Learn How to Make a Better LinkedIn Profile

One of the most important parts of LinkedIn is your profile. That's what you use to connect with people in your network and your profile is how you get found on LinkedIn because it contains information about your skills and experience.

In addition, your LinkedIn profile can increase your visibility online and help you build a professional brand that showcases your background to prospective employers. Here are tips for how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd.

LinkedIn Profile Tips

Man Using a Digital Tablet
Yongyuan Dai / Getty Images

It's important to be sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and detailed. In fact, you can consider your LinkedIn profile your online resume. It should have all the same information that is on your resume including your qualifications, your experience, and your skills.

You can add a photo (a headshot) to your LinkedIn profile. Do be sure the photo represents the professional you and isn't too casual. Here's how to take and choose a photo for your LinkedIn profile.

Don't forget to make your profile public - that's how the world can find it. Also, customizing your URL will give you a link that's easy to share. If your name is available, use it. My LinkedIn URL, for example, is http://www.linkedin.com/in/alisondoyle.

LinkedIn Profile Summary

LinkedIn Summary. Copyright LinkedIn

The Summary section of your LinkedIn profile is a great way to highlight your experience.

Don't forget the headline, because that's right at the top of the page when someone views your profile. Also include certifications, languages, and other skills you may have. The more robust your profile, the more you will get noticed. Select an industry, because recruiters often use that field to search.

Before you start writing or updating your summary, review these tips for writing a good LinkedIn profile summary, with examples of summaries that will catch a hiring manager's attention.

Linkedin Profile Experience

LinkedIn Experience Section. Copyright LinkedIn

In a nutshell, the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile is your online resume. Include employment (current and past), education, and industry.

To quickly create a LinkedIn profile, review your resume and copy/paste the relevant information into your profile. It's important that your resume matches your profile because prospective employers will check.

If you are out of work, here are suggestions for what to list in your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn Profile Recommendations

LinkedIn Recommendations. Copyright LinkedIn

Take time to request LinkedIn recommendations. Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight. To a potential employer, a LinkedIn recommendation is a reference in advance.

The best way to get recommendations is to give them. When you recommend a LinkedIn member you are attesting to their qualifications and people love being recommended. They will most likely reciprocate if you take the time to recommend them.

On a "what not to do on LinkedIn" note, don't ask people you don't know for references. I got an email message recently that said, "I wouldn't mind a few words of recommendation if any of you know me." That's not how to ask for a recommendation, even if you do know the person.

Showcase Your Skills

LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements
Copyright LinkedIn

The Skills & Endorsements section is an important component of your profile. It's a way recruiters can find you and how your connections can see, at a glance, the attributes you have.

In fact, your profile is 13 times more likely to get viewed if it includes skills. Review this list of the top skills to include on LinkedIn to help get your profile noticed.

LinkedIn Profile: Volunteer Experience and Causes

LinkedIn Volunteer Experience and Causes. Image Copyright LinkedIn

A LinkedIn survey reports that volunteer experience can give job candidates an edge with hiring managers. 41% of the professionals surveyed stated that when they are evaluating candidates, they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience. 20% of the hiring managers surveyed have made a hiring decision based on a candidate's volunteer work experience. To add the Volunteer Experience and Causes field to your LinkedIn Profile:

  • After logging in, click "Profile" at the top of LinkedIn.
  • Click the "Add Sections" hyperlink.
  • Select "Volunteer Experience & Causes."
  • Click the "Add to Profile" button and then fill out the applicable fields.

LinkedIn Profile Additional Information

LinkedIn Additional Information Section. Copyright LinkedIn

Use the Additional Information section of your LinkedIn profile to include links to your company, your website, your blog, your Twitter account, and to other sites that provide professional information about you.

How to Turn off Linkedin Activity Broadcasts

Image Copyright LinkedIn

When you're job searching and don't want your employer to know that you're updating your LinkedIn profile, it's a good idea to turn off your activity broadcasts. Here's how to set your account so your updates don't show in your feed:

  • Click: Settings (Under your name on top right of page)
  • Click: Turn on/off your activity broadcasts (under Privacy, center of page)
  • Click to uncheck box: Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies
  • Click: Save

You can also change who can view your activity feed. Options include:

  • Everyone
  • Your Network
  • Your Connections
  • Only You

If you change it to "Only You" nobody will be able to view your updates.

What Not to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile

Image Copyright LinkedIn

When you're creating a LinkedIn profile, it's important to stand out from the job searching crowd. You don't want your profile to read exactly like everyone else's profile. Here are the top 10 terms that are overused by professionals based in the United States, courtesy of LinkedIn.

  1. Motivated
  2. Creative
  3. Passionate
  4. Driven
  5. Extensive experience
  6. Organizational
  7. Strategic
  8. Track record
  9. Responsible
  10. Problem-solving