I've written before about why it's so important to be on LinkedIn, but just setting up a profile isn't enough. Once you're there, you need to get noticed (otherwise what's the point?).
Primarily when looking for a job, you should be using LinkedIn to stay in touch with, and expand your network. but there are also what I call passive benefits. Just by being on the site and being visible, you can attract the attention of recruiters, HR executives and hiring managers who use LinkedIn to find candidates.
The problem is that these people won't find you if all you do is create an account, fill in some of your details and then sit back and wait for the emails to come in. But there are easy things you can do to make yourself visible on the site. Here are my top 5:
Fill in a complete profile
Unless you complete all sections of the profile, you will miss out on opportunities. Create a strong introduction, put as many keywords as you can into the specialties, list and write about every job you have held, and include all schools you attended, as well as any trade associations you belong to. There's no way of knowing which of these criteria a recruiter will search on, so making sure everything is there is the fastest way to high visibility.
Here's more from me on how to write a great LinkedIn profile.
Add as many connections as you can
LinkedIn provides easy tools that allow you to find people you know. Make use of all of them. The more people you are connected to, the more visible you will be in searches.
LinkedIn groups allows you to network with other people in your field or industry, but it also gives you the opportunity to increase your visibility by joining in the discussions. Take that opportunity! Recruiters will often scan groups looking for good candidates - show them you are one by proving thoughtful answers and comments.
LinkedIn Answers is a feature that allows anyone to ask a question. Find it under the 'More' tab along the top of your home page after logging in. You will be able to search for questions in your area of expertise (for example 'marketing') and you can also see recent questions asked by people in your network. Answers are an excellent way to demonstrate expertise as well as to help others - a key secret to successful networking.
Regularly update your status
Everyone in your network sees your status updates when you post them, so this is an excellent way to make yourself visible to those who know you. If you are currently looking for work (and that isn't a secret) it's a good idea to post updates on your search once in a while. All it takes is for your update to be noticed by one of your contacts who knows about an available opportunity and you may secure yourself an interview.
LinkedIn is an amazing job search tool but it's only as good as the effort you put in.