Are you making the most out of LinkedIn? These simple steps will help you build your personal brand, enhance your networks, and boost your career development. All you need is a functional and up-to-date LinkedIn profile.

Realize the importance of your profile picture

This picture determines everything about your profile. Make sure that it is appropriate and recognizable, preferably up-to-date.

Consider what you write to your “professional headline”

Showcase your skills briefly in the text field below your name, as the professional headline has a great impact on the LinkedIn search optimization. Therefore, instead of writing “I work at Good Company,” write it in a more descriptive style. “Social media consultant and strategy enthusiast at Good Company” is stronger.  Your profile will be shown in a larger number of search results.

Make a strong profile

A strong profile consist of up-to-date information with good coverage of your past employers and posts. Remember to utilize the “summary” field, where you can tell more about yourself and your past projects and work assignments. In addition, make sure to add enough LinkedIn contacts. Your profile will seem suspicious otherwise.

Seize the social activities

LinkedIn allows you to link all sites important to you (such as SlideShare, Twitter, and your blog) to your profile. Don’t forget about status updates, where you can share insights and news to your network.  In addition, since people are increasingly interested in each other’s professional paths, writing status notes is an easy way to keep them updated.

Recommendations are important

One unique feature of LinkedIn is having all of your recommendations shown on your profile. Make sure you have as many recommendations as possible, and make sure to recommend others.

Be active in networking

Join groups related to your interests and enter discussion with people with similar mindset and career aspirations. If you are active, your network can strengthen and grow rapidly.

Use hidden activities

LinkedIn enables hiding contacts you don’t share with others and also hides the profiles you have searched.

When it comes to the future of LinkedIn, the website seems to be developing more and more into a “professional Facebook.” This means that partaking in social activities and updating your profile will be increasingly important: you can no longer stand in the crowd and wait to be discovered!