As LinkedIn becomes more of a reliable vehicle for finding influencers, prospects, partners and new talent, your LinkedIn profile is more important than ever.
Here are nine steps to ensure your profile is polished for 2019:
1. Mind your profile picture and background picture.
Use a high-quality, professional headshot—preferably 400 by 400 pixels —and make the picture visible to everyone.
To control your visibility, go to your profile and click “Edit public profile and URL” in the upper-right corner. In the right-side column, you’ll see a rundown of your current visibility options. You can make your profile photo visible to your contacts, your network or all LinkedIn members— or you can choose “Public.” When you change your profile picture visibility to “Public,” you make yourself easier to find via search engines or other networks.
Choose a high-quality background picture that conveys something meaningful about you, too. The optimal size for your background image should be 1584 by 396 pixels .
2. Write a snappy headline and summary.
In your headline, describe what you do in under 120 characters. Be original and creative, yet also clear and informative. Include relevant industry keywords. That will make you easier to find when people are searching for professionals in your field.
Keep your summary brief and interesting. Revisit and revise it regularly to make sure it’s accurate and timely.
The summary section allows you to add images, videos, documents and links, so add relevant pieces that show off your finest work.
One major trend emerging on LinkedIn is that people are starting to focus on future goals and ambitions. Instead of regurgitating a list of what you accomplished 15 years ago, consider offering an audacious glimpse of your future goals, ideas and objectives.
This is a good tip for those in an early career stage—or for those changing careers—as it shifts the focus to your future instead of your past.
3. Include (relevant) workplace information.
Don’t list all your previous jobs—unless they’re relevant to your current gig. Instead, focus on the workplaces and experiences that paint your professional credentials in a positive light.
Remember to update your current position, too. If you’ve received a promotion, won an award, published an article or are involved in an interesting project, it makes sense to update your profile accordingly.
4. Insert relevant skills.
Add whatever notable skills, certification or abilities you have, and ask your friends and colleagues to endorse you. Keep in mind: More is not more when it comes to LinkedIn Skills. It’s better to list fewer skills (and gain endorsements on those) than to list a wide array of unendorsed skills.
Update this section regularly—or at least whenever you learn a new skill. You should also delete skills that are no longer relevant to your career interests.
5. Edit your URL.
In the upper-right corner of your profile, you’ll see “Edit public profile and URL.” Click it.
This is a chance to tighten and personalize your URL, which will make you easier to find through Google or Bing.
6. Add certificates.
Do you have any relevant certifications? Did you graduate from a course or receive any online training?
Don’t be shy about posting them.
7. Ask for recommendations.
Substantive, descriptive recommendations from former or current colleagues are perhaps the most persuasive piece of content you can have on your LinkedIn profile. Write recommendations for others freely, and be bold about asking for friends to return the favor.
You can find the buttons for requesting and writing a recommendation by going to your contact’s profile page and clicking the white “More …” button next to “Message.”
8. Publish articles.
If you’re looking for search visibility, LinkedIn isn’t necessarily the best place to add articles. However, publishing articles is a great way to show off your expertise.
Try to write a new article at least every three months, and cover topics that are hot in your industry. Pay attention to pictures and title length, too. Your title should not exceed 60 characters.
If you can think of specific people who might enjoy your article, tag them in the message as well. The organic reach of LinkedIn articles is quite low, so adding keywords and tagging people are good ways to increase your reach and help your article gain visibility.
9. Optimize your profile’s search visibility.
Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn has an algorithm.
There’s no silver bullet to propel your profile to the top, but there’s plenty you can do to make yourself more visible , such as:
- Include relevant keywords in your headline
- Add your city into your profile
- Insert impressive work samples
- Complete your contact information
- Showcase volunteer or charitable interests
- Join industry-centric groups
It’s been a turbulent year for most social media giants, but LinkedIn doesn’t appear to be going anywhere but up in the coming year. Regardless of your industry or job situation, take the time to polish your profile as 2019 approaches.
A version of this post first appeared on the Smarp blog .