As a recruiter, you understand the importance of quality branding. Everything you write and say to the outside world is a reflection of you and your brand, so you must choose your words wisely.

Consider your LinkedIn identity. You have to be careful about how your profile looks. Consider what you post and how you contribute to the posts of others. A selfie with a pint, a pout, your friends, your cleavage, or your dog (cute as it might be) really doesn’t cut it in the business world, at least not if you want to be taken seriously as a professional. Be provocative if you choose (in your post themes, not your dress code), but not unethical. Be controversial if you must, but be careful of alienating or offending your network.

My advice: Keep your posts industry-related, topical, light-hearted, and friendly. Contribute to similar posts by people in your network, and make a point of liking and commenting on posts written by people on your target connection lists — but only if you have something relevant or intelligent to say! Sometimes less is more.

Be careful with your use of emojis, LOLs, and the like. Know your audience, and remind yourself you are using social media in a professional capacity. Abbreviations such as ROFL, WTF, and OMG should be kept for your own personal page IMHO (see what I did there?). When in doubt about what is appropriate to post, ask yourself whether your CEO would be happy to read it. If not, then you probably have your answer.

Of all the social media platforms, your LinkedIn profile in particular should act as the window into your professional soul. Become visible in relevant circles for your industry. Follow prominent people such as business leaders, sector experts, and recruitment experts who could support you or whom you could potentially support.

Ensure that your profile page is complete. You simply must have a professional headshot. Other users — rightly or wrongly — consider those LinkedIn members without profile pictures to be less trustworthy.

Your profile overall should sell who you are and the services you can provide. Your work history should be comprehensive and up to date, and your education history should be complete — including any additional development you have undertaken post-college. Include information about the charities you support and the volunteer work you do.

LinkedIn is a clever little so and so, and it will prompt you to complete your profile. On the home page, you’ll see a record of how complete your profile is, as well as some advice on how you can enhance your profile. You’re aiming to reach the coveted “all-star” status.

Add your professional skills so that others can endorse you. Ask satisfied clients and candidates to writer recommendations for you as well. These are testimonials that act as social proof that you can in fact do what you say you can. For this reason, recommendations are extremely useful when it comes to demonstrating your service to potential candidates and clients.

That said, do be careful about “tit for tat” recommendations — i.e., “I’ll recommend you if you recommend me.” Viewers of your profile can see whom you have given recommendations to and who has recommended you. If they match like for like, it all appears rather insincere and contrived, and you could lose credibility.

Join some groups. There are recruiter groups, industry groups, and niche groups. It’s up to you to choose the groups that you feel would be most relevant to your work and your network. The great thing about groups is that once you’ve joined one, you can see all the profiles of other members of that group. Furthermore, if you choose to connect with any of them, you have a legitimate reason to do so — you are members of the same group. I accept this may be a vague virtual connection, but it’s a legitimate connection nonetheless. Groups proves to be a very useful way to expand your network with relevant connections.

Finally, whenever you invite someone to connect, send them a personalized message. It always goes down better than the default standard invitation, allowing you to stand out right from the start of your digital relationship for the right reasons.

There’s a huge amount you can do with social media, and I’ve really only skimmed the surface here with LinkedIn. As with all elements of being a recruiter, the key is to be consistent and unique as a personal and corporate brand.

In today’s digital world, there are tons of opportunities for recruiters to showcase their expertise to a whole host of people in every corner of the globe. You’d be amazed how quickly you can create a following if you use LinkedIn right.

If you aren’t sure who to connect with first, then drop me a request. If you add a note referencing this blog, I’ll happily accept — and you’ll have begun to expand your LinkedIn network one connection at a time.

Jackie Handy is an international trainer, author, and speaker. She runs the training consultancy Runway Global.

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