Ensuring you stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn can put you in with a good chance of being headhunted

LinkedIn has established a strong reputation as the social network for business professionals, and with that status comes the ability to be headhunted by recruiters. However, there are many millions of people registered to the site, some with sparse profiles and some with excellent profiles, so in order to stand a chance of being headhunted you will need to make your profile stand out from the rest.

If you want your profile to help you find new employment opportunities then you need to treat it like a CV – which includes making it as original as possible, and knowing that right now, it probably isn’t. LinkedIn publishes the most used buzzwords, and it’s essential to read them so you can avoid putting the same thing as countless others of the 187 million profiles out there. For instance, “motivated” was the most used buzzword in the UK, and “creative” took pole position in worldwide results. It’s not surprising, either, because both are words that most people will think a recruiter will want to hear – the problem is, when you are just one voice amongst millions saying the same thing as everyone else, how can you get noticed? Start paying attention to the words you use and try to tweak your profile to eradicate them.

There are other measures to help boost your credibility too. As a first port of call, disable your activity broadcasts – this isn’t Facebook, and most people won’t want to see this. You can find the option in Settings then Privacy Controls.

You will also want to get as many recommendations as possible, as then people browsing your profile will know you’re as good as you claim to be. There are two main ways of getting recommendations, and it’s a good idea to use both. Firstly, message your connections (or at least the relevant ones) and ask if they would recommend you. Secondly, recommend other people – LinkedIn will then ask them to recommend you in return, and they are likely to agree because they will feel like rewarding you for a nice gesture.

Try to make it a habit for the first thing Monday morning – when everyone is feeling the strain of being back at work after a glorious weekend – to endorse some connections. If it sits pretty atop your to-do list at the start of the week, you can sit at your desk at 9am and by 9.05 have endorsed ten connections. This will not only increase the chances of you also getting endorsements, but will also put yourself firmly back in their minds, thus increasing the odds of you being contacted about projects or opportunities (and remember, if you have 500 connections, endorse all of them and 50 per cent endorse back, that’s 250 endorsements without you having done anything but spend five minutes per week clicking some buttons).

One of the most important things you can do is have a good profile picture. It is amazing to see the number of people who still have no profile picture at all, while others have low-quality, pixelated ones, photos of themselves at a party, and sometimes not even of them at all. A good picture shows you as a professional and can work wonders for your image. Ensure the photo is high quality, recent, has no one but you in it, against a plain, light background; also wear professional clothes and be sure to smile – a high quality photo of you scowling in a paint-splattered t-shirt will not do you any favours, but a high quality photo of you smiling in a clean, plain shirt will.

So there you have it – the key principles to higher chances of success on LinkedIn, and all are quick and easy.