According to HubSpot, LinkedIn beats Facebook and Twitter as a lead generation hub by 227%. Along that same vein, as a platform that’s been alive for more than 18 years, LinkedIn is also an opportunity-rich place for modern professionals seeking growth.
Without question, it’s the hub to showcase your notable milestones and connect with other professionals. It has also evolved into a place for personal brand building. And that’s where this guide comes in. To snag the opportunities and relationships you’re looking for, you need to spend some time refining your profile.
As a marketer, you probably already know it isn’t just about the brands you associate with, but the story you paint with your words.
In this LinkedIn optimization guide, we’ll go through:
- LinkedIn profile best practices
- LinkedIn profile do’s and don'ts
- How to use AI to create the perfect LinkedIn profile
Here’s how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn profile best practices
You can create the perfect LinkedIn profile—or something close to it—by shining the best possible spotlight on you and the value you offer. But to do this it’s necessary to get in on best practices.
1. Keep LinkedIn’s public nature in mind
For starters, it’s important to keep the fact that LinkedIn works as your public resume top of mind. As career strategist and YouTuber Madeline Mann explains in one of her videos, “When you apply to a job—yes they look at the resume—but they also head right to your LinkedIn profile. Because LinkedIn is a place where they can get a more complete picture of who you are, the format is predictable, and there’s value in it being a public profile.”
2. Keep the presentation in mind
To add, there’s also the presentation to think about—considering the internet is a highly visual place. As you market yourself, think through the “know, like, and trust” lens marketers use to effectively sell products and services.
It’s a principle that also translates to your LinkedIn profile—and the visuals are a huge part of solidifying that first impression or “know” factor that’ll help make you memorable.
3. Fill out all sections
The “like” and “trust” factors? They’re solidified throughout all the sections of your profile that’ll help you stand out once optimized. Below is a walkthrough of all of them.
Do's and don'ts of a perfect LinkedIn profile
Once you optimize your LinkedIn profile with the tips below, look at your profile from a third-party perspective. If you were a recruiter for your dream company, would the profile make you stop scrolling to find out more?
If the answer is “yes” then you’re on the right track. Now, let’s dive into specific do’s and dont’s of profile optimization.
When creating a perfect LinkedIn profile, do:
Include a clear profile photo: Though this is a no-brainer, there are plenty of profiles out there without a clear profile picture. While it’s understandable that a lot of us don’t like the idea of throwing up a picture of us online, it’s a great way for recruiters to put a face to a name.
These days you can get away with taking a clear, well-lit selfie on a solid background to represent you. Though if you want to take your profile a level higher, it can be wise to invest in a professional headshot that’s up to date.
Here’s an example from author Maddie Osman:
Add a headline (and subheadline) that’s hard to miss: Some rules are made to be broken. While a simple headline that states your job title can work, consider creating a LinkedIn headline that says more about what you do.
Try taking it up a notch and use your subheadline to highlight your absolute best results. It’s a way to show instead of telling people what you do. How do you do this? Here’s a great example from content marketer Priscilla Tan’s profile and how she uses her headline and subhead:
“36.7% of my blog posts rank 1st in SERPs”
Showcase your work experience: Think of LinkedIn as the place where you can brag about your professional achievements. In the Experience section, list your current job as well as your last few positions.
Then make sure you fill in a brief description for each. Did your work surpass a relevant pageview milestone? Were you a top performer within your marketing team?
Did your initiative lead to a big team win? Did you win some kind of official recognition within your area of expertise? This is the space to show it all off.
Optimize your profile for skimmers: Have you ever noticed you tend to skim the text you come across online? Chances are, most LinkedIn users are skimming through your profile too. This is why you want to optimize your profile for skimmers.
Especially in your About section. Don’t default to writing large walls of text. Break it down and make it readable. Opt to include only a few sentences per paragraph and use bullet points if you have to.
Use video to showcase your expertise: The world is leaning much more on short-form video now than ever before. It’s normal to receive an email with a Loom video attachment because it makes it easier to share explanations and ideas with your team.
The same thing is happening on LinkedIn. If you’re comfortable being on camera, consider creating a few short videos showcasing your expertise. Once you’ve created them, add them to your Featured section so they’re easy to find.
Highlight your best skills: Make a list of your best skills, rank them in order of importance, and add them to your profile page under the Skills & endorsements section. There isn’t a magic number of skills you should add to your profile. But generally, the more relevant skills you can add, the better.
Take a note from TV personality and entrepreneur Daymond John’s profile.
Get creative in the About section: Whether you make it a third-person summary of what you do or a first-person narrative of your latest projects and your involvement in them, a LinkedIn summary is a must-have.
An additional way to showcase your skills and expertise in the field is to include testimonials from managers or clients that you’ve worked with in the past. Let them highlight how awesome you are. But start with an introduction that hooks your audience in first.
Take writer Sarah Nguyen’s About section as a brilliant example of this in action:
Include relevant keywords: Keywords are one of the best ways to get found on LinkedIn by the right people. Optimizing for LinkedIn’s search engine starts with getting familiar with SEO.
You want to create a list of your most relevant industry keywords and then make sure to include them naturally throughout your profile. Your profile’s headline, subheadline, and About section are all great places to add them.
Here’s a pro tip: Look through a list of the jobs you’d love to apply for and read their job descriptions. Pick out phrasing and keywords that are relevant to you and incorporate them into your own profile and LinkedIn headline.
Add a relevant cover photo: Did you know our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? It’s for that reason that your background photo is valuable digital real estate. One way to take advantage of that space is to create a background photo that explains what you do—specifically what results your skills get—in a few words.
Here’s an example banner from writer Courtney Goudswaard:
Don’t ignore the additional LinkedIn profile sections: Though not as commonly used, LinkedIn also includes Licenses & certifications, Volunteering, Courses, Honors & awards, Test scores, Languages, Interests, and Organizations sections. These can be great areas to showcase who you are as a job seeker.
Edit your profile every few months: Think of your LinkedIn profile as a living resume. In other words, it never stops evolving. As your career evolves, you accept new positions, work with new clients, and learn additional skills, each of your profile sections should reflect that.
Schedule a checkpoint moment every few months to update your profile and prune keywords, bios, and titles that are no longer relevant.
Add your pronouns: Don’t leave any area in your LinkedIn profile blank if you can avoid it. Be sure to add your pronouns. Here’s an example of public speaker Simon Sinek's profile:
When creating a perfect LinkedIn profile, don’t:
Mention unemployment: The truth is, a lot of us go through periods of unemployment in our job search journey due to a million different reasons. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s something you want to include in your profile. Even if that leaves a gap in your employment timeline.
In the context of shining the best light on you as a skilled professional, an explanation or inclusion of a period of unemployment is largely unnecessary. So if you’ve been unemployed within the last few years, don’t sweat it. Omit that part of your work history instead.
Use buzzwords to explain what you do: Leave the tired jargon to the textbooks. Though LinkedIn is full of digital profiles, there are real people behind them looking to connect with others. Jargon lessens your chances of connecting and leaves you sounding trite and—in a lot of cases—irrelevant.
The rule of thumb here? Clarity above all else. It’s more important to be clear about what you do instead of being overly wordy.
List every single achievement: It’s awesome that you interned for a month at the Smithsonian in your last year of college. But unless you’re fresh off the graduation ceremonies this might not be the best achievement to highlight.
Recruiters and hiring managers want to see experience above all else. Highlight the specifics of what you’ve done to bring value to a business or client. Over time, this list will grow. List your best achievements accordingly.
Close your profile off to searches: This is a big no. And it also beats the purpose of having a LinkedIn profile in the first place. Don’t close off your profile to search engines. To check your privacy settings:
- Click on your profile icon in the top right of your LinkedIn dashboard
- Navigate to Settings & Privacy
- Click on Visibility then Visibility of your profile & network
- Then go through each option to ensure you’re as visible in LinkedIn searches as possible by adjusting the settings accordingly
Leave sections blank because you think they don’t apply: If you’re new to an industry, looking for a completely new job, or you’re just entering the workforce, you might not have the relevant skills that are must-haves in your industry. However, this isn’t an excuse to leave the most important parts of your profile blank.
If you don’t have the relevant skills to help your profile stand out, invest the time in acquiring them! This can mean looking into certifications—lots of which are free or low cost—from leading organizations within your industry. For example, industry giants like Google or HubSpot offer certification you can showcase as part of your overall list of skills.
Use an old profile picture: it’s tempting. But defaulting to using an old profile picture won’t win you points with interested people in your industry. Invest the time in taking a headshot that’ll put you in the best light possible. As part of your overall profile, it helps you stand out for a good reason.
How to use AI to create the perfect LinkedIn profile
Having trouble figuring out what to put in your profile besides keywords? Jasper helps you create a professional bio without having to start from scratch. Let’s create one as an example:
Jasper’s dashboard is easy to use. Once you have your keywords in mind, it’s a matter of plugging them in and hitting the Submit button.
Let’s say we’re a project manager and we want to optimize our LinkedIn profile’s About section. The problem, however, is that we don’t necessarily have a way with words.
On Jasper’s dashboard, we navigated to Templates, then clicked on Personal Bio.
Then we specified:
- A witty tone of voice
- The point of view
- Our personal information
And these are our results after we clicked on Generate AI content:
“I'm a project manager with years of experience working with startups. I've seen 500% growth in sales and have helped numerous companies achieve success. I'm currently involved with Y combinator as a project manager, and I hope to help even more businesses reach their goals. My previous work was in content marketing, so I know how to get your message out there and generate results. When I'm not working, you can find me playing guitar or spending time with my family.”
Once you have a bio to work with, make minor changes to add more of your personality. Then you’re all finished.
The beauty of AI, specifically Jasper’s approach to generating copy, is that you can use it in all kinds of scenarios. And you can use templates to speed up the process.
Get started perfecting your LinkedIn profile with Jasper
If you haven’t optimized your LinkedIn profile, you’re likely missing out on job offers that could come your way. The first step is learning what recruiters, startups, and employers are looking for.
The second step is reworking your profile until it’s eye-catching, with a clear value proposition. The good thing is, Jasper not only helps you with profile optimization, but it also helps you write copy for a ton of other projects—anything from product descriptions, social media copy, ad copy, landing page copy, or even blog posts.
Need help creating other career-focused content? Try our Recommendation Letter Generator or Resume Generator.
Start using Jasper to write better copy today.