LinkedIn has grown massively over the last year or two and is now a huge worldwide online network for professionals. It has been dubbed “Facebook for grown-ups” and it is a brilliant way of networking for business.

The problem with LinkedIn, particularly if you are trying to raise your personal profile and grab the attention of recruiters and potential employers, is the sheer number of people who are registered. Finding untapped talent can be like finding a needle in a haystack, and if you’re looking for your next move, it is important to make your profile stand out.

1 – Get Visual!

If you edit your profile, you can see that in the ‘background’ section there is a little button for you to upload a file. This is for uploading photos and pictures, so take advantage! Too many profiles are just text and more text. Add some photos of your work, maybe of your products, or a screen shot from a website you’ve built: anything that adds some visual stimulus to what can be little more than an online CV. You can also add photos to each of the jobs you have detailed, which is a visually appealing way of showing your breadth of experience and skills.

If you don’t have any suitable photos, then get some taken! It is important to have a good
profile picture especially. A professional Hertfordshire-based photographer, such as Yakir Zur, will have lots of experience in corporate photography, and they don’t have to cost the earth. It could be the best investment you ever made. It doesn’t have to be a white background and with a stiff posture, but something that shows you as your professional self is always a better idea than a holiday snap. Have a look through others’ LinkedIn profile pictures and get some inspiration.

2 – Get animated!

Videos are a brilliant way of showing your work and introducing yourself. You can use the ‘Add Link’ option to link to a third-party site such as YouTube or one of several other supported hosts, and the video can be viewed directly in your profile. Make a ‘vlog’, upload it to the web and link to it to show yourself, and your products off. Use of video is a proven way of increasing web engagement and gives your profile the innovative edge that may put you ahead of the other professionals in your field.

3 – Get linking!

In the projects section of your LinkedIn profile, you can hyperlink the project title. This means that you can click it and it will take you to where your project is on show, whether this is an academic thesis or a website you have designed. Get your URLs ready and linked up. Check that they work! A potential employer or new business contact can have no excuse for not seeing your work up close.

4 – Get presenting!

A short, snappy slideshow presentation is a great way of keeping people on your profile
a bit longer and creating more interest in you and your company. Not many people have slideshows on their profile; probably because you can’t upload a Powerpoint presentation to LinkedIn. You can, however, use a third-party site like Prezi or SlideShare. And not many people know that! – For a full list of third party sites supported by LinkedIn, please visit their help pages.

5 – Get recommending!

Endorsements are all well and good, but personal recommendations look far better! Create a recommendation for a colleague or supplier, and ask them to return the favour. Recommendations are generally wordier than endorsements and therefore take much more effort, which gives them more value. To start a recommendation, visit your colleague’s profile page and choose the ‘Recommend’ option from the drop down blue box. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, whether online or off.

So, whether you use LinkedIn to broaden your network to the end of making more sales, or finding a new role, there are some great ways of making your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd. The good news is that all of these methods I have listed above are free, and still relatively unknown by a large number of LinkedIn users. Good luck!