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20 May 2019 Austin Belcak

How To Build An Amazing LinkedIn Profile [15+ Proven Tips]

Looking for some LinkedIn profile tips to help you step up your game, beat out the competition, and land more job offers?

You’ve come to the right place! This 8,000+ word guide dives deep into 15 proven LinkedIn profile tips that will show you exactly how to optimize every aspect of your profile and get the results you want:

More profile views, more connections, more opportunities, and more job offers.

Why am I qualified to share LinkedIn profile tips?

Good question! People always ask me what my #1 piece of advice is and I tell them this:

You should only take advice from people who already have what you want.

There are a lot of career “gurus” on the internet slinging LinkedIn profile tips with absolutely no qualifications or evidence to back them up.

If I were in your shoes, I’d want to know that the advice I was implementing had actually worked in the past. My name is Austin Belcak and here’s my LinkedIn “resume” (a.k.a. why I’m qualified to speak about this):

  • I personally used LinkedIn to land job offers at Microsoft, Google, and Twitter
  • I’ve coached thousands of job seekers and have helped them land jobs at places like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, Sequoia Capital, Space X, and more — all using LinkedIn
  • I’ve grown my LinkedIn following from 3,000 people to 20,000 people in just under 5 months
  • I average 5,000 LinkedIn profile views every month and over 1,000 people find my profile via LinkedIn search every week
  • My LinkedIn posts average 45,000 views and have accrued over 5,000,000 total views

For example, here’s one of my posts from two weeks ago which saw over 226,000 views:

Screenshot of recent LinkedIn post And here’s a quick snapshot of my LinkedIn profile views for the past 90 days:

Screenshot of Austins LinkedIn profile views

If you want to learn more, here’s a link to my profile. Feel free to check out my background and connect with me! Just make sure to send a custom note with your connection request and mention this article 🙂

I also want to make it clear that I’m not sharing those numbers to brag. I’m sharing them so you feel confident that the advice you’re about to read will work for you.

My goal is to walk you through the exact LinkedIn profile tips I used to get those results so you can replicate them for yourself!

Without further ado, let’s start with some basics:

Tip #1: Keep your LinkedIn profile updates to yourself

Before you begin overhauling your LinkedIn profile, there’s one critical box you need to make sure you’ve checked: profile privacy.

You don’t want Jane from HR getting suspicious because she saw a LinkedIn notification about the recent profile updates you made.

Fortunately, LinkedIn lets you to pick and choose who is allowed to see the updates you make to your profile. All you need to do is click this link, or go to: Settings & Privacy > How LinkedIn uses your data > Share job changes:

Screenshot of LinkedIn profile privacy settings

Now you can turn your LinkedIn profile into a job generating machine without tipping off anyone at your current company.

Tip #2: Let recruiters know you’re open for business

One of the most frustrating aspects of being a job seeker is pouring hours into your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile only to get zero responses.

What’s the point of putting in all this work if no one’s going to see it?

A few years ago, LinkedIn aimed to fix that by rolling out their Open Candidates feature. Open Candidates lets you tell recruiters you’re open to new opportunities and it lets you set preferences for the types of roles you want to hear about.

Here are a few of the levers you can pull:

Leave Recruiters A Note: When you turn on Open Candidates, LinkedIn lets you leave recruiters a note (up to 500 characters) so you can provide some context around your situation and what you’re looking for next.

Your Status: Are you actively searching, passively looking, or not looking but open to the right offer? LinkedIn lets you choose any of the above so recruiters  have a sense of where you’re at in your job search.

Target Roles: LinkedIn also lets you add the job titles you’re interested in/considering so recruiters can send you more relevant opportunities.

Location Preferences: Ready to make a move? Don’t want to move more than 10 feet from your kitchen table? Open Candidates also lets you tell employers where you want your next role to be. You can choose specific cities and you can also let them know you’re interested in remote roles.

Job Types: Finally, Open Candidates lets you tell recruiters what types of roles you’re open to. You can choose from Full Time, Part Time, Contract, Internship, Volunteer, or Temporary.

Once you have all of your preferences setup, the last thing you need to do is make sure you’ve flipped your Open Candidates switch to “On”:

Screenshow showing how to allow recrutiers to find your LinkedIn profile

Awesome! Now that we’ve got the easy stuff out of the way, this is where the fun begins.

Just because you let recruiters know you’re looking for opportunities, doesn’t mean you can put your LinkedIn profile on cruise control and watch the offers roll in. You’re still competing with 500 million other users for that job offer so you need to do everything possible to stand out.

The good news is you’re in the right place. The rest of this post is going to walk you through some LinkedIn profile tips that will set you head and shoulders above the competition and help you land more interviews, connect with amazing people, and rapidly accelerate your career.

LinkedIn Profile Tips: Optimizing From Top To Bottom

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, I’m going to show you how to completely optimize your LinkedIn profile to help you rapidly accelerate the results you’re looking for.

When I was completely overhauling my profile, I found that it was easiest to start at the top and work my way down. I’m formatting this post to follow that same flow.

We’ll begin with the very top of your LinkedIn profile page – the URL – and then we’ll work down through your cover photo, profile picture, headline, summary, work experience, skills, recommendations, etc. until we’re covered every single aspect of your profile.

Tip #3: Use a custom LinkedIn profile URL

When you create your account, LinkedIn generates a random string of numbers to associate with your profile. Instead of “Adam Grant” you’re Profile #35467984.

Unless you change it, that random number is what appears in your LinkedIn profile URL like this:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/176048168/

That’s not too sexy is it. When you’re job searching, your LinkedIn profile url is going to be something you leverage quite a bit.

You’re going to include it on your resume (because a recent study showed that resumes with a link to a comprehensive LinkedIn profile have a 71% better chance of hearing back from employers).

You’re going to give it to people you connect with, and you’re also going to want it to show up when someone Googles your name (your URL plays a role in the SEO of your profile, helping it show up more frequently).

If your profile link is a random string of numbers instead of your name, it’s going to look terrible on your resume/cover letter, and it’s going to be almost impossible for people to find.

Examples of good and bad linkedin profile urls

How to customize your LinkedIn profile URL

To good news is that LinkedIn allows you to customize your profile URL. You can do that by going to your profile, clicking Edit public profile & URL on the right rail, and then clicking Edit URL.

Ideally, you want to use some combination of your full name. Mine is Austin Belcak so any of these combos would work great:

  • linkedin.com/in/austin-belcak
  • linkedin.com/in/abelcak
  • linkedin.com/in/austinbelcak
  • linkedin.com/in/austin-e-belcak (using a middle initial)

Now hit save!

Tip #4: Use a high quality LinkedIn profile picture that shows some personality

When someone clicks on your LinkedIn profile, the first thing they look at is your picture.

Not so bad, right? Well get this:

Researchers out of the University of York did a study on how head shots impacted the way a person is perceived. Their results might blow you away:

First, a person only needs a 33 millisecond glance at your picture to form a first impression that includes evaluations of “trustworthiness, status, and attractiveness.”

According to the study’s lead researcher, “facial impressions are relevant… and they are consequential, for instance, predicting government election results and influencing romantic preferences.”

But it gets even scarier. That first impression that someone forms from a 33 millisecond glance at your face is pretty sticky. The researchers found that longer viewing times didn’t change the initial impression that was formed.

This means that anyone viewing your profile — recruiters, hiring managers, potential clients, etc. are all forming a first impression the moment your picture pops up.

You better make that first impression count.

That means you need an awesome, high quality LinkedIn profile picture that shows off some of your personality!

How to take the perfect LinkedIn profile picture (for free)

The good news is that you can get one completely free. All you need is a phone that has some sort of portrait mode (or high quality camera) and a friend:

  1. Wait for a clear, overcast day or find an area with indirect sunlight (direct sunlight is harsh and will make you squint)
  2. Find a location with a great background — I personally like cityscapes or something natural like trees, etc.
  3. Fire up portrait mode on your camera and take at least 10 images (you’ll be glad you went overboard, I promise)
  4. Using editing software to enhance the colors of the image and adjust it until it looks awesome.

When you’re ready to upload your new profile picture, keep in mind that LinkedIn has some guidelines:

Guidelines: LinkedIn Profile Picture Size

  • LinkedIn’s profile picture dimensions are 400 x 400 pixels.
  • Your profile picture can be larger than 400×400, but it needs to maintain the square ratio to be accepted.
  • The maximum resolution for a LinkedIn profile picture is 7680 pixels wide and 4320 pixels high.
  • LinkedIn accepts PNG, JPG, and GIF file types.
  • The maximum profile picture file size is 8mb (you can reduce your image size using a site like CompressPNG or CompressJPG)

LinkedIn Profile Picture Examples (From Real People)

I mentioned injecting some personality into your LinkedIn profile picture too. Here are some awesome examples of people who do a great job of that:

Example of high quality LinkedIn profile picture

Joseph’s picture is crystal clear and does an awesome job of showing off his personality. He’s not trying to do too much and he’s just being himself. The quality of the image, his smile, and what he’s wearing give off a warm first impression!

He also did a fantastic job bringing some contrast to his cover photo and the rest of his profile. His face and the pop of red in his shirt grab your attention because they stand out from the black and white themes everywhere else.

Example of LinkedIn profile picture

Natalia Wiechowski is known for her bright blue branding on LinkedIn. It shows up in her videos, on her website, and even on her face! That’s an immediate attention-grabber and makes you feel like Natalia is someone you want to have a conversation with.

She also does a great job choosing colors that people associate with happiness, trust, and high energy.

Example of black and white LinkedIn profile picture

Going for the black and white filter is a great way to differentiate yourself, just like Jason did here. Notice that his picture is still high resolution and high quality though — you need to get that right before you mess with any filters or add ons.

This may seem like a lot of info, but it’s totally worth it. To recap, a great LinkedIn profile picture:

  1. Is high quality and high resolution
  2. Meets LinkedIn’s profile picture guidelines (is 400×400 pixels and no more than 8mb in size)
  3. Emphasizes your face (by having a solid color or blurred background)
  4. Conveys your authentic self – wearing clothes you love, with colors you enjoy, in a place that makes you happy
  5. Showcases your awesome smile 🙂

Tip #5: The same goes for your LinkedIn cover photo

Most people know that a great LinkedIn profile picture is a must, but almost nobody takes advantage of their LinkedIn cover photo!

Your cover photo is a fantastic place to show off some of your personality and accomplishments. It’s larger than your profile picture too so it’s likely going to grab more eyeballs and help you tell your story.

The data also shows that profiles with custom profile pictures and cover photos see 21x more profile views, 9x more connection requests, and 36x more messages than people using defaults!

What Should You Use In Your LinkedIn Cover Photo?

Your cover photo creates a great opportunity to share more about you as a human being and as a professional.

My recommendation is to share something you’re passionate about or use your cover photo as real estate to sell yourself.

Some examples of sharing your passions include pictures of you:

  • Presenting/speaking at an industry event
  • Doing volunteer work
  • Taking part in a (professionally-kosher) hobby like marathon running, painting, hiking, teaching, etc.
  • Spending time with your family (everyone loves a person dedicated to their family)
  • Traveling

If you want to use the space to sell yourself, you’re going to be including some graphic elements so you want to make sure the design is on point.

I recommend using Canva since they have awesome pre-made templates you can edit for free, like this:

Screenshot of free LinkedIn Cover Photo templates on Canva

Once you’ve settled on your template, you need to decide what you want to push in your cover photo. I recommend featuring:

  • Your elevator pitch and goals in two lines or less
  • A link to your personal website, if you have one
  • Links to your portfolio, projects you’ve worked on, or your resume

If you want to take things to the next level, find a way to combine awesome design from Canva with one of the passion images I mentioned above!

LinkedIn Cover Photo Size & Dimensions

When you’re uploading your cover photo, you need to make sure it meets LinkedIn’s criteria so it doesn’t get rejected. Here are LinkedIn’s cover photo guidelines:

  • The recommended cover photo size is 1584 x 396
  • The maximum cover photo file size is 8 mb
  • LinkedIn accepts PNG, JPG, and GIF file types for cover photos

Outside of the official guidelines, there is another big factor that you’re going to want to consider when designing your cover photo: device type.

When someone is viewing your LinkedIn profile on desktop, your profile picture appears on the lefthand side and will be laid over that part of your cover photo:

Example of LinkedIn profile desktop layout

However, when someone looks at your profile on mobile, your profile picture will move to the center and obscure a different part of your cover photo:

Example of LinkedIn profile mobile layout

See how my face covers up different areas of the cover photo depending on what device someone is using to view my LinkedIn profile?

Due to that, I purposefully spaced out the publisher logos in my cover photo so that four of them are showing at all times. I also chose to avoid placing text on the left side or middle of the cover photo so it wouldn’t be covered.

LinkedIn Cover Photo Examples (From Real People)

Let’s take a look at some real people who did a fantastic job of incorporating all of the tips mentioned above:

Example of great LinkedIn cover photo

Georgia’s cover photo is awesome. It’s unique, it’s well designed, it shows off her beliefs, and it immediately grabs attention with those color pops and bold font.

She also did a fantastic job lining up the black backgrounds in her profile picture and cover photos to create a seamless aesthetic that’s guaranteed to stand out. This is definitely levels above your average LinkedIn profile, but putting in the effort to create something similar is absolutely worth it.

Example of LinkedIn cover photo

At the beginning of this section, I mentioned leveraging cover photos to inject some personality into your profile. Aaron’s cover photo is a 10/10 example.

He’s a front end engineer so using code as a means to convey his interests and ability is super creative. Before I’ve even scrolled I know about where he’s been, what he enjoys, what he’s good at, and what his goals are. That’s powerful!

LinkedIn cover photo example with someone speaking to an audience

Johny’s cover photo is a great example of sharing something you love to do. Speaking is a great options but so is volunteering, sitting on a panel, running a marathon, a picture of you and your family, or any other hobby/interests that’s professionally kosher.

Images of you in action are an awesome way to convey more about what you love to do.

Example of generic LinkedIn cover photo

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of sharing something that brings you joy. Not all of us speak at conferences or have super creative ways of expressing our interests and that’s totally ok.

Caroline lives in California and her cover photo of a beach sunset shows how much that means to her. That beach feel pair with her beaming profile picture is a great combo too — I bet you felt a burst of positive energy after your first glance at her profile!

Whether it’s a sunset, a city skyline, or a piece of art, if you feel like an image speaks to your personality you should share it!

Tip #6: Optimize your LinkedIn headline to get more profile views

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy, The “Father” of Advertising

That advice is just as relevant to your LinkedIn profile as it is to writing ad copy.

In today’s job market, 90%+ of recruiters are regularly using LinkedIn to find qualified candidates.

When a recruiter is looking to fill a roll, they use LinkedIn’s search functionality to find awesome people like you. But what makes your LinkedIn profile show up at the top vs. the millions of other people in a similar field? Think of it like this:

Let’s say it’s 5pm on Saturday and you don’t feel like cooking. You might head to Google and punch in “best Thai restaurants [your city].”

Google serves a list of restaurants and you begin scanning through their offerings — their menu, reviews from other people, hours, distance, etc. Then you pick one based on what you liked best.

LinkedIn search works the same way!

Instead of searching for Thai food, recruiters are searching for keywords that match the position they’re hiring for.

For example, if they need a new Project Manager, they may search for: Project Manager, PMP, ACP, etc.

If they need a front end developer, they may search for: Front End Developer, Web Designer, Web Developer, etc.

When they hit “search,” LinkedIn scans profiles for relevant data and serves up the people who have the search criteria in their profile. The more your profile matches the search criteria, the higher you’ll show up.

Your LinkedIn headline carries a lot of weight in these searches so you need to make sure it’s fully optimized for the search terms that recruiters are using.

How to identify the keywords you need to use in your LinkedIn headline

Here’s a quick strategy you can use to boost your chances to matching with the terms recruiters are using to find candidates for roles you’re interested in:

  1. Open a new Word/Google doc
  2. Use LinkedIn jobs to search for roles that match your exact criteria (industry, level of experience, location, etc.)
  3. For each role that lines up with your interests, copy the job title and paste it into your doc
  4. Rise and repeat until you have copied at least 30 job titles into your doc
  5. Now head to WordClouds.com and click on Word List, then Paste/Type text
  6. Paste in your 30+ job titles and hit Apply

Wordclouds is going to generate a cloud showing which words appear most often across those titles. If you want a more empirical view, you can click on Word List again to see the exact frequency for each word.

The top 3-5 words are the keywords you want to focus on including in your LinkedIn headline.

Here’s an example I created from 30 job titles I found searching for “Sales” in “New York”:

Example of using wordclouds from LinkedIn headline

If you check out the word list, here are the top 5 by frequency:

16 Sales
5 Executive
4 Director
3 Account
3 Manager

Now I can go back to the job titles to get context around word order and come up with a headline that includes as many of those keywords as I can fit. In this case, I may go with: Sales Director / Account Executive.

This is just the starting point though. LinkedIn gives you a lot of space to work with in your headline and you want to use as much of it as you can.

LinkedIn Headline Character Limits

LinkedIn limits you to 120 characters for your professional headline on desktop. If you switch to the LinkedIn mobile app, the character limit increases to 200!

Once you know what keywords you want to inject, you should use the rest of your headline to sell yourself. This will vary based on your goals, but here are a few ideas:

  • Share a quick results-based case study (share accomplishments, metrics, big wins, awards, etc.)
  • Share a link to your personal website or online portfolio right there in your headline (e.g. “learn more about how I do it here > CultivatedCulture.com)
  • Include high priority skills and proficiencies
  • Inject some personality and talk about something you enjoy doing outside of your specific job description
  • Include a call to action for people read more (my profile has this). I use my headline to hook people in and tell them to learn more below with a little emoji pointing down

You should aim to include your high priority keywords at the beginning of your headline, then use the rest of the characters to grab the reader’s attention.

LinkedIn Headline Examples (From Real People)

Here are a few awesome examples of LinkedIn headlines to help you get some inspiration:

Example of great linkedin headline

Vishal’s keyword-packed headline is going to get him noticed across a broad range of searches. He leads with his title (Senior Manager) and leverages the rest of his character limit to include relevant keywords like Digital Innovation, Paid Media, and Digital Strategy.

Vishal’s LinkedIn Headline: Senior Manager, Digital Innovations – Paid Media and Digital Strategy at Authentic Brands Group

Screenshot of great LinkedIn headline example

Maanek’s headline does a great job of leading with keywords. He’s got a searchable job title in “Senior Manager” and a highly popular field in “Marketing Analytics.” He uses the rest of his characters to add a little more color to his job and what he’s passionate about.

Maanek’s LinkedIn Headline: Senior Manager – Marketing Analytics @ Zola Analyzing the intersection of Love + Data.

Kyle LinkedIn Headline Example

While he’s not a job seeker, Kyle has a fantastic headline where he covers a lot of the bases mentioned above. He includes high priority keywords up front, is clear about his services, mentions awards for social proof, and talks about his love for coffee.

Kyle’s LinkedIn headline: Career & Life Coach | Resume & LinkedIn Writer | Award-Winning Speaker | Caffeine Addict | Forbes Coaches Council + CaffeinatedKyle.com

As a closing thought, I always notice that entrepreneurs and CEOs tend to have the best LinkedIn headlines. Why? Because they always need to be selling themselves (and the best ones can do it concisely).

But here’s the thing – you’re a CEO whether you know it or not. The CEO of your own career and your own life. You’re more than just an “Account Manager at Company” or “Human Resources at Company.”

You’ve contributed a lot to your company, your customers, your colleagues, your friends, your family, and your industry. Let that shine through in your LinkedIn headline!

Tip #7: Identify the keywords recruiters are using to find candidates

Remember my little restaurant analogy from the last tip?

Headlines definitely carry a lot of weight when it comes to being found in search results, but LinkedIn isn’t stopping there. They scan every section of your profile and the more matches you have, the more frequently you’ll show up and get called.

LinkedIn is tricky because we can’t create multiple profiles for multiple roles like you can with a resume. You only get one profile and you want it to generate as many opportunities as possible. In order to do that, we need to get a sense of the keyword sets associated with the roles we want.

How to identify the right keywords for your LinkedIn profile

Identifying keywords for your entire profile is a little bit more complex than doing it for your headline.

If you’re tight on budget and/or don’t mind doing a little bit of leg work yourself, you can definitely use the same Wordclouds trick I mentioned above.

That said, there are some paid tools out there that will help be significantly more efficient here. My two favorites are Jobscan and Skillsyncer (I have no affiliation with either and it’s worth noting that they are both paid tools with some free trial options).

Both of these platforms will digest any job description you upload and give you a detailed breakdown of what keywords you need to target. You can also copy and paste your LinkedIn profile sections to see how well you match up:

JobScan skill match report

If you scan a few job descriptions for every type of role you’re targeting, these platforms will give you an idea of what keywords you need to prioritize.

Your job is to make sure they’re naturally woven into each of the LinkedIn profile sections we talk about in the rest of this post.

Tip #8: Your LinkedIn Summary is for selling, not summarizing

At this point, you’ve got awesome, eye-catchy images and a killer headline that’s going to hook anyone looking at your LinkedIn profile.

If they like what they see, the natural next step is to scroll down and check out your summary. This is my favorite profile section because it gives you a ton of creative freedom to pitch yourself!

It’s your opportunity to give some background, provide context, handle objections, highlight your abilities, and show this person why you are the best option, bar none.

Lots of people have different opinions and strategies on what to put in here. I’m going to share a simple formula that I saw results with as a job seeker and that I use with most of my clients:

Austin’s LinkedIn Summary Formula For Job Seekers

I personally recommend a three part Summary that consists of:

  1. An opening statement that summarizes your experience and value while including relevant keywords you identified using tactics from previous sections
  2. A few “case study” bullets which highlight your biggest accomplishments and completed projects (including measurable metrics/results)
  3. A final bullet or two speaking to any extra-curricular or cultural initiatives (if relevant)
  4. A closing statement about what opportunities you get excited about and how to get in touch with you (make sure to include an email address where people can reach you!)

The final bullet is your way of saying “if this type of opportunity were to magically pop up, it would be the type of thing I get very excited about (wink wink, nudge nudge)” so recruiters can take the hint without raising suspicion at your current job.

LinkedIn gives you a 2,000 character limit for your Summary section so you want to make sure you use as much of it as you can (without sacrificing quality).

Example of a Good LinkedIn Summary

I’ll kick off this section by writing out the summary I’d use if I updated my profile for a new job search. I’m currently a Director of Partner Development at Microsoft so let’s say I was targeting Partner Manager / Partner Director roles:

Austin’s LinkedIn Summary Example

Director of Partner Development/Management with 7+ years experience building C level relationships, driving scaled growth across a $20M+ book, and consistently exceeding quota.

+ Spearhead growth of $20M+ book of channel partners, including the two largest revenue generating partners in Microsoft’s global book of business

+ Maintained 120% average quota attainment and won Microsoft’s Platinum club sales award given to top 300 salespeople across the company

+ Prospected, negotiated incentive terms, and on-boarded 10 net new channel partners worth $15M+ in annual revenue

+ Published in Forbes, Business Insider, Fast Company, Inc. and more for opinions and thoughts on hiring and career development

+ Founder of Career site CultivatedCulture.com, home to 30,000+ job seekers who have gone on to land jobs at places like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple, and more without applying online

“Austin is an absolute pleasure to work with. He provides a level of service we don’t get from other partners and our relationship with him and Microsoft has been a major factor in our growth and eventual acquisition.” – [Client Name, Company]

I get excited about opportunities to create mutually beneficial partnerships that drive growth on both sides of the relationship, specifically in the world of tech/digital. Want to connect? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

That summary packs in a bunch of keywords that recruiters will be searching for when they’re on the hunt for a new Partner Director/Manager.

It immediately speaks to my level of experience and the results I drive, notice how almost every bullet has a number in it relating to the results my actions drove.

I also included a “testimonial” from one of my clients. If you have the opportunity to do this, it is solid job search GOLD. The more the merrier, these are basically references that add immediate credibility.

Finally, it clearly states what opportunities I’m excited about (i.e. would be open to) and gives people an easy way to get in touch via email!

Tip #9: Take advantage of the ability to include outbound links and media

One of LinkedIn’s largest advantages is the ability to add links and media to your profile!

I hear the same thing from so many job seekers, “I don’t feel like anyone is seeing or understanding my value.”  The sentiment in today’s job market is don’t tell me, show me. Adding links to mentions, accomplishments, projects, articles, and case studies is exactly how you do that.

How to add links and media to your LinkedIn summary

If you head to your own LinkedIn profile, you should see a little pencil icon all the way on the right hand side, just below your cover photo. Clicking that will open up your Summary settings and allow you to edit content and add links:

Screenshot showing LinkedIn summary edit button

Once you’re on the edit screen, scroll down to the bottom and look for the Media section (the last section on the page):How to add links and media to your LinkedIn profile

This is where you can add in media that will appear right below your summary near the top of your LinkedIn profile (meaning more people are going to see it!).

You’ll notice that LinkedIn gives you two options for adding media: Uploading and Link.

Upload lets you add a document or file you have saved on your computer. For example, did you put together a deck that walked through a complete onboarding process overhaul? You can upload it! Have a 5 page competitive analysis template you’ve been using to close business? Drop it in!

Anything you can’t link to can be uploaded here, as long as it fits one of the following file types:

Accepted File Types For LinkedIn Media Uploads

  • Adobe PDF (.pdf)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pps/.pptx/.ppsx/.pot/.potx
  • Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx/.rtf)
  • OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp)
  • OpenOffice Documents (.odt)
  • Most .txt files
  • .jpg/.jpeg
  • .png
  • .bmp
  • .gif – this doesn’t support animation, however the first frame will be extracted
  • .tiff

Your other option for adding media is linking out.

This is a fantastic option for personal sites, articles you’ve written, media you’ve been featured in (podcasts, articles, videos, etc.), industry specific profiles (like Github), etc.

LinkedIn will showcase up to five pieces of media in your summary so you want to make them count! Adding in more will create a sixth thumbnail with a counter showing how many additional pieces of content are available to check out.

Here’s what that looks like on my buddy Alex’s profile:

Screenshot of media and links added to LinkedIn profile summary

In this case, you want to go for quality over quantity. Most people are up to check out a few pieces of high quality content, but they won’t go through more than five.

Tip #10: Leverage copywriting principles to write a crazy effective Work Experience section

Most people think that the Work Experience section of their LinkedIn profile is a summary of their job history, and those people are very wrong. The bullets your in your LinkedIn profile are aimed at doing one thing: Selling Yourself!

The good news for us is that people have spent more than a century studying how the written word affects our behavior and tendencies. That field of study is called copywriting and if you’re ever bought a product or signed up for an email list after reading an ad or blog post, you’ve experienced it first hand.

As we’ve gotten more advanced, people have kept more data on what works best.  Marketers at places like CoSchedule, Neil Patel, and Buzz Sumo have combed through hundreds of millions of data points to discovery exactly what language, format, and tactics lead to the most catchy copy (leading to more traffic and more money).

The great news for you is that the science behind catching someone’s attention doesn’t just apply to marketers, it works just as well for LinekdIn bullets too!

I took all of the research-backed principles that marketers are using to generate clicks and I applied them to LinkedIn bullets and resumes. I kept data on how those performed vs. our original copy, then I distilled everything down into the formula that got the best results:

The anatomy of a highly effective LinkedIn bullet

Each role in your Work Experience section should have bullets of your responsibilities, your accomplishments, and the experience you gained. They should all be written using the word mix from the graphic above!

LinkedIn Pro Tip: You can also add links and media to individual roles within your Work Experience section. Use the same steps I mentioned in tip #9 to add relevant projects, awards, case studies, and accomplishments that will appear under each role. This is a great way to showcase the material beyond the five you included with your summary.

Finally, make sure to include all of your experience on your LinkedIn profile. Profiles that list more than one position get 29x more views!

Tip #11: Leverage the LinkedIn’s Skills section to increase your credibility and show up more often

The Skills section is one of the best bang-for-your-buck investments you can make in your LinkedIn profile.

First, the skills you add play into the searchability of your profile. Those skills act as keywords and will help you show up at the top of search results. Profiles with 5+ skills see 17x more profile views than people with less than five:

Example of LinkedIn profile skills section

Second, skills are great social proof that will help give you an edge when employers are making a decision about reaching out.

If an employer is looking for a Project Manager who has a lot of experience with Agile, your profile is an immediate fit if you have 30+ recommendations for Agile from other people who are skilled with the framework. That boosts your chances of hearing back!

How many skills can you add to your LinkedIn profile?

LinkedIn lets you add up to 50 skills on your profile. That’s 50 opportunities to include keywords and skills that will help you show up in search results and land more job opportunities! You should use as many of them as you can.

What skills should you add to your profile?

It may seem simple, but we want to be smart about the skills that we add to our LinkedIn profile.

Sure, we want to include skills we’re definitely good at but we also want to include skills/keywords that employers are using to find candidates.

Remember that Jobscan tool I mentioned back in Tip #7? We’re going to use that again here:

  1. Find at least 10 job descriptions for roles that you would be interested in
  2. Go to Jobscan and run a scan on each description to see what skills appear most frequently
  3. After each scan, add the skills to an Excel sheet – have the skills in one column and the number of times they appear in the second
  4. Rise and repeat for every job description, making sure you update the skills in your sheet
  5. When you’re done, filter your Excel sheet by “largest to smallest” to see which skills appeared most frequently — these are the ones you want to prioritize for your profile!

How to get endorsements for your skills

Great! Now you’ve got some skills added to your profile, but that doesn’t mean much without any endorsements behind them.

Highly endorsed skills carry more weight with LinkedIn searches and they also carry more social proof with people who are viewing your profile — people with 5+ relevant skills get 31x more messages.

Step 1 – Friends & Family

The first, and most obvious way to get endorsements is to ask your friends and family. This is actually way more helpful than it seems because you can pick and choose which skills they endorse!

Nobody is going to be willing to spend an hour endorsing 50 skills (unless you have amazing friends) so pick and choose which 5-10 you want them to endorse. I’d recommend leveraging that Excel sheet you put together and focusing on the 5-10 skills that appear most frequently across job descriptions.

Step 2 – Endorse other people’s skills

Reciprocity is a strong psychological principle. If you go out there and endorse other people for their skills, you’re likely to get an endorsement in return!

I’d recommend starting with current and former colleagues. It’s easy to make those endorsements because you’ve worked with them, plus it will help strengthen those relationships.

When you’re done endorsing, send them a note that says something like this:

Post-Endorsement Message

Hey [Name],

Hope you’re doing well! I just wanted to recognize you for some of the awesome work we’ve done together so I endorsed you for some skills on LinkedIn. If there’s anything else I can do to help, just let me know.

Best,

[Your Name]

Note that I didn’t ask them to endorse my skills in that note. That kind of ruins the magic. If you do this enough, plenty of people will take the hint and return the favor.

Tip #12: LinkedIn Recommendations are job search gold, put in the time to build them

When was the last time you made a big purchase?

What did you do before you pulled the trigger? You probably did a bunch of research, watched some videos, and…you read reviews.

Research shows that word of mouth recommendations influence the decision for 83% of purchases we make. Things aren’t much different when it comes to your LinkedIn profile!

Recommendations are one of the most powerful selling tools available to you. They’re like references that employers can read before they talk to you. If your experience looks good and you’re heavily recommended by a range of people you’ve worked with, chances are good you’re going to get more calls.

The good news is that most people don’t seek them out. They think it’s weird to ask for Recommendations and they aren’t sure about the guidance they should offer when they do ask. This means most people never get them, which is a huge opportunity for you if you’re willing to put in the work.

How to get people to give you Recommendations on LinkedIn

Following suit with the recommendations for Skills, the best place to start is with people you know.

Friends and work-buddies (colleagues or former colleagues you’re close with) are the best place to start. They don’t have the same last name so you won’t lose credibility and, if they’re former colleagues, they’ll carry weight because they worked alongside of you.

You can also boost your chances by giving them a template to use. It’s much easier for people to fill in the blanks than it is for them to come up with something from scratch:

LinkedIn Recommendation Template

[Descriptive Phrase] is the what comes to mind when I think about [Your Name]. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing [Your Name] for [Length of Time], during which [Description of Working Relationship]. Above all, I was impressed with [Your Name]’s ability to [Something That Makes You Stand Out]. And, of course, his/her [Personality Trait]. [Your Name] would be a true asset for any positions requiring [1-2 Skills Needed For The Position] and comes with my heartfelt recommendation.

Caution – Templates are great when tweaked for personalization and used in moderation. If every single one of your recommendations follows that exact same formula, people will notice and think it’s weird. Don’t do that.

When it comes to Recommendations, the more you give, the more you receive

When you’ve exhausted your pool of friends, you should start writing recommendations for other people. Make a list of people you had contact with at previous companies or projects and make it a habit to write a recommendation for a new person every day.

After it’s written, shoot them a similar note saying you wanted to recognize the awesome work they did with a recommendation!

How to request a Recommendation on LinkedIn

You can also send recommendation requests to people on the platform. All you need to do is:

  1. Go to the person’s LinkedIn profile
  2. Click “More” next to the Connect / Follow button
  3. Click “Request a Recommendation”

Then you’ll be asked about your relationship to that person and you can leave a quick note to provide some context:

Where to find LinkedIn recommendation request

Finally, make it a habit to collect recommendations while the opportunity is still hot:

  • Leaving your job? Ask people in person.
  • Finished a project? Send them the above template.
  • Had coffee with someone who asked how they can help? You got it!

If you build this into your professional routine, you’ll rack up recommendations in no time.

Tip #13: Make sure your LinkedIn Profile Strength Meter is at All Star status

When you’re building out your profile, LinkedIn will tell you how well you’re doing with their Profile Strength Meter:

LinkedIn profile strength meter image

LinkedIn profiles have five stages of strength: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and All Star. You only need to care about the last one.

Why? Because All Star profiles are 40x more likely to be contacted about job opportunities than any other profile level and they are 18x more likely to show up in search results.

The good news for you is that only 51% of LinkedIn users have fully completed profiles so this is an incredibly easy way to stand out. Here’s everything you need to do to qualify for All Star status:

How To Get LinkedIn All Star Status

  1. Add a high quality LinkedIn profile picture
  2. Use a custom LinkedIn URL (with some variation of first & last name)
  3. Add an up-to-date Industry & Location
  4. Customize your headline with relevant experience & keywords
  5. Fill out your LinkedIn Summary
  6. Add at least three positions (current + two previous) to your Work Experience section
  7. Add your Education to your profile
  8. Add at least 5 skills to your profile
  9. Connect with 50+ people

If your profile meets those criteria, you’ll hit All Star status and significantly improve your visibility on the platform.

Tip #14: The best way to exponentially increase your profile visibility on LinkedIn? Be an active contributor.

Earlier in this post I shared a screenshot of my LinkedIn profile views, which came in around 14,500 for the past 90 days.

The vast majority of those views didn’t come from searches and profile optimization, they came from people seeing my comments and posts.

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile for keywords and searches is a must, but the easiest way to accelerate your visibility on LinkedIn is by engaging with the community.

If you’re only relying on searches and keywords, your presence is going to be limited and the competition is high. There are a finite number of slots on the first page of search results and the chances that your profile shows up as #1 vs. the 250 million other active users is low.

However, of that same user base, only 1.2% create content (posts, comments, etc.) weekly. Recruiters and employers spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, you’re much more likely to catch their attention by showing up as a comment or post in their feed than by crossing your fingers and hoping you show up in a search result.

Creating content doesn’t have to be hard either. You can do it in less than 10 minutes per day.

The 10 minute LinkedIn content strategy that will get you more views

If you’ve never thought about creating content on LinkedIn, getting started can feel overwhelming but it’s actually much easier than you think.

Here’s a quick process you can use to create content that will get you WAY more profile views in less than 10 minutes per day:

Step 1: Follow The Views

If you want more visibility but don’t have a huge following, you need to go where the views are.

I’ll bet you’ve seen those posts from people in your industry with a couple hundred likes and comments. Those posts are racking up tens of thousands of views which means any comments left on them are getting in front of those eyeballs too.

Check out Devin’s post here:

Example of LinkedIn post with traction and engagement

It has 377 reactions, but only 18 comments! This is a huge opportunity to get visibility because this post probably has at least 15,000 views (likely a low-ball estimate) but it doesn’t have a ton of comments which means yours is much more likely to stand out.

Step 2: Leave A Thoughtful Comment

The comments section on LinkedIn works like a voting board — the comments with the most reactions, replies, and engagement typically bubble up to the top.

If you’re the top comment on a post with 20,000 views, you can bet your comment is going to get a decent number of those eyeballs!

Fortunately for us, most people leave fairly low effort comments on posts. Stuff like, “awesome tips,” “love this advice,” “thanks for sharing,” etc. While those are all great, they’re probably not going to make their way to the top.

Taking a few minutes to draft up a thoughtful comment that asks a question, shares additional advice, sparks debate, or adds to the discussion is far more likely to generate likes and replies.

Step 3: Combine For Best Results

All you need to do to begin generating more profile views is combine the two ingredients above and make it a daily habit.

Open up LinkedIn a few times throughout the day and scroll through your feed until you find a post that’s gaining traction.

Once you find one, read it a few times and brainstorm a thoughtful comment that adds to the conversation, then post it.

This shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to do and if you rinse and repeat every day, your profile view count will shoot through the roof!

Pro Tip: The earlier you comment on a post that eventually gains traction, the better. Influencers with big followings on LinkedIn are pretty much guaranteed to have large view counts on their posts so all you need to do are follow them, figure out their posts times, and show up early!

Tip #15: How to find anyone’s email address using the info from their LinkedIn profile

If you had to boil down LinkedIn’s ethos to a single word, it would be “connection.”

While it’s awesome to connect with people on the platform, you’re going to want to take some of these conversations offline. Getting on the phone or meeting in person is where the real magic happens and the real relationships are built.

LinkedIn is growing, but email is still the most common method of communication in the professional world and my data shows that email still leads to better response rates.

But in order to email someone, you need their address. Here’s how to find it:

  1. Take note of the person’s full name (first and last)
  2. Find a link their company’s homepage (e.g. Microsoft would be www.microsoft.com)
  3. Go to Mailscoop.io
  4. Enter your contact’s full name and their company URL, then hit search!

Mailscoop should give you their professional email address along with a confidence score. Here’s Elon’s:

Mailscoop email finder tool locating an email address

Next, you’re going to want to head to Mailtester.com to verify that the email really exists.

If it does, you’re in business! That address leads right to the person you want to connect with. Just remember to make the outreach about them and don’t forget to follow up if you don’t hear back in 5 business days.

Final LinkedIn Profile Tips & Takeaways

Whew, we just covered a hell of a lot in just 15 LinkedIn profile tips. You should have a pretty solid idea of what changes and updates you need to make to your profile!

To help summarize, here’s a quick breakdown of the key takeaways:

  1. The more info you add to your profile, the more visibility you’re going to get — reaching All Star status is a great first goal
  2. Understanding the major keywords that apply to your target roles/industries is important, you may want to start with getting clear on those
  3. Your LinkedIn profile is a sales page, not a summary so make sure you write your copy and include content with that in mind
  4. The best way to maximize your visibility is to become an active contributor – start by following people you like and regularly leaving comments

That’s it for now, but not forever. I’ll be adding more LinkedIn profile tips to this post as LinkedIn makes changes to their algorithm, the profile layout, and their platform in general.

Have questions about the LinkedIn profile tips I mentioned? Want to add a tips of your own? Leave a comment below! I read and reply to all of them.

AUSTIN BELCAK

Austin is the founder of Cultivated Culture where he helps people land jobs without connections, without traditional experience, & without applying online. His strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, & Fast Company and has helped people just like you land jobs at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, & more.

7 thoughts on “How To Build An Amazing LinkedIn Profile [15+ Proven Tips]

  1. Humberto says:

    I wanted to thank you for publisihing and packing a ton of useful information. I found it very helpful. I am someone that created the Linkedin page/profile 10 or more years ago and never looked back. Until now that I became a jobseeker, It has been a tough learning curve dedicating time and learning while trying to obtain a job.

    Thank you very much for all the time and information share with me and many more that I beleive are in the same position.

  2. My pleasure Humberto! Happy to do it – I’m glad to hear it was helpful. Things have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years, this should help you optimize to get results in 2019 🙂

  3. Pooja says:

    This is incredibly useful. I have a LinkedIn profile but it’s always good to learn how to optimise it further. I have been convincing a friend who wants to switch jobs to create a profile on LinkedIn. She was feeling a little overwhelmed about it. Now I’m sure she will feel a lot better having this post as a reference!

    1. I’m so glad it was helpful Pooja! You’re a good friend, that’s definitely the right move. Thanks for sharing the post with her!

  4. Vanessa says:

    I consider myself pretty Linkedin savvy and know a lot of the stuff in this article, but definitely learned a few tweaks and enhancements, and talk about a comprehensive one-stop-shop for kicking ass with your Linkedin profile. Nicely done Austin!

    1. Awesome Vanessa! It’s great to hear from you 🙂 I’m pumped to hear that there were a few nuggets in there on top of what you already knew. Thanks for checking it out!

  5. Shay says:

    You are amazing, you are amazing—thank you so, so much for all of this helpful material!

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