5 Key Elements of a Great LinkedIn Profile

Every professional needs a great LinkedIn Profile. While other social media platforms may have more overall users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest social network for working professionals.

When it comes to generating leads, studies repeatedly point to it as the social media leader. A study by Hubspot revealed that:

LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. Click to tweet.

It has the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate among all social media platforms. This shows that the traffic is highly-targeted and already interested in what you and your business have to offer.

With this in mind, it is important to have a LinkedIn profile that is impactful and enhances your professional reputation.  5 key elements consistently show up in great LinkedIn profiles…

A Great Linked In Profile Has A Professional Profile Image

Hire a professional photographer to create your profile image.

I have friends who swear they can create a selfie so impressive that it rivals what a professional photographer can do – and at least a few of them are right. But I stand by my opinion that “you get what you pay for”.

The images you use to promote your personal brand should be up-to-date and professional.

In addition to appearing at the top of your LinkedIn profile, your profile image shows up on every status update, post, search result and group discussion. You are identified (and judged) by that image.

Ask yourself, “How do I want to be perceived by others?” Make sure your profile image answers that question to your full satisfaction.

A Great LinkedIn Profile Uses A Customized Cover Photo

Don’t just upload an abstract background image.  Worse yet, do not leave that giant space blank.

Recognize that this is an opportunity to communicate something about yourself.  Unlike the profile photo, the cover photo is something you definitely can do yourself.

I am a big fan of Canva.  It offers templates for social media sites and makes it easy to create something visually appealing and properly sized.

LinkedIn can be tricky when it comes to sizing, so you may want to use Canva’s custom-size option.

Remember that your LinkedIn profile looks different to you than it does to your connections and potential connections.  You should check to see how everything looks from multiple perspectives and on various devices (phone, computer, tablet).

It often takes a bit of playing around with the cover image to get it right.

A Great Linked In Profile Features A Powerful Headline

Your LinkedIn headline should clearly tell readers what you do.  When someone reads your headline, they should immediately understand how you help people.

Are you the CEO of a massively well-known corporation?  Unless the answer is “yes”, I do not recommend using your job title and company name.

I am not trying to disparage your company – or mine.  I am just saying that the circle of brands that are universally recognized by name only is VERY small.

Identifying yourself as the Owner, CEO, or President of a company few people recognize may be less impressive than a clear description of the skills you bring to your company.

Also… try to stay clear of annoying buzzwords like “Visionary”, “Guru”, “Superstar”,”Ninja”, etc. In fact, you should try to avoid jargon in any type of business communication.

So… What is the difference between “what you do” and your “job title”?  Allow me to explain, using myself as the example:

For a few years, my LinkedIn profile identified me as the:

“Owner, Trust Communications Inc.”

This actually told visitors very little about me.  In fact, it said virtually nothing about my skillset or my areas of expertise.

After recognizing the problem, I changed my headline to read:

“Digital Strategy Consultant | Online Brand Builder | Content Marketing Expert”

See the difference? 

People who read the “Experience” section of my profile will still see that I am the Owner of Trust Communications Inc.  In fact, they will be able to read a whole description of what my company is all about.

But by focusing the headline descriptor on what I do, instead of on my job title, I have been able to create a much clearer idea of what I might do for you.  This is an important difference!

Note: If you are currently out of work, do not put your employment status in your headline. A headline that identifies you as “Unemployed” or “Seeking new opportunities” looks desperate. Focus on your skills and abilities.

A Great LinkedIn Profile Includes A Compelling Summary 

The LinkedIn summary section is the best place to showcase who you are and what you bring to the table.  Leaving this section blank or casually throwing some sentences into the space will do you a disservice in the long run.

There are countless online articles offering advice and examples.  Google “how to make a LinkedIn summary” and spend some time exploring creative ideas.

Remember that your summary also tells visitors about your communication skills.  Make sure this section is structurally well-written.  Nothing creates a worse first impression than spelling errors and sloppy punctuation.

When writing your summary, focus on making sure the first two lines are compelling – and can stand on their own.  When someone looks at your profile, these two lines will be all that they see, unless they click “see more”.

A Great LinkedIn Profile Has Complete Contact Information

You want people to connect with you.  At a minimum, the contact section should include an email address, phone number, website, and Twitter account.  And set up a custom url. It looks more professional and is more effective from an SEO perspective.

Remember to keep your contact information up-to-date.  Nothing send up a red flag like a disconnected phone number or a link to a website that is no longer available.


After you have done everything possible to create a truly great LinkedIn profile, keep the momentum going:

  • Send LinkedIn invitations to existing business connections
  • After networking events, make it a habit to send LinkedIn invitations to people.  This is a great way to solidify those new relationships!
  • Don’t obsess about follower count.  Instead, focus on interacting with your existing connections. Check the news feed daily.  Make positive comments.  Share posts.  LinkedIn is a “social” network – so be social!
  • And remember that your LinkedIn profile is a living online document.  Keep it up-to-date!


Article written by Kim Scaravelli, CEO, Trust Communications Inc.  


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