Let's talk LinkedIn: How to optimize your professional profile

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

LinkedIn has revolutionized the way we search and apply for jobs and collaborate with other professionals. But how do you stand out in a sea of millions of profiles? Here are five tips to help you optimize each section of your LinkedIn profile.

A picture is worth a thousand words

According to LinkedIn, members with a profile picture receive 10 times more views than those who do not. That's why having a professional, well-framed and recent photo of yourself is so important! You don't need to have a professional headshot. Grab a friend and ask them to take a picture of you with your smartphone! Make sure you are well lit, the background isn't too busy and your appearance is professional. Adding a cover photo is another great way to make your account stand out. You can use a photo of yourself in the field, or something more generic that showcases your interests. Watch out for the dimensions. Websites like canva.com can help you create an image that is the correct size and format for free!

Word choice matters

As you fill out the various LinkedIn profile sections, be sure to include keywords used in your industry to help your profile appear in searches. If you're working on a degree in sports production, you would want to be sure to include the words "sports" and "production" together in sections like Headline, About, Skills and in relevant job descriptions in Experience. Don't go overboard: This is called keyword stuffing, and can actually hurt your chances of showing up in search results!

Showcase your best work

Several LinkedIn sections allow you to link to or upload media to compliment information you've included on your profile. For example, under the About section, there is a special Featured section. Think of this as your highlight zone. Links could go to an online portfolio, a YouTube channel, online articles, etc. Place items here that you want people to see, and make sure they are optimized to look good one your profile and after someone clicks on them. You can also add links in the About, Experience and Education sections. Maybe you completed a thesis in college, or you have some impressive work samples from a recent job. Make sure the material you are adding is relevant and reflects your professional brand.

Don't be shy, ask for that recommendation

Building your network is the bread and butter of LinkedIn. Be sure to connect with your colleagues and classmates, faculty and staff from college and leaders in the industry. While building your network, you can lean on your connections to give you endorsements and recommendations that will appear directly on your profile. Endorsements add validity to your Skills section by backing up to your work experience, while recommendations can have a positive impact on your prospects as a job candidate. LinkedIn is all about the give and take. If you give endorsements, you will likely get some in return.

Keep it up-to-date & be relevant

LinkedIn is a living, breathing representation of your resume, and of you, the professional! Keep your profile updated. Regularly refresh your About section and Experience section as necessary. Make sure that the sections you are adding are relevant, add value to your profile and make sense for your professional brand and career goals. And above all else: Always be professional. Happy networking!

To learn more about these and other best practices, stream the full discussion here. This workshop was originally recorded during the 2020 Fine Tune Friday series hosted by the Cronkite School.

Current Cronkite School students are also welcome to book a one-on-one LinkedIn Review Session with any member of our Cronkite Career Services team. Visit www.cronkitecareerservices.com/our-team to book an appointment.


More About Fine Tune Fridays:

Fine Tune Fridays offer students tips on how to fine-tune their professional persona from their resume to their wardrobe. Workshops are open to all Cronkite students and alumni, and are hosted virtually via Zoom. For a full schedule of upcoming events, visit: www.cronkitecareerservices.com/fine-tune-fridays

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