5 LinkedIn Profile Areas You Shouldn’t Ignore

by | Branding, Linkedin


(This article is updated to reflect recent changes to LinkedIn’s profile layout.)
LinkedIn is an important social network for professionals, business owners and job seekers alike.  It can help:
  • introduce us to new people
  • reconnect us with people we may have lost touch with
  • bring new business opportunities our way

LinkedIn can play a valuable role in helping to build your online reputation, brand awareness, influence and network of connections.

But in order for this to happen, there are LinkedIn areas you shouldn’t ignore. Setting up a LinkedIn profile and not completing it will hurt your reputation more than it will help it. A complete profile helps present you as someone who is thorough and pays attention to detail. It can also show your creativity and give a sense of your personality and values.

Here are 5 LinkedIn profile areas you shouldn’t ignore. In fact, these areas need immediate attention as soon as you create your LinkedIn profile:

1. Create ‘Your public profile URL’ (custom LinkedIn website address)

When you sign up for LinkedIn your assigned public profile URL will look something like this: linkedin.com/pub/johndoe/40/263/205 (Try putting THAT on a business card!)

Feature-Image---Click-the-pencil-icon-to-edit-the-public-profile-URL-fieldAdding your assigned LinkedIn profile URL or website address to your business card, email signature, your social networking sites and any marketing material is difficult, unless you have customized the address. The public profile URL or web address provided by LinkedIn is too long and complicated. This makes it virtually impossible to remember or share with others, other than through a hyperlink.

Fortunately, LinkedIn allows you to customize your public profile URL to one that works better for you. Let’s face it linkedin.com/in/JohnDoe will look a lot better on your business card and other promotional material than linkedin.com/pub/johndoe/40/263/205.

Click this link to learn how to create your custom LinkedIn web address In 4 easy steps

Stay Consistent

If your first name choice isn’t available for your LinkedIn public profile URL, you’ll need to consider other options like a middle initial, a middle name, etc. Where at all possible, keep the distinctive portion of the URL consistent across any social networks that use your personal name.

In other words, twitter.com/ElonMusk, pinterest.com/ElonMusk, linkedin.com/in/ElonMusk NOT twitter.com/EMusk, pinterest.com/Elon, linkedin.com/in/ElonMusk.

Using the same username on all the networks carrying your personal name helps ensure consistent personal branding. It also makes it easier for people to find you on other social networks, as they’ll often guess that your username is the same on one as on another. Keep this same principle in mind with social networks for your business brand too.

2. Professional Photo

A picture is an important part of establishing your online presence. It very often provides the first impression people will have, especially for those who have never met you face-to-face.

If you do not have a photo on your LinkedIn profile, or if it is poor quality, people may not look any further, to find out more about you. Like whether they’d like to do business with you! Your photo will add or detract from your perceived credibility.

Photo Tips:
  • Head or head and shoulders shot.
  • Use a simple or plain background.
  • Wear clothing appropriate for your field of work.
  • Solid colours work better than patterns for clothing.
  • Have a pleasant expression on your face. Professional and friendly.
  • Smile with your teeth. Smiling without showing your teeth, apparently, makes you appear less likable. In my recently updated profile photos below, I’m actually smiling in both pictures. In the one without my teeth showing it is hard to tell I’m smiling. For this reason, I went with the ‘smile with the teeth’ photo.


Buffer has written an article on the importance of your profile picture, ‘The Research & Science Behind Finding Your Best Profile Picture.’

3. Customize the Professional Headline that shows below your name

Your job title is the default for Your Professional Headline. Instead, change it to something that showcases your expertise clearly and specifically. You have 120 characters to let people know what you really do. Don’t miss this opportunity!!

If you are an Architect and only list this title along with a bunch of letters after your name, will I know what your specialty is? Do you design houses, commercial buildings, or multi-family complexes?

Think about the audience you want to attract, use keywords that your customers are using to search for your type of business and write a headline that speaks to this group.

Adding a bit more detail to your professional headline can separate you from the pack and make it easier for those searching for your services to find you.

4. Write a Background Summary that is interesting, informative, concise and typo-free

Types of files that can be uploaded to LinkedIn Summary

File Formats & Sizes That Can Be Uploaded to LinkedIn Summary

Your LinkedIn Background Summary introduces people to who you are and your current role, once they’ve seen your photo and your professional headline. It’s a place where you can go into a bit more detail about who you are, what you do and why you do it.

Provide enough information that people will get a sense of who you are but not so much that they will only read it part way through. You can also upload presentations, documents, and images to show in your summary.

Use keywords as these are the words people are using to search for you, but don’t go overboard. Remember, you’re writing for people not search engines.

There are many other ways to enhance your LinkedIn profile. These are a few of the areas that tend to ‘fall through the cracks’ when people are building their LinkedIn profile. Ultimately, it’s important that your profile is as complete as possible.

5. Become familiar with ‘Privacy & Settings’

To find your ‘Privacy & Settings’ area, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the ‘Me’ link appearing below your profile photo in the navigation bar, to open the drop down menu.
  2. Click on the ‘Privacy & Settings’ link in the drop down menu.
  3. Click on the areas and links you’d like to review or make changes to..

A few settings to pay attention to:

Choose whether or not to share your profile edits!

In the Privacy & Settings area, click on the Privacy tab and find the ‘Sharing profile edits‘ link. This appears, as of this writing, as the fourth link in the top section under ‘Profile privacy‘.

LinkedIn - Sharing profile edits

The LinkedIn default for this is ‘on’. In the image above you’ll see I’ve changed this setting to ‘no’, so my profile edits are NOT shared in my activity feed. I don’t want my network notified of these minor ‘housekeeping’ changes. (They won’t want to see a list of minor changes I’ve made!)

If you leave sharing profile edits set as ‘on’, each time you make a change to any aspect of your profile, your LinkedIn world will be alerted.

LinkedIn also provides you with the option to turn the notification on or off when you are handling updates, if you have the default set at ‘no’. So, if you make a change you want everyone to know about, like a role change, you can simply select ‘yes’ to have LinkedIn notify your network about the upate.

There are many other LinkedIn privacy and security areas that can be modified. So, it is worthwhile checking out this area fully when you set up your account.

Keep in mind, the more complete your profile, the more likely it will be to present a good impression of you and your brand, for those who don’t know you and those who do.

(This article is updated to reflect recent changes to LinkedIn’s profile layout.)