinkedIn users to include. This section lets you prominently showcase your skills, specific areas of expertise and proficiencies. LinkedIn will offer you suggestions as you type—"Project management," for example, will yield "complex project management," "agile project management," and "international project management." These suggestions will help you narrow down and specify those that best describe your skill set. You an also add your proficiency (beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert) as well as the amount of experience, up to 20+ years.

Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Kristin at kburnham@cio.com.

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