15 Expert Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Like a Pro

So, how often do you optimize your LinkedIn profile?? Has it been a hot minute since you made edits? It’s ok to shy-smile and say yes (wink, wink).

In today's highly competitive job market, it's crucial to optimize your LinkedIn profile to get noticed by recruiters and employers. With over 1 billion professionals on the platform, it's more important than ever to make your profile stand out from the crowd.

Don’t know where to start? Not to worry, we have you covered!

By following the steps below, you'll be on your way to creating a profile that showcases your skills, experience, and professional brand in the best possible light.

The Basics:
  1. Choose the Right Profile Picture and Background Image
  2. Craft a Compelling Headline and Summary
  3. Optimize Your Job Titles and Work Experience
  4. Showcase Your Skills and Endorsements
  5. Use A Custom LinkedIn URL
  6. Display your name pronunciation
  7. Engage with Your Network and Share Valuable Content in Your LinkedIn Feed

Next Level:
  1. Grow Your Network
  2. Follow Relevant Influencers
  3. Optimize Your Featured Section
  4. Spotlight the Services You Offer
  5. Showcase Your Passion for Learning
  6. Treat Your Profile Like a Resume Overview

Ultimate LinkedIn Master Level:
  1. Leverage LinkedIn Features and Content Creation to Increase Visibility
  2. Optimize for LinkedIn SEO
  3. Try LinkedIn’s Creator Mode to Amplify Your Content
  4. Check Out Collaborative Articles and Contribute

The Basics

  1. Choose the Right Profile Picture and Background Image
Your profile picture and background banner image are the first things that people notice when they visit your LinkedIn profile. Make sure to choose a professional headshot that clearly shows your face and portrays a warm, friendly, and approachable demeanor. While your pet is adorable, avoid using selfies, group photos, or images with busy backgrounds, shadows on your face or unprofessional attire. Also, ensure the photo isn’t too close up or far away.
Choose the Right Profile Picture that clearly shows your face and portrays a warm, friendly, and approachable demeanor

Photo tips:
  • Choose a simple background with good lighting
  • Be mindful of distance
  • Give a genuine smile
  • Wear a professional outfit
  • Be the only person in the photo

Check out these before and after examples:
before and after example

- For the banner background image, consider using a visually appealing image that complements your profile picture and aligns with your personal brand.
- You can also include a brief value proposition or mission statement to give visitors an instant glimpse of what you have to offer. Also, it is a good idea to add something personal to show your human side since you’re more than just a series of jobs and skills.

Some ideas for your LinkedIn banner:
  • Keywords or skills related to your roles/interests
  • An image reflecting your industry
  • Examples of your work or portfolio pieces
  • A city landmark or natural landscape
  • Inspirational quote
  • Personal mission statement or value proposition
  • A photo featuring equipment you use in your profession
  • A hobby
  • You at work
  • An example of your work

Whatever you choose, the header should be visually compelling while also providing a bit more context about you. With a 1,584 x 396-pixel display size, you have room to get creative with text and graphics.

Need some help? Try one of these LinkedIn Banner templates.

How to update your LinkedIn Cover Photo:
  • Go to your LinkedIn Profile
  • Click on the pencil icon in the top right corner of the photo
  • Click “Change Photo”
  • Select “Upload Photo” and choose your new image
  • Save

LinkedIn Cover Photo edit location in the top right corner of your linkedin profile

  1. Craft a Compelling Headline and Summary
Your LinkedIn headline and summary are two of the most critical elements of your profile! They serve as your virtual "elevator pitch" and often determine whether a recruiter or potential employer will want to learn more about you. Instead of simply listing your job title, use the headline to showcase your unique value proposition and highlight your key skills and expertise.
Avoid using generic job titles or buzzwords in your headline. Words like "specialized", "leadership", "strategic", "passionate", and "innovative" have become so ubiquitous that they no longer carry much meaning.

Instead, craft a compelling and attention-grabbing headline that showcases your unique value proposition and expertise. Focus on using concrete examples and quantifiable achievements to demonstrate your skills and experience. Use vivid language and tell compelling stories about your professional journey and the impact you've made.
The summary section is your opportunity to tell your professional story and showcase your personality. Use this section to highlight your accomplishments, passions, and career goals. Be sure to incorporate relevant keywords and phrases that align with the types of roles or industries you're interested in.

Keep your summary concise, engaging, and easy to read by breaking it into short paragraphs or bullet points.
Keep your summary concise, engaging, and easy to read by breaking it into short paragraphs or bullet points.

  1. Optimize Your Job Titles and Work Experience
The work experience section is where you can really shine and demonstrate your professional achievements. Instead of simply listing your job duties, focus on quantifying your accomplishments and highlighting the impact you've made in your various roles.

Use action words and specific metrics to illustrate your contributions.

Here’s the formula: verb + noun + metric = result Examples:
  • Increased website traffic by 25% through successful SEO campaigns.
Increased (verb) website traffic (noun) by 25% (metric) to deliver successful SEO campaigns (result).
  • Analyzed financial data (verb) for 15 clients (noun) uncovering $250,000 in potential tax savings (metric) to maximize profits.
  • Prepared (verb) monthly financial reports (noun) for 8 departments (metric) providing clear insights for data-driven decision making (result).

Ensure that your job titles are optimized for search by including relevant keywords or descriptions in parentheses.

List your highest level of education achieved, as well as any relevant certifications or courses you've completed. If you’re working toward a degree, but haven’t finished, articulate this clearly (you could even add an estimated completion date).

By adding a few relevant keywords, you increase the chances that your profile will appear in searches for professionals with those skills and responsibilities. The 100-character limit gives you room to provide context around your role.

  1. Showcase Your Skills and Endorsements
LinkedIn's skills and endorsements section is a powerful tool for showcasing your expertise and getting validated by your connections. Make sure to list all your relevant hard and soft skills, and don't be afraid to ask your colleagues, managers, and clients for endorsements.

If you’ve ever asked someone to write you a LinkedIn recommendation you know how rare it is to actually get them to do it. The key to getting endorsements is to write it yourself, highlighting your strengths and achievements in the role and providing examples of projects or accomplishments you've worked on together. Then send it to the person and ask them to copy and paste it. Be honest about what you’re asking them to post and tell them to make any edits they see fit.

BONUS TIP: You can also "pin" your top three skills to the top of the section, making it easier for recruiters and potential employers to quickly identify your core strengths.

  1. Use A Custom LinkedIn URL
Does your LinkedIn URL contain a long string of numbers and letters after your name? While not a huge deal, it does look better to have a shortened, customized URL that's cleaner and easier to remember.

To update this:
  • Click the 'Edit public profile & URL' option in the top right
  • Click the pencil icon next to the URL listed under "Edit public profile URL"
  • Change the text after the / to whatever you'd like your URL to read
Best practice is to use some combination of your name, initials, and relevant keywords. This streamlines your public profile URL it becomes easier to share across platforms like email signatures, digital resumes, portfolios, and more.

Once you've customized your URL, make sure to update any old links you've previously sent out. A polished personal brand pays attention to the details!

  1. Display your name pronunciation
You can record and display your name pronunciation. This can be incredibly helpful for those with unique names that are often mispronounced. This small but impactful addition shows you are detail-oriented and can help facilitate smoother introductions and networking.
  • Click the 'Edit' icon at the top of your profile page
  • Scroll down to the 'Featured' section
  • Click the 'Record name pronunciation' button
  • Follow the instructions to record your name
  • Once recorded, a speaker icon will appear next to your name allowing others to hear the proper pronunciation

You can record and display your name pronunciation on LinkedIn

  1. Engage with Your Network and Share Valuable Content in Your LinkedIn Feed
LinkedIn is a powerful networking and content-sharing platform! Make sure to stay active by engaging with your connections' posts, joining relevant industry groups, and sharing valuable content related to your field.

Sharing insightful articles, blog posts, or your own thoughts and opinions on industry trends can help position you as a thought leader and increase your visibility among potential employers and recruiters. Want to publish your own article on LinkedIn? Learn how here.

Next Level

  1. Grow Your Network
A strong professional network is one of the most valuable assets you can develop. But simply having connections isn't enough - you need to actively grow and nurture your network on LinkedIn.

Here are some tips:
  • Regularly go through the 'People You May Know' suggestions and connect with relevant contacts
  • Follow up meetings or conversations by sending connection requests with a personal note
  • Join and participate in groups related to your industry/interests
  • Like, comment, and share updates from your connections to stay engaged
  • Avoid letting connection requests go stale - regularly review and accept/dismiss

The larger your network, the more opportunities and insights you'll be exposed to. Make it a point to put yourself out there and expand your LinkedIn connections regularly.

  1. Follow Relevant Influencers
One way to continually discover insightful content and stay on top of trends in your field is to follow relevant influencers and thought leaders. The content they share can spark ideas for your own posts and updates while showcasing your interests. Make a point of following:
  • Leaders or founders of companies you're interested in
  • Experts or personalities specific to your role, skills, or industry
  • Media outlets, publications, or blogs covering your profession
  • Groups related to your interests
Engaging with the content these influencers share is a great way to increase your own visibility while staying immersed in valuable perspectives.

  1. Spotlight the Services You Offer
If you're a consultant, freelancer, or small business owner, LinkedIn's Service Pages can be a valuable tool for showcasing your services. Service Pages are dedicated landing pages that operate on a "request and proposal" model, allowing you to highlight your expertise and potentially attract new clients. To set up a Service Page, go to the "Open to Work" section of your profile and click the "Share services you're open to" option. From there, you can create a dedicated page for each of your offered services, complete with pricing information, examples of your work, and a way for potential clients to contact you.

  1. Optimize Your Featured Section
While not as utilized, LinkedIn's "Featured" section offers valuable real estate to showcase things you want to highlight. Consider it your own personal highlight reel on your profile! Here are some great options for content:
  • Examples of written work like blog posts or case studies
  • Video projects or presentations you've created
  • Articles you've been quoted in or contributed to
  • Creative work, designs, or portfolio pieces
  • Downloadable resources you've made available

You'll want to keep featured content focused and updated with your latest and best material. Use the description areas to provide context about why you chose to spotlight each one. If used effectively, the Featured section helps your top work samples shine!

  1. Showcase Your Passion for Learning
In addition to your formal education, be sure to showcase any professional development courses, certifications, or other learning experiences on your profile. Employers value continuous learners!

When you complete eligible courses on LinkedIn Learning, you can:
  • Add course certificates directly to the 'Licenses & Certifications' section of your profile
  • Share updates on your learning activities to your feed
  • Consider creating posts analyzing key concepts or lessons from courses you found particularly impactful

Highlighting your passion for learning demonstrates your drive for self-improvement and upskilling. It positions you as someone committed to evolving with your industry.

  1. Treat Your Profile Like a Resume Overview
While your LinkedIn profile extends beyond a traditional resume, it should still be crafted and treated with that same level of professionalism.

Some tips to keep in mind:
  • Use a formal, biographical tone in descriptions rather than casual language
  • Quantify your achievements and accomplishments with hard data and metrics
  • Proofread carefully for any spelling, grammar, or consistency errors
  • Update your experience, skills, and credentials regularly as they evolve
  • Avoid any unprofessional photos, comments, or updates
  • List relevant skills and competencies that employers would find desirable
  • Ensure key content in your LinkedIn profile matches your resume (e.g., work history dates, education, company names, titles, etc.)
Your profile is a living, public narrative about your career - so keep it polished and representative of how you'd want to portray yourself during a job search.

Ultimate LinkedIn Master Level

  1. Leverage LinkedIn Features and Content Creation to Increase Visibility
LinkedIn offers several features that can help you increase your visibility and showcase your professional brand. Consider turning on the "Open to Work" feature, which can make you more discoverable to recruiters who are actively searching for candidates.

LinkedIn frequently rolls out new features and updates aimed at helping members create a strong profile and presence.

A few to keep an eye out for:
  • The "Open to Work" photo frame for your profile picture
  • Introduction videos to give a multi-media career pitch
  • Topical "Episode" digests around areas of your interests
  • Career badges for skilled professionals or leadership roles
  • Creators mode for video presence and content distribution

By utilizing the latest LinkedIn has to offer, your profile will feel more modern, dynamic, and showcase your adaptability. Review new features regularly and find ways to incorporate those that align with your branding goals.

  1. Optimize for LinkedIn SEO
Just like traditional search engines, LinkedIn has its own algorithm for ranking profiles in search results. To increase your chances of appearing at the top of relevant searches, don’t skip incorporating relevant keywords and phrases throughout your profile.

Conduct keyword research to identify the terms and phrases that potential employers or recruiters might use when searching for candidates like you.

  • Identify the relevant keywords and phrases that recruiters and potential employers might use when searching for candidates in your field or industry.
  • Use these keywords throughout your profile, including your headline, summary, work experience, skills, and education sections.
  • Include relevant hashtags in your posts and articles to increase discoverability.
  • Regularly engage with your network and share valuable content to increase your visibility and establish yourself as a thought leader. We know...this is on repeat, but it’s important, we promise!

  1. Try LinkedIn’s Creator Mode to Amplify Your Content
LinkedIn's Creator Mode is a powerful feature that can help you amplify your reach and visibility as a content creator on the platform.

To turn on Creator Mode:
  • Go to your profile
  • Click the "Edit" button next to your profile picture
  • Scroll down to the "Add profile section" dropdown menu
  • Select "Intro"
  • Toggle on the "Creator" option

When you turn on Creator Mode, you'll gain access to additional tools and features, including:
  • A "Featured" section that showcases your most popular and engaging content
  • A "Follow" button that makes it easier for others to follow your content
  • Creator-specific analytics and insights to track your engagement and reach
  • Customizable headlines and a call-to-action button to drive traffic to your website or other social media profiles
  • Hashtags describing the topics you frequently discuss

  1. Check Out Collaborative Articles and Contribute
Collaborative articles on LinkedIn are AI-powered conversation starters that invite professionals to contribute their thoughts and insights on various topics relevant to the LinkedIn community.

If you're invited to contribute to a collaborative article, it's a great opportunity to share your knowledge and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. Not only will your contribution be featured in the article, but you'll also have a chance to earn a "Top Voice" badge, which can further enhance your credibility and visibility on the platform.

Even if you're not invited to contribute, you can still engage with collaborative articles by reacting to individual contributions or the article as a whole. This can be a great way to participate in insightful discussions and expand your professional network.

Congratulations! Your LinkedIn profile is now optimized and ready to engage!

Learn more about how to stay active with your LinkedIn connections here.