LinkedIn’s professional network allows job seekers as well as people who are not actively looking for a new job, to promote themselves to companies and recruiters. You can connect with past and present colleagues to grow your network and optimize your chances of being hired through referrals. Executives from the world’s top companies are on LinkedIn, giving members access to a lot of valuable people..

The following are some tips to help you make the most of LinkedIn as a job seeker.

  1. Build your network before you need it

Having a strong network is essential. It represents those you know and trust, and you can utilize it for recommendations and to ask for introductions into a job or opportunity in which you are interested. No matter how the economy is situated, or what your career is doing, having a strong network is a good form of job security. Don’t wait until times are tough to nurture your network.

  1. Ensure your profile is complete and up to date

Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to showcase your skills and talents and help the right people and opportunities find their way to you. As your professional representation online, you can set it up to be discoverable through the millions of searches on leading search engines and on LinkedIn. Members with at least one past position listed on their profile are 12 times more likely to be viewed for potential opportunities through LinkedIn. People with at least one education listed are seven times more likely to be viewed in general and professionals with a photo on their profile are also seven times more likely to be viewed in general.

  1. Get LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements

A strong recommendation from those who have worked with you highlights your strengths and shows that you were a valued employee. You can actively reach out to your past managers and work colleagues to get recommendations from them. If you want a recommendation that will make you stand out from the pack, hint at why you’re asking for the recommendation (to get more clients, to find a new job, etc.) and at what types of things the recommender can comment on. (e.g., “Brad, I’d really appreciate it if you could give me a recommendation in regard to the ABC project that I worked on which resulted in us increasing sales by 120%.”)

Endorsements are also a great way to highlight specific skill sets you have. An effective way to gather up some of your own is by going through your trusted connections and endorsing them for skills.

  1. Get the word out

Tell your network that you’re looking for a new job. Use your LinkedIn status update to let those in your network know you are now looking for a new position.

  1. Check whether a company is hiring

LinkedIn Company pages enable you to “follow” companies in which you are interested. When you follow a company on LinkedIn you get updates on new hires, promotions/changes at the company and even job opportunities. Follow companies that you would love to work for, and you will start seeing these updates on your homepage when you login to LinkedIn.

  1. Get straight to the people that do the hiring

Build relationships with recruiters and hiring managers in your area so you are top of mind when great job openings come across their desks. You can do this by doing an Advanced People Search (click on the hyperlink that says “Advanced” next to the search box in the top, right-hand corner of any LinkedIn page) for the title “recruiter” or “HR Manager,” or other related titles and narrow the search down to your area. You can also find people you have in common and if suitable, ask them to introduce you or, reach out directly.

  1. Turn your profile into a portfolio

Instead of using generic words to describe your skills, upload an example of your work to your profile such as a photo, video or presentation that demonstrates your skills and experience. For recruiters this will give them a great, visual display of your accomplishments to date – and is a great way of standing out from the crowd.