We often help clients make better use of LinkedIn as a networking and sales tool. To that end, here are six simple tips that anyone can implement to make their LinkedIn profile more robust.

1. Answer the question: Why should I be on LinkedIn?

What do you want to accomplish? LinkedIn is a place you can:

  • Find prospects
  • Enhance your professional network with connections to co-workers and colleagues
  • Stay current with trends and information with industry specific discussion groups and resources
  • Find a new job
  • Recruit top talent or partners

Formally define your objectives for LinkedIn so that you can develop a strategy and, if appropriate, track measurable goals.

2. Connections

Connections are vital to LinkedIn success. It is important to understand the pros and cons of whom you choose to connect with. Will you keep it to only people you know, extend it to people at target companies or shared groups, or everyone you can?

The benefits of more contacts include more shared connections and exposure to a greater variety of posts and ideas. However more connections can also lead to clutter in your feed and inbox. Just as in the real world, be careful about associating with professionals with negative reputations as they may reflect poorly on you.

3. Have a recent headshot

Your LinkedIn headshot should be a professional, recent headshot. Here are the format and size requirements for a LinkedIn profile picture:

  • Must be a JPG, GIF, or PNG file
  • Must be smaller than 4MB
  • Ideal picture size is between 200 x 200 to 500 x 500 (larger photos will be resized)

LinkedIn is not the place for selfies, avatars, or any other “fun” profile pictures. Those are better left for Facebook and Instagram. It’s ok to show your personality just remember to put your best foot forward on LinkedIn. A good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t want something associated with your resume, don’t associate it with your LinkedIn profile either.

4. Fill out your Summary section

The Summary section is the area of your profile directly before the Experience section (when using the default profile settings). The summary section represents a great opportunity to include a biography paragraph or a general introduction. Some users write summaries in first person while others use third person so, whichever you choose, remember to stay consistent.

5. Recommendations > Endorsements

When LinkedIn introduced endorsements several years ago, it pushed engagement on the site to a new, lesser level. Many users now “endorse” their connections for various skills, sometimes skills which have little to do with a person’s actual skill set. Recommendations are not as popular now but remain valuable to prospects and hiring managers all the same. While it takes far more time to write a recommendation than to click the “endorse” button, doing so offers a much more complete glimpse into a person’s skill set than an endorsement alone provides.

6. The LinkedIn Company Page

Although LinkedIn’s company/brand pages are still relatively simple compared to their Facebook counterparts, they remain a vastly underutilized part of the site. Many brands created company pages on LinkedIn years ago—and never touched them again.

LinkedIn company pages serve two distinct purposes: they allow users to link their personal profiles to the company pages for added visibility and second, they offer a company/brand an additional publication opportunity to show thought leadership.

One of the best ways a brand can utilize its company page is to share content—be it a blog post, a case study, or a downloadable white paper. Facebook may have more users but their focus is usually on personal matters. Professionals shouldn’t ignore LinkedIn’s considerable user base and perhaps more importantly, their mindset, when it comes to professional content.