Have you been treating the Interests section of your LinkedIn profile like a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers?iStock_000030910468_Small

Interests is a subsection of the Additional Info section and can include up to 1,000 characters. It's typically displayed way down on the bottom of someone's profile, and people tend to put the "leftovers" there--statements or terms that don't seem to fit anywhere else on their profile.

The Interests section can actually be quite valuable, and here are a few tips to turn those leftovers into something beneficial.

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Words here are included in the In Common feature.

When you are viewing someone's profile, LinkedIn grabs the words in that person's Interests section, compares them to the words in your Interests section, and displays your common interests. This provides great ice-breaker topics for your next conversation with that person.

Words here are clickable.

Each word or series of words that you separate with commas is clickable and will open an Advanced People Search window.
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So, if you want to find some fellow fishermen on LinkedIn, just click the word fishing in the Interests section, and LinkedIn's Advanced People Search function will provide a list of every LinkedIn member who has the word fishing somewhere on their profile. You can then filter the list by company, title, region of the country, etc.

These words can help your search ranking.

Since LinkedIn's search algorithm seems to favor words that appear Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 6.53.48 AMmultiple times on your profile, this is a great spot to include some of your most important keywords.  I suggest that you include your keywords after you list your other hobbies and interests like fishing gardening etc.

These words help you look like a real, genuine, interesting person.

I don't want to go all "Facebook" on you here, but I think it is important to let your professional world get a small peek into you the person, not just you the accountant, lawyer or professional LinkedIn speaker. In other words, include a few of your more typical interests--like reading, golfing, tennis or time with grandkids--along with a few that are just downright interesting and show your uniqueness--like drummer in a classic rock band, seashell collector or competitive BBQ chef.

Follow these simple tips, and you'll not only be seen as more interesting, but you'll improve your LinkedIn productivity as well.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you also find some interesting ways to use the leftovers from your Thanksgiving feast.