Tips To Make The Best LinkedIn Profile

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 6, 2021

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When it comes to establishing your professional online presence, perhaps nothing is more important than your LinkedIn profile. It’s the place that holds your network, where recruiters source candidates, and where you can let other professionals know what you’re all about.

Sure, when you’re not an active job-seeker, it can feel pointless to update your LinkedIn profile. But neglecting this platform and the personal branding opportunities it affords is a big mistake. We’ll provide tips on how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, boost your online visibility, and come across as a dependable individual that any company would be delighted to have on board.

25 LinkedIn Profile Tips

  1. Complete every section. Here’s your #1 fundamental LinkedIn tip: don’t leave any sections blank on your page. You never know what a recruiter or a potential new member of your network wants to know about you, so it’s best to give as much information as you can.

    LinkedIn has a built-in tool that will let you know how complete your profile is and even suggest improvements. Don’t stop going until your profile is at least 90% complete.

  2. A picture’s worth a thousand words. Just like you probably wouldn’t follow through with an apartment listing that provided no pictures, recruiters are less likely to contact someone without a profile photo.

    Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame, you’re smiling, and that lighting is on-point. Here’s an article for more advice on taking the perfect LinkedIn picture.

  3. Use a background photo. Why settle for just one image when you can have two? Your background photo can capture attention and provide a little more personality to your page.

  4. Have several connections. A lack of connections won’t reflect well on you. At best, recruiters will think you’re not a very active LinkedIn user, and at worst, they’ll think you don’t know any other professionals very well.

    Don’t go overboard and add a bunch of people you don’t know, but try to get somewhere between 50-100 connections as a starting point.

  5. Eliminate buzzwords. We’ve gone over the importance of keywords in the past (and they are important). Don’t confuse them with buzzwords, which are essentially empty phrases that communicate very little about you.

    As per LinkedIn’s top ten buzzwords of 2018 list, these are words you should cut from your profile immediately: “specialized, experienced, leadership, skilled, passionate, expert, motivated, creative, strategic, successful.”

    To be clear, it’s not bad to have these qualities or use them to describe yourself. But demonstrating them is a whole lot more impressive than just saying you’re a “passionate leadership expert, skilled in creatively strategic motivation.”

  6. Customize your URL. If you want to include your LinkedIn profile on your resume, business cards, or anywhere else on the web, customizing your URL is essential. Having your LinkedIn URL as Linkedin.com/in/JohnDoe is much more attractive than Linkedin.com/in/127389319.

    To customize your URL, press “Edit public profile and URL” on the top right corner of your LinkedIn page. In the top right of the following page, press the pencil next to your current URL. Then, type whatever you want to come after “LinkedIn.com/in/” – we recommend using your full name.

  7. Make your headline count. Your headline will likely be the first thing a hiring manager (or anyone) sees when they visit your page, so you want to reel people in. Keep it short and to the point, set yourself apart from the crowd, and keep your target audience in mind. Don’t just list your job title and call it a day.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

    For more specific tips on crafting a winning LinkedIn headline, check out our comprehensive article on the topic.

  8. Don’t skimp on your summary. Your profile summary is the space below your photo. You can include up to 2,000 characters here, and we recommend using a good chunk of them. It’s your best chance to market yourself as an individual, so make it count. Highlight your work experience, but don’t make it as stuffy or formal as a resume.

    Story formats work well – engage readers with how you arrived at your career and what makes you tick professionally. Think about what action you want a reader to take before writing it. Someone looking for a full-time job would have different goals and methods than a freelancer looking for contract work.

  9. Match your experience section with your resume. Seeing as it’s good practice to continually update your resume, the same holds true for your LinkedIn page’s experience section. The great news is that this section isn’t held to the same “one-page” standard as resumes, so you can be more comprehensive here.

    Just make sure your resume experience section matches your LinkedIn profile, or recruiters might be confused.

  10. Keywords, not buzzwords. We know, we know, we just knocked buzzwords a few tips ago. But keywords are different in that they’re relevant, informative, and much more specific. Anyone looking for a job should pay close attention to the vernacular of job postings and then try to incorporate some of it into their LinkedIn profile.

    Recruiters will often search for candidates by using keywords. Don’t stress yourself out trying to optimize your profile for search engines perfectly, or it may end up sounding stilted and awkward but do look for places where you can organically integrate keywords.

  11. Don’t forget the skills section. This is the easiest tip to follow and probably the one with the highest return on investment. All you have to do is browse through a list of skills and choose those that apply to you. These skills will back up the content from your headline and summary.

    Even better, they allow others to endorse your skills (more on that below). Don’t go crazy and select every skill under the sun – consider which are the most relevant to your job and most applicable to you. As you would in a resume, try to include between five to ten, with a healthy mix of both soft skills and hard skills.

  12. Take advantage of endorsements. LinkedIn has a feature where others with knowledge of your professional history can endorse your skills. The best way to get others to endorse your skills (thereby substantiating your claims) is to endorse others in your network.

    Or, you can directly ask a coworker or supervisor to endorse the skills you’ve listed on your page. Endorsed skills count for much more than those you just say you have.

  13. Verify your skills. Endorsements are great, but you can also take a skills assessment on LinkedIn to earn a Verified Skills badge. Simply scroll down to your skills section and press “take skill quiz.” You’ll be given a short, multiple-choice quiz on the skill you select (out of the ones you listed). If your results are within the top 30% of quiz-takers, you’ll earn a badge.

    According to LinkedIn, those with verified skills are 30% more likely to be hired. Don’t worry if you don’t pass the first time – you can take the quizzes as often as you want.

  14. Don’t be afraid to brag. The accomplishments section of your LinkedIn page is your chance to toot your own horn. Highlight your most impressive professional achievements and, when possible, do so in quantifiable terms (e.g., Developed a marketing campaign that increased sales by 23%).

  15. Sell your services. If you’re a freelancer or a consultant, LinkedIn is an excellent resource for selling your services. Don’t neglect your page’s “services” section – it could be your ticket to boosting your client pool.

  16. Get recommendations. Endorsements are pretty snazzy, but you can take things a step further by requesting recommendations. Think of them as a pre-arranged reference that you’ll have in your back pocket when you’re going for a new job.

    Just like with endorsements, the best way to get a few is to give a few. Recommend coworkers you love working with and ask them to return the favor. Or reach out to a former supervisor or professor and ask for their stamp of approval.

    For high-quality recommendations, use people who can speak to your specific achievements.

  17. Utilize the publications section. If you’re an expert in your field or your job relies on written communication, publishing original content can help you stand out as a thought-leader.

    From those who have written works published in big-name publications to those who have contributed to their company blog, the publications section is a great place to let people know where you stand on industry-specific issues.

  18. Don’t be a stranger. Many people take a “set it and forget it” approach to their LinkedIn profiles. While a dazzling LinkedIn profile is a stellar first step, the journey doesn’t end there.

    Share interesting content related to your field (even in a roundabout way), comment on others’ posts, and craft your own long-form posts to get your ideas out there. All of these methods will establish you as an individual with a genuine passion for the field, not just some guy who does a job to pay the bills.

  19. Follow influencers in your field. Looking for some great content to share on your own page? One of the simplest ways to keep your page chock full of interesting content is to follow top influencers in your industry. When they post something that resonates with you, share it, comment on it, or do both. Talk about an easy win.

  20. Consider LinkedIn Learning. LinkedIn offers courses on countless topics, and when you complete one, you can add a certificate to your profile. You can even choose to update your network as you progress through your education through the “learning history” section on your page.

    This is a handy tip for those looking to enter a new field or first-time job seekers.

  21. Show off your altruism. If you’ve done volunteer work in the past or currently volunteer, definitely include that information on your LinkedIn page. Everyone’s impressed with someone who donates their time free of charge for a cause they believe in (hiring managers included).

  22. Build your network. Did you know you can synch your email address book with your LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn will then suggest people you might be interested in connecting with. It won’t send requests until you agree to, so you can ensure that these are high-quality connections and not random people you emailed ten years ago.

    Other than that, train yourself to send connection requests after meeting professionals for the first time. This is a much more organic way to develop your connections than sending out 100 simultaneous requests a week before your job interview.

  23. Join groups. You can join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your job and field. Doing so will accomplish two things: highlight your engagement and passion for the industry and instantaneously connect you with other professionals in similar boats.

    It also allows you to see more content (which you can then share on your page or comment on), making you a more active member of the LinkedIn community (always a good thing).

  24. Utilize privacy settings. If you’re starting a job search while you’re currently employed, it’s best not to share that information with your company until you have to. On the bottom of your LinkedIn page, you’ll see an option for “manage your account and privacy” – click that.

    Then, click “visibility” on the left-hand side. From there, you can alter who is able to see what. That way, you can ensure that you’re only sharing the information you want to share.

  25. Have fun. Many people groan when faced with developing a LinkedIn page. But remember that it’s not a resume or a cover letter, and you have a chance to show off both your professional and personal qualities. Even if you’re not super enthralled with your field and it’s just a job, you want to display some enthusiasm on your LinkedIn page.

    Hiring managers want to see candidates with a passion for their work, so take advantage of all LinkedIn’s features to display yourself as a person with a genuine love for what you do.

    Besides all that, having a rich and complete LinkedIn profile will help other professionals understand who you are, what you do, and why you do it. All that will make growing your network a piece of cake.

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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