Important LinkedIn Profile Basics


Today I’ll share some of my favorite tips to nail your LinkedIn profile basics. 

Optimize your profile! You’ll want a profile that’s filled out and tells your story before you start to connect, post and engage intentionally. Once you do start increasing your activity and proactively showing up in your network’s newsfeeds, you’ll notice your profile views and number of connection requests will increase – so you’ll want to make sure your profile has the information you want others to see and represents you well!

All-Star Status

Achieve All-Star status! View your own profile and scroll down to “Your Dashboard.” (under About and Featured sections) You’ll either see a strength meter (beginner, intermediate, etc) or you will see your All-Star badge. If you don’t see the badge, continue filling out your profile sections until you get it!

Those profiles with All-Star status are 40 percent more likely to receive connection requests and messages about opportunities. LinkedIn is also more likely to show your profile in search results. Why? Because you are demonstrating that you took the time to fill out your profile in its’ entirety and be an engaged member of the LinkedIn community. Plus, if your profile is fully filled out, people can get a clear idea of who you are and why they should connect with you. I often get connection requests with no photo, no headline, no experience descriptions, (and no connection request note!) – why would I want to accept that request? Don’t be that profile that others question when you are reaching out or sending a connection request.


Although your headshot doesn’t need to be an actual professional headshot, avoid things such as bad lighting, sunglasses, hats (unless it’s specific to your industry/job), other people in the photo/family pictures, etc. The point of your photo is to be recognizable so if one of your connections sees you at a networking event (online or in-person!) you look like your photo! I can’t tell you how many times at a networking event we were able to skip small talk because the person recognized me/my profile and we just dove right into getting to know each other better and becoming friends! Your photo also welcomes people to your profile, so give some thought to if you are representing yourself well!


The headline is one of my favorites. Answer the questions who are you and why should people connect with you? Your headline doesn’t have to be your current title and employer name. It certainly can be, but you likely have more characters to use in your headline. Consider these!

If you’re a student:

  • Human Resources Student at the University at Buffalo | SHRM Club President (or any type of on-campus involvement/club positions/board positions)
  • Undergraduate Business Student at the University at Buffalo | Finance Intern at COMPANY NAME (if you have a job or internship, list that too!)

If you’re a professional:

  • Human Resources Generalist at COMPANY NAME (if there’s nothing else you’d like to add to your headline, consider expanding this to include more of your value proposition as shown below)
  • Human Resources Generalist at COMPANY NAME specializing in recruiting, benefits and training
  • Human Resources Generalist skilled in creating a positive candidate and employee experience. (You don’t have to mention your company name in your headline! You can mention something you’re working on or focused on doing in your position. Especially if you’re a job seeker – focus your headline on the position you are looking for next and the strengths and skills you have for that ideal role!)

If you’re a professional and do have other community involvement you want to add:

  • HR Generalist at COMPANY NAME | Board Member at BNHRA | Camp Counselor at Empower Camp

Really the options are endless. You can include your job, skills, volunteer work, education – whatever is most relevant fo you to highlight at this time. And you can always change it. I change mine every few months! I hope this helped you think outside the box a little bit on what else you can add! Remember your profile can and should showcase who you are as a well-rounded person, and doesn’t just have to be focused on your job.


Your connections, recruiters (and other professionals using premium accounts) are narrowing down their search results and filtering connections by location. If you just have United States, for example, you’re making it harder to be found. Include a specific location such as Buffalo, New York, United States. Use the location (city/state) you are currently based in, or the location you are looking for work in/planning to relocate to.


Write your "about" section in first person! It’s okay to use “I”. Your about section introduces your network to your personality, voice and story.  


Include bullets as you would on a resume. Start your bullets with strong starter words such as create, design, lead, etc! And remember to include impact and results in your bullets, not just a list of tasks. Long paragraphs in your experience section make it difficult for the reader’s eyes to focus on any specific part and some important information may get lost in the middle of a big paragraph!

For example:

  • BEFORE: Trained 10 new employees
  • AFTER: Trained 10 new employees, which lead to XYZ. Increased customer experience ratings, no drop in customer service during peak times, whatever it may be! Demonstrate that you understand how you are making an impact and connecting your tasks/responsibilities to the larger company goals.

Customize your profile URL

You may notice your assigned profile URL is long and includes some random letters and numbers! It only takes a few clicks to customize your URL. Especially if you plan to use your LinkedIn profile link on a resume, business card, or email signature, customizing it is a must!

"How to customize your LinkedIn profile URL" – from the LinkedIn help page!

I recommend removing all dashes “-” and if you have a common first name last name that’s already taken, consider adding a middle initial (as my husband did above) or a number at the end, such as stephenpetrie5


Your skills section is towards the bottom of your profile. Some of my clients added on their 5 skills a while ago to complete their All-Star Status, but haven’t revisited it. There are a couple reasons why having the skills section filled out entirely is important. First, especially if you are actively looking for a new job, LinkedIn tries to suggest open jobs to you that match your profile and skills. So if you have a bare profile/only a few skills listed, it won’t be able to provide the most relevant suggestions. Second, when recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn, they search for skills! One of my clients recently had the skills talent acquisition and performance management on her resume but hadn’t added them yet to the skills section on her profile. Take an audit of your skills section often and add in anything new as you learn and gain new skills!

Now your profile is optimized and you’re ready to connect, post and engage intentionally!

Originally posted on Claire Petrie HR and Training blog.


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