LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest online professional networks connecting people from virtually every industry to other professionals and businesses. You know this, we know this, so how do we make the most of all LinkedIn has to offer?

This much is true for every social media platform – understanding how to get the most out of your membership will determine whether or not creating an account will be to your benefit. LinkedIn separates itself as not just a social media network, but a professional social media network that – if leveraged properly – can be a jobseeker’s/employer’s/employee’s/recruiter’s/networker’s goldmine.

Below, tips to take advantage of LinkedIn:

  1. Choose a professional profile picture. Having a profile picture in general makes it easier to stand out in searches.  A picture that portrays you as a professional not only allows connections and future employers to put a face to a name – it’s an extension of your personality. For example, a picture of you taking shots at a night club may not be the right choice over a toned down picture of you looking like the professional you are.
  2. Professional brand building.  Lack of online presence and activity can compromise your personal brand. If you choose to be on LinkedIn, keep your profile up-to-date and complete. Posting statuses and liking and sharing company or industry news are a good place to start. Interacting with the LinkedIn community will increase your visibility and ensure your profile doesn’t get lost among millions.
  3. Market your headline. The LinkedIn headline is an essential part of your profile. This is your opportunity to accurately state your job title which becomes a short tagline advertising your area(s) of expertise. Because recruiters and hiring managers like a straightforward explanation of who you are, keep your headline concise and make sure it only communicates what you do for a living.
  4. Utilize keywords. Share highlights of your professional experience by using keywords to summarize your skill sets. For example, if you’re interested in a position as a graphic designer with strong Illustrator skills, then those exact words should be placed in your profile. A clever way to research what keywords or phrases companies are looking for in a profile is to look at your target company’s job descriptions.
  5. Network. Creating a profile is only the first step to building your network on LinkedIn.  Connecting with as many relevant people as possible gives you the best chance to make strong and valuable connections that you can utilize now and in the future. Bonus Tip: Don’t stick to the generic message when sending a request – personalize the message. The thoughtfulness will be appreciated and less likely to be ignored.
  6. Join and interact in LinkedIn Groups.  There are plenty of groups on LinkedIn for job seekers and recruiters to participate in focused on specific industries or areas of interest.  Being actively involved in these groups is an excellent way to make new connections that can lead to job opportunities. Leave comments, post relevant content, and don’t be a spammer (unless you want to get kicked out of the group).
  7. Research. Potential employers appreciate someone who is prepared and knowledgeable about the company and LinkedIn is an excellent resource for researching the company location, number of employees, and their employee profiles. You may find employees you are connected to or who are in the same network(s) as you. You can also do some research on your interviewer; but be careful as they may be able to find out if you’ve been prowling, so try not to over-stalk.
  8. Make use of the recommendations feature. LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations from your connections. The testimonials of previous colleagues and other professionals help to validate the statements in your profile.
  9. Stay connected.  When it comes to social media, it’s not enough not to create it and forget it. Be diligent in updating your status regularly with professional and unprejudiced content. This is your digital personality and you should want to be portrayed accurately.
  10. Make yourself accessible. Do you want to be overlooked by a recruiter or a potential employer? If not, be sure to include your contact information (email, telephone, etc) in your profile as the easier it is to connect, the sooner the outreach. Only share information that you’re comfortable with being made public. It’s perfectly fine to share more when you’re looking and less when you’re not.

 Don’t know where to start? Following JBC on Linkedin, and connecting with our recruiters is a great place to begin building your network.