In my last article I spoke to the importance of why as a job seeker you should be actively using LinkedIn to further excel your hunt for the perfect career. This prompted the important question of, how? How do you go about creating a great professional profile that recruiters find compelling? Below are five tips that are effective in building your LinkedIn profile.

Professional Headshot

It is true what they say; a picture is worth 1000 words. LinkedIn is a website comprised of professionals. This is not a time for your latest selfie of you and your friends. You should aim to have a clean and clear headshot of yourself taken in modest clothing with minimal background distraction. While not every job will be strict with appearance and dress codes, it is best to be marketable to as many recruiters as possible. Your profile picture is the first photo a recruiter will see. Make sure you are well groomed and your headshot says, “Hello, I am your next perfect hire.”

Detailed Work Experience

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your virtual resume. If it’s not something you would be proud to bring to an interview, work at it until it is. The aspect that makes LinkedIn different than a resume is you don’t get to choose what professional might see it. There is a section to fill out your relevant work experience, and provide details of your achievements in each position. A good rule of thumb is to only list information that would aid in showing the goals you achieved and/or responsibilities, and then you can discuss additional information during your interview. Think about the relevance of your experience and try and tailor your information to match the career you are aiming for. In addition to showing your work experience, it’s equally as important to show volunteer work you may have completed. The more information you provide, the more a recruiter can learn about you and determine if you’re a good candidate for an interview.

Completing Your Profile

If you search for articles about making your LinkedIn profile stand out in the crowd, you will see this tip in each article. This speaks to the importance of fully completing your LinkedIn profile. A helpful feature that LinkedIn includes at the top of your profile is your percentage of completion. Take time to follow each prompt and purposefully fill in your content. Think about it this way: if you were a recruiter looking for a potential hire, would you choose the person who has an incomplete, vague profile, or the polished profile that is filled out in detail?

Reaching Out to Current & Prospective Connections

LinkedIn is all about building your network and connecting with professionals, and it’s important to establish new relationships and engage your connections. Send out connection requests to the individuals you have in your professional arsenal. You never know who might endorse one of your skills or write you a raving recommendation that can be displayed on your newly completed profile. Another important thought to keep in mind is, you never know where your connections may lead you. That is the beauty of LinkedIn–the site magnifies what a small world we live in. Use that to your advantage!

Your Elevator Pitch

If you are unfamiliar with an elevator pitch–it’s essentially when you have a short amount of time to tell someone who you are, what you want and why they should have a meeting with you. Underneath your profile picture on LinkedIn you will find a bio section. This is where you should put your pitch into full affect. The benefit of this section is, it increases your potential memorability to a recruiter. Make sure you are clear and concise in this statement–you only have 120 wordsas well as making it unique to your skills.

LinkedIn can easily be a job seeker’s best friend. The tips above are a nice place to begin in building a tool than can make you more attractive to the recruiters in your desired field. Implement them, and watch your professional life flourish!