Creating an Effective LinkedIn Business Profile

We all know the common saying: “If you build it, they will come.”

Well, unfortunately that’s not the case, especially not on the Internet.

You can create profiles and websites all over the place, but if they’re not optimized or providing value to visitors, you’re wasting time and probably money.

Constructing your LinkedIn profile correctly in order to build a strong, wide network is a necessary condition to achieving that goal.

Creating a Great LinkedIn Profile

Creating an effective LinkedIn business profile can take you to the next level. Generate more leads and get more job offers by following some simple profile optimization tips. Image credit to

Think of yourself as a brand and consider your LinkedIn profile a service product of that brand.  Then, apply the concept of tangibility discussed in our post about the ROI of social media.

Make your profile tangible.  Make people understand who you are and why they should care about anything you have to offer.

Much like a paper resume, you only get maybe 30 seconds to a minute to accomplish that.

Let’s break down a LinkedIn profile section-by-section and take a deeper look…

Professional Headline

In terms of grabbing peoples’ attention and building credibility, your headline may very well be the most important aspect of your profile.  Besides your picture, the headline will be the first thing people see.

Best LinkedIn Headline

LinkedIn Headlines should immediately start building credibility and trust with viewers. Give them an idea of what industry you’re in, what skills you can offer, and why they should care about connecting with you.

The main goal here is to hit major keywords related to the questions below:

  1. In what industry are you employed?
  2. What positions do you hold?
  3. In what areas do you have a wealth of knowledge and expertise?

Keep in mind that tons of people look for connections using LinkedIn’s search function.  By hitting the right keywords, you’re more likely to rank higher in LinkedIn search results and, therefore, more likely to get new visitors to your profile.


I apologize in advance, but this is obligatory: The summary is the Egg McMuffin of LinkedIn profile sections (if you don’t get this, you probably read books instead of watch TV…so good job).

Think of the summary as the “About Us” on a website, arguably the most important page on any website.

This is where you make or break your chances of building quality new leads.  This is where you build confidence and trust with your visitors.

Everybody on LinkedIn has work experience, but no single person shares your background, experiences, and thoughts…these are unique to you as an individual.  It is this uniqueness that you need to verbalize and capitalize upon in the summary.

Building off this uniqueness, you should be able to “tangibilize” yourself and make your profile come to life.  Be a real person while explaining how you’ve become the person you are and what you can bring to the table.

What are you passionate about?  Why are you on LinkedIn?  Why should anybody care to hire you or connect with you?

I revise my summary frequently, so it’s in no way flawless, but to serve as an example:

Why I’m Here:

“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”
— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)

I don’t recall a time when I lacked the goal of being an entrepreneur. I’m looking for the lifestyle that suits me…and that’s not sitting in an office for 8 hours a day making lots of money for somebody else.

What I Do:

I am the founder/co-owner of My Social Game Plan, a social media marketing company aimed at helping local small businesses, startups, and independent contractors in Louisville, KY build their online presence using social media. We take on the task of generating brand awareness and loyalty, building consumer confidence and customer retention, and generating new leads to increase your bottom line.

Find more info at:

I’m also currently employed as the Social Media Director at a local security company, NOVUS Security, where I apply my Internet marketing experience to push a social media strategy with the goals of generating brand awareness, brand loyalty, and new customer leads.

As you can see, I give a short explanation of who I am as an individual and what I’m passionate about.  Right there, I connect with anyone who shares the “primal competitiveness” that often characterizes the entrepreneurial spirit.  I’ve immediately built a bridge with a few simple words — I’ve made my profile tangible.

I follow that up with a quick summary of my experiences and what unique services I can offer others, answering the question of why anyone in business should care to connect with me.

Work Experience

Like I said, everybody on LinkedIn has work experience.  However, just like a paper resume, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about describing your work history and responsibilities.

I don’t want to get too deep into this, because it’s concerned with solid resume writing rather than something unique to LinkedIn.  Of course, the general rules of resume writing also apply to LinkedIn:

  • Don’t lie.  Don’t lie.  Also, don’t lie.
  • Describe your achievements, not your responsibilities.  Nobody cares what you were expected to do, they want to know if you met those expectations and how.
  • You don’t have to list past employers if they have zero relevance to a job you’re seeking.  Be able to explain any gaps you might have in work history.
  • Keep it as short and to the point as possible

You know the drill.

Making the Most of the Websites Section

Business owners almost always include their company website in this section.  That’s a no-brainer after all.  But I rarely see people go beyond adding their main website.

You have the ability to link three websites from your profile — take advantage of that!

Do you have a Facebook page?  Google+ page?  LinkedIn company page?  YouTube channel? If you’re trying to find a career, even a link to a PDF of your resume (for printing purposes) would be a great addition.


Optimize LinkedIn Profile

Adding websites to your LinkedIn profile increases traffic and gives people another means of connecting with you. List your main website, other social networking platforms and, if you’re a business owner, add your LinkedIn company page.


The takeaway from this is to maximize the real estate LinkedIn offers.  There’s no reason to add less than three websites.

If you don’t have three websites to share, maybe it’s time to reconsider if you’re doing everything you can to get your name and business out on the market (hint: you may be ignoring the best online marketing mediums).

Bringing It Together

A lot of ground was covered in this post, so let’s summarize a little bit.  Here are the major takeaways and points of action you should take immediately after reading.

  • Think long about your headline, as that will be the first thing people see when you pop up in search results.  Let people know your industry and expertise.
  • Make your profile tangible.  Summarize your personality, give a transparent view of your outlook on life and business, and share your experience in a way that connects emotionally.
  • Sell yourself, not your job history.  Nobody is hiring your job history, they’re hiring you.
  • Use the real estate LinkedIn offers to the fullest.  If you’re given the ability to link three websites and your Twitter account, be sure you do it.  If you’re given the option to connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile or upload a presentation through SlideShare, be sure you do it.

What tips or suggestions would you offer for optimizing a LinkedIn profile?  If you’d like to share your profile in the comments, I’ll give suggestions on how you might improve.

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About Jonathan Payne

I'm the Founder and Author of My Social Game Plan, where I've spent the last six years writing about social media marketing in an effort to help business owners and marketers stay on top of the rapidly-evolving marketing landscape.

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  1. I’m a big believer in LinkedIn as an ideal network for B2B and B2C opportunities. So you’re right to focus on the need for a smart business profile. Good post! I’d add that you test your profile keywords first in hypothetical searches in LinkedIn to see which deliver a greater number of results. For example, say you’re a financial services professional, run a search for Investment Advisor vs Financial Advisor vr Financial Planner, etc. to see which keyword you ought to adopt in your headline so you appear more often in searches. Also, test your keywords in LinkedIn’s beta Skills feature to find those titles and functional areas that LinkedIn is already optimized to recognize in searches. Hope this helps.

    • Those are some great suggestions I hadn’t considered much. I really need to look more deeply at the significance of the Skills section. It’s something I’ve neglected fully understanding unfortunately. Know of any good sources that discuss that area of LinkedIn?

  2. Hi there! Great post! I have a varied list of skills that cover different industries. I’d live to know your thoughts on how I should promote myself! Should I split them up or keep them ‘umbrelled’!
    Have a great day!

    • Thanks for the comment Andrea. I’d love to take a look at your profile and give my opinion. I’m having some trouble getting it to load though — keeps giving me a 404 Page Not Found error when I use that link. If you could, go to your profile and copy/paste the public profile link here and I’d be happy to take a look at it.

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