Are you utilizing LinkedIn in your job search? If not, you should be! Your LinkedIn helps shape your online professional brand. Recruiters and hiring managers are finding top talent on LinkedIn and if you don’t have an account, you’re not coming up within their searches.

LinkedIn also allows you to find potential jobs, research companies, connect with professionals within your industry, and engage with people you meet at networking events.

If you want to fully utilize LinkedIn to get a job, keep the following ideas in mind.

Let recruiters know you’re looking

A really great feature of LinkedIn is that you can privately let recruiters know you’re looking. If you’re already employed but don’t want your boss to know you’re considering leaving, you can turn on a profile feature that lets recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities. This feature won’t be viewable to any other users but recruiters. Of course, a potential flaw with this option is that your boss or an HR representative from within your company could be a recruiter on LinkedIn.

Add a profile picture

Research shows that having a picture makes your LinkedIn profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. Your picture is the first thing potential employers will see and you want to make a good first impression. If you have it in your budget, invest in a good professional headshot. If you don’t have a professional headshot, take your own profile picture but don’t use just any old photo. The photo should be high-resolution with the focus of the photo being your face. You should be dressed professionally and have a pleasant expression. Remember, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook.

Uploading a picture of yourself at the bar isn’t going to impress employers.

Research potential companies

If there’s a company you’re interested in working at, look them up on LinkedIn. Most established companies have LinkedIn pages where they share information about their company and information about any open jobs. Following the company on LinkedIn will let you know about company news as it becomes available. Plus, you may be able to connect with employees that work for that company. You can follow as many companies as you would like.

Highlight recent experiences

Remember to add detailed information about recent employment, volunteer, or internships to your LinkedIn. If you’re currently in college, it is okay to add information about your part-time job to your profile. However, as you gain more experience, get rid of any jobs that aren’t relevant to your career goals.

Anyone who lands on your page will check out your experiences to see what you are skillful at. It is a good practice to update your LinkedIn at least every six months with new experiences. If you’re having trouble with your experiences, use your existing resume as a guide. The experience section of LinkedIn is essentially an online resume.

Build your professional network

Everyone you know has the potential to lead you to your next opportunity. That’s why it is important to establish a professional network through LinkedIn. Your network should consist of former or current colleagues (or fellow students if you’re still in school), alumni from your school, and individuals from within your industry. Once you have an initial network, allow it to grow by exploring the People You May Know section. These connections have the potential to connect you to job opportunities. Sometimes your connections might share information about open positions or share insider tips on how to succeed within their industry.

Don’t leave anything out

Your profile picture and recent experiences are only two small parts of your profile. As you build your profile, you’ll see sections such as your header, your skill sets, endorsements, education, and more. Fill out your profile completely if you really want to impress hiring managers. A robust LinkedIn makes a great first impression and adds to your credibility. Also, it never hurts to have someone else review your LinkedIn profile. Have a friend or a career coach look over your profile for any spelling or grammatical errors. It is much better for a friend to call you out on an embarrassing mistake than have a potential employer find a typo in your profile.

In summary

If utilized correctly, a LinkedIn profile could help you land your next position. Even if you’re not actively seeking, it is still a good idea to keep your profile updated and to build a network because your profile represents who you are as a professional. Create your profile today by visiting www.LinkedIn.com.