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How to Make a Great LinkedIn Profile (+19 Best Tips)

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Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Congratulations, now you’re one of the 450+ million users competing for the attention of recruiters, investors, and entrepreneurs scouting for talent in the social platform.

Want your LinkedIn profile to stand out? Read on.

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.  

making a great linkedin profile
Use your LinkedIn profile to tell your story. (Source: Envato Elements)

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 19 LinkedIn profile tips to help you make the best LinkedIn profile.

19 LinkedIn Profile Tips

Here are 19 pro LinkedIn tips that show you how to make the best LinkedIn profile:

1. Use the First Person

Many users are still divided about this LinkedIn profile tip. While using the first person is unacceptable on a resume, it’s fine on LinkedIn because it’s a social platform.

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 keywords being professional and social.

2. Pick a Good Profile Picture

Having a profile picture leads to nine times more connection requests and about 21 times more profile views, according to LinkedIn’s article on All-Star profiles.

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.

LinkedIn Profile Tips for Pictures:

  • Smile, not just with your lips, but with your eyes.
  • Look at the camera.
  • Pick a headshot where your face takes up more than 50% of the 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 450+ million users so there’s a good chance there are thousands of professionals with the same job title as you.

Three ways to spice up your LinkedIn headline:

  1. Add your specialty.
  2. Name drop big clients or employers.
  3. Write a catchy description of what you do.

You don’t need to be a wordsmith to write a great headline for your LinkedIn profile. Simply write how you can help others and what makes you credible.

Examples of LinkedIn Headline for Job Seekers:

  • “Art Director at Ogilvy & Mather who helps clients create engaging advertisement campaigns”
  • “Copywriter and Email Marketing Strategist selling hundreds of products daily”
  • “Shopify Consultant with over 170 successful clients and stores across different niches”

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.

Sample outline:

  • First paragraph. Summary of your most impressive accomplishment in Challenge-Action-Results (CAR) format. Make your accomplishment tangible by including quantifiable information. 
  • Second paragraph. What you do and why you chose that career or business.
  • Third paragraph. Who your target audience is and how you help them. This can be written in bullet point format.
  • Fourth paragraph. Side projects, hobbies, or what you do for fun.

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.

Below are different ideas to help you take advantage of this feature and showcase your personal brand:

  • Your business’s logo
  • The front cover of your book
  • The banner or tarpaulin of an event where you’re a speaker
  • A picture of you speaking at a conference or workshop
  • A screenshot of your portfolio showing thumbnail images of your work

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.

LinkedIn background or cover photos should be 1584 x 396 pixels in size, with a maximum file size of 8 MB.

6. Connect Your Other Accounts and Websites

LinkedIn allows users to connect other social media accounts to their LinkedIn profile, so your existing connections can find you on other platforms.

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

This is perhaps where LinkedIn and resumes are most similar: the experience section. Similar to resumes, you don’t need to write about every accomplishment or duty.

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.

Example:

LinkedIn Tips Endorsements
You can receive endorsements from other members for various skills.

The skills listed on your LinkedIn profile will help you earn “endorsements” from other members who can confirm that you do have those skills. These endorsements make the claims on your headline, experience, and summary more credible.

You can either request an endorsement from one of your connections. Let’s say you’re a developer and “iOS Development” is one of your listed skills. So, you can request an endorsement from your client or manager after you complete an iOS project. You won’t have a problem getting an endorsement as long as you submit high-quality work.

Other times, one of your connections will endorse you in hopes that you'll endorse them, too. You don’t have to reciprocate everyone's endorsement, but it’s good to return the favor when you know that person actually possesses the skills you’re endorsing.

10. Prune Irrelevant Endorsements

You can’t fully control which skills your connections will pick to endorse you. Your primary expertise might be video editing, for example, but your network connections on that field may not be as active as the ones endorsing you for your skills in Photoshop.

In that case, re-order the list and pick three skills to feature at the top so you can get more endorsements for them. 

LinkedIn Tips Skills
Feature your primary skills at the top of your skill list.

11. Use Keywords to Appear on Search Results

Use job-related keywords to improve your LinkedIn profile’s ranking on LinkedIn’s search results. For example, if you’re a copywriter, you need to add “copywriter” and related terms such as “B2B copywriter,” “landing page” or “direct mail copywriting” to your headline, summary, experience, and list of skills.  

You don’t need to fill your profile with the same word over and over to appear on top of the search results. Be descriptive. Use other words or phrases related to your job, like synonyms of your job title, and the output related to your work. Using the same example above, the phrases “email marketing”, “technical copywriting,”product research” and “press releases” are all related keywords. 

Having the right keywords will expose your profile to more job opportunities and connection requests.

12. Make Your Contact Info Visible

People who stumble upon your LinkedIn profile via Google search may not be able to see your contact information, depending on your privacy settings. While hiding your phone number in public search results is a good way to avoid marketing calls, hiding your email can lead to lost job and business opportunities.

Tweak your public profile and privacy settings to avoid missed opportunities. Go to the privacy settings to change who can see your email address, or also add your email and website URLs at the bottom of your summary. 

LinkedIn Privacy Settings
Check your LinkedIn privacy settings.

13. Use the Accomplishments Section

Don’t ignore the accomplishments section of LinkedIn. It’s a good way to beef up your LinkedIn profile without cluttering your summary or experience section because here, all your accomplishments are categorized.

You can add:

  • Publications. The websites, magazines, newsletters where you’re published
  • Certifications. For professional certifications and those related to your side projects or other ambitions. 
  • Courses. Adding new courses you’ve taken shows you’re continuously learning
  • Projects. Work and side projects to demonstrate your expertise in certain subjects
  • Honors and awards. List only company and industry-recognized awards
  • Patents. Patents for inventions you created
  • Languages. Adding additional languages you're fluent in may help you find work
  • Test scores. Academic test scores or scores on professional certifications if relevant

14. Customize Your Profile URL

Your LinkedIn URL, by default, contains your name and some random numbers assigned to your profile. Make it easier for others to visit your profile online by using keywords related to your job or company. For instance, my LinkedIn URL is:

www.linkedin.com/in/charleymendozawriter/

It’s not creative, but it’s obvious what I do and people can easily find me.

It only takes a few minutes to do this LinkedIn profile tip--and it can really make a difference. Click the “Edit public profile & URL” link on the right-hand side of your profile, then another window will pop-up where you’ll be prompted to edit your URL. Limit your custom URL to 30 characters, and don’t use spaces, symbols, or special characters.  

LinkedIn Profile Tips Custom URL
You can create a custom LinkedIn URL.

15. Ask For Recommendations

Endorsements are great for validating your skills, but it’s not enough to make you memorable—recommendations can. A recommendation from another LinkedIn user tells a story about your work, how adept you are with certain skills, how you handle challenges, and what others feel working with you. The recommendations on your profile humanize you while validating the claims on your profile.

Like endorsements, you can give a recommendation to get one. You can also request a recommendation from a client or co-worker right after they praise you for a job well done. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific recommendations, as vague recommendations saying you “Did a good job” don’t help anyone.

Check out these tutorials for more information on writing recommendations:

17. Update Your Status

Share status updates to make your LinkedIn profile look active. The best LinkedIn profiles, after all, are those that are constantly updated with interesting tidbits of the profile owner’s exciting career.

Keep your updates professional, however. No one on LinkedIn is interested in how your date went or what you had for lunch.

Examples of good status updates:

  • Status or progress on your current project
  • Your job search progress
  • Quotes or tips from a book you’re reading
  • An industry-related article
  • Information about a course or seminar you’re going to

18. Share and Comment on Posts

Sharing articles from industry thought-leaders and reputable sources is great because it shows that you’re up to date. That’s just the starting point though. You've got to tell people why you’re sharing that article. Did it provide an interesting viewpoint? Maybe you didn’t agree with what the author wrote, so you can write a comment explaining why you thought the article is wrong. Your comment can even be as simple as sharing an interesting quote or paragraph you found in the article.

19. Grow Beyond Your Network

Sync your LinkedIn profile with your email contact list, so LinkedIn can prompt you when someone in your address book also has a LinkedIn profile.

Don’t limit your connections to your co-workers and friends. Reach out to people you meet in seminars, meetup groups, and even those you meet outside of work. Networking is a good way to keep your LinkedIn profile connections diverse and up to date. You never know, one of those new connections may know someone who may have a job or interesting opportunity for you in the future. Here are some additional resources to help you with networking: 

Keep Updating

You've just learned how to set up LinkedIn. But don’t forget, your LinkedIn profile isn’t something you can just set up and forget. Your LinkedIn profile needs to be updated regularly if you want to keep it interesting to others. Why not use these LinkedIn profile tips to update yours today?

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