Any serious job seeker should sign up with the world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn. While it’s packed with features to help candidates connect with employers, it’s not used nearly as much as it could be considering how handy it is.

If you’re a job seeker who is not yet on LinkedIn, you can make setting up your profile one of the first things you do this week to help you build your network and hopefully find your next job.

Many new job seekers manage to use the site wrongly or miss all kinds of great features. Here’s your crash course guide to getting everything you can out of the social network.

Build your profile

Writing your profile page is one of the first things you should do when you sign up – at least make a start on it before you start connecting with people.

A LinkedIn profile includes a detailed work and education history (similar to a CV), searchable skills and information on what you’re looking for. If you use your CV as reference you can create a strong profile in a matter of minutes.

A major part of being on the site is getting people to visit your profile – but that’s only a good thing if your profile isn’t empty. There’s a handy indicator on the right side showing how much you’ve yet to set up – when it’s at “All-Star” you’re golden!

Make connections

On Facebook you make friends; on LinkedIn you make connections. Professionals can be quite reluctant to accept requests from people they don’t know but if you’ve worked with people who could help you, directly or indirectly, with moving on in your career, it’s well worth reaching out.

When you’re connected with someone, their updates and activity will appear on your home screen, along with anything they’ve shared. This can include job ads and advice.

As you build your network, it’s important not to let people forget you – post updates and endorse your contacts for their skills. You can also write them testimonials.

Join groups

Groups are communities of like-minded individuals who share content among themselves. You’ll often be welcome to join a group if you have an interest or experience in a certain industry. Through a group subscription, you can get interesting discussions, educational articles and videos and news about vacancies on the site or in your email if you’d prefer.

For starters, we have our very own Blue Octopus LinkedIn group where we share the latest jobs as they become available – so you can subscribe and make sure you don’t miss out.

Apply for jobs

You probably already knew that you can showcase your skills and experience through LinkedIn, but you may not have known that the site also functions as a job board, allowing you to search and apply for roles. There’s a huge range available and it’s easy to narrow down salary, location and more to find exactly what you’re after.

When you apply through LinkedIn many recruiters will check your profile, so this is why it’s important to fill it out completely and participate as much as possible.

LinkedIn is a brilliant way to present yourself to new employers and help you keep in touch with those who can help you find work. What are your best tips for getting the most out of the world’s biggest business-networking site?

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