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10 Simple Ways To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a network that you should visit daily for professional development — whatever your employment status may be.

Is your LinkedIn profile ready to be seen by others? Here are ten suggestions to give you instant LinkedIn cred.

1. Upload a decent photo

Your LinkedIn profile photo sets the tone for everything else a viewer will experience on your page — just like match.com or Instagram. Except LinkedIn isn’t match.com or Instagram. It’s the world’s largest professional network. So that means:

  • No blurry photos
  • No photos of you cropped out of a group shot
  • No photos of you at a ball park (unless you’re gunning to work for one)
  • No avatars
  • And for goodness sake, no selfies! (That’s mobile camera speak for self-portraits.)

If you don’t have money for a professional photographer, get a family member, roommate, or neighbor to take your photo against a solid colored wall. Try a few standing, then some sitting down. Get a few with a formal shirt, a few with a “business casual” top.

Or consider the low-cost approach I took: bartering with a photographer for your services or product. This was by far the best deal I made in my first year of business!

2. Your headline = you, not your job

The headline of your LinkedIn profile is highly searchable. I know that no one on LinkedIn (or Google for that matter) is looking for “founder of Sierra Tierra Marketing.” So I list something more search-friendly that speaks of what I do on a daily basis — and for which people may want to hire me. “Social media consultant specializing in analysis, strategy, and instruction. Author | Speaker | Educator” paints a much better picture of who I am and how I can help potential clients and agencies with social media marketing.

3. Make your summary shine

Don’t let the positions in the “Experience” section do all the talking about your professional abilities. Many recruiters and potential clients won’t take the time to scroll that far without incentive.

How have you excelled at your job? Why do you often get promotions? Why did that last person tap you on the back (or send you an email) with “NICE JOB!”? Find common traits and spell it out in the summary, preferably with numbers or percentages of related increases (of sales) or decreases (of expenditures).

4. Update your most recent job

Even if you’re not actively looking for employment, review what your most recent entry is under “Experience.” Do you have a new title? New responsibilities? A recent accomplishment that speaks of your professional prowess? Be sure to list those here.

5. Add visuals to your experience

LinkedIn allows you to upload images, documents, and videos to each job you list under “Experience.” Why not liven up that section with visuals that show the greatness of which you’re capable?  If you’re a graphic designer, professional organizer, or landscape artist, show off your most stunning accomplishments. If you’re a storyteller, community activist, or professional athlete, use video to show your work in action.

6. Join more groups

At times LinkedIn might not seem like it, but it is considered by many to be a social network. Demonstrate your ability to network with like-minded professionals by joining LinkedIn groups. Look at your coworkers’ and competitors’ profiles to see which groups they’ve joined — pick the best of the bunch you find there.

7. Follow some influencers

By following LinkedIn “influencers,” you give viewers a sense of which thought leaders you respect — whether it be President of the World Bank Jim Kim, industrial psychologist Dr. Marla Gottschalk, or Nancy Lublin of DoSomething.org (or all three). Influencers regularly post to LinkedIn, so you’ll also be able to comment on and share articles that are meaningful to you.

8. Follow your own company

It’s surprising how many employees do not follow their own company’s page on LinkedIn. Where’s the company pride, people? Seriously, show that you’re a proud team player and affiliate yourself with your current employer’s page.

9. Select skills and expertise that you want to be endorsed for

There is a ton of controversy over the value of LinkedIn endorsements. But you know what? They’re here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. So use them to your advantage.

Make sure that you list only the skills for which you want to receive a thumbs up. Hide skills that will not speak well to the place you are now and the path you wish to follow in your career.

10. Edit your contact information

Where to edit your contact information on your LinkedIn profile

Did you sign up for LinkedIn with your work email address? Is that address still valid? It would be a shame for you to do the nine previous steps and then have a potential client or recruiter write to an outdated address.

What else do you want to know about LinkedIn? Ask away! 

Join The Conversation

  • Sep 12 Posted 3 years ago inf_prospects

    Thanks for the advice, Lisa. Per your article, I updated my headline to better describe results rather than list my job title. How do you feel about adding a phone # or URL to your headline? 


    How many groups is "some"? I am a member of about 20 or 25, mostly specific to my industry, but a few broader topics (lead gen, online marketers). 

    Glad to see I'm already doing most of the things you recommend - but there were definitely a couple of takeaways that will hopefully get me more visibility and engage more potential clients and partners. Thanks again!

    Adam Ross, Managing Director - Infinite Prospects - Online Solutions for Car Dealerships

  • Aug 30 Posted 3 years ago Flair For Writing

    Hi, Lisa. I really enjoyed this article. What are your thoughts about writing the summary in the first person?


  • Aug 30 Posted 3 years ago Howard Lyle

    Lisa -

    You are missing the point about your photo: it doesn't matter if it was taken before "selfies" were popular, it still looks like a selfie due to the angle from which it was shot.

    If we look at your picture and think "selfie" then others probably do as well.

  • Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago jim51

    thanks....I'll do it....great advice..have some published guide books and original materials and an outline of conference material....I also saved your article and.will check in more....thanks again

  • kalnerwilliams's picture
    Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago kalnerwilliams


  • kalnerwilliams's picture
    Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago kalnerwilliams


    Congrats on this next chapter in your life! 

    I'd recommend setting up a profile so that previous coworkers and friends can connect with you and be apprised of your latest professional aspirations. Absolutely use a photo so that these aforementioned people can recognize you. As far as future employers go, they'll eventually discover your age -- so upfront transparency is best.

    In your case, start small with filling out the "experience" section of your profile. Instead, add your education, skills, any professional or volunteer associations you may still have. And concentrate on documenting the accomplishments of your Ph.D. studies. If you present an abstract or paper at a conference, upload samples of it. The idea is that future employers will be wowed enough with your current work that they'll pay less mind to the years on disability.

    Best of luck!



  • kalnerwilliams's picture
    Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago kalnerwilliams

    Hi Mary,

    My profile photo was taken way before the selfie days! (Though I pretty much look the same.) It was taken by a professional photographer in exchange for my marketing services of equal value.

    I asked the photographer to capture my personality "as if I was speaking directly to a client." I was really pleased with the result.


  • Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago jim51

    Here's a challenge for you Lisa. I'm 60 years young, at the beginning of creating a 3rd career.....getting hired by a company seems improbable.....so I'm going back to college turn my M.A. into a PhD and will create my own business unless a college hires me as a Professor into research and development or Administrator after. I've also had several years of unemployment due to a disability which does not present well in a resume. No more disability thanks to todays medical technology, Do you recommend not creatting a Linked In account/profile/resume until I get close to the PhD (in about 8 months)? That way the recent unemployment years will be less harmful because I've been in college in recent years. Also would you recommend no photo....being that I'm older? 

  • Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago Mary E. LaLuna

    BTW, I like it...just need clarification.

  • Aug 29 Posted 3 years ago Mary E. LaLuna

     Your profile pic looks like a "selfie." So are you exempt? Or is the carefree selfie look okay as long as you were not holding the camera? Just curious.

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