The basics of LinkedIn profile – make sure you get these right
A LinkedIn profile has following features:
- LinkedIn address
- Cover photo
It is best to start by getting the settings right. There are plenty of them and it’s best to go through them without any hurry. Make sure you note the following:
You can find settings in your profile; see Settings and privacy.
- How others see your LinkedIn activity
- Share job changes, education changes and work anniversaries from profile. When you update your profile, will your network be informed? It is advisable to turn this feature off, especially when you are buiding up your profile. We don’t want to be notified of every single change.
Another thing worth checking is Profile viewing options, which you can find under the same heading: How others see your LinkedIn activity. In what mode are you when you take a glimpse of somebody’s LinkedIn profile? Do they see your name, profile photo and your title; or just your working place; or are you anonymous? It is recommended you are as open as possible and show your name, title and your profile photo.
By default, your personal LinkedIn address is a set of numbers and letters in miscellaneous order. You can ”clean” your address by clicking Edit public profile & URL on the right of your profile page. You can type a new, more simple URL by clicking Edit URL. By clicking that button, you open a completely new page. Put that address into your CV or in your email signature.
Next, make sure your profile has public visibility. Check that the button is on, meaning your profile photo and other information can be seen in search engines. By doing that you ensure you can be found when people are looking for experts, e.g., by using Google.
Remember that you can adjust what to show on your profile and to whom. In default settings, your name, the size of network, field and location are public. You can adjust which information you wish to show to those who are not signed in LinkedIn (to those who use search engines and other services).
It is, however, worth bearing in mind the no.1 LinkedIn principle: the more you share, the more you see. If you are anonymous, LinkedIn gives you anonymous data. Without the profile photo, you are the last one in the search. You get what you give. It is good to have a public LinkedIn profile because that helps your network, your future employers and your partners to find you.
Add a photo into your profile. Most of all it makes you more human and more approachable. The requirements for the photo are the same as in the CV: clear, appropriate and up-to-date facial photo. There must be no other people in it. And surely a smile won’t do any harm!
Cover photo is another handy way to stand out and make your profile page more personal. The more visual your page is the better. Your cover photo can feature a project you are currently working on, tell something about your hobbies, guide to your web page or promote your company’s ongoing campaign.
You can write a summary on top of your profile. It is an excellent way to highlight your key expertise or tell about the work you are currently seeking. The idea is to summarise your essential expertise. This summary helps your viewers to decide whether they want to read more about you.
Examples of what to mention in the About section:
- What do you do at the moment and what are your key competences: What, when, why, where and how?
- What are your main achievements and results?
- What are your targets?
- What are your strengths?
- Describe the way you work and your personal features.
- If you are looking for work, say it! Explain what you want to do, what your interests are, which way you you wish to guide your career in the future
- Contact details; how you can be reached
Summary is an excellent way to highlight you key expertise.
For recruiters, location is one criterion when searching for candidates. Choose your location according to where you are looking for work. If you are, for example, finalising your studies abroad but you are looking for work in the Turku region, set Turku as your location.
The headline under your name tells who you are in business life and what you wish to do next.
Be explicit if you are looking for work, e.g.: Student of Electrical Engineering at Aalto University | Looking for new opportunities
In addition to your title, write about your experience in more detail: what you do and how, what you have achieved and who you have worked with.
Here, you may want to mention not just the paid jobs but also summer jobs, internships and school projects.
- Explain your actual tasks and responsibilities: ”What you did, where, when”.
- Tell about your experience by using active verbs. Tell what you did and how and what were your responsibilities. What did your job entail on a daily level, how was your typical day at work. Example: ”I carried out the project X, I planned the product Y, I improved/developed X by starting…”
- If required, you can also tell shortly about your employer. Write about the organisation’s domain and basic information about its operations.
- Who you worked with and what tools you used.
- Tell about the achievements and results you reached at work. What did you achieve in your work alone or together with others? Examples: “I did A, which profited in B. That was beneficial in a wider scale in the way of Z.” / ”The market share of our service activity grew by 6% when I did X…” / ”I finalised the project Y. Now the new logistical procedures speed up the delivery of our products…”
- Make a list of interesting facts, figures and statistics.
- What kind of feedback did you get?
Remember that there is various kind of expertise:
- Communication skills: oral, written and electronic communication, presentation skills, negotiation skills, sales skills and influencing
- Social skills – we rarely work completely alone
- Self-management: jobs vary and they are not strictly outlined
- International/global business environment
- Learning new and unlearning old
List your degrees here. Mention your major and minors. It is also advisable to discuss the topic of your thesis. Exchange student programmes can be mentioned separately in the education section.
As far as short courses and short-term education, consider if it is better to mention them in “courses” or “certificates”.
Notice that only the first three skills are visible if the section is not clicked open. Make sure that those three are the most essential ones for you.
Increase your reliability by requesting and giving recommendations. It can come from your boss and also from your colleague, fellow student, subordinate, partner or client. It is advisable to give practical examples: what you have done and achieved.
Remember to reciprocate and give endorsements to others!
Language skills: You may want to add languages, especially if you deal with international affairs or wish to move into them.
Organisations: e.g. societies, student organisations, organised groups. Describe your duties and responsibilities and give an example of what you did.
Courses: You can list courses you did during your studies that are linked to your expert profile, such as language courses.
Certifications: Usually further training, e.g. quality know-how, qualifications, lab standards, hygiene passports etc.
Volunteer experience: Here you can add your voluntary work experience, projects, events, tutoring, mentoring, training, helping.
Follow the companies, groups and topics that you find interesting. The things you follow also tell what fields you are mostly interested in. This can help you to carefully share your values and show what things are dear to you. By following interesting people and by participating in groups you get their news to show up in your feed.
Groups help you to network with the people from your own field or even with the recruiting professionals. By signing into LinkedIn you can easily follow topical issues in your line of work.
You can find groups in your trade by searching other profiles. Join the same groups with the experts of your line!
On TEK’s TEKrekry LinkedIn group you can find technical academic jobs and trainings.
Remember who you are writing to and bear it clearly in mind all the time. Your profile is often read by someone you don’t know. Thus, you have to open up your story so even they can understand what you can do and what you are interested in. Instead of lecturing, make your story more concrete by giving relevant examples and, if suitable, some numbers. Keep in mind that even though something may be obvious to you, it is not necessarily apparent to the reader.
Bring out your motivation and don’t forget your personality either. It is important to tell what you can do but it is equally important to express how you want to develop yourself and what you want to learn more, what kind of things motivate you and what kind of personality you have.
LinkedIn is mostly in English. If you want to be found, you should write your profile in English. Finnish recruiters are also using English terms when searching information. If you wish, you can use another language along with English.
If you want to be found, write your profile in English.
You can add attachments to your LinkedIn profile. You can, for example, add photos, videos and presentations. Have you made a good presentation about some interesting topic? Do you want to share some notions about your thesis to new readers? What other material have you got that you could share publicly that tells about your expertise, personality and experience? Something that could benefit others, too. Add attachments to various sections of your profile. LinkedIn algorithms also favour attachments.
Like any other social media channel, LinkedIn is updated regularly. So don’t be alarmed if the visual image or some features change overnight. LinkedIn does not usually inform their users about the updates beforehand, not even the big ones.
This article is part of a LinkedIn training series written by TEK’s career coaches. Read more on what is LinkedIn, LinkedIn as a search engine, improving search results, how to become active on LinkedIn and the use of different features.