I have a confession to make: I haven’t updated my LinkedIn profile in 18 months. I know—shame on me. I’m supposed be a leader in things like that. But I’m also a human being.

If you looked at my profile, you’d probably think it was fine. It doesn’t read like a boring resume or make me seem like a hungry, job-hunting sales vulture. And it doesn’t sound like a self-serving company brochure. It’s customer-focused, showcases my expertise and establishes my credibility. It’s my professional presence online. Even LinkedIn says it’s well done. 

But here’s the truth: My LinkedIn profile doesn’t reflect the changes I’ve made in the past year and a half. (It still says I have a book coming out in May, 2014, when it’s already a bestseller.) Worse yet, it’s no longer meeting my objectives.

Time to get some help. So here, from Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, are 5 tips to more effectively leverage LinkedIn:

1.     Get clear on what you want to achieve. The first step is to figure out your core objectives, since they’re the basis for all the messaging on your profile. When Wayne asked about mine, I told him I wanted to attract sales VPs for speaking and training.

2.     Upgrade your headline. According to Wayne, these 120 characters are the most important. Unfortunately, most people waste it on job titles. Instead, your headline needs to clearly define your business outcomes and include some keywords. For me, Wayne suggested “Sales Acceleration Specialist | Sales Keynote Speaker | Author of 3 Bestselling Books | Sales Blog with 130k Followers.”

3.     Enhance your summary. Most people sell themselves short in this section, probably because it’s the most difficult part of the profile. According to Wayne, I need to talk about what I do in a conversational tone and highlight my awards and special accomplishments. And keep the specialties section. If you have ebooks, white papers, videos, etc., place them in this section.

4.     Share contact info. If you want people to connect with you, share your contact information. While there is a specific “contact info” section, Wayne recommends including it in the summary area as well.

5.     Take control of your endorsements. This section is often ignored, but doing so is a huge mistake. According to Wayne, endorsements are critically important for LinkedIn’s search ranking algorithm, meaning they help determine the order that people appear in search results.

I hope you will join me in my effort to take LinkedIn to the next level.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling, Selling to Big Companies and Agile Selling. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.