Your Guide to Improving Your LinkedIn Profile

College Confidential/YouTube

As you prepare to build or improve your LinkedIn profile, take a moment to reconnect with the fundamental reason for LinkedIn's existence — the people in your network will play a key role in your ability to unlock job opportunities.


LinkedIn Profile Essentials

Before you start to create or enhance your own profile, review the profiles of professionals in your field, including leaders and influencers. Look for themes in terms of how these people handled their headlines and summaries, what language they use and what issues within the industry they highlight. In addition, identify common skills, abilities and personal traits they emphasize. Finally, take note of the groups, companies and influencers they are following. Document your findings so you can reference them as you start to work on your own profile.

College Confidential/YouTube

How to Build and Improve Your Profile

Here's a checklist you can follow as you approach creating or improving each section of your LinkedIn profile.

Pre-Work

Compile all the information you need to efficiently update your LinkedIn profile. Answer the following questions:

  • What job title do you want people to associate with you?
  • What areas of expertise do you plan to promote?
  • What accomplishments show your expertise?
  • What personality traits do you want people to know about you?
  • What media such as videos, images, work products, projects and courses demonstrate your professional expertise?

Intro Section

The intro section of the LinkedIn profile includes your photo, background image, headline and summary. Your goal should be to establish your professional brand by explaining your expertise and interests. Here are the activities you can complete for this section:

  • Update your headline using your current or target job title, as well as your most strategic areas of expertise and interest.
  • Assess and possibly update your profile photo and background image.
  • Update your summary, describing the problems you solve with your knowledge and expertise, and incorporating any personality traits and keywords you want to highlight.
  • Add any relevant media to your summary.

Background Section

As you articulate your professional experience in the background section, your goal should be to share your work experiences in a way that is highly tailored to the information you provided in your intro section. Here are the activities you can complete for this section:

  • Add/adjust your job titles.
  • Ensure accomplishments listed for each job include tangible achievements and metrics.
  • Add any relevant media to your work experiences.
  • Update your volunteer experience.
  • Update your education, including any materials or achievements from your coursework.

Optional Sections

This section includes skills, endorsements, recommendations and accomplishments so you can complete the story of your brand and experience. These sections allow you to develop your credibility through peer endorsements and examples. When you endorse or recommend others, it's often a prompt for them to do the same for you. Here are the activities you can complete for this section:

  • Select skills to highlight in your profile.
  • Solicit recommendations and endorsements.
  • Endorse skills that other connections have listed.
  • Write recommendations for others.
  • Add any accomplishments such as proficiency in another language; projects you've worked on; or relevant courses, honors, awards, etc.

Next Steps

Once your profile is updated, you are ready to engage your network of connections. Here's how:

  • Start following influencers, companies, issues, hashtags and news topics that align with your interests.
  • Identify new people to connect with and send connection requests with personalized notes.
  • Set a schedule to check in on LinkedIn and monitor your news feed; like and comment on the posts from your connections.
  • Regularly share posts and articles and develop your voice by including your thoughts.
  • Consider publishing at least one LinkedIn article.
  • Monitor views and activity on your profile and determine if you are getting the traction you want from your target audience; adjust accordingly.