The Ideal LinkedIn Profile: Tips and Suggestions

by Catherine Cameron-Heldt

There is no doubt as to the power of LinkedIn for professionals. But, doubt does arise when people put together a LinkedIn profile for the first time or those who are in our class and want to make their profiles “active”. So what makes a LinkedIn profile strong? Here are just a couple of tips and suggestions:

Profile Picture: One of the first things people see is your picture. We’re visual people. It’s essential you have a professional picture on your profile. Research again and again demonstrates that a profile picture legitimacy and confidence. Vennli reports that your profile is 7x more likely to be looked at if it has a profile picture   I strongly suggest a head and shoulder shot with you smiling so that you look approachable. This is not the place for a picture of you sipping a cocktail on a beach.

Job Title: LinkedIn defaults to the job title you first typed in. Many do not know that you have up to 120 characters in this section. Go ahead – take advantage of this! What do you do? Who are you? If you’re in sales, what is the geography you cover? It’s one thing to say you’re in sales. It’s another to say you’re the Director of Sales for Cloud Computing for North America.

The Summary: The summary is the section where you have the opportunity to shine. Please don’t just summarize your resume. Feel free to tell a story. Give examples of successes and wins. Was there a problem you resolved? If you’re in sales, have you met/exceeded your sales goals? What are they? The Summary Section is a great place to utilize bulleted sentences and insert media such as SlideShares, links to YouTube videos or to your web landing pages. If you use words such as “organized”, “motivated”, “self-starter”, etc., back them up with examples. LinkedIn gives you up to 2000 characters in this section. It’s that important. For an example of a LinkedIn profile I feel has an excellent summary section, check out Kimberlee Kemble.

Endorsements vs. Recommendations: Yes, the stack of endorsements looks nice on your profile page and are easy to get. But to be honest, having a couple of well-crafted and sincere recommendations from a customer or supervisor (past of present) carries much more weight. I suggest you seek out a couple of these and in return, write a recommendation back.

These would be my top tips to make a strong LinkedIn profile. There certainly are more. Spend some time on it and seek out the advice of others but keep in mind that you are the expert – of you!


About Catherine Cameron-Heldt

Catherine worked as marketing and communications coordinator for an IT consulting firm. She ran their social media, wrote the newsletter and press releases, was responsible for a variety of special events, and secured and oversaw the co-marketing programs. She is also a proud graduate of the Profitecture Social Media Bootcamp. Catherine has an M.Ed and extensive experience in Higher Education as a career advisor. She utilizes her experience from higher education to make her an effective coach. As a stereotypical “people person”, Catherine is known for making connections with people in the community both on and offline. When not tweeting, you can find her spending time with her young adult boys, kayaking, traveling, blogging or looking for new adventures.