Everyone is on LinkedIn today — candidates, recruiters, companies — so it’s the perfect platform for building your professional brand. The bad news is that, with everyone on LinkedIn, it’s become difficult to stand out.

Fortunately, Randstad can help. Read on for eight strategies, additional tools and secret features that can dramatically increase your visibility and give you an edge on all the other candidates.

google yourself

Did you know that when recruiters today do due diligence on candidates, they often start not with Facebook or LinkedIn but a simple Google search? It’s true. If you want to see how others see you, first be sure to search using an incognito browser. Otherwise, your search history will skew your results and you won’t get an accurate picture of the information potential employers will find.

What they shouldn’t find are inappropriate pictures or comments. These could be deal-breakers and you should take them down. If you aren’t able to, resist the urge to click these links, as doing so will only improve their standing in future search results. Finally, bear in mind that employers are unlikely to explore beyond the first page, so keep your focus on what counts.

Want to stay ahead of the reputation-management game? Set up a Google alert so you’ll know every time a new mention of your name pops up in Google search. Now you’re ready to get started on LinkedIn.

write and post articles related to your field

Writing short (less than 500 words) thought leadership articles is a great opportunity for you to speak to your expertise, command attention from others in your field and grow your professional network over time. An HR professional, for instance, might write about the increasingly widespread use of pre-employment tests and assessments to vet qualified candidates. A finance and accounting pro may write about a recent platform implementation. Try to publish on a fairly regular schedule — monthly is a good start. That helps you build an audience.

While there are tons of publishing destinations these days, LinkedIn now makes it easy to write and post articles, which you can either share with your network or make available to the public. Their publishing interface is simple to use and features drag-and-drop tools that make adding call-out text or photos a cinch.

a picture says a thousand words

You need to include a professional-looking picture alongside your profile on LinkedIn — professional-looking, albeit not necessarily taken by a professional. This headshot helps recruiters and hiring managers put a face to all of your hard-earned skills and experiences. A few other best practices:

  • Choose a photo that clearly shows your face. 
  • Don’t try to crop yourself out of a group photo. As a serious candidate, the focus needs to be entirely on you — and even the presence of other people’s shoulders in a photo can be distracting. 
  • Even though very little of your clothing will be visible in your headshot, it’s a good idea to dress the way savvy professionals in your field dress when they’re on the job.

get a customized link

LinkedIn’s default URL for new accounts includes an awkward string of letters and numbers after your first and last name. Fortunately, you can change your URL to something that’s not only easier for recruiters and employers to remember but also looks better on your resume. How? Click here for step-by-step instructions from LinkedIn.

drive traffic to your profile

Did you know you can actually add a LinkedIn button, which will send readers directly to your LinkedIn profile? If you have existing content online, directing these readers to your LinkedIn profile is a smart way to convert engagement and interest into new professional opportunities. To get started, go to your Public Profile page, scroll down and click “Create a badge” under the Public Profile badge section on the right-hand navigation.

optimize for keywords

Recruiters today are using increasingly targeted keyword searches to identify talent on LinkedIn. That means your profile needs to not only include keywords related to the position and industry you’re interested in, but also keywords related to your skills and experiences. For instance, there are thousands of “Software Developers” on LinkedIn — matching for that title alone isn’t going to make you automatically stand out to a recruiter. If you have experience in Lean or Agile development, include that. What about the programming languages you specialize in? Write them all down. Ultimately, the challenge with your LinkedIn profile is much the same as it is with your resume: You have to figure out what keywords will land you an interview.

leverage groups to grow your network

LinkedIn is built for networking. If you want to magnify your reach beyond your immediate professional circle, try to find groups that matter to other people in your field. A search for administrative professional groups resulted in over 60 options, for example. You can join up to 100 groups, and they can revolve around companies, interests, schools, geography, industries and more, so it may take some poking around to find the ones that are relevant for you. But the rewards of doing so just might be huge.

make sure you’re on the recruiters’ radar

In 2016, LinkedIn rolled out an interesting feature called “Open Candidate.” To take advantage of it, go to your LinkedIn profile and then scroll down to the Career Interests section. You should see an option to “Let recruiters know you’re open.” Toggle this on and you’ll be prompted to provide some more information about the titles, types of jobs and locations that interest you. You can even leave a personal note for recruiters about your professional goals. Fill out this section and you’ll be all set to take advantage of one of LinkedIn’s newer features. Bonus: Nobody except you and the recruiters will know you’ve toggled on this option. It’s private, in other words, so you don’t have to worry about your current employer catching wind.

Once you’ve got your LinkedIn profile polished up, be sure to tackle Facebook as well. Recruiters search candidate profiles regularly, and are extremely savvy in their searches.  Building your personal brand online is crucial for a successful job search.