5 Easy Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

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LinkedIn is easily the most neglected of the main social media networks. Standing against Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it’s often seen as the boring one of the bunch – little more than a glorified online CV. However, for business use, LinkedIn is actually one of the most valuable networks out there. If you Google you full name, your LinkedIn profile often ranks in the top 5 results. With the growing importance of content marketing and the rise of online authorship, we are all putting our name out more and more frequently. Improving your LinkedIn profile is simple and can really effect your online visibility.

Which begs the question – Why wouldn’t you want your LinkedIn profile to be the best it can be?

A lot of us (me included) heeded the advice to setup a LinkedIn profile, but then stopped. There are actually a few basic things that we can do that will really boost our profiles and online rankings. Here’s how to improve your LinkedIn profile in 5 easy steps:

Create a Vanity URL

Unless you have a really distinctive name, the default URL that LinkedIn provides for your profile is likely a string of indecipherable numbers and code. If you have to give your LinkedIn profile address over the phone, or you want to print it on your business card, it should be as concise and self-explanatory as possible. Sure people can find you by searching, but make their lives easier by making yourself easier to find.

Creating your own Vanity URL is simple and it instantly makes your profile more professional:

  1. Hover over Profile on the main nav-bar, then click Edit Profile
  2. Underneath your Profile Picture should be a short URL. Click Edit
  3. You’ll then be taken to your Public Profile page. This is the page that appears when someone finds your profile and is not signed in to LinkedIn. On the right-hand side, click on Customize your public profile URL and type in something that’s unique to you, easy to remember, and easy to share.

Complete Your Profile!

Your profile could be the first thing people see of you when looking to learn more abut your product, service, company, or previous work experience. Don’t devalue yourself with an incomplete profile – add as much information as possible.  And pay attention – LinkedIn is quite good at helping you fill in any bits you’ve missed with handy popup messages.

Use Keywords in Your Summary

Make sure you include a strong, SEO friendly summary of your career. Most summaries are only a few sentences long, but you’ve got 2,000 words, so use them as best as you can! Be sure to include keywords relating to your skills and interests within your summary. Your ‘searchability’ depends on LinkedIn’s search engine linking your name to certain keywords. If you’re a marketing manager, then you might want the term ‘marketing manager’ to appear a few times throughout the summary. Again, include as much information as you can to make yourself more searchable.

Make the Headlines

You don’t have to have your job title as your professional headline underneath your name. Think about what you want to be known for. Take any specialties or skills that you have and use those in your headlines to make your profile stand out from the crowd. Like your summary, keywords are also useful here.

Add Career Milestones with ‘Sections’

Sections are really quick to add and LinkedIn will promote you for them. If you have any certifications, awards, languages, publications or projects, then show them off! Some sections, including Publications, allow you to add extra information, such as a link to the title of a book or article you’ve written. To add sections, go to Edit Profile and then select a Section from the list on the right-hand side.

These are all simple tweaks, but they can really make a difference to your LinkedIn visibility. More and more people are turning to LinkedIn to learn more about you. Make sure that your first impression is not just a good one, but a great one.

Got any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below.

Rob Short

Rob Short

Rob Short is an Account Executive at award winning digital marketing agency, Smart Monkey. Connect with Rob on Twitter @Rob_SMM and Google+.
Rob Short

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  • Patrick Wagner

    Does the keywords used in your summary really have an impact on your ranking in LinkedIn? Also does anyone know if outside traffic to your profile page is a factor in LinkedIn Ranking?

    • Rob Short

      Hi Patrick,

      Adding keywords within your summary does have an impact on your ranking as it helps to improve your relevancy to those terms. However, I’m not sure if outside traffic affects your LinkedIn ranking – I’d be interested to find out if anybody knows!


    • Lonny Gulden


      Based on what I can discern, the most important location for keywords is in your current and past employment experience. This seems to have the predominant impact on rank order of search results. Keyword density (# of times keyword appears) is the governing factor. If you want to move up the list of search results, be sure to use your important keywords multiple times. LinkedIn also says that you and I may do exactly the same search and get different results. Supposedly LinkedIn somehow distinguishes which responses will be more relevant for each of us. Even with that, LinkedIn’s search engine is less than perfect. I’ve done some searches and found numerous “false positives” on the first page of search results.

  • Alpesh Brahmbhatt

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful details i really like it this type of improving a profile url with this easy steps. Thanks a lot….

    • Rob Short

      You’re very welcome, glad you found the article useful!

  • Vinod Duvasi

    Hello Rob,

    Nice post!!

    Would like to point out the misspelling in your article:
    Your profile could be the first thing people see of you when looking to learn more “abut” (about ) your product, service, company, or previous work experience.

    Also would like to know how much effective it will be if we are optimizing the profile. Does the post just convey your thoughts, or it’s according to the LinkedIn team.


  • Sam

    We’ve also found that using a professional headshot as a profile picture helps as well; it definitely pulls the profile together!

  • Keith A. Keel

    How different can a LinkedIn profile be from a resume? Can humor be injected into a profile? Can it be there be some humility and modesty involved, as opposed to the so many of the “look at me, see how fantastic I am!” I see on social media, which quite frankly annoys the heck out of me? Or do I have to just grit my teeth and join the rest of the braggarts?

    • Rob Short

      I think it comes down to a combination of personal preference and considering who your audience is. LinkedIn definitely provides an opportunity to show off a more ‘human’ side than a conventional CV does. Ultimately, LinkedIn is a professional network, so the majority of those who use it expect professionalism but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to come across as robotic.

    • Lonny Gulden


      Your LinkedIn profile should be VERY different from your resume. First, write it in first person rather than the normal third person used for a resume. Use a VALUE PROPOSITION professional headline, not just a title. How do you impact a business, what problem do you solve, etc. In a resume we always stress keeping everything concise. LinkedIn is almost the opposite. There are no page limits with LinkedIn so use as much space as you are given. The more room you have, the more keywords and phrases you can include. Use your summary to show your human side as well as your professional side. What are your passions and values? What drives you? Do you need to brag or boast … no! Be truthful, forthright and honest. Be able to substantiate your claims by adding work products via weblinks or attachments.

      Humor can be used, but you must be careful. What you hear in your head as funny, may be taken the wrong way by another reader. Probably the best use of humor I have seen is the professional headline that read, “Quite possibly the only person on LinkedIn who is NOT a results-oriented team player with excellent interpersonal skills.”

  • Andy Williams

    Some really good pointers.

    LinkedIn is so often overlooked without the users realizing.
    We all use it but jump in and just get on with it without using some of these tips.