March 19, 2014

LinkedIn often gets forgotten as a social media site. Maybe because so many people still think of it as resume posting or job searching site. But, really, LinkedIn has a lot to offer in terms of social media marketing. And, it's only going to get more influential in the near future.

I recently wrote a blog post for the Social Solutions Collective about LinkedIn's plans to release their publishing platform to ALL users. If you're a blogger, an expert in your field, or looking for more exposure, this new feature could significantly affect you. I invite you to read more about this new feature in my post here.

As I wrote that post, it occurred to me that many people who plan to use this feature don't have current and complete profiles. Then I realized that a lot of people don't have current and complete profiles on LinkedIn. If you're one of those people who could use some cleaning up of your LinkedIn profile, here are 5 quick and easy ways to freshen up your profile.

Update Your Profile Photo

The first thing that people see is your profile photo. Make sure that the photo you use is:

  • current
  • ONLY you (no kids, pets, or spouses, please!)
  • not blurry or too low of resolution
  • professional (you in a bathing suit or with beer bottles in your hand is not appropriate)

Don't be afraid to show some personality in your photos. But if you're going to go for something "fun" keep it relevant to your industry or niche. You can also read my previous post on what not to do with your profile photos.

To edit your profile photo, click on "Edit" on your LinkedIn profile and then click on the camera icon on the profile photo.

Check Your Public Profile Settings

From your LinkedIn profile, hover your mouse over the arrow next to the "Edit" button. Choose the "Manage Public Profile Settings" option. What you see on this page is what the public (non-connections) can see. On the right hand side, each section of the profile is listed and you have the ability to choose which sections are made public. Check the box of a section to add it to your public profile or uncheck the box to remove it from the public profile.

Depending on your purpose for using LinkedIn, you may have different interests in what is made public. If you are using your profile as part of your social media strategy, consider carefully which sections you keep private. Most people will want to see your headline, summary, skills, current position, publications, awards, and other information to validate who you are or what you do.

Have a Great Headline

How does this sound? "Realtor - Detroit Area". How about this? "Looking for your dream home? I'll find it for you!" Or, would you rather work with "Website Designer" or "I turn your website into a sales goldmine"?

Your headline will default to your current job title. Clean it up with something fun, catchy, and descriptive of what you actually do. This is how you can really stand out from everyone else on LinkedIn.

To edit your headline, click on "Edit" on your profile, and click on the little pencil icon next to the headline underneath your name. Type in a new headline and click "Save" when done.

Utilize the Summary

Too many people either don't use the summary or they copy and paste a formal, PR sounding blurb and move on. Instead, focus on creating a friendly, welcoming, and personal summary. Write in the FIRST person - this is YOUR profile, right? Tell people what you do, why you do it, how you do it, what you can do for them.... What you write here will depend on why you're on LinkedIn. Are you looking for a job, new clients, building a network, promoting your business? Determine why you're here before you write your summary. Then, show your personality and use this opportunity to connect with people!

Rearrange Your Profile

Did you know that you can rearrange the sections on your LinkedIn profile? Have you noticed that some people have their skills section at the top of their profile? Or that others have their past experience moved down to the bottom of their profiles? It's quick and easy to do and can drastically change how people interact with you and your profile.

To rearrange your profile, click on the "Edit" button. You'll notice that all of the sections on your profile have a black arrow (pointing both up and down) next to the section title or first entry. Hovering your mouse over this arrow will change your mouse to a cursor, allowing you drag the section up or down your profile.

Play with the configuration until you find what works for you and your strategy. If you're promoting yourself, you might benefit from having the skills section at the top of the profile. If you're looking for a job, you might want to keep your past experiences close to the top. If you do a lot of writing, you might want to have your publications near the top of the profile. No matter how you choose to format your profile, I always recommend keeping your summary at the very top.


And there you have it! Five quick and easy steps to transform your LinkedIn profile from dull and boring to one that stands out from the crowds.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Great tips, Jenn! I’m helping with a couple of people with their LinkedIn profiles now. It’s crazy to think that they haven’t even included a picture – so that’s step 1. Another tip I’d like to add, is to check and make sure that you don’t have multiple profiles on LinkedIn. Multiple profiles can confuse people searching for you, and become a maintenance nightmare. If there are multiple profiles, you can either delete one profile, or merge the profiles. LinkedIn is able to merge the profiles into a single profile, while preserving your connections.

    1. Thanks Claudia! You bring up an EXCELLENT point about having multiple profiles on LinkedIn. Thank you so much for sharing that tip!

  2. Your articles always guide and/or remind me to do something! As I was reading, I opened up my LI profile and put some of your tips into practice! Like anything, I think taking some time to update and “freshen” our sites and profiles is a great idea. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Kim! I’m so glad you were able to use this as a guide to spruce up your profile.

  3. Hey Jenn
    Just what I needed. I am focusing on LinkedIn a little lately for some B2B and really need to sort out my profile. I was not really sure where to start. My pic has been done. Although not ideal, it is better than it was. The rest needs cleaning up too. I also reordered my skills (a tips I read somewhere else) to help focus on what I now what to have as my top skills. And then there are those others areas I know nothing about like things you have published? hmmm, something like that. Gotta get more info :>

    thanks again, and hope you are doing well

    1. Hi Ashley! Glad to hear you found this useful and that you are working to improve your LinkedIn profile.
      The Publications section is a great place to list any ebooks, prominent guest blog posts, or blog posts published to a major site, that you have written. You can include the link to the site or page so that people can easily go visit. It’s a great way to add credibility to your profile.

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