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Socially Stephanie: LinkedIn Tips

socially stephanie linkedin advice

Dear Socially Stephanie, 

I am on LinkedIn, but I must admit, my profile could use some work.  I have a lot of endorsements, but they don't seem to do anything to help my cause in finding a job. I am a web designer, and unfortunately there are a lot of us out there.  But I'm special—creative and unique in a tech-y field—and I want people to see that.  How can I make my profile stand out among the other 200 million users?

Designer in Dallas

social media advice column 

Dear Designer in Dallas, 

First of all, props to you! Knowing the power of LinkedIn is the first step to making your profile stand out. Just remember: bragging is encouraged when it comes to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks out there, and also one of the most important networks for those in the service industry.  With 200 million users in over 200 countries, it's no wonder that over 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool. Recruiters aren't the only ones using LinkedIn successfully, either: 75% of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn to find future employees.  

Once regarded as merely a "resume holder," LinkedIn is now anything but that. It's robust and full of new features to help you connect and ultimately shine.  

LinkedIn best practices

The first thing I want you to focus on is making your profile complete.  Did you know that about half of the profiles on the site are incomplete?  It's sad, but true.  Completing your profile will be the first step to helping you get found.  So go do that. 

Now, let's talk about the specifics.  Your headline is going to be über important in your overall persona, as it is the first thing that someone will see about you.  It shows up next to your name, so you'll want to make it catchy—and "Web Designer" isn't going to cut it if you're in a creative field. Give yourself a personality behind the text that defines you.  Think about what makes you special, and incorporate that into your headline.  Do you want to stand out in this male-dominated field? Perhaps "Web Design Diva" is appropriate.  Don't forget to use keywords so that you'll show up in a variety of searches, appealing to more people.  

While we're on the topic of keywords, listen to me, and listen good: keywords will make or break you. There are over a billion searches a year on LinkedIn.  The keywords you use in your profile should cover a wide spectrum.  Start with the highly targeted and filter out to the more generic terms.  Use as many keywords as possible and put them in the places that matter most on LinkedIn—your name, headline, company name, job title and skills will rank the highest.  Use this to your advantage.  LinkedIn allows you to showcase 50 skills.  Use them wisely.  Are you good with PHP?  JavaScript?  Ruby?  Wordpress?  Photoshop?  This is your time to brag!

While it's nice that you have endorsements on your LinkedIn profile, they don't count for much.  In fact, they're kind of like the Facebook "poke": they put the person who endorsed you front and center, but other than that, they don't really add value to your profile.  Recommendations, on the other hand—now those are valuable.  Seek them out.  Ask your past clients to recommend you.  Recommendations validate you as an employee or contractor.  

Lastly, showcase your work through your LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn recently gave its users the ability to add visual content to their profile page—a huge win for creative professionals.  By adding photos, presentations and videos, you can turn your bare, text-heavy profile into one bursting with color and design.  Another benefit to this new feature is that you can upload an unlimited amount of visuals, which will show up in the summary, work, and education sections on your profile.  Since it shows up as a thumbnail, you won't have to worry about it over-dominating your profile. And this means you can showcase work from each client or past employer.  

Your visual portfolio will give your future employers a place to check out what kind of work you're capable of and to make sure it fits in with their vision.

Good luck!  If I ever need some web design, you'll be the first person I call.


Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?

Please email and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)

Illustration by Jesse Wells

Join The Conversation

  • AdmaMaharjan's picture
    Sep 23 Posted 3 years ago AdmaMaharjan

    Wonderful article indeed. Throughly enjoed reading it. Helpful Tips mentioned.



    Adma Maharjan, Community Manager @Simplify360

  • Cindy Hagemann's picture
    Aug 17 Posted 3 years ago Cindy Hagemann

    I enjoyed your article and even shared it with my Linked In, Twitter and Facebook followers.  I do some social media training - mostly in Linked In and Facebook, it amazes me how many people have no clue how to use Linked In as a basic tool for networking or job hunting.  The audience that I teach to need very basic lessons and your article touched on some of the ones I encourage them to do.

  • Aug 5 Posted 3 years ago Mark Mcclean

    Here is another interesting article

  • Jul 19 Posted 3 years ago ustadraza

    Fast fact: 82% of resumes are summarily rejected, even if you qualify for the job. While the reasons are many, the very first reason is this: the visuals are all wrong. No one will tell you that your resume is ugly. But if your resume is an assault on one’s vision the moment they open the file, they simply will move on to the next person. Too many instances of that, and your job search ends up being a long, frustrating endeavor.

    Before delving into the specific instances of ugliness and their corresponding 1-minute makeovers, I’ll emphasize that even the prettiest resume in the world, if founded on poor content, will still fail. The makeovers below are best applied when your content, experience, and achievements are strong, in order to visually engage the reader. All that said, let’s avoid the three ugly resume moves that are holding you back.

    1) The Structure Is Strange: This happens when jobseekers strive to make their resumes look like they’re not cookie-cutter. While seeking uniqueness in your presentation is a worthy endeavor, avoid going overboard. An overabundance of design elements – multiple bullets, multiple shades of gray, tabs to the middle of the page, and tables with no real purpose, all add up to look like a circus.


    1-Minute Makeover: Select two or three design elements, and use those either once or repeatedly. For example, use one style of bullets. Those can be in the expertise section at the top of your resume, and again in your experience section to highlight your achievements. Or, use one element of gray shading. That can be applied to your name and to every heading on the resume.  

    2) The Font Is Funny:  Certain font choices do not promote reader engagement. Utilizing multiple or different color fonts breaks up the reader’s rhythm – and not in a good, attention-getting way – just in an ugly way. Particularly for candidates at the six-figure level,  there should be no reason to rely on visual gimmicks such as this to hold the reader’s attention.

    1-Minute Makeover: Choose one font that you find appealing, then vary it throughout your resume. For example, your name can be in all caps. The headings can be in small caps. The body can be in standard font. The company descriptions can be in italics. Additionally, restrict your choice of font color to basic black.

    3) The Readability Is Rough: Experienced professionals typically have extensive history to present – ten years or more. However, just as in real estate the mantra is, “location, location, location,” in resume writing, the mantra is, “white space, white space, white space.” A resume without white space is just plain ugly. Furthermore, it hampers readability when the content is crammed onto the page.  

    1-Minute Makeover: Equalize your margins on all four sides of the page. Minimum should be ½”, standard is ¾“, and margins should be no more than 1”. In the body of your resume, skip lines and be consistent about it. For example, if you skip a line between the employer’s company name and your title, do so every time. Another visual enhancement is to use the paragraph spacing before and after feature in Microsoft Word to add space in between bulleted items. 
    These 1-minute makeovers can do wonders for a resume that offers strong content but weak visuals. Keep the structure, font, and readability standard, then be creative and innovative in your content. That’s how to escape the resume ugliness and put forth a beautiful presentation that captures the right attention.

    So create your account

  • Jul 14 Posted 3 years ago Gary Ellenbogen

    We want to inform you about a new ‘feature’ that was implemented by LinkedIn near the beginning of 2013. They did not announce this new procedure to group owners or to LinkedIn membership at large. If you are blocked or blocked and deleted by any group manager/owner, you are placed in Site-Wide Automatic Moderation (SWAM) in the rest of your groups. That means that each of your posts will be pended until someone in the group’s management team approves it. This can take days or weeks, depending on how involved the managers are, or, it may not happen at all.

    This has created problems for people. It may result in a loss of revenue or leads for those using LinkedIn to conduct business, and difficulty maintaining connections. Participation in discussions in a timely manner becomes an impossible task. There is no way to reverse the procedure, and if you contact LinkedIn Customer Service, you will be told to contact each group’s owner/managers and request that they remove you from moderation. They also do not inform you which group blocked you. Many group owners still don’t know about SWAM, and people continue to have great difficulty getting themselves removed from moderation in all/most of their groups. Being SWAM’d, as it is called, will not cause you to be placed in moderation in any groups you join after you have been SWAM’d. We think members of the site should be made aware of this issue.

    In my groups we generally use the remove feature rather than the block feature for members, unless someone has really pushed the boundaries.

    Individuals who have been SWAM'd and wish to join a peer support group that is working on eliminating SWAM might want to check out
    SWAM (Site Wide Auto Moderation) Support - A SPAM Free Group                                          

  • Jun 30 Posted 3 years ago datagirl93

    Stephanie - 

    Thanks for pointing out the more efficient uses of Linked In.  Most people understand the value of Linked In from a professional networking perspective, but some may not understand where this site has gone in terms of recruiting efforts.  I have been cold contacted by a couple of firms expressing interest in my skills.  I am sure that I should be able to garner more interest by employing some of the tips you outline in this article.



  • Arun Singh's picture
    Jun 28 Posted 3 years ago Arun Singh

    Great post Stephanie. I am afraid it is true for many social profiles in general, they are under used. Why? In the frenetic race of being super social, we are trying to be everywhere at the same time therefore we are not really noticeable nowhere !

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