1. The perfect profile blue print
Include your first, last and middle name (if applicable). This is not the place for nicknames or humorous references to job titles such as "Sales Rockstar" or "Developer Ninja"!
First impressions matter during both business meetings and when people see your profile picture. Consider your industry in addition to potential consumers and peers to select an appropriate headshot.
You can also design a banner image that reflects you or your website branding. Something that looks smart, looks on brand and captures attention.
- Profile photo results in up to 21 time more profile views, 9 times more connection requests and 36 times more messages.
- Check out different photo filters for your profile picture.
- Location is another important detail as filling this with where you want to work will make you appear in up to 23 times more searches.
This is the most important aspect of your profile! Be concise, creative, and include key terms that make it easy for others to define your industry and your role within.
- Customise it to your audience. A brief, simple headline signals that your profile is an easy read. Generic terms don’t describe the unique value you have to offer.
- Make it a little more inventive and more about what you do and what you can offer.
- Obviously it’s important to mention who it is you work for so if you’re lucky enough to work for large brands like Virgin, Asda, Greggs, Debenhams or Leisurejobs be sure to add it!
A rather underutilised section of your LinkedIn Profile!
- Add projects to showcase your skills, expertise and enhance your reputation. This increases your chances of appearing in LinkedIn searches by including words in your project name and description.
- Examples of what you can add in: case studies, e-books, research papers, blogs, events organised, your own work, products and services you or your company offer.
- You can attach media to your summary and work experience.
- This can be an image, blog, video, website, presentation or link and is a great way to provide some extra content presenting what you can offer.
To make your profile more search friendly on LinkedIn, use industry-specific keywords as this will help you appear higher in LinkedIn searches by recruiters.
Proof read your summary and avoid abbreviations. Keep it as formal as possible. It is your time to shine, so remember to highlight your skills and accomplishments.
Use this as a portfolio of your best work so you can back up your skills that you claim to have.
Be strategic in making connections, they can endorse your skills to enhance your reach. Connect and follow people who inspire you and are in the industry you work in.
Profile strength meter
This determines how robust your profile is. The strength of your profile will increase as you add more relevant content to it. You can see recommendations on which profile sections you should add to improve the discoverability of your profile in search results.
If your profile is set to private mode, you won’t be able to see any of the users who have viewed your profile, just the total number.
It does, however, mean that you will be anonymous when you look at other member’s profiles too.
Career advice - One conversation can change your career so participate in the career advice platform by having this enabled.
Career interests - Turn this on to let recruiters know that you’re open to job offers.
Salary insights - See how your salary compares to others in the community.
Your profile views - You can see who has viewed your profile in the last 90 days. Free accounts can only see the last 5 people, but premium members can see the whole list.
Be precise in your past experiences and current role(s), don’t be afraid to use detail.
The main thing people will focus on in your LinkedIn profile is your experience. Whether that’s within travel, hotels, sports or a cruise ship! You need to get your skillset across to people as quickly as possible.
- This is not a resume that you send to a recruiter. However, it bears some similarities and can serve the same purpose, so include all the organisations or companies that you have worked for. Another important thing is to include details about your responsibilities, achievements and growth.
- Recruiters are less interested in what you say you can do compared to what you’ve actually done. Show that you have the skills by listing the accomplishments that came as a result.
- Less is often more in these sections. This is a good place to include a little more about your current company and what makes them unique. There is also the ability to add media, so you can link the company website or any content you have created.
- Incomplete or skimpy job descriptions may raise questions with prospective buyers or employers and won’t help your chances of appearing in search results.
- Your profile is viewed up to 29 times more if you have more than one position listed in the experience section.
A new LinkedIn feature automatically groups consecutive positions you’ve held at the same organisation into a single section.
- 91% of employers prefer their candidates to have work experience.
- 65% want relevant work experience.
- 68% of LinkedIn members use the platform to reconnect with past business associates.
Words to avoid
Avoid using buzzwords and remember to show your skills and talents rather than just tell. For example, rather than stating you're a "great salesperson", mention awards received or remarkable sales metrics achieved.
Carefully pick industry relevant keywords to get found.
Always list your highest academic level. This will make it easy for you to find people you have studied with and provides an opportunity to impress onlookers. You can also include activities which you participated in while attending school/university.
Users who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who don’t.
Your LinkedIn profile should reflect your character and values. Volunteer experience provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate your compassion and commitment outside of the workplace. Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and find new opportunities, enabling you to have more valuable connections in your network.
Volunteer work is crucial when:
- You are a recent school or university graduate with minimal work experience
- You have taken time off and have been out of the workplace
- You are making a career change
Companies seek a good personality fit for positions just as much as relevant work history, so you may be missing out on new opportunities if you don’t include it in your profile!
Licences & Certifications
Some occupations demand certain skill sets, licenses and certifications. Use this section to highlight your professional development by adding the steps you’ve taken to better your career.
Skills & Endorsements
Skills and endorsements are as important as references. When you add your skills and expertise to your LinkedIn profile you’re not only optimising for those keywords, you’re also creating opportunities for endorsements.
Other users can review your skills and endorse you, which are much easier to attain than detailed recommendations. Visitors and connections can endorse you for multiple skills with just a click.
- Add at least five skills related to your business or profession. (No that doesn’t include shopping or watching football!)
- Users with at least five skills receive 17 times more profile views than users who do not list professional skills.
- If you can add more than five, do!
- Including at least five relevant skills will help you connect with the right opportunities.
Having recommendations on LinkedIn grabs attention and demonstrates that you have valuable traits. If you develop a great relationship with a member of staff or client, ask them to recommend you on LinkedIn and vice versa.
If you worked on a project with colleagues and gathered great results, ask your colleagues and manager to write about how well you worked within the team and what great ideas you came up with. This adds varied examples within your LinkedIn recommendations.
To get the job you want, you need to tell companies and recruiters why you are the right person by showcasing your achievements, skills and talents. If you increased company revenue, include the number or percentage to support your achievement. If you helped to raise money for a charity or cause, include the amount and how you achieved this. When describing your accomplishments remember to include details in positive terms to give your accomplishment more weight.
Accomplishments you can add include Publications, Certifications, Courses, Projects, Honours & Awards, Patents, Test Scores, Languages and Organisations.
You can add any of these sections by clicking Add profile section and expanding Accomplishments.
The interests section on LinkedIn allows you to connect with others on a more personal level. This is broken down into 3 sections: groups, companies and influencers.
LinkedIn has groups for just about anything imaginable and this is a powerful networking tool that gives you access to a huge number of people who are interested in the same topics as you. Essentially the more groups you are in and the more contacts you have, the higher the chance that your profile will show up in search results.
The interests you have on LinkedIn should be relevant to yourself, the company you are looking to work with and the way you want to be perceived by your audience. Following companies is a great way to keep up with what’s happening within their business, trends and how they are improving. For example, if you are tech savvy, you should be following tech companies, liking and posting about the latest gadgets or technology that is going to be enhancing the world.
The influencers you follow should add value to yourself and your profile. Follow people who give you industry insights, advice, honest perspectives and discuss topics you’re passionate about.
Why you should complete your profile:
- Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
- The main reason to complete your profile is to ensure that you will appear in LinkedIn search results.
- Only 51% of LinkedIn users have 100% completed profiles.
All Star Rating Checklist:
- Industry & location
- Skills (min of 3)
- Profile photo
- 50+ connections
- Current position (with a description)
- Two past positions
The search algorithm seeks & displays results in this order
- Profile completeness (100% only)
- Connections in common
- Connections by degree (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
- Groups in common
Members with up to date positions are discovered up to 18 times more in searches by members and recruiters.
2. Getting your image sizes right
To maximise your presence, optimise your images. Here is an outline and description of every opportunity to ensure you make the most of included images.
Dos & Don'ts of your LinkedIn profile photos
- Get a professional photographer
- Your photo will be the first thing a potential employer will see, so we recommend getting a professional photo taken of yourself. It’s worth the investment since you can use the pictures for multiple social platforms and purposes.
- Look personable
- You don't have to give a goofy smile, but you don't want to appear unfriendly either. When in doubt, ask others to give their opinions before you publish.
- Use most of the frame
- Your face should be centred, leaving a small space over your head with the picture extending to your shoulders.
- Choose a familiar picture
- Keep the photo true to life. If you wear glasses, have a beard or often wear a tie, make your profile photo representative of how you normally look at work.
- Be professional
- LinkedIn is not Facebook. Structure your profile according to how you would act at work.
- Leave Fido out
- It's a cute sentiment but leave dogs and other pets out of your LinkedIn profile picture.
- Keep the background neutral
- Don’t let the background distract viewers. Choose a neutral and non-busy background.
- You can also crop, filter, and adjust your photo after you upload it to LinkedIn.
- Your profile is up to date, and your photograph should be too.
- 1,584 x 396 pixels recommended
- 129:8 aspect ratio
- Maximum size 4MB
- 200 x 200 pixels and higher recommended
- 1:1 aspect ratio
- Maximum size 10MB
- 1,536 x 768 pixels recommended
- 2:1 aspect ratio
- Maximum size 4MB
- 300 x 300 pixels and higher recommended
- 1:1 aspect ratio
- Maximum size 4MB
One of the two images that you should be uploading to LinkedIn is the business logo. This is the bigger of the two and is going to show up next to your brand name on your LinkedIn homepage. This image also appears in the Companies you may want to follow section, so the more enticing the photo, the more likely the followers!
- 1,200 x 628 pixels recommended
- 300:157 aspect ratio
- 1,200 x 1,200 pixels recommended
- 1:1 aspect ratio
- JPG, PNG or GIF files only for all images.
Create a professional LinkedIn profile picture
Recognisable - Make sure you use a recent photo in which your physical features resemble the way you look today.
Dress up - Wear what you want if it fits your current job or the job you’re aiming for.
Smile - Several surveys have shown that a natural smile with teeth or with a friendly smile is more inviting than a stern look.
Eyes - Looking directly into the camera typically displays an air of confidence. Looking away, wearing sunglasses or a hat that makes your eyes less visible does not work to your advantage.
Head & shoulders - It’s important that your face and even part of your shoulders are visible. The rest of your body will most likely distract from what really matters!
Only you - The person in the image should unmistakably be you. Avoid having a photo of you and a friend, your partner, your children or pets. Another big no-no is chopping somebody off the picture.
No selfies - Save the duck lips and selfies for your Instagram and Snapchat!
Quality matters - Image quality is important so avoid pixelated and stretched images at all costs.
No cartoons - Don’t use cartoon images for your photo, always use an actual photo of you!
3. How to outreach for LinkedIn recommendations
For ongoing network development, a solid combination of recommendations and skill endorsements can go a long way to successful interactions. Below we have outlined the key stages to obtaining quality recommendations from your past and present clients, colleagues and employers.
Recommendations VS Endorsements
Written by other members, recommendations add more credibility to your profile and work history. They enhance your profile’s visibility and build trust.
A skill endorsement is a one-click way for your connections to endorse the skills listed on your profile. There isn't an automatic way to request an endorsement and only skills already listed can be endorsed.
Add five relevant skills and you’ll be messaged up to 31 times more by recruiters and other members.
Try and get up to two recommendations for your most important former positions.
A recommendation is a written statement of endorsement received from a connection. People who view your profile will often read the recommendations you've received to see what others have to say about your work. Make the effort to give recommendations to stand out and increase the likelihood of receiving one back!
Aim for between 5 to 10 recommendations.
LinkedIn will display the two most recent recommendations received. Did you do a really well working in your local bar or doing a private catering job for a friend? Get a recommendation!
Who to ask for recommendations
Asking clients, former customers, bosses and employees for recommendations helps paint a more complete picture of who you are and how you work. To a potential employer, a LinkedIn recommendation is a reference in advance.
How to get more recommendations
Request a recommendation from a connection
1. Navigate to the profile of the 1st-degree connection you'd like to request a recommendation from
2. Click the More icon in the top section of the profile
3. Select Request a recommendation
4. Fill out the Relationship and Position at the time fields of the recommendations pop-up window and click Next
5. You can include a personalised message with your request by changing the text in the message field
6. Click Send
Request a recommendation from your profile
1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage
2. Select View profile
3. Scroll down to the Recommendations section and click Ask to be recommended – if you do not already have the recommendations section on your profile you can request one straight from the Add profile section dropdown
4. Type the name of the connection you'd like to ask for a recommendation in the Who do you want to ask? field
5. Select the name from the dropdown that appears
6. Fill out the Relationship and Position at the time fields of the recommendations pop-up window and click Next
7. You can include a personalised message with your request by changing the text in the message field
8. Click Send
You can only include 50 skills on your profile.
Highlight the endorsements that matter most so you always look your best. Those viewing your profile will see endorsements made by mutual connections, colleagues and people who are knowledgeable about the skill, which could give you the edge you need for your next opportunity.
LinkedIn has improved targeting to suggest endorsements to connections that know the skills and your work best. This means that the right connections are much more likely to validate you for the skills that you want to be recognised for.
Check that your skills are listed in order of the strengths you want to highlight. LinkedIn will do the rest by targeting suggestions for those top skills.
4. Hidden LinkedIn features
You may be unfamiliar with some hidden features that LinkedIn has to offer. Learn about five here that will enhance your profile and experience.
Message someone you’re not connected with
1. Join a common group
2. Click the hyperlinked members list on the group homepage
3. Search for your desired connection
4. Click the Message button next to their name
It’s best if you have engaged with them a little first within the group and then send a custom message letting them know that you like their posts and want to connect.
Download a list of your connections
1. Click the My Network icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage
2. Your connections are on the left, click See all
3. Click Manage synced and imported contacts near the top right of the page
4. Under Advanced actions on the right rail, click Export contacts
5. Click Request Archive
Download a list of connections along with: name, email address, company name and title.
More than 70% of jobs are found via recruiters or personal networks.
Most recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates to fill open positions.
Create a showcase page for your company
Showcases are niche pages branched off the main company page that allow a company to promote specific products or market to a specific buyer.
1. Select the company page from the Me icon which is on the upper navigation
2. Click Admin tools in the top right corner of the page and select Create Showcase Page
Searching for a job on LinkedIn usually takes more than one session. Click on the Jobs tab and once you've performed a search, you can save it by clicking Save Search in the top right of the page.
This feature makes it easier to connect with your dream job by quietly signalling to recruiters that you’re open to new job opportunities.
You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in and be easily found by the hundreds of thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find great professional talent.
Members who have Let recruiters know you’re open turned on in Career interests are twice as likely to receive relevant opportunities from recruiters.
5. The anatomy of a perfect LinkedIn profile
Use the following suggestions to increase your chances of showing up in LinkedIn search results and improve your profile.
1. Claim your SEO friendly URL
Customise your LinkedIn URL to make it easier for people to find you, more professional looking and easier to share. The SEO benefits may be minimal, but it's just good practice.
Click the Edit public profile & URL on the right-hand side.
2. Your professional headline
LinkedIn scans for keywords in your professional headline.
Use standard terms and avoid the wacky job titles. Go for things that stand out and expand on your role, such as "Award Winning Sports Nutritionist".
3. Add your profile in another language
Are you bilingual or multilingual? The general rule on LinkedIn is that you may only have one profile, however, there is one exception to that rule: The Secondary Language Profile.
All your language profiles will show up in search engines and have their own URL so it’s great for SEO, as adding keywords in two languages will allow your profile to turn up in a larger number of searches.
Whether it’s because you’re looking for a different career or seeking new business opportunities, having your LinkedIn profile in another language you speak is definitely an asset.
4. Personalise your websites under contact info
When you edit your website, the dropdown menu gives you the option of Other. Click on it to open a new field that allows you to type in your business name, website name, call-to-action or a description of your website.
5. Optimise your job descriptions
Have at least one instance of your keyword that you are focusing on but don’t go overboard. Take an approach of optimising around secondary keywords that are still relevant and descriptive of your skill set.
Instead of writing out full paragraphs, use a wide variety of comparable keywords in bullet pointed lists.
Formatting your descriptions will also increase your profile's scan-ability.
6. Optimise your job titles
Optimising your job titles slightly to include a few keywords is just smart.
Instead of "Sports Therapist" bait search engines by adding something more descriptive like "Elite Multi-Disciplined Sports Therapist".
7. Promote your LinkedIn profile elsewhere
Put a link to your LinkedIn profile on your email signature, Facebook and Twitter accounts and any websites you maintain to create inbound links to your profile.
8. Make sure your profile is visible
It may sound obvious but make sure your profile is switched to public otherwise you will not be seen.
9. Use LinkedIn Publishing
The publishing option allows you to post articles directly to LinkedIn. This helps you show your expertise and gives the LinkedIn bots more content and information to work with. It shows you're active and helps your name and face show up in the news feeds of your followers.
When posting an update on your news feed, click Write an article to publish.
Use the power of LinkedIn to grow your business page.
Each time your content is shared by someone on LinkedIn you will receive an inbound link, which helps your website rankings.
6. Quick LinkedIn tips to do today
Here are some bite-size tips you can implement to polish your profile and make it more visible to others.
- Share content - Posting relevant links and interesting updates to your newsfeed is a great way to engage your peers and increase the visibility of your LinkedIn profile.
- Posting on LinkedIn - The best time to post is between Tuesday to Thursday, 8am – 9am and 4pm – 6pm local time.
- Fridays and weekends could receive lower engagement due to workers checking out for the weekend.
- Creating high value content and sharing regularly will, overtime, increase the number of followers you have on LinkedIn.
- Character count limits for your status updates and LinkedIn Publishing posts:
- Status Update – 1,300 characters maximum
- LinkedIn Publishing Headline – 100 characters maximum
- LinkedIn Publishing Article – 40,000 characters maximum
- Update your profile - Make sure you keep your profile current. LinkedIn users who update their profiles regularly get more job offers.
- Evernote integration - Organise biz cards, LinkedIn info and notes all in one place.
- Use your profile to sell - Use your LinkedIn profile as a marketing tool. Add a short video about your company to your profile.
- Endorse people you respect - Send a thank you message when someone endorses you and return the favour.
- Find your voice - Publishing posts is a great way to showcase your professional knowledge and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
- Get involved in groups - Joining and contributing to group discussions will help to build your network and knowledge, strengthening your influence in your industry.
- Your profile is 5 times more likely to be viewed if you join and are active in groups.
- Add some personality - Your LinkedIn profile is your chance to add some personality to your professional story, so don’t make the mistake of copying your resume.
- Censor yourself - If you wouldn't say it in a job interview, don't say it on LinkedIn!
- Looking for a new job on LinkedIn - Don't let your boss know; turn off your recent activity broadcasts.
- 1st, 2nd or 3rd person - The best profiles are usually written in first person, but other styles can work too. If you’re in sales or marketing, second person can help engage potential clients. Executive-level professionals or anyone with a long list of accomplishments may feel more comfortable writing about their success in the third person.
- Keep connecting with people - The more people you connect to, the more leads the platform will feed you.
- 20 LinkedIn posts per month can help you reach 60% of your unique audience.
- Follow the right people - Believe it or not, LinkedIn goes way beyond your personal network. It allows you to keep up with people in your industry as well as successful people who inspire you. By following key leaders and influencers, your newsfeed will be filled with advice and content that’s relevant to you.
- Build relationships - LinkedIn offers the opportunity for you to build relationships with members and companies that you may want to work for in the future. Having that initial conversation can help you determine if the company is a fit for you and can help jumpstart the hiring process.
- Letting employers know that you're open to opportunities is the easiest way to generate leads on future job opportunities for yourself.
- Turn your profile into your CV - You can convert your LinkedIn profile into a beautiful resume. This file is all text but nicely formatted with the key information.
- Save your profile as a PDF by clicking More… on your profile and Save to PDF.
- Proof your profile - Leaving errors on your page when there are so many free grammar and spelling tools available can be a red flag for recruiters.
- Update your current responsibilities - Have you just switched jobs and been so busy getting adjusted that you forgot to update your profile? Or maybe you took on a few new tasks that your contacts should know about. Either way, make sure your current position is up-to-date with your title, location and responsibilities.
- Make updating your LinkedIn profile a regular part of your routine, to ensure that everyone who stops to look at your profile is seeing the latest and greatest information about you and your accomplishments.
7. Keeping your LinkedIn profile secure
With recent news of so many high-profile data breaches, it's vital to make sure you know how to keep your personal LinkedIn account information private.
Automatic checks already protect all LinkedIn accounts, designed to thwart unauthorised sign-in attempts and keep user’s data safe. However, you can take several additional steps to ensure your account is totally protected and safe.
Update your privacy settings
In addition to the security features LinkedIn have built to protect your information, there are some additional privacy settings you can turn on or off, depending on what you want to share, display, and receive.
- Turn your activity broadcasts on or off
- If you don't want your connections to see when you make changes to your profile, follow companies or recommend connections, uncheck this option.
- Select what others can see when you've viewed their profile
- You can select private mode when you view other people’s profiles. You’ll appear to them as "LinkedIn Member - This person is viewing profiles in private mode".
- If you select the semi-private mode, your profile characteristics such as job title, company, school or industry will be shown to the member you are viewing.
- Select who can see your connections
- You can share your connection’s names with your other first-degree contacts or you can set this as only visible to you.
Two-step verification requires more than one form of authentication to access an account. It's a much stronger form of protection that can greatly reduce identity theft and unauthorised access to sensitive information.
How to turn on two-step verification on LinkedIn
- Click the Me icon at top of your LinkedIn homepage
- Select Settings & Privacy
- Under the Account tab, click Change next to Two-step verification
- Click Turn on
- Note – You may be asked to enter your password for security reasons. If you already have a mobile phone number associated with your account, you will automatically receive a verification code. If you do not, you will need to add a mobile phone number.
- Enter code and click Verify
LinkedIn password & security best practices
- Change your password every few months to keep your profile secure
- Don’t use the same password on all the sites you visit
- Don’t use a word from the dictionary for your password
- Don’t use names or slang terms for your password
- Use lowercase and UPPERCASE letters, number and symbols in your password
- Sign out of your account after you use a shared or public computer
- When it comes to creating a password, go for length over complexity
- A password of 8 characters in length with numbers, letters & symbols will take on average 2 years to crack.
- A hacker will “brute force” crack a 10-character, letter only password in 1 week.
- For a 15-character password it would take 150 million years.
The LinkedIn Mobile App - Network on the go! Tap into your professional world faster with the LinkedIn Mobile App.
How to use the LinkedIn App - If you aren’t using the app, you are missing out on opportunities. It offers a quick and easy way to reach out, keep in touch and stay updated with news and info that matter for your profession.
50% of LinkedIn visits now come from mobile devices.
This offers a quick way to find the profile of someone you just met so you can connect on the spot. The next time you’re at an industry event and meet someone that you want to keep chatting with, open the LinkedIn app and scan their QR code to connect instantly. Gone are the days of requesting a business card, asking the person to spell their name or handing over your phone to make sure you found their profile.
This innovation can help you understand your potential commute time whether you’re walking, driving or taking public transportation, before you even apply for the role.