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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

How to Write a Linkedin Profile That Lets the "You" Shine Through

Are you job hunting or on the verge of doing so? If you answered yes and you haven't spent considerable time and effort on your LinkedIn profile, you're missing out on a valuable opportunity to get the job of your dreams through this highly useful, career-oriented social media platform. In fact, a recent study found that 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site.

Added to that, the most current statistics show that 95 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as a major sourcing tool to help them find qualified candidates for companies seeking top-tier talent.

95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find and vet potential candidates
95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find and vet potential candidates.

If those numbers aren't staggering enough, here's one that should definitely catch your interest. According to the latest numbers, there are 20 million jobs being actively advertised on LinkedIn.

Convinced yet?

Hopefully, by now you're convinced that it's well worth your time and attention to create a complete, eye-catching LinkedIn profile—especially if you are in the process of job hunting. LinkedIn does a great job in helping you along and measures the completeness of your profile, informing you of what's left to be added. It even offers suggestions for helping you make your profile stronger and more attractive to recruiters.

Make it custom

If you want to set yourself apart from the pack in a job search, set your LinkedIn profile apart, as well. One way to do this is to create a custom URL. Here's how to do that step by step:

  1. In the top right of your LinkedIn control panel, simply go to the "me" button and click "view profile".
  2. Immediately beneath your control panel in the top-right corner, click "Edit public profile and URL."
  3. You should now be taken to a page that shows your public profile settings.
  4. At the top right-hand corner, you'll see "Edit your custom URL."
  5. Beneath that, you'll find your profile's URL, along with another pencil icon to the right.
  6. Click that pencil icon and change your profile's URL to something easy and memorable.

Once you create a custom URL for your LinkedIn profile, you should now be able to include this on your resume or business card. It will be far easier for potential employers or recruiters to access than the random numbers and letters generated by LinkedIn when you first set up your profile.

Use the right photo

If you haven't had a professional headshot taken, now is the time to fix that. First impressions count, and your LinkedIn profile photo will be the first thing a potential employer or recruiter notices when they access your LinkedIn profile.

Here are a few DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to your LinkedIn profile photo:


  • Smile! Potential employers want to know that you are approachable and friendly, and a smile is the best way to show this. (And yes, that means showing teeth.)
  • Have a muted, uncluttered background.
  • Make sure lighting is professional and colors are not overly saturated.
  • Dress for the job you want.


  • Crop your photo from a group shot.
  • Upload a photo of you participating in a hobby.
  • Upload an obvious selfie.
  • Use a photograph that is cluttered with objects or a full-body shot.
  • Take the cheap route on your headshot; remember—first impressions are important!

Wordcloud your target job description

The headline, summary, and experience sections of your LinkedIn profile should contain targeted words that will attract recruiters and potential employers to your page. Here's an easy, creative way to determine which words you should target:

  1. Determine the job title you want in your job search.
  2. Locate at least three job offerings for that title, along with the job descriptions for each.
  3. Copy and paste the job descriptions into a Wordcloud simulator, such as Wordclouds.com.
  4. Produce the Wordcloud to pull out target words that appear often in the job category—these are words to include in prominent places on your LinkedIn headline, summary, and experience sections.

Keep your summary succinct, quantifiable, and easy to read

Ideally, your LinkedIn summary should contain the following:

  • Three to five paragraphs
  • A bulleted list of your key skills and qualifications
  • Highlights of your success stories, preferably communicated in quantifiable factors (numbers of clients, statistics, dollars, etc.).
Your LinkedIn profile should highlight your successes in quantifiable numbers.
Your LinkedIn profile should highlight your successes in quantifiable numbers. Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash.

Let's look at the specific reasons for each of these.

First, the reason to keep your summary within three to five paragraphs is the simple understanding that everyone's time is valuable, especially recruiters and employers who are inundated with dozens (sometimes hundreds or thousands) of resumes to sift through daily. Your three-to-five-paragraph summary shows that you not only value their time—you're also able to prioritize what's most important in showcasing your talent and abilities.

Second, showing your key skills and qualifications in a bulleted, easy-to-read format not only helps save time for your reader (see the first point); it also demonstrates that you understand the principles of written communications, among which is presentation. As any magazine or newspaper editor will tell you, bulleted lists and white space around words helps writing become more easily digestible to the reader and speeds along the process of reading comprehension.

Third, using quantifiable evidence to showcase your success is the quickest and most convincing way to attract the admiration of your recruiter or potential employer. For example, quantifiable evidence (such as "I increased department sales revenue by $1 million during my time at XYz Corporation") can be easily checked and assessed with a few simple questions; whereas, an unquantifiable statement ("I am a successful at sales") leaves a lot of room for interpretation and potentially false representation.

Use first person and get personal

When creating your LinkedIn profile, write it in first person and do your best to walk the thin line between professional and personal.

If that sounds like conflicting advice, let me explain. When you submit your resume to a company, that resume lists your professional accomplishments. It should be the epitome of your professional life and project complete professionalism.

However, the interesting (and potentially powerful) thing about social media sites like LinkedIn is that they present your professional side with a small dose of what's personal. To put it simply—recruiters and potential employers want to get a glimpse inside your personal life before they hire you, as well, because they understand that your personal life will indeed affect your professional one.

In the same sense that you want to keep your strictly personal social media profiles (such as Facebook) private to avoid invasive searches into your personal affairs, you also need to understand that your LinkedIn profile should contain a healthy dose of both your professional and personal lives to show that you are a well-rounded potential employee.

What this means is you should absolutely focus on your professional profile in your LinkedIn summary, highlighting all of the qualifications you can bring to an organization. But in the same sense, you should take the opportunity to demonstrate that you are an active, healthy, personable individual, who has hobbies and interests outside of work—someone who knows how to blend the two seamlessly and make the best of both.

What better place to do this than through your LinkedIn profile?

Include your hobbies and multimedia

This means that if you are a mountain climber and have a blog about your mountain climbing exploits, add that to your LinkedIn page. It will only make your professional profile stand out to potential employers because it shows that you have a healthy life outside of work, and that you pursue challenging goals on a personal level.

If you've achieved awards or medals in sports or hobbies extending beyond your line of work, by all means, include these in your profile. Each one shows that you exhibit qualities employers look for, such as competitiveness, strength, determination, community involvement, and resilience.

If you know foreign languages or have participated in cultural experiences outside of your own, list these. If you have multimedia (video, blog posts, photos, etc.) demonstrating your participating, add it to your profile. Consider each addition to be a notch in your belt for employers who are looking for culturally aware, active, and inspired employees who know how to have a healthy work life/personal life balance.

Showcase your writing skills

In her bestselling novel Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, author Ann Handley notes, In an online world, our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are.

LinkedIn offers an invaluable opportunity to publish—take advantage of it. Writing thoughtful, error-free posts with pertinent information geared toward your industry is the perfect bait for recruiters looking for thought leaders and people who can shake up the industry with their truth and insight. It also demonstrates your ability to communicate with potential clients.

Build your references monthly

As a final thought, if you are using LinkedIn to find the job of your dreams, hopefully you've already asked for multiple references. If you haven't, now is the time to start building them on your profile. If you've worked across multiple industries but are job hunting in only one, put references from that industry in the top prominent spot. Then, continue to add to your references monthly to collect as many as possible.

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