How to Make a Great LinkedIn Profile (+18 Best Tips)
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Congratulations, now you’re one of the 750+ million users competing for the attention of recruiters, investors, and entrepreneurs scouting for talent in the social platform.
Your profile, contrary to what many users think, isn’t the online equivalent of a resume. Although it looks like it, it’s so much more than that. Your LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to tell your story, ambition, and personal brand sans the limitations of a typical resume. It also serves as your business card, a way for other users to evaluate if you’re a worthy addition to their professional network.
This tutorial will show you how to set up LinkedIn, so you can get more views and build a stronger network for your career or business. Plus, we’ll share 18 LinkedIn profile tips to help you make the best LinkedIn profile.
18 LinkedIn Profile Tips
1. Use the First Person
Write like you’re talking to a friend, but keep it professional. Let your personality shine. There’s no need for highfalutin words, although proper grammar and spelling are still expected.
Show people what makes you passionate about your work or business, and feel free to share a bit of what you do when you’re not at work. Again, you’re not writing a resume. You’re writing a profile on a professional social network, the key words being professional and social.
2. Pick a Good Profile Picture
Your profile picture will affect people’s first impression of you, so choose wisely. If you can, invest in a professional headshot for your profile. Don’t be afraid to pick a creative picture if that’s appropriate for your line of work. Just make sure it’s recent and a good close-up because a full-body shot is impossible to see on a thumbnail size image.
3. Don’t Limit Your Headline to Your Job Title
The LinkedIn headline is the first thing other users will read on your profile because it’s just below your name. It’s auto-filled with your current job title by default, but you can change it to whatever you want.
A headline is supposed to catch a reader’s attention. Your job title, however impressive, won’t cut it. Remember, LinkedIn has 750+ million users, so there’s a good chance there are thousands of professionals with the same job title as you.
4. Use the Summary to Tell Your Story
The summary section of your LinkedIn profile isn’t the same as the executive or professional summary in a resume. In a resume, the summary is usually reserved for the candidate’s best accomplishments.
In LinkedIn, you’re not limited to a one-line accomplishment. There’s enough space to tell the story beyond those accomplishments to give readers context of your work, and how it impacts the people around you. You can also write a short narrative about your career’s progression, or share the story of how your business came to be.
While storytelling is definitely acceptable, LinkedIn users won’t read a novel. Limit your summary to three to five short paragraphs with a bulleted section for users who don’t want to read the whole text.
5. Add a Background Photo
Not many users know, but you can now upload a background or cover photo on your LinkedIn profile. It’s similar to what you see on Twitter and Facebook, except users are expecting to see professional or work-related background pictures, not selfies.
Granted, not everyone will have pictures like those mentioned above. If that’s the case, try a picture of yourself while at work. This works great for jobs where you’re not always in front of a computer, and what you’re doing is easily understood in a photo, such as architects, chefs, photographers, engineers, and anyone doing field work.
6. Connect Your Other Accounts and Websites
You’re also allowed to link up to three websites to your profile. Each URL can be labeled as your personal website, company website, blog, portfolio, or RSS Feed. While those descriptions are okay, using the “other” option as your label gives you the freedom to use a creative or keyword-rich label for your website.
For instance, instead of plain old “Portfolio,” you can label your website as “Graphic Design Portfolio.” If your website URL is different from your brand name, you can use this feature to list the brand name beside the URL.
7. Use Visual Media
With its visual media features, users can show proof of their work by uploading videos, articles, presentations, or PDF files right beside every job entry. Attaching visual media to your LinkedIn profile is a great way for creatives to showcase their work, and for entrepreneurs to prove the value of their products and services through PDF case studies or video demonstrations.
8. Highlight Accomplishments in the Experience Section
If you’re having trouble choosing which accomplishments to include, pick the three most impressive, relevant, or unique to your role. Write the bullet points in the Challenge-Action-Results (CAR) format or the Situation-Tasks-Action-Results (STAR) format.
Since there are no space constraints on LinkedIn, use the extra space to write a short overview of your job. Explain the specifics of your job, such as the industry you serve, the budget you handle, or the number of people you manage to give other users some context about your experience.
9. List All Relevant Skills to Get “Endorsements”
Go to “View Your Profile” then scroll down until you see the section on “Featured Skills and Endorsements.” If you don’t have any skills listed yet, just type your skills and LinkedIn will suggest related skills for you.
You can receive endorsements from other members for various skills.
Why do you need a good LinkedIn profile?
LinkedIn is the social media network for professionals. Recruiters go there to find potential candidates; employers are actively promoting their brands and it is by far the best social media platform for a job seeker.
Recruiters and hiring managers will source on a variety of platforms and social media and your activity on Facebook and Twitter will certainly carry some weight, but LinkedIn is where the job search social brand should live for any corporate job seeker.
It is true that historically manual professions such as plumbers or less senior roles such as telemarketers have not been so visible on LinkedIn, but today if you are a tradesman looking to increase your brand or an early career professional looking for education, LinkedIn is a treasure trove of opportunity for everyone.
One of the biggest mistakes for any beginner LinkedIn member is to create a minimal LinkedIn profile. The platform offers fantastic opportunities for connecting with others who could help you along your career journey, so make the very most of everything that is on offer. Be confident and let your experience shine.
How to Create a Powerful LinkedIn Profile: 10 Tips
When you hit that profile button and contemplate the messages that your LinkedIn profile is sending out to potential new employers or freelancing clients, are you happy with what you read?
1. Your LinkedIn profile photo and profile header image
Considering the use of headshots in resumes has been phased out in many countries (notably in the United States and Canada), the importance of a professional photo is often overlooked by job seekers.
Not everyone bothers creating a profile picture on a clean white background, and even fewer people care enough to order professional photos by a photographer. The latter may seem needlessly expensive, until you think about the investment value. In the long run, high quality “headshots” pay for themselves many times over in positive image gains.
Considering LinkedIn is a social network, your profile picture should work to your advantage. We’ll analyze that aspect in more detail later, but for now, make sure to choose and/or create your image carefully.
If you’re already using Resume.io’s resume builder, we have a nifty feature that can turn any photo into a professional one: the photo background change feature . You can easily take any photo that turned out well and switch out the background with the press of one button. There’s a good variety of backgrounds to choose from: abstract, office space, flat color and even natural backdrops for more exotic professions.
2. The LinkedIn headline is your elevator pitch
The LinkedIn headline is a very important element of the LinkedIn profile page, as it sets the tone for your entire LinkedIn account. It’s the first thing seen by prospective employers and recruiters after your profile photo.
The best LinkedIn profiles make the headline work for them, rather than just display their main job title. In a world where “standard” job descriptions mean less and less with each passing year, purposefully crafting a professional brand and a “custom title” or job description makes a lot of sense.
Your goal is to outline more than a generic job title for your current position — for instance, “Kate Wills, Accountant” or “Jim Gordon, Engineer” — and to make the recruiters who visit your page actually remember you among the crowd of candidates.
3. Your LinkedIn profile “about” summary section
In terms of vitally important (yet difficult to tackle) sections, the LinkedIn “about” section is a cornerstone of your LinkedIn profile. Similar to the profile in a traditional resume (sometimes called the summary or personal statement ), this offers the very best highlights of your candidature.
It should give a brief but vibrant glimpse into how you’ve grown as a professional over the years. Highlight your proudest achievements in the LinkedIn profile and emphasize your most unique or valuable skills.
The summary section on LinkedIn.com has many of the same characteristics as its counterpart in a traditional resume. You can check out our advice on building a fantastic summary in our comprehensive resume writing guide , or our summary blog, since most of the same principles apply. The main difference is you’re limited by 2,000 characters rather than 100 to 200 words.
The trick is to strike a balance between an engaging narrative and professional credentials. Bet too creative and you’ll come off as not taking your job seriously. Focus only on professional lingo, and even industry experts will get bored quickly and move on.
Keep in mind also that many recruiters and hiring managers aren’t as knowledgeable in technical fields as you might be if you’re an industry veteran. Be careful not to turn your LinkedIn profile summary into a jumble of cryptic abbreviations.
Space is precious here, and first impressions even more so. Make these 2,000 characters count. Make them capture the recruiter’s or prospective employer’s imagination, as much as they impress with career milestones.
It is important to note that only the first three lines of the LinkedIn “about” section will be visible initially, so make the beginning of your story as interesting as possible. The reader makes a conscious choice to click on the “see more” button, so choose your words carefully in the opening sentences.
How to Build an Impressive LinkedIn Profile – Characters counts LinkedIn
4. Featured content adds depth to your story
The main benefit of LinkedIn is that it allows members to grow their professional networks, share their thoughts with others and learn from each other. Social update posts, long form blog content and video posts all form part of the LinkedIn professional tapestry.
Step 6: Licenses and Certifications
When you create your LinkedIn profile, do not forget to include your licenses and certifications if you have any. Obviously, they can be different depending on your field or industry.
You can visit the link that I’ve provided if you want to learn how to get certified for free in Marketing or Sales by these companies. Obviously, these certifications do not substitute a degree, but they are a great way to boost your CV.
When completing this section, you can also provide details such as the expiration of the course (if any), an URL to the certificate, and a valid credential. It is not obligatory, however.
Step 7: Accomplishments
I have included the next couple of sections within the same step because their goal is practically the same. To highlight your skills in a more practical way, and give other people the opportunity to endorse your expertise.
The purpose of this section is to write down your key skills and let others endorse you. The reason why is because everyone can make up skills that they don’t have. However, if you have coworkers or ex classmates that have worked with you, they can go to your profile and confirm that you actually possess these skills.
Of course, do not go overboard with the skills. Select between 10-15 things that you are really good at, and focus on getting endorsed for them. You don’t want your expertise to get diluted because you’ve listed 100 irrelevant skills.