Happy New Year! How are you doing on your new year’s resolutions? I’m keeping some of mine . . . so far! Including my annual LinkedIn resolution.

Every January, I resolve to review my LinkedIn profile with a fresh pair of eyes. I use LinkedIn regularly – to connect with people I meet, to learn about industry trends and to find new contacts. My annual review is designed to make sure I’m continuing to put my best foot forward with a profile that reflects my current goals, interests and activities.

This year, as LinkedIn is slowly rolling out its new desktop experience, it’s more timely than ever to keep this new year’s resolution. Regardless of whether you have the new profile (trust me, you’ll know when you get it!), here are six ways to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile for 2017:

  1. Define Your Audience & Goals: Be clear about who you want to connect with on LinkedIn. Are you looking for your next job? Wanting to connect with customers? Building a community of interest? Keep your audience in mind to shape your profile.
  2. Update Your Profile Photo. First impressions count. Use a high-quality headshot of you (just you!) in professional attire. Dress as if you’re visiting a customer. The photo should be close and clear, with no distracting background.
  3. Add a Header Photo. A picture is worth 1,000 words. By adding a header photo, you immediately create an impression. Use this area to reinforce your business brand or introduce your personality. Even a simple color or design will help you stand out.
  4. Edit Your Headline. You have 120 characters to describe who you are. Lead with benefits. Use catchy phrases. Include keywords. Stay professional.
  5. Update Your Summary. This is your story. For inspiration, read through summaries of colleagues you admire. Then, update your own “elevator pitch.” Include professional passions, interests and successes that will resonate with your audience.
  6. Showcase Experience and Accomplishments. Has your job title changed? Did you recently earn a new degree or certification? Were you featured in a company video? Are you blogging? Make sure your experience, skills and publications are up-to-date. LinkedIn loves multimedia, so strive to include videos, slide presentations, web links and documents.

Once you refresh your profile, get connected! Follow people and organizations that interest you. Join groups and participate in discussions. “Like,” comment on and share posts in your news feeds. Create your own posts to initiate a LinkedIn conversation about an article, blog or news story.

Are we connected on LinkedIn? If not, please send me an invitation. I’d love to connect!