Whether you’re looking for your dream job, seeking to expand your network, or simply want to be in touch with your professional and business community, the advantages of LinkedIn make it a platform that you definitely should be using. LinkedIn continues to evolve, and innovative features such as LinkedIn Pulse (which lets you publish your own content) make it a one-stop-shop for many activities that may help you further shine in your career.

Among the many advantages of LinkedIn, one element continues to be the most in-demand and most popular:

Its usefulness as a job search platform. In today’s highly competitive job market, you need more than just a decent resume to stand out from the crowd; you need to connect and be visible so companies can see you as a leading candidate.

LinkedIn allows you to achieve the following things that you may not be able to easily accomplish via a traditional job hunt:

Establish strategic networking. “Who you know” remains a significant factor in any job search. In the past, researching who to approach for that position you’re vying for can be time-consuming and will require serious sleuthing skills. With LinkedIn, you can easily see, filter and segment the degrees of connection you have with key contacts who may open a few doors for you.

Gain job market intelligence. If you’re interested in applying for a job with a particular company, you can use LinkedIn to know more about them. Read the articles published by their leaders. Gain insight from the profiles, projects and publications shared by the employees. Explore the company pages and learn about their values and vision. When you finally land your interview appointment, you can craft your message according to what you have gathered from various LinkedIn resources.

Be discovered. You probably know by now that 1/3 of job openings don’t get published. And many of these unpublished openings are actually prime spots. With LinkedIn, you can drive recruiters to your door by being an active community member. Share and post comments on articles. Join groups relevant to your industry and contribute to discussions. Make your profile really shine with engaging and helpful information that will show the world your talent and capabilities.

Your profile may take a serious investment to complete and enrich, but make sure to invest in the time and focus on setting it up properly. Simply being on LinkedIn isn’t enough. You need to know how to make a good LinkedIn profile—it’s the basic step to really take the advantages of LinkedIn. Upload an attractive and professional-looking photo. Post clear, succinct and interesting descriptions of your experiences and qualifications. Take advantage of documents, links and endorsements you can put up in your profile so that when recruiters go hunting, your LinkedIn page provides them with important information they need to know to make the next decision.