How to Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile

How to Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile

I help people create effective LinkedIn in profiles. Sometimes we start from scratch, sometimes we edit their existing profile, more often than not, we combine multiple profiles into one.  But no matter where we begin, we first need to understand who it is we are trying to attract and how we want to be found.  Frequently, people skip this step and jump right into listing their work experience, creating an inventory with dates.

While a comprehensive experience section CAN be helpful, especially if you have keyword rich descriptions associated with each job, it is important to be clear on who your target audience is, how you help or serve them and then to clearly articulate this in the heading, experience and summary sections of your LinkedIn profile. Once you know who it is you are addressing, it becomes easier to formulate your message.

If you are a job seeker, your profile may look more like a traditional resume, including past work experience which supports the new position you are looking for. Your summary should not only explain what type of position you are seeking but you should also indicate how you have contributed in each of  the past positions you have listed.  Note that you do not need to list every position you have ever held, especially if it is incongruent with the new job you are looking to fill. If you have had an entirely different previous career, you may wish to use the summary section to explain that you are looking to change careers, highlighting the skill sets you gained in one that you are now bringing to the next.

If you are a business owner, I suggest that you set up your LinkedIn profile a bit differently. You are not a job candidate, so rather than creating a resume for a prospective employer, create a marketing message for your prospective client or customer.  Think of the summary, experience and headline sections as an opportunity to explain how you can assist the person viewing your profile. Many people will view your profile when in the consideration phase; when they are considering buying your products or using your services. I suggest that you focus more on the ways you can solve THEIR problems rather than just listing all the places you have worked in the past. Use the summary to elaborate on the ways you help your clients and solve problems including examples of how you have done this in the past, for others.  In this way, you will be able to use your profile to both attract and convert leads and potential customers and clients.

Too often, people use LinkedIn to create a laundry list of dates and jobs worked rather than as an opportunity to showcase their talents, past successes, skills and expertise. Start with a basic understanding of who you are trying to connect with and then feature the strengths you have that might attract them. Remember to include keywords wherever possible and you will create an effective LinkedIn profile that will be much more than a list of dates and job descriptions but a combination of information and details that will attract leads and help you build your business.

If you would like to optimize YOUR LinkedIn profile, please contact me at

Please see the following posts for more on LinkedIn:

Getting started on LinkedIn

Job Hunting on LinkedIn

Can you block someone on LinkedIn?

Do you need help with LinkedIn?


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