The use of LinkedIn is globally growing rapidly. The world has moved into a digital approach and online interaction which open endless opportunities. LinkedIn was developed with the premises of being the online platform targeting professional networking. Without LinkedIn it is not possible to build your network with the same depth or scale.
For example, face-to-face networking is valuable and complementary. You can meet your colleagues within your company or at events. Additionally, LinkedIn has several search functions that allow you to search companies, jobs, institutions and people.
Being active on LinkedIn is necessary to develop online networking, create your professional narrative and also to find relevant opportunities for your career.
In this guide, we will share different tricks and tips that support your progress from a basic to a more advanced user.
Before you start it is very important to prepare your setup. Make sure that you have a working computer or phone and that you have steady internet access. Before starting to write your own profile, you need to set up your LinkedIn account. We will next explain to you how to do that, step by step.
2.1. Before you start
There are several strategies that you can use to set up your profile. Before your start, preparation is key! An important aspect is to utilize the LinkedIn search function and search the role that you would like to be working with.
For example, if you are looking for an Human Resources related position, you can look after names like Talent Acquisition Specialist, Recruiter, Employer branding specialist, Admin & Payroll, Change management specialist, among others. Take a look at these different profiles from the network to have an idea about how the profiles are organized and what they focus on. After making this search, you can follow these profiles to receive their notifications and keep track of the type of content that is being developed.
Privacy and security are also an important aspect to consider while being active on social media. On LinkedIn definitions you can select privacy and security options according to your preferences. In case you are actively searching for employment, we suggest that you have a public profile and add a picture label “open to work”.
Here are other other things to take in account before you start:
You can also check the following service that helps you organize your profile information:
2.2. LinkedIn profile categories
We have divided your LinkedIn profile into 3 main areas so that we can better understand what constitutes mandatory information, recommended and aditional or optional information you can add:
LinkedIn has these categories to support the organization of your online profile. When creating a new category, you should be able to know the starting and ending date of every experience. When you are active, there is the option of not adding an ending date.
Additionally, you have an open field to write more information about your main achievements and results. In this open box, we suggest that you write 3-5 bullet points about the most important aspects of your experience.
For example, you have worked as a Sales assistant for a private company. Your job description entailed contacting new clients, establishing meetings and developing proposals.
An example of your main achievements could be:
Please let us know in the comments if you would like to hear more about how to write your experience section, and we can write a detailed article about it.
We will now go through LinkedIn categories and we will explain each one of them with a few practical examples.
2.2.1. Mandatory Areas
LinkedIn Education category refers to your academic background. In this category, you should mention at least your last three more relevant educational experiences. These can be a bachelor, masters, PHD, post-graduation, MBA, or similar.
Professional courses can be also considered. In case you do not pursue graduate education, you can also mention your specialized technical education or your highschool background.
When writing about your education, it is important to add a few details about your experience.
For example, you have a Masters in IT Engineering. You can mention the most relevant courses from your academic plan, such as: Databases, computing theory, Artificial intelligence, software engineering.
Another suggestion is to write about your main student group projects or about your master thesis project.
We suggest that you add your GPA (Grade point average) or another popular average score when you have an at least average or high score.
As a complement you can also add the following information:
LinkedIn Position category refers to your work experience. In this section, it is important to add your former work experience, only if they are relevant for the type of work that you are looking for. For example, let’s say that you have worked as a driver while studying and you would like to work within the Logistics and transportation industry. In this case, it makes sense to add this position. For some jobs and highly formal organizations, it is more recommended not to add certain experiences and give priority to others.
Ideally, similarly to building your CV application, it is recommended to have the support of a career development advisor in order to help you build the most adequate version of your profile, considering your current goals.
In this section you should mention the name of the role, the dates you were or are actively working. Please remember to add in the open box a few bullet points regarding your main achievements and results, as previously suggested.
Here's an example from a real LinkedIn profile:
LinkedIn Career Break category refers to a possible Career Break. A career break is a category dedicated to eventual pauses from being employable or being actively working. There are several moments in our path where this can be the most reasonable option.
For example, when going on maternity leave or looking for an extended period as a full-time parent. Another example is to decide to stop for a while between jobs or between your education and your job and travel for 1 year. It is also common to see career breaks for educational purposes or for sick leave or to provide support to a family member.
It is worth mentioning that career breaks are not seen as something negative. As long as you can explain why you were not active during a certain period.
In the Skills LinkedIn category you should mention what you are good at. Select a few related to your profile and your goals and organize them from higher to lower importance. Then, LinkedIn offers the endorsement option. This means that other people should go to your profile and mention that you are skilled in the competencies you wrote about.
We recommend that you endorse a few profiles from your network in order to be active and possibly receive more endorsements. Having a profile where several contacts have said that you are competent in a certain area will definitely contribute to a higher profile reputation.
2.2.2. Recommended Areas
We have previously covered the main areas regarding LinkedIn profile categories. We will now describe the recommended areas that are also very relevant aspects to mention on your LinkedIn profile.
The Featured LinkedIn Category gives you the opportunity to highlight your best published content with the online community. Within this category you can select articles, posts, videos, websites or presentations. Therefore, if someone is visiting your page and would like to have an overview of what has been your focus lately, they can use this category to find out more. This section is especially relevant if you want to give more visibility to a certain content.
Licenses and certifications
The category Licenses and Certifications is dedicated to writing about courses or professional training programs that you have attended and where you have received a diploma or license. There are some areas where it is mandatory to have specific licenses to work within the field. If your license/certification has an expiration date or credential ID number, please remember to add that in this section.
An example of a License or certification can be a Language certificate, Training skills certificate or project management, among many others.
The category courses on LinkedIn has a broader scope. In this section you can mention relevant courses that you had in connection to your work or education. Additionally, if you have attended online courses or more informal classes about a specific topic, you can also add them here. What is important to keep in mind is to consider what is relevant according to your profile.
The recommendations category on LinkedIn is a space dedicated to read what others say about you professionally. LinkedIn gives the option to request recommendations to your network. A profile that has several recommendations is also perceived as a more trustworthy profile. It can be important to guide your peers in the type of message that you are looking for. For instance, do you want it to be focused on a professional experience together, a student group project, or a volunteering activity? Provide guidelines to your network in order to guarantee that the recommendation is aligned with your goals.
A specific example can be: I have worked with Michael in a research project during our masters together. Michael is an innovative person that is easy to collaborate with. He has a high level of organization and can at the same time coordinate groups. Michael will be a relevant asset for any company and I am looking forward to working together with him in the near future.
2.2.3. Additional Areas
We have now covered two of the three LinkedIn profile categories. Congratulations for making it here! You are getting closer to being an expert about Linkedin profile creation. We will now address additional areas that you can consider when writing about your experience. Some of them might be very relevant, others not so much, depending on your profile.
Add volunteering experiences
This section is dedicated to volunteering experiences. Volunteering can be especially relevant in the beginning of your professional experience when you have the opportunity to develop certain skills through volunteering that you probably wouldn't have when working.
Volunteering is a great strategy to develop your network, improve your skills and have a higher impact in the world. The positive aspect is that nowadays you can find volunteering opportunities within many different areas, so we are sure that you will find something that suits your profile and goals.
Volunteering can be about student organizations, event management, child support, among many others. When writing about your volunteering experiences on LinkedIn, remember to give a professional touch and also to reflect about the main learnings you had. The written format is quite similar to one described in the position category, earlier in this article.
A specific example could be: August 2021 - now, Organizer, TedX conference. Responsibilities: Participant check-in, logistics and catering organization and speakers reception.
Add publications; Add patents; Add projects
The category publications, patents and projects is specially relevant if you are a student, inventor, or if you have built an interesting project.
The term publications refer to articles that you have published for example in scientific journals, from an academic perspective. It is common when someone follows an academic career, to have the opportunity to publish different scientific articles.
The concept patent refers to when someone creates something new or a new combination of existing things and registers it as a patent. This means that others have limited rights when using the invention or trying to copy it. An example can be the development of a new product.
The term projects is more broad and can be applied to different contexts. For example, school or academic projects, community projects or professional projects can be considered in this section if they show relevant aspects that support the overall quality of your profile.
Add honors & awards
The category honors and awards is dedicated to special prizes or distinctions that you might have received during your career. An example could be to win a case competition in university, a mathematical marathon in highschool, or to have received a distinction from the government for having an outstanding performance for the country.
Add test scores
The section test scores are dedicated to expose a result from a taken test. There are several tests that you can take online that are popular for recruitment purposes.
In this language section you can write information about your language level. It is important to be accurate regarding each language level. It might be the case for example that you write English as a full professional proficiency level and that that is not verified in an interview context. So, less is more here! Write only the correct level for each of the languages.
This section is called organizations and it is dedicated to your additional projects and organizational collaborations. You can add your experience for example as a board member in the direction of an organization. The description of the role as well as the main achievements can be written with the same logic as the “position” section.
The category causes are dedicated to diverse aspects that you care about and that you collaborate or have an impact with. You can select your preferred causes according to a given list from LinkedIn.
The important thing is to start and have a "good" version so that afterwards you can improve. Please keep also in mind the following things:
We also suggest you to access to a LinkedIn learning course about rocking your linkedIn profile. Learn more here.