Personal branding is a potent tool to amp your clout, and LinkedIn is the prime network to get you some air time. Enhance your profile with these 37 expert LinkedIn tips.
[Editor's Note: this article was originally published in December 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness].
Following these simple tips will help more people find you, grow your network, help you find more relevant connections, and make the most out of your LinkedIn profile.
You could research all this, of course. Heck, you could even run your own A/B tests on each step. But we did all the ground work for you. This is a cheat sheet to grow your LinkedIn influence from Beginner to Expert and gain some traction on your profile. We split up these LinkedIn tips in three levels plus bonus points. Make sure to catch ‘em all.
We’re pretty sure this is the most complete LinkedIn tips collection.
🐣 LEVEL: Rookie
1. Keep Your Profile Basics Updated!
Put in the time: the more complete your profile, the better the chances that
the right recruiter will spot you in the LinkedIn crowd. LinkedIn will actually measure the completeness of your profile and help you out to make it stronger. Focus on a strong headline and an accurate location and industry. Complete your profile by reevaluating your activities, experiences and personal projects - all of these are relevant skills.
👉 If you struggle with this, it’s probably time to get involved in more activities.
2. Choose your best photo:
Go for a clear, friendly and professional photo. Don’t let yourself be a faceless social media avatar, please. Once you get a photo up, your profile is more likely to be viewed! If you’re unsure of what photo to use, try out a few different ones for reactions, or even test your photo for feedback on Photofeeler.
3. Get a background photo
The background photo can give your profile more personality or branding. Choose an image (PNG, JPG, or GIF) with a resolution of 1400x425. Check other profiles in your field for some ideas, or use your company’s imagery.
4. Write yourself a great headline
This doesn’t need to be just your job title and company, you can get creative here. Highlight what sets you apart from the competition.
5. Strategize your keywords
That dream job you’re after? Strategize it. Take a look at the job descriptions that you’re after and make a word cloud (try edwordle!). The words that stand out are likely what recruiters are searching for when they have an eye out for you so make sure to position them through your headline, summary and experience. Using the right keywords will expose you to more potential connections and opportunities.
6. Boost your summary
Ugh, the dreaded summary. In short: describe your passions, explain your present role, frame your past, highlight your successes, reveal your character, show life outside work and remember to add rich media.
How? Guide the reader. Aim for 3 to 5 paragraphs and some bullet points. Make your first sentence count, pump the keywords, cut the jargon, write how you speak, tell stories, and ask for what you want. Use the first person, and interact just as you would during a conversation, infusing your personality throughout.
Wild card: 👉 Check out other LinkedIn summaries, such as the one of Katrina Ortiz, as she is a Software Developer.
7. Rely on your numbers
Use them to highlight past results in your summary, they will help you prove success and establish credibility. Mention specific numbers or accomplishments in bullet points under each previous job and in your summary too. Be specific.
👉 Examples: “Hired and trained 6 junior to mid Java engineers.”; “Reduced system delay by 6%”.
8. Be proud of your achievements
If you’re a high performer, you should be proud of your achievements, without selling out. Show how proud you are and reference your goals, challenges and victories in your summary and experience section. Examples include: accomplishments, promotions, or stand-out projects.
9. Always include a current job entry
Yes, even if you’re currently unemployed. Doing so will help recruiters find you since most of them exclusively use the current title box to search for candidates. Make sure you’re not missed out and include a dummy job listing like: “Full-Time Student/Front-End Developer in Training” followed by a phrase like ‘In Transition’ or ‘Seeking New Opportunity’ in the Company Name box.
Yes, make sure people can find you. Please remember this one: include you email address, blog or social media handle to the contact information. Simple, but not-so-easy to forget.
💪 LEVEL: Medium
11. Do your research
Take a look at what other people in your industry are doing. Find some profiles that catch your attention. Take note of their skills, headline, and photo style. Try to notice what made you click these profile in the first place from your search. Blend and apply to your own profile.
12. Add multimedia to your summary
Multimedia adds dimension: showcase your work by adding photos, videos and slideshows to your summary. This makes your profile more dynamic and attractive. Instead of just writing about your experience, click ‘Edit profile’, scroll down to your summary, then click on the box symbol, then ‘add file’. Get going!
13. Add projects, experiences and skills
Volunteer experiences, languages, certifications and different projects you were involved in can be added to your profile. All these give insight on what you do outside of work and make you stand out from the LinkedIn crowd. The better a recruiter knows you, the better they can match you to a future job opportunity.
14. Manage your recommendations
Be strategic about your recommendations, these can highlight skills and experiences, and can be managed before being published. But they can also seem fishy. Asking right, left and centre for recommendations will come across as fake. But every now and then you might land a genuine recommendation, so keep an eye out for the ones that value your profile.
15. Stay on top of your endorsements
Show off your skills by managing your endorsements. Keep your Skills section updated as you change jobs (or not!), develop new skills and take on new responsibilities. Edit the section so that new connections will only see your most relevant skills and know you for them. You can add a maximum of 50 skills as a simple and effective way of building your professional brand. Your skills can be endorsed by 1st-degree connections to reinforce their weighting and contributes to the strength of your profile, and increases the likelihood that you'll be discovered for opportunities related to the skills you possess.
16. Extra keywords
You can and you should include keywords and search terms throughout your profile. Your skills count as keywords; they will show up when someone searches for that word or phrase. So since you can add 50 skills, it’s a prime spot to include a ton of keywords and keep your profile spam-clean.
17. Optimize for clicks
Your image and headline are what recruiters look at first. The headline appears right beneath your name in search results. Which means that if a recruiter is searching for “Software Engineer”, those words will be highlighted on your profile as they scroll past your photo and headline.
18. Update your status and be social
It’s only logical that your LinkedIn profile thrives when you update your status, it’s a social network afterall. You can update your status as often as you want, once a week is quite professional and strategic. Make an effort to regularly check in and make a presence by liking, sharing, commenting and interacting with your network.
💡Freebie: Ideas on what to post about 👉 industry news, industry insights, insider knowledge, latest reading, inspirational quotes and stories, personal projects and asking for advice are all safe bets.
19. Follow A-Players
You have your own goals, and certainly have some figures to look up to. You might not connect with them, but can follow them on LinkedIn! Following people whose careers and jobs you admire is a potent source of advice and guidance. Make a list and look for your career heroes.
20. Reach back
Is there someone interesting that viewed your profile? Reach out. It’s a chance to connect with them. If the interest is mutual this can turn out to be the start of a great professional opportunity, valuable insights or powerful connections. Start a conversation!
21. Find your crowd
Have a look through LinkedIn Groups. Join the ones in your industry, they can really amp up your job search. This is a way of getting engaged with your professional community and connecting with relevant people in your field. Think of the group like an ongoing online networking event.
22. Add connections
Sensing a theme here? Following A-Players, reaching back and joining groups all add up to growing your connection network. Aim for at least 50 to 100 connections. You don’t need to start adding just anyone who shows up, and especially don’t go around adding people you don’t know - LinkedIn can detect rejection patterns and block your account.
You can however network and add people you’d like to meet, with a polite and appropriate message, and build your connections based on these, increasing your endorsements, clout and personal branding. Also, build a relationship before you pitch yourself.
23. Reduce excess
It’s easy to go overboard on LinkedIn and seem a bit cray-cray online. Take a step back and take a good long, third person, exterior, unbiased and sceptic look at your profile. What does it make you feel? You can change your profile and adapt your behaviour at any time. Project who you’d like to work with.
24. Beware of over-exposure
Protect your employer’s feelings and keep your job search on the down low. When you edit your privacy settings, you can keep your job search discreet while you work, avoid unpleasant situations with your managers and employers and, when the time comes, leave your current job on a positive note. If your profile has a sudden surge of posts and connections, this might be a red flag for your company that you have one foot out of the door. Be thoughtful and edit your profile’s privacy settings.
💯 LEVEL: Expert
25. Promote your website
By default, the text that shows in your profile is “Blog” or “Website.” So meh. Anyone visiting your profile has no idea of where they’ll end up if they click there. If you’d like to promote your brand or business name, here’s a simple trick. When editing your websites are on your profile, select the “other” option, you can add your own website title and URL.
26. Personalize Your Profile URL
If you still have that ugly number-letter profile URL, it’s time to personalize it. It’s much more profitable to customize your public profile URL to keep it consistent with your other social media profiles and value your personal branding. With a custom URL it’s easier to promote your profile. You can do this by accessing your edit profile screen where you can edit your Public Profile URL and set a custom URL.
27. Start writing
You can write and publish your work on LinkedIn. Sharing your perspective on your field with your community is another way to increase your clout and strengthen your personal brand value. Have a say on recent developments and share your own work from outside LinkedIn. It’s a great way to get visibility and grow your influence. Your connections will receive notifications and your posts can be found through search. Remember to tailor your content to your audience.
28. Find people
Spark future connections through search. You can search for people by name, company and skills; or try advanced search, applying filters such as job title, school, relationship, location, industry, current or past company, profile language and nonprofit interests - or even more if you’re a premium member.
29. Up your stalking
Not in a creepy way. When you view someone’s profile they will receive a notification with your name and headline. And vice versa. This might be beneficial to you, or you might want to be more discreet when viewing someone’s profile. In your Account & Settings you can choose less revealing options such as “Someone from Company Y saw your profile” or even chose to view the profile totally in private.
30. Keep notes
A growing network is thrilling, but it can be a challenge to remember where and when you’ve met everyone. Luckily, LinkedIn created the Relationship section where you can find the date when you connected with someone and write private notes about your contact as well as set reminders to check in with this person at set intervals.
31. Strategize your Likes
Connecting with people to build a strong network takes a lot of maintenance. When you engage with someone online you’re taking the time to acknowledge that person. This creates a bond. Every time you go online, make an effort to like a few strategic recent posts from your newsfeed. Take your time. These posts can be cues for future conversations and the likes ensure your name appears in your connections’ notification feeds as well, while transmitting activity and interest. Keep your activity updates regular!
🎉 Bonus points:
a. Avoid buzzwords
If you want to stand out you need to write your profile in a distinct way. Buzzwords sound cheap and repetitive, so step away from: responsible, creative, effective, analytical, strategic, patient, expert, organizational, driven, and innovative.
b. …and typos
Same, same, but different. Check your spelling, typos and your grammar. Now double-check.
c. Become friends IRL
What’s all this networking worth if you don’t act on it? Your platonic LinkedIn relationships can grow beyond the screen and become friends in real life - you know, the place where real connections are built and you can meet your future colleagues, employers and employees. Go ahead, ask that A-Player out for coffee.
d. Share your excitement
Be bold, show your enthusiasm. When you’re excited about your career, people become excited with you. Share your joy: post, interact, join groups, update your status, and connect.
e. Personalize connection invitations
Oh, the cold dart of a default message. Make your connection invitations more personal. Mention where and how you met, what you discussed or even why you’d like to connect with someone. A warm request is much more likely to be accepted.
f. Export your connections
Every now and then, remember to download your connections. This is the high point you’ve been waiting for. Build your network and then keep your contact information. Click on Connections, then settings, and then, under Advanced Settings, you can export your LinkedIn connections as a .CSV file. Now you have your contact’s first and last names, email addresses, job titles, and companies. Winner, winner network dinner!