Next week, LinkedIn employees will attend an event hosted by the NFL and Stanford University. We will meet with former NFL players and coach them on how they can get the most use out of their LinkedIn Profiles as they look for new careers off the field. Some of the advice we will give the players is applicable to any professional, so we thought we’d share it with our members too. In order to have the best offense, you need to have a strong defense too. There are over 175 million professionals on LinkedIn – with two new members joining every second – so don’t let the competition stop you from standing out as a professional all-star.

Read the defense: LinkedIn counts executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members; its corporate talent solutions are used by 85 of the Fortune 100 companies. Make sure you’re following both the companies you would like to be recruited by, and those with whom you compete, in order to get the insider read on who’s coming and going. You’ll also be able to check out the LinkedIn Skills that their top players have listed.

Build out your bench: Expand your network and get connected to at least 50 connections that you know and trust. By making sure you have at least 50 contacts on LinkedIn, you’ll soon discover that you have more second and third degree contacts who can help pass your profile into the professional end zone.

Get drafted: With all the competition out there you need to do everything in your power to stand out from the crowd and get yourself noticed. Simple things, like adding a photo, make your profile seven times more likely to be viewed. When highlighting your past work experience, be sure to list more than just your last position. You’re 12 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you add more than one position on your profile. When describing what you have accomplished in your summary, steer clear of overused buzzwords like “organized” and “motivated.” Instead, demonstrate your assets by quantifying your accomplishments using statistics and hard numbers that snag a recruiter’s attention.

Train like a pro: If, after doing all this, your inbox still isn’t filled with offers, that doesn’t mean defeat. It just means you’ve got to tackle your job search in a more proactive way. Do a LinkedIn Advanced People Search to find recruiters in your zip code, so you’re taking the reins of your job hunt rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting for an offer to magically appear.

Call an audible: The best quarterbacks can read the defense and can change the play on the line of scrimmage. The ability to share valuable information and insights on a regular and timely basis demonstrates flexibility, initiative and it also makes you ten times more likely to have your profile viewed by a recruiter. Whether it’s sharing a lead on a great opportunity you just learned about or a link to an article that just posted on LinkedIn Today, your network will deem you a valuable player if you take the time to help your teammates up their game.