LinkedIn is the most popular professional social network with more than 500 million professionals worldwide. The Recruiter Nation Survey says that 92% of recruiters use this platform to find candidates.

However, beyond the recruiting process, LinkedIn can be extremely useful for networking. There are many Latino/Hispanic, and professional groups based on several categories available on the platform where you can learn, discover new passions, engage and interact, and get your profile noticed by industry contacts.

Entering the workforce can be a big change from a world in academia. Whether you’ve just graduated from college or high school, while you are looking for a new job opportunity or beginning a new career path, an optimized LinkedIn account will help bring life into your profile to generate more views, offers and job recommendations.

Here are 8 must-haves on LinkedIn that will help you successfully step into the workforce:

  1. First impressions really count. A photo adds credibility, offers the first impression and could result in 14 times more profile views than profiles without a recognizable photo, based on information provided by LinkedIn. However, forget selfies. Instead, use a clear and crisp photo that makes you look professional and accessible. Remember to take into account this picture defines who you are as a professional, so depending on the field you are entering, you can be more or less creative with your photo.
  2. Highlight your headline. The headline is the first thing people will read when they go to your profile. It’s the one thing you want a recruiter, hiring manager, or future co-worker to know about you. Consider it your “slogan” and use your headline to immediately summarize who you are as a professional. With only 120 characters for the headline, the more specific you can be, the better!
  3. Rely on professional communities and groups. According to LinkedIn, your profile is five times more likely to be viewed if you join and are active in groups on the site. Find groups related to your industry and if possible, be an active member. This will get your profile noticed by other industry contacts and will introduce you to a very valuable skill, networking. Additionally, remember that groups can help you find mentors and role models to follow.Optimize your profile with key terms. Did you know you can optimize your profile to be found by people searching LinkedIn for key terms with which you want to be associated? Add these keywords to various sections of your profile such as your summary, specialties, job title, career history and personal interests to be found easily on the platform by recruiters.
  4. Rearrange your profile. LinkedIn enables you to reorder the sections of your profile in any way you prefer. This feature allows you to highlight your volunteer experience and skills up-front in case you don’t have enough work experience.
  5. Connect with more professionals. LinkedIn lets you start building your online network. If you are a recent grad, you can start by adding your classmates, professors, teaching assistants, family, friends or work colleagues. Remember you are creating your professional profile, not a social profile. Personalize any requests to connect with professionals you don’t already know but would like to connect with, so they understand why you are sending the connection request.
  6. Add any volunteer experience. If you are a recent grad, this is a key factor for you as it contributes to a higher search ranking and gives recruiters an idea of who you are and what causes you care about. In fact, according to LinkedIn, 42 percent of hiring managers surveyed said they view volunteer experience equal to formal work experience, and 20 percent of hiring managers in the U.S. say they’ve hired someone because of volunteer experience.
  7. Show recruiters who you are. As a recent grad, you should have a good amount of work samples you can add into your profile. These samples help make your profile more visual and interesting, while demonstrating your value as an up-and-coming professional. It shows recruiters your talents and everything you can create, work on or produce.

You can find additional tips for recent grads here!