Professional networks like LinkedIn are powerful tools for finding opportunities and getting attention from potential employers. Ensuring you are noticed in a crowded talent market starts with a solid professional brand.

How employers and candidates use LinkedIn is changing; whether you're a relative newbie or a veteran user, it can be hard to keep up. The platform has a suite of new tools and capabilities that can enhance your visibility and make all the difference in your job search — if you know how to use them. 

Even if you’re not looking for a new job, expanding your network opens many new professional connections that can enrich your career with new perspectives and potential partnerships.

here’s how to get started:

a bird view of a man sitting and working on a laptop
a bird view of a man sitting and working on a laptop

be human, be original. 

Start with a great headshot and a winning smile. Nowadays you don't need a fancy camera to take a great photo, so ask a friend to help you. Also, don't forget to add a background photo! 

Next is engaging with your existing network by liking and commenting on your colleagues' posts. Encourage people to endorse your skill sets or write a recommendation.

Take the first step by offering to write for others in your network. Repost articles you're interested in and include your perspective on the article.

LinkedIn articles are another opportunity to share your original professional insights and read up on other perspectives on various topics.

What's something you've accomplished that you're proud of? Recruiters and other potential employers want to know. 

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have a bio.

The bio is the new first impression. It's your digital handshake and elevator pitch of who you are, so it deserves a dedicated discussion.

In a world where everyone is continuously stepping up professionally in a competitive job market, you need to be able to differentiate yourself. In the past, your bio would be just your job title.

Still, recruiters dealing with piles of applications of competent candidates may take more notice of your bio to see which potential candidates have something different to offer and put you on the shortlist.

  • What are you interested in?
  • What makes you, you?
  • Talk in the present tense, in an active first-person voice (e.g. "I have done…", "I believe this was my greatest professional achievement…"). 

Here's your chance to let your personality shine through, so take some creative leeway to tell your professional story.

Two woman sitting in restaurant having a converstation, looking at laptop, smiling.
Two woman sitting in restaurant having a converstation, looking at laptop, smiling.

join relevant groups and follow those you admire. 

The Bill Gates of the world are constantly posting on LinkedIn, and relevant interest groups or professional associations are always bustling with people sharing new concepts and technologies, looking for help or asking questions.

Immersing yourself in these information ecosystems is a great way to get a feel for different sectors if you're looking for a career change or a new mentor.

Companies are also sharing interesting thought pieces and white papers to inform themselves, and Randstad is no different.

utilise all of LinkedIn's features.

Take the time to check out the 'back-end' of LinkedIn and utilise every single feature available to you. Generally, if there's an opportunity for you to provide content and keywords or to set up or turn on alerts, do it!

Spending the time to know what LinkedIn has available for you, doing it right and doing it well, is worth the investment, as it will often mean the difference between being approached for a job or business opportunity or missing out!

And don't forget to check in regularly as there are constant upgrades and new features which aren't well advertised.

opt-in to notifications.

Often you'll press no to annoying notifications that flood your phone and emails. But if you're looking for a new role, take a second to change your LinkedIn settings, and you'll be able to filter the most relevant notifications to your emails or even via SMS. 

For job seekers, you can set up weekly or daily notifications for specific terms within job adverts such as "Internship" or "Marketing". It allows you to be ahead of the game for applying and ensures that no opportunity gets lost if you manually search for a job on Linkedin.

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related: how to utilise and build your brand on linkedin.

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Don’t wait. Get working on building your brand today because the more time and attention you give, the more you will receive.