Are you being a Debbie Downer about your new LinkedIn profile? Change can be hard. Some of my favorite applications have disappeared. But, boy, there is some incredible opportunity here.

In the next few weeks, I will be showing you how these changes can help you find your next big customer, investor, strategic partner, vendor, donor, or job opportunity. 

Let's start at the top. I will show you my profile in the view mode (Top tool bar>Profile>View Profile), not the edit mode (Top tool bar>Profile>Edit Profile), where you will be making the changes by simply clicking the pencil icon next to the item you wish to change. 

New Profile Screen Shot (1st)

Headline.  The font is larger, and thus your headline is more visible and more important. These are the most important 120 characters on your entire LinkedIn profile. Include keywords and tell your story. For more advice, read "Is Your LinkedIn Headline Working for You?"

2.  Summary of your current and previous experience.  If the jobs are not listed in the order you prefer, just use the up-down arrow to reorder your entries. I will share more detail on the Experience section in coming weeks. 

3.  Photo.  It's bigger and therefore more important. Does your photo clearly display your brand in the marketplace? A 20-year-old photo of you and your Harley in front of a tavern probably doesn't do that very well -- unless you sell Harleys or own the tavern! And even then, I'd probably save those types of photos for Facebook. Also, if your photo doesn't fill up the entire square, resize it or choose a different photo.

Contact Info. This is harder to find. People have to click it to access your info. But once they click, be sure they see all the ways you prefer to be contacted.

5.  Websites. This is also harder to find, but it's still one of only a few opportunities on LinkedIn to include a hyperlink. It's a bummer that people now have to click the Contact Info icon to see your websites, but it's important to include three websites with strategic descriptions. Don't use the default "My Company," etc. To learn more about effectively using this profile section, check out "Websites: Your "Link" to Future Opportunities."

6.  People You May Know. This is more conveniently located for easy access. I'm sure LinkedIn put it in this great spot so you would use it more often. Connections are the "gas in the tank" on LinkedIn. Always be on the lookout for great new additions to your network. To learn more about who you should be connecting with, read "LinkedIn Connections Strategy: Do You Have One?"

New Profile Part 1 (2nd Screen)

(Status Updates).  This has been elevated to a prominent position, and your last several posts are now displayed. Don't miss this opportunity to share great information and show you are a thought leader. Your connections have always seen your updates, but now they are also visible to people outside your network who are checking you out. So, if you don't have any updates posted, you won't look like much of a thought leader. If you're not sure what to post, check out "The Five W's of LinkedIn Individual Status Updates."

Check back next week for Part 2. And if you're near Milwaukee, join me on January 22 for my special live class "Crush It In 2013 With the New LinkedIn Profile."

If you enjoy the information I share each week, help me gather more great information by completing my short LinkedIn User Survey. Near the end of the survey, you can register for a chance to win my full LinkedIn DVD training library and sign up to receive a full copy of the survey results. Thanks!