Your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool for making recruiters sit up and take notice. Follow these seven simple steps to make sure every word and picture counts.

With more than 850 million members, LinkedIn is the global shop window for recruiters and job seekers. As a candidate, it’s a place where you can network with like-minded professionals, connect with experts in your field and showcase your skills. Don’t underestimate its clout! Here’s how to build an impactful LinkedIn profile in seven simple steps.

upload a professional profile picture

This shows a potential recruiter that you’re a smart, serious individual. Social scenes, family gatherings and holiday snapshots are a no-no. Make sure it’s a high-resolution image (the ideal is 400 x 400 pixels) taken in natural daylight and that you’re wearing what you usually wear for work. Sixty percent of the photograph should be your face.

optimize the “about” section

Write a short introduction telling people who you are and what you do. Keep it short, snappy and interesting, and remember to include your education and qualifications, as well as any relevant achievements. Use keywords like “CRM copywriter,” “Qualified Python coder” or “Experienced marketer” in the headline and throughout the body to raise your profile in search engines.

sell your soft skills

When you’re starting your job search and don’t have much work experience, there are still plenty of ways to big yourself up. Can you speak other languages? Have you worked abroad? Were you captain of a team, or did you edit the school magazine? Do you love problem-solving and thinking outside the box for creative solutions? These are all important qualities that tell recruiters you’d be a great addition to a team.

emphasize your learning mindset

In today’s fast-evolving job market, employers are increasingly looking to “hire character, train skill.” If you’re looking to join a company with lots of training opportunities, plenty of room for growth and a clearly defined career path, now is the time to say so. Employers love enthusiastic candidates with a passion for learning.

include recommendations

Yes, you're a catch. But why should a recruiter take your word for it? Approach past employers, university professors or even teachers at school for referrals about your character, skill sets and how you interact with others. Let them shine a light on how much of an asset you are.

proofread for spelling and grammar

Your LinkedIn profile is looking awesome. You’ve filled in all the blanks, crafted some great content . . . and spoiled everything with a glaring typo. We can’t all be perfect copywriters, but you can ask somebody to look at your draft and check for errors. You’ll be amazed how often an excellent profile is overlooked simply because of poor spelling and punctuation.

always be updating

In today’s digital landscape, your online profile is almost always the first impression a recruiter gets of you. Think of LinkedIn as an essential part of your personal brand. Update it whenever you pass a certification, get a promotion, change positions or move to a new company. This is a place to celebrate your career successes. Leave your modesty at the log-in page.

Happy with your new and improved LinkedIn profile? While you’re on a roll, why not give your resume a makeover? We’ve got plenty of resources to help you in our Career Advice section, and you can upload your resume to our network when you’re done.