LinkedIn has become a dominant force in the job search market. With over 500 million users worldwide and more than 10 million active job postings, this business-focused social network has become a primary platform for job seekers to connect and network with people in their industry.

It is therefore critical to take the time to build your LinkedIn profile, add to your connections and effectively network with them to aid in your job search. It’s also equally important to help your connections in their job search when they need advice or referrals as well.

Here are five tips to help you optimize your job search using LinkedIn.

1) Complete Your Profile and Keep it Up to Date

A complete LinkedIn profile increases your chances of being found and contacted by an employer. Think outside the box about all of the experience and skills you have accumulated through the years and make sure you write detailed information in every section of the profile. Create catchy headlines, write a detailed summary, include a professional photo and list your skills and accomplishments. Also, you should add links to your professional website or online portfolio if you have one. It is also important to update your profile from time to time to show that you are a current and active user

2) Connect with Your Connections

Having a high number of connections on LinkedIn doesn’t always mean that you have the right connections. Start building your LinkedIn network with contacts that you already have; look through your phone and email contacts and reach out to past teachers, managers, colleagues and/or coaches. Employers often look for referrals from their own employees to fill positions, therefore maintaining your professional network through LinkedIn may give you an advantage in accessing the hidden job market.

3) Join Groups

Joining various groups can help you connect with like-minded individuals outside your immediate network. Become a member of LinkedIn groups affiliated with your school, professional association or employment field to expand your network to other individuals who may be successfully employed. Also, consider following the LinkedIn pages of companies you would like to work for in order to keep up to date on news and hiring announcements.

4) Be Active in Your LinkedIn News Feed

Share job postings and other interesting articles with your followers on your news feed and like and comment often on the postings of those in your network. As with any social platforms, the more you participate, the more you will get noticed.

5) Use the Job Search Options

The jobs tab on LinkedIn allows you to search for jobs by keyword; the advanced search allows you to refine that search by date posted, experience level and location. If you find a job posting that you are interested in, see if you are connected to anyone at the company. If you are, consider requesting a LinkedIn recommendation to boost your credibility with the employer.