Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile – A How-To Guide

Your Audience Is On LinkedIn.

Because of this, you should take the time to optimize your LinkedIn profile.  In fact, the latest stats according to LinkedIn is there are more than half a billion professionals worldwide who gather on LinkedIn to stay connected and informed, advance their careers, and work smarter.

  • 63 million decision-makers
  • 17 million opinion leaders
  • 90 million senior-level influencers
  • 10 million C-level execs and more.

Let’s start with you!

Your Profile

Developing a strong LinkedIn profile for business

The majority of your work actually involves figuring out what your personal brand is first. There’s a lot of advice out there on how to develop a personal brand, but the golden rule is to be authentic.

Think about what really matters to you: your vision, purpose, value, and passion. Let that shine through.

Know what you have in common with your peers and competitors, but also what makes you stand out.

Optimize Your Linkedin Profile

When people look at your profile, they decide whether you’re worth connecting with in several seconds.

These are the questions that go through their head when making this decision:

  • Do they look like a domain expert?
  • Do they look like a leader?
  • Can they help me?

If you can trigger a “yes” to any or all of these things, you’re good.

Here’s a strong profile checklist:

  • Can be skimmed in 30 seconds or less.
  • Professional headline is below 120 characters, lists career focus and components of work
  • Includes industry-related keywords, core skills, strengths, talents and interests
  • Well written in a professional style, no spelling and grammatical mistakes
  • Answers questions that provides deeper insight about the individual:
    • What makes her unique?
    • Where is her career headed?
    • How would others describe her?
    • What are her values and personal traits?4

Oh, and remember to update your profile in private. You can turn off the updates under privacy settings, so you’re not broadcasting every little tweak you make.

The Headshot

It starts with the headshot because people mentally digest pictures before they read.

You don’t need anything over the top. As long as the viewer believes you put in the effort to take a professional headshot, then you’ve increased your add-back percentage.

What’s an add-back percentage?

It’s the percentage of the connection requests you send out that get accepted.

The Cover Photo

The next step is optimizing your cover photo. There are three photos that will increase your add-back rate:

You with a relevant influencer in your industry

You speaking in front of prospects

You at a local landmark (only works if you’re connecting with people in your city)

The Headline

Once your viewers finish judging your headshot and cover photo, they’ll read your headline.

The more thought leadership you can portray here, the higher increase you’ll see in your add-back rate. This doesn’t mean writing “Thought Leader” in your headline. Edit your headline to be more than just your job description, and make your headline as compelling as possible.

If you are listing tangible accomplishments or awards, preferably include specific numbers; otherwise, people won’t believe you.

Your Summary

Now they’re reading your bio.

This is your opportunity to get them to click-through to your landing page.

Your summary is the place where you really get to go into detail. Distill what you’ve learned about yourself, including your key values, passions, strengths, opinions, and personality. Talk about your one-line brand statement—what makes you, well, you—and support it with goals that show off your passion and key accomplishments that reflect your skills. Think about this section as describing where you came from and where you’re going—you’re telling your story.

Also, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. You should spend most of the content on your professional profile, but leave some portion for more personal elements that help you stand out.

Your Experience

Think of the experience section as a bigger, better, more interactive version of your resume—the place to share what you’ve done and just how well you’ve done it.

The important thing to consider here is highlighting the responsibilities that align with your brand.

To help build trust, make sure you have a logo for each company you’ve worked at. If there’s no logo, viewers will assume the company didn’t exist.


Logos are nice, but the recommendations you have are even better. You should have, at least, five. If you don’t, then ask your coworkers and peers for a minute of their time to write something for you.

Don’t be shy. It’s worth the ask.

If you’ve done everything listed, then your profile is optimized.

Quick Profile Hack

Lastly, know that you can reorder the sections on your profile if it makes sense for your brand. The summary section will always be on top, but you can move, for example, your publication section higher or your education down, depending on what is most relevant to you now.

I’d love to hear how you use LinkedIn, and as always, feel free to connect with me there.