7 Ways to Take Your LinkedIn Profile From Good to Great

7 Ways to Take Your LinkedIn Profile From Good to Great

You've got a custom LinkedIn URL. You've got a killer headline. You've got lots of endorsements, specifically curated to showcase your most impressive skills, and glowing recommendations up the wazoo.

So with all that covered, you're now ready to take your LinkedIn to a whole new level. Check out the seven key changes you can make to upgrade your profile.

1. Cover Your Bases

According to Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn's career expert, your summary section is one of the most important aspects of your profile.

Which means you need to communicate three things very quickly: who you are, what you have done, and what you can do.

That sounds pretty basic. However, most users neglect at least one aspect. For example, someone might write, I'm a web developer who's worked extensively with JavaScript, JSON, and AJAX, but she leaves out the mobile application she coded from scratch. She's included who she is and what she can do, but not what she's done.

Or, a global e-commerce manager might put, Head of Global E-commerce. Merged commerce and brand into unified digital experience, but he doesn't add, Specialties: Google Analytics; advanced Excel knowledge; SEO, PPC, image software. He's got what he's done, but not what he can do.

Pull up your LinkedIn summary right now and check to make sure it ticks all three boxes. If not, it's time to edit.

2. But Don't Make Your Summary Too Long

LinkedIn's cut-off for your summary section is 2,000 characters. While you might be tempted to use each and every one, Fisher cautions, “Be succinct.”

As a basic rule of thumb, it should be between 450 and 650 characters. Any shorter, and you're not communicating all the vital info; any longer, and you're rambling or including irrelevant details.

My summary section is on the longer side (650 characters) because I have a “teaser,” a personal anecdote about myself that not only catches the reader's attention, but also epitomizes my drive, persistence, and work ethic.

Check this article for a more in-depth explanation of how to do it.)

4. Shorten Your Experience Section

Most users pack five or six bullets under each job position. But unless you've only had a couple jobs, stick to two or three. (Executive positions, on the other hand, merit five or six.)

“Our recommendation is short highlights with punchy language,” Fisher says. “Include the job scope and a couple wins for each position.”

The good news is, you're no stranger to quantifying your achievements for your resume.

And remember, you're appealing to a wide audience here, including potential employers, recruiters, and other professionals, so your wording should reflect that. Don't pack it so full of jargon that only your (current) boss would have enough context to know what you're talking about. The more concise your bullets are, the easier it'll be for any viewer to understand them.

Bonus: To make your profile super-readable, pull up a blank Word document, copy a bullet point, and manually paste those bullet points into your LinkedIn, like so:

aren't taking full advantage of the groups section. Most people join seven or eight, but the site lets you add up to 50.

Groups are awesome for some obvious purposes: networking, staying up-to-date in your industry, building your personal brand, and as I saw, getting 425% more profile views.

But did you know you can also use them to signal a recruiter you'd be a good hire? Let's say you're trying to make the switch from operations manager at a hospital to project coordinator for a fitness company. You should join at least seven or eight program management-related groups; this will demonstrate you're serious about—and ready for—the change.

The same goes if you're staying in your industry. Think of 10 people who are above you, go to their profiles, and join the groups they're in.

“It all ties back to your professional brand,” Fisher says.

6. Add a Background Picture

I see lots of profiles that don't have background pictures at all. But remember, the more visual your profile is, the better! Everyone should use this feature.

And you're not limited to generic shots, either. My background picture used to be a picture of a laptop keyboard, but I've switched to a “candid” picture of myself writing. This personalizes my profile and strengthens my professional brand.

“It's just another opportunity to make a profile pop,” Fisher says.

Besides photos of yourself at work, you can use this real estate to showcase a current project, promote a work campaign, include a call to action, push people to a link (like your personal site), highlight the awards you've won, or include a short testimonial.

what you should be doing every month, week, and day on the platform to make the most of your new profile.

Photo of LinkedIn on phone courtesy of GongTo / Shutterstock.