Last month's #RockYourProfile event in the Seattle area provided these 5 great tips to make sure your online profile stands out from the crowd.

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The power of LinkedIn lies in the number of potential contacts it can give its members during their search for the perfect job. What better way, then, to learn about maximizing the power of LinkedIn than through the collective knowledge of these members?

That’s the thinking behind an event held last month at campuses across the Seattle area called #RockYourProfile, which gathered about 200 local business owners, students and job seekers to discuss best practices for developing an online presence. For this first-ever #RockYourProfile event, one of the main topics was improving LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn spokesperson Crystal Braswell shares five of the actionable steps that the group came up with:

Start at the beginning. Your headline is the first – and possibly only – description of your personal brand that many people will see, so it has to be perfect. Think of the words your colleagues use to describe your standout qualities. Suggestions include: “IT support manager and trusted Mac expert” or “Experienced admin assistant who never misses a deadline.”

What’s in a summary? Summaries of 40 words or more are important because they show up first in recruiters’ and hiring managers’ search results. Avoid vague buzzwords like “organized” and “motivated,” and be specific. For instance, if you’re a software engineer, mention up front the programming languages you know.

Show, don’t just tell. Provide specific examples of your accomplishments whenever possible. If most of your work involves visuals, LinkedIn allows you upload pictures, videos and documents to help separate your profile from others in your industry.

Get personal. With traditional resumes, adding a self-portrait or other personal details is usually frowned upon for reasons having to do with exposure to discrimination lawsuits. But in LinkedIn profiles, these details are not just tolerated, they are expected – profiles with photos are actually 14 times more likely to be viewed than ones without. Feel free to mention your interests outside the professional realm – you never know when your passion for vegan cuisine or Iron Man competitions may pique the interest of a hiring manager.

Be thorough. In cyberspace, there is no one-page limit. Profiles are 12 times more likely to be viewed if you have more than one position listed on your work history, so don’t hold back on the number of jobs you’ve held. You also can get an average of 10 times more profile views if you list your educational credentials. Make sure your profile is complete and up to date.

Randy Woods is a writer and editor in the Puget Sound business publishing arena and a veteran of the local job-search scene. Email him at