What Makes a Great LinkedIn Profile?

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As a job seeker, it’s important to think about how the LinkedIn profile and resume work together to achieve your job search goals. Consider everything that’s outward facing from a job search marketing perspective your “brand portfolio”.

Related: What is a Personal Brand and Why is it Important?

That means all the materials that make up your digital and offline presence as a job seeker - resume, LinkedIn, cover letter, website (if you have one), social profiles (if applicable), even your appearance in the interviews - should all reflect the same tone, voice, and messaging. You don’t want to say one thing on LinkedIn and something else on the resume.

A few rules I live and write by for LinkedIn:

Keep it Concise & High-Level

Depending upon your privacy settings, your LinkedIn profile is viewable by a much broader audience than your resume. You can tailor the resume to different positions, but such is not the case with LinkedIn. It should function as more of an introduction and overview of who you are, what you’ve done, and what you can bring to the table. You don’t want to be too specific and pigeon-hole yourself. It should provide pertinent details that pique a hiring manager’s interest and then lead into the specifics of the resume.

Include a Profile Photo

Some people prefer to leave the photo off of their profile for privacy reasons. Be aware that there are key sections on your resume that, when filled out adequately, influence your “profile completeness score”. This translates to whether or not your profile is of high quality based on content, and it influences how you show up in relevant search results. Having a photo on your profile is part of this score, and can improve the overall performance of your LinkedIn profile.

Write a Strong Opening Summary / Bio

The summary section on your LinkedIn profile is an important marketing tool that will set the overall tone and message for your profile, while immediately drawing attention to your most relevant qualifications. serves as a brief introduction of who you are as a candidate, and what relevant skills and experience you have to offer. If you have an existing bio that you use for other profiles, your website, or even your resume summary statement, you can apply that to your profile.

One of the advantages of LinkedIn is that the you can be less formal in your voice, and you can use that space to give more of a personal overview of yourself. But bear in mind that everything you write can and will be read by potential employers. So keep it concise, keep it relevant, and make sure it speaks to the value you bring to a potential employer.

My own LinkedIn profile summary, which includes a headshot, a descriptive and keyword-optimized headline, and an overview of my skills and expertise.

My own LinkedIn profile summary, which includes a headshot, a descriptive and keyword-optimized headline, and an overview of my skills and expertise.



Create Quality Content & Fill Out All Key Sections. 

For the reasons stated above, make sure you have all of the following sections filled in with strong content that speaks to your overall message. If you’re not sure what that message is, as yourself “What do I want hiring managers to take away from my profile/resume. What do I have to offer a prospective employer?”

Those sections include: Profile Photo, Headline, Summary Section, Experience, Skills, Education, and Recommendations. The last is optional, but having recommendations from peers, supervisors and other stakeholders definitely boosts the quality of your profile.

Populate the Profile with Relevant Skills & Keywords

Make sure the skills section includes all of the applicable skill sets relevant to your field/target job title. If you’re unsure what those are, pull a couple of ideal job descriptions and look for common threads in the language.

Example of a job description that gives a concise overview of responsibilities while optimizing with relevant keywords.

Example of a job description that gives a concise overview of responsibilities while optimizing with relevant keywords.

Create a Keyword Optimized Headline

Spend time refining your headline. This is the first thing someone will read about you if you pop up in a search result. It’s also largely what the search results are based upon - close matches to the way you describe yourself in your headline. While it’s tempting to be creative, stick with language that is close to the search terms a recruiter is likely to enter when searching for someone with your title or skill set.

Related: How Much Detail Should I Include in My LinkedIn Profile?

In Conclusion

Your LinkedIn profile is an integral part of your overall brand portfolio. It should reflect the same messaging as your resume, while taking into consideration that LinkedIn is a different platform with unique requirements and limitations. Ensure all sections are adequately filled out, and that your content tells a compelling story by using relevant key words.

What Next?
We can help you create a high-quality LinkedIn profile that stands out and get results. Contact us to learn more.