(BPT) - If you're hunting for a new job, the way you showcase your skills and accomplishments can make all the difference in attracting hiring managers and recruiters.
Here are five small steps you can take to stand out and land your next opportunity.
1. Tune up your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile is all about who you are as a professional. It's often where you make your first impression on a prospective employer, so it's important to represent yourself in a way that helps others learn more about your experience and goals.
To make your profile more discoverable to recruiters and get a conversation started, include a profile photo, list your relevant skills and tell your professional story in your summary. Highlight samples of your work in the new Featured section to give recruiters a better sense of your work, which will help reinforce why you'd make a great addition to the team.
In addition to being able to privately let recruiters know that you're open to new jobs, you can now add an #OpenToWork photo frame on your profile photo. This new feature lets LinkedIn's broader community of 700+ million professionals know you are looking. When your profile comes up in a search or you engage with a post on your feed, professionals beyond your connections will see you are #OpenToWork and can refer you to jobs they're aware of.
2. Build and spotlight your skills
Skills are key to unlocking job opportunities. In fact, 87% of hiring managers agree that, when they vet potential hires, the candidates' skills are crucial.
Not sure what skills to highlight? Look at the required skills listed in descriptions for jobs you're interested in; if you don't have those skills, map out a plan to learn them. LinkedIn Learning has more than 16,000 courses, including soft skills like communication and problem solving, as well as hard skills like data science.
Make sure to list your skills on your LinkedIn profile, too. Members with at least five relevant skills on their profile are up to 27 times more discoverable. You also can verify your hard skills with Skill Assessments, making yourself 30% more likely to get hired.
3. Talk to people you know
You're 4 times more likely to land a job at a company where you have connections, so now is the time to lean into your professional community.
A good first step to networking on LinkedIn is to connect with people who can attest to your work ethic - family members, friends, former colleagues or professors - which is important during the recruiter vetting and reference check process. Also, it's often surprising who a family member or old friend is connected to and who can give you an in.
Next, reach out and reconnect with people with whom you've lost touch. Send a message on LinkedIn asking how they're doing and what they're working on. Engage with their posts on LinkedIn by 'liking' or commenting - it will raise your visibility and keep you top of mind.
4. Be the first to know about a job
LinkedIn can help you customize your job search based on your experience, interests and goals. After you've identified the best filters for your job search, create a job alert that will notify you, within minutes, of a relevant job posting. Being one of the first to apply can help you rise to the top of the candidate pool: applying for a job within the first 10 minutes increases your chances of hearing back by up to 4 times. There are even filters for things like remote jobs or open jobs with under 10 applicants, which can increase your chances of being contacted by the hiring manager.
5. Get ready for the virtual interview
If you're searching for a job right now, chances are if you get to the interview phase, it will most likely be virtual. While the questions are likely to be similar, there are some differences between interviewing in person versus remotely, so make sure you have a reliable internet connection, a neutral and well-lit background space, and that you dress appropriately.
With LinkedIn's interview prep tools, you can also practice answering the most commonly asked interview questions like 'what is your greatest strength?' or 'describe your most challenging project', and get instant feedback on your recorded responses. Pro tip: ahead of your interview, check to see if any of your interviewers have a recording of their name pronunciation on their LinkedIn profile, which will help you make a good impression during your meeting.
For more resources and tips on how to set up your profile, start networking and kick off your job search, visit opportunity.linkedin.com.