Here are the tricks to being adept at LinkedIn.

Whether you’re looking for a new role, trying to expand your network or exploring new ways to increase your profile, a strong LinkedIn profile is an increasingly utilised tool to connect with peers and increase exposure in the professional world.

With over 500 million users worldwide, it is the largest professional network out there and highly effective in connecting professionals with others in their industry.

Just like other social media platforms – it helps us to stay in touch, stay involved and stay up to date with our peers and what is going on around us.

To create a strong online identity within your profession, a compelling LinkedIn profile is a must. Here are five starting points to make your profile shine and nail that first impression.

1. Upload a great photo

Simple but effective, images speak louder than words. The human brain can interpret images as quick as 13 milliseconds. Your profile photo is the first thing that somebody will focus on when they view your profile.

You should be visible, smartly dressed and well presented to secure a professional first impression. Facebook is great for your holiday selfie or friends at a birthday party, but your LinkedIn image should be different.

2. Write an eye-catching headline

Your headline is the phrase that appears directly under your name – most commonly, this is a job title and company. However, you have 120 characters to work with here, so why not be creative?

Think of it as an advertisement for you and what you do. In addition to your job title, mention your specialty and how you benefit your company or clients. For example, instead of Senior Tax Associate – Senior Tax Associate passionate about bringing the best possible tax solutions to clients.

Just like that, you've told them not only your title and position but also what you bring to the table and what you’re passionate about.

Your headline is your chance to describe yourself as a professional, more than just your job title.

3. Nail an interesting summary

This is your ‘about’ section on your profile and gives you 2000 characters to play with. This could be a professional bio with more detail about your skills, experiences, specialties and passions. Use this section to expand on your headline and tell readers what you want them to know about you.

Bullet points can be an easy way to make this clear and easy to read. You may wish to detail volunteer work, committees you sit on or other extracurricular activities. Anything you do in your personal time that endorses your experience and interests is also great to include.

4. Make connections

A strong LinkedIn profile is null and void if you do not have a variety of relevant connections. Think about growing your network as you meet peers. Not only to stay connected but because of LinkedIn's system of first, second, and third-degree connections; having a lot of connections keeps you visible to others.

You can connect with people you don't know, but it's preferable to connect with individuals who you know personally, have worked with, or met in a professional capacity.

Instead of sending people cold invitations, when you meet people, advise them that you will connect with them on LinkedIn and personalise your follow-up note. Use the opportunity as a second or third point of contact to make a long-lasting, meaningful connection.

5. Be active

If you want to be noticed on LinkedIn, you must be active on LinkedIn.

The more you interact online, the more you will stand out. But remember to be authentically yourself and share content that reflects your professional interests. Otherwise your content will appear manufactured.

Post status updates, articles that are of interest to you or that are relevant to your area of expertise. Like and comment on posts you find engaging. If you write your own articles, share them and ask for feedback. Join LinkedIn groups and get involved with conversations. Endorse the people you have worked with and validate their skills and strengths.

Aim to check LinkedIn daily, and actively share comments or content a few times per week. To create the habit, set yourself calendar reminders.

If you’re looking for new ways to expand your network, or boost your career, The Women in Tax National Congress is back again for 2019 and this year the full day program is designed to ensure you perform at your highest potential. Listen to Chelsea Pottenger and other inspiration speakers help you gain your sense of purpose and bring greater clarity to your team.

Join us at the Women in Tax National Congress on the 29th November at The Fullerton Hotel in Sydney.