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Do’s and Don’ts for a Great LinkedIn Profile

Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree will no doubt boost your chances of landing your dream job, getting promoted or successfully changing careers. But all that hard work could go unnoticed if you don’t have a strong LinkedIn profile.

Research shows up to 94% of recruiters search LinkedIn for job candidates. Make your profile stand out from the other 500 million LinkedIn users with these simple do’s and don’ts:


  • Use keywords, not buzzwords. When writing your profile, include relevant industry terms, software programs, skills and performance words like “achieved,” “sold” and “built.” Find the right keywords by looking at job descriptions of the position you want.
  • Include a professional photo. Profiles with photos get up to 21 times more views and up to 36 times more messages. Invest in a professional photographer to shoot a close-up of your face (smiling, please) on a clean, white background.
  • Be specific about what you do. Instead of a generic title like “Sales Rep,” say, for example, “Financial Services Account Manager.”
  • Communicate your value. Use your headline to tell readers not just what you do, but how they’ll benefit from working with you. “Registered nurse who helps pediatric cancer patients and their families through treatment and recovery,” is much more compelling than “Registered nurse at Central Hospital.”


  • Leave gaps in your job history. Time gaps are red flags for recruiters. If you have periods when you weren’t employed, talk about what you did do, such as attend school, volunteer, consult, etc.
  • List everything you’ve ever done. Attention spans are short. Give details of your recent work experience and accomplishments relevant to what you want to do next, then summarize older jobs with company names and dates.
  • Fall in the overused word trap. To avoid sounding like everyone else, stay away from words LinkedIn says are the most overused, like motivated, creative, passionate, driven, extensive experience, organizational, strategic, track record, responsible and problem-solving.
  • Skip the summary. A surprising number of people leave this section of their LinkedIn profile blank, missing an opportunity to express their business philosophies, values and personality.   


LinkedIn is a powerful tool, but only if you use it regularly. Follow companies you’re interested in, join groups in your career field and update your profile whenever something changes, such as your contact information, work status or educational achievements.


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