Continue reading if you’re unsure of what to include in your LinkedIn profile or how a perfect profile should appear.
As a former recruiter, let me share what I learned:
- What to include on LinkedIn: A breakdown of all the essential components
- Why the experience portion of your LinkedIn profile might be the most crucial section, and examples of how to write it to make your profile stand out
- Tips for the other crucial aspects of LinkedIn that will attract attention and result in job offers
- Additional LinkedIn guidance and errors to avoid
What to Put on Your LinkedIn Profile When Job Searching:
Your LinkedIn profile contains the following important sections, which you should complete:
- Profile photo
- LinkedIn headline
- LinkedIn Summary
- Work experience descriptions
- Recommendations from colleagues
- Education and certifications
- Volunteer experience
Now that you know which elements to include on your LinkedIn profile, read on for an explanation of each of these sections.
1. Profile Photo
Even if a person clicks on your profile on LinkedIn, they will see your profile picture.
They notice it when you leave a remark on a post, reach out to them, apply for a job, and other actions.
So it’s important to include it in every profile.
Select a professional, approachable profile photo with your face visible while you complete your profile.
Here is an example of a good headshot and a major error you should avoid. Here is an illustration of a search I conducted as a recruiter:
As a recruiter, I won’t click on an applicant without a profile picture.
If you’re looking for a job, it would be a big error to not have a LinkedIn profile photo. Employers and recruiters might think your account is a scam, and even if they don’t, they’ll still be perplexed as to why you don’t have a photo when almost everyone else does. It merely appears strange and raises pointless worries.
Additionally, using the incorrect photo can harm your employment search.
So when selecting a headshot for your LinkedIn page, make sure it looks professional. It doesn’t have to be flawless. But choose a photo in which you appear to be self-assured, cheerful, and well-dressed.
If you need additional assistance with this, LinkedIn has these five suggestions for choosing the ideal profile photo.
2. LinkedIn Headline
Your title is visible before someone ever clicks on your profile, much like your profile photo is.
Even though it is less than 50 words, your title is one of the most crucial parts of your LinkedIn profile since it determines whether someone will click through to your profile.
Choose keywords and descriptive phrases that demonstrate your precise skill set and how you’re a suitable fit for the following opportunity type when you compose your headline.
Note that there is no requirement that your current or most recent job title appears in your LinkedIn headline.
To leave your headline as “Software Developer” or “Customer Service Representative,” for instance, is a squandered chance.
To differentiate yourself from competitors in your field, give added depth. Include relevant keywords and important abilities that demonstrate your greater value to an employer if employed for a new position.
3. LinkedIn Summary
Given its prominence in your profile and flexibility in terms of content, the summary part of your LinkedIn profile is crucial.
You can simply use text, emoticons to grab attention, or links to previous projects or items from your portfolio. Take advantage of the opportunity to be more creative than in many other LinkedIn sections thanks to the versatility of your summary.
If you’re in the middle of a job search and are stuck for ideas, pick up a few job descriptions for the positions you’re interested in.
Now ask yourself, “How can I create my summary to demonstrate to companies that I have the abilities and experience required for their position?”
There is no “correct” length for a LinkedIn summary, but you should write at least one to two paragraphs. If you have more pertinent information to provide, you can write much more.
Since this is one of the first places a hiring manager or recruiter examines, never skip it.
(As a recruiter, it wasn’t the first place I searched, but it was close. Keep reading—the next portion is there.)
4. Work Experience
The most crucial part of your LinkedIn profile once a potential employer has clicked on it is your work experience section, even though your photo and headline are most crucial for drawing them in.
As a recruiter, I always start by looking at this area of a candidate’s profile. I came here before I looked at my talents, your summary, or anything else.
This is because when hiring new employees, businesses search for former job descriptions and past work that are similar. The quickest way for them to determine whether you’d be successful in their position is to see that you’ve completed previous similar tasks.
(FYI, this is true on a resume, too. I always read the resume work experience before anything else, and it’s by far the most important section of your resume)
So make your LinkedIn job descriptions stand out by using the advice below:
Keep the “Main” Sections Shorter Than Your Resume
Your LinkedIn profile should be shorter than your resume when it comes to details like your work history and bullet points. Assume that each job listing is only being read for a brief period.
Select the top 3–4 bullets from your resume for each job, and then include them. But leave out the rest.
Just above the bullets, think about adding a one-sentence summary of your work in each of the roles. Although this is usually a little bit lengthier on a resume, if it’s already one sentence, you can copy it over. If not, I’d cut it down a little.
The “summary” that displays on LinkedIn beneath your name and above your work history is the lone exception to this rule. On your CV and roughly the same length on LinkedIn, I’d advise that you use 2-3 sentences.
Therefore, you CAN copy that across. You can discover how to write a resume summary that will wow employers if you’re unsure of how to do it.
How Long to Make Your LinkedIn Work Descriptions for Each Job
There isn’t. Here, there is no “golden rule.” If you include it, some people will read more of the information. The issue is this though: Your LinkedIn profile’s (or resume’s) objective isn’t to compel readers to read every word. It’s to get a response and an interview request, am I correct?
After reading your LinkedIn, they could still have some questions and want to know more, but they’ll have seen enough to make them want to speak. And that’s the goal. The rest will be revealed by the questions they pose to you during the interview.
Additionally, keeping things concise will compel you to concentrate on selecting the most spectacular accomplishments from among your bullet points.
You wouldn’t be as selective and wouldn’t create strong bullet points if I instructed you to add 10 bullets for every job. However, if you stick to the 3–4 bullet recommendation for each position, your LinkedIn profile will only have the best bullets.
You will stand out on LinkedIn by taking the effort to “cut the fat” and just include your best achievements, which will also make your profile more appealing to read and skim, which is what you want as a job seeker.
Show Progress or Advancement Whenever You Can
Employers adore it when you go up the corporate ladder, get promoted, etc.
So whenever you can demonstrate that, do so.
Here is a very basic illustration from my very first recruiting position. I was first promoted to Senior Executive Recruiter from Executive Recruiter. I, therefore, made care to display this development on my LinkedIn:
Note that your profile should have more detail than this.
This was condensed because it’s from a very long time ago, I’m not looking for a job, and everyone is aware of what an “Executive Recruiter” does. I also wanted to emphasize the progress I made and the leadership I began exhibiting when I was employed here.
However, be sure to include additional information about the real duties of your last 2-3 positions.
As I indicated previously, aim for 4 to 5 bullet points. The main thing that recruiters and hiring managers want to see is what you’ve lately worked on and achieved.
One additional thing to keep in mind while demonstrating progression and advancement: It’s not always necessary to undergo a formal change in pay or title of employment. Even if your compensation and/or job title remained the same, you can still indicate any changes in your duties—such as beginning to coach and train new team members—on LinkedIn to demonstrate your growth.
Focus Mostly on Your Recent Work
One of the main tactics I suggest for what to write on your LinkedIn profile is this.
Now, if you’re job hunting with no experience or right out of college, this won’t affect you because you don’t have many jobs to mention anyhow – but if you have several years of work experience and many former positions… Give the 2-3 most recent jobs more attention (and space) on your LinkedIn page!
Thus, the most recent position, for instance, might have 4 bullet points and a 2-sentence description above it.
3–4 bullet points and a one-sentence description would be present for the position below.
And so on…
By the time you apply for your fourth or fifth job, the description may only have one sentence and two bullets, or it may just contain a few bullets.
Use the majority of your time and the majority of the space on your LinkedIn job history to write about your most recent work. This is not a rule that you have to adhere to 100% of the time.
You Don’t Need to Put Every Past Job on Your LinkedIn Profile
Consider completely deleting a few roles if they are from your past and unrelated to the jobs you are searching for right now, just like on your CV.
When creating your CV or LinkedIn profile, there is no rule requiring you to include every past position.
Formatting Your LinkedIn Work History – Keep it Simple
In the screenshot above, you can also see how I utilized very basic formatting to draw attention. Before the descriptions, I simply entered “-,” and it is obvious to see in the example above.
So, while you can think about doing something similar, don’t go overboard. No hiring manager or recruiter appreciates a profile that is cluttered with symbols, emoticons, and other images that make it difficult to read or concentrate.
Find one or two minor things you can do to stand out, but keep everything else very simple and concentrate on generating amazing content that will compel readers to call you or arrange a meeting.
Additionally, take inspiration from attractive profiles. Borrow concepts. You’re mistaken if you believe that the best authors never borrow ideas from other people. Therefore, none of this requires that you start with a “blank page.” Look around at other individuals in your business, pick up a few ideas, and make a note of what looks nice and what certainly does not.
Don’t replicate someone else’s LinkedIn profile right now. Avoid plagiarism. Take inspiration, though.
You have 50 skill spaces on LinkedIn, so use them all wisely while creating your profile. LinkedIn skills act as keywords and will raise the visibility of your profile in recruiters’ searches.
Additionally, even though you can only use a certain number of keywords in your headline, LinkedIn summary, and other parts without making your profile appear like you’re stuffing it full of keywords, you can complete all 50 skill spaces and still have a fantastic-looking profile.
A strong skill area makes you stand out and makes it easier for recruiters to locate you in search results, so it’s a win-win situation.
You can list both soft skills and hard skills, including job-related skills. Get inventive and create a broad list of the skills you’ve acquired during your career, but keep it focused on the 50 abilities that employers will deem important for the position you’re aiming to land next.
LinkedIn recommendations are a powerful tool for demonstrating to potential employers that your professional background is relevant and that you have excelled in previous positions.
Most LinkedIn users lack even one written recommendation (which is different than simply getting endorsements for skills). Therefore, request letters of recommendation from coworkers that you have worked with throughout your career that testify to the caliber of your work before offering to do the same for them.
7. Education and Certifications
Add any pertinent qualifications and licenses you have received throughout your career after finishing your education information.
Thought should be given to what is pertinent for your position and sector, as in the sections above. You might want to include more information if your industry is directly tied to your educational background.
If you’ve worked in a field unrelated to what you studied in college for a long time, you can just mention your degree in passing and without going into great detail.
I went that route in my career; I graduated with a degree in finance but never worked in the field, so I only mention it briefly on my profile. Use this as an example of what to do if you just want to demonstrate that you have a degree but have advanced in your profession and most companies are no longer interested in it.
You can also enroll in courses directly on LinkedIn through LinkedIn Learning if you believe that improving your abilities or adding a new course to your education will aid in your search for employment.
That’s another excellent approach to attracting employers to your LinkedIn profile.
You can emphasize everything from languages spoken to projects and publications in the Accomplishments area on LinkedIn.
Mentioning any side projects or interests that will enhance your professional career in this part is a terrific idea. By contributing projects and accolades from your place of employment, you can further describe your professional work experience.
This area is highly adaptable, just like your Summary section, so you may get inventive and use it in many ways based on your sector and job type.
By clicking the arrows on the right side, the reader can extend any of these accomplishments. For specific successes, you can even insert connections to other websites.
This is practical for highlighting publications and other achievements that are entirely unrelated to LinkedIn.
9. Volunteer Experience
LinkedIn gives you the option to include a distinct area for any volunteer work you’ve done.
Select “Volunteer Experience” under the “Add Section” heading on your LinkedIn profile.
This provides you the chance to demonstrate to companies that you have a diverse professional background and are involved in the community while also adding another remarkable part to your LinkedIn profile that many job searchers won’t have.
Employers in every sector will consider volunteerism to be a valuable skill.
Conclusion: What to Put on Your LinkedIn Profile
The aforementioned elements are a requirement for your LinkedIn profile, regardless of whether you’re looking for work, simply seeking to network, or building your brand.
You’ll appear in more search results, establish more business contacts, and receive more job offers through LinkedIn if you finish the areas above.
But you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for people to connect with you when you finish your profile.
Be proactive in expanding your network and establishing contacts. To increase the visibility of your profile, network with others in your industry, join industry-specific LinkedIn groups, take part in discussions or start your own, leave comments on articles that catch your attention, and repeat.
This will increase the number of individuals who view your LinkedIn profile and open up additional prospects for you.