5 Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile in 2024

Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

I’m always a little surprised by the number of people who ask me for LinkedIn profile tips in 2024. LinkedIn wouldn’t make the cover of “50 Most Beautiful Social Media Platforms.” If there were a pageant for social media platforms, LinkedIn wouldn’t win. Nobody brags about being “LinkedIn Famous.” Yet it is one of the most valuable platforms my clients use, especially if they serve other businesses (also called B2B). Let’s look at why and how to improve your LinkedIn profile in 2024.

The Big 5 Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile in 2024 are:

1) Write a good headline using the 3S Method;

2) Optimize your summary section;

3) Go beyond the profile picture;

4) Get and give recommendations; and,

5) Participate in your community. I go into detail on each of these below. First, let’s look at why it’s so important to get LinkedIn just right.

The Grandma of Social Media

LinkedIn is nearly twenty years old. That’s a bit older than MySpace and a whole year older than Facebook. This basically makes it the grandma of social media, yet it remains as relevant as ever. Here’s proof:

  • 100 million people log in every day;
  • Users rank LinkedIn as three times as trustworthy as Facebook and other platforms; and,
  • LinkedIn drives 50% of the social traffic on B2B websites. Fifty percent! 

Practically everyone with a job ends up on LinkedIn. Because it’s a little different from other social platforms, the rules for a good profile are also different. This leaves many people feeling like their LinkedIn profile could be better, or they could be doing more with it.

How to Improve your LinkedIn Profile in 2024

My sister-in-law has a freakin’ Ph.D. and asked me for LinkedIn advice on behalf of her grad students. Janet Dirks, Create That’s brilliant media relations manager, asked me to help her with her LinkedIn profile when she retired from her job as a bureau chief at a national television network. My husband is a smarty-pants telecom executive and asked me for help with his.

These are some of the most intelligent people I know, experts in their respective fields. But just like the rest of us chumps, they’re looking for LinkedIn tips to make their profiles stand out. That’s because creating a good LinkedIn profile is not at all intuitive.

Somewhere Between TikTok and a Resume

Part of the problem is we don’t use LinkedIn the same way we use other social media. Sure, we scroll, we answer polls, we read articles. But users are hesitant to treat LinkedIn like TikTok and post quirky dance videos. This is why LinkedIn cancelled its “stories” feature after a few months: it’s not the place for that kind of content.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is a temptation to make our profile an online version of our resume plus our business card because we’re advertising our skills to potential employers, collaborators and customers. This isn’t quite right either.

Resumes, cover letters and customer proposals should all be tailored directly to the single audience reading them. LinkedIn has a mass audience. So it needs to serve a broader purpose.

The Big 5 Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile in 2024

There are a bazillion articles on making your LinkedIn profile, and many of them have the same advice. Pick a customized URL! Choose a nice profile pic! Yeah, thanks, tips.

I am going to assume you’ve covered the basics already. You have completely filled out your LinkedIn profile, and you’ve been scrupulously honest. I will also assume you’ve only included experience that isn’t related to your current goals if your resume is a bit thin and if the unrelated experience is less than five years old. I’m also going to assume you’ve included your contact information. More on than in a sec. If you’ve completed these steps already, fantastic! You’re ready for the advanced class.

The Big 5 Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile in 2024 are:

1) Write a good headline using the 3S Method;

2) Optimize your summary section;

3) Go beyond the profile picture;

4) Get and give recommendations; and,

5) Participate in your community.

I’ve brought in many clients from LinkedIn, and I’ve helped many people turn their profiles into moneymakers. These are the five steps that, in my experience, make the most impact on a LinkedIn profile. I’ve listed them in order of importance.

1) Write a Good LinkedIn Headline: The 3S Method

Your headline is arguably the most critical part of your profile because readers who aren’t engaged by the headline won’t go any further. More importantly, the headline is searchable on and off the LinkedIn platform.

Some people suggest being creative when writing your headline. The problem is, you want to use the words that someone would put in the search bar. If you go creative and make your headline “Chief Innovator,” you will miss out on that search traffic because, well, who would search for that?

I recommend writing your headline using what I call the 3S method. It stands for Succinct, Search, and Separator. For example, my headline is Small Business Marketer – Copywriter – Creator of the Whole Team Marketing method. 

Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

The first “S,” Succinct, is “Small Business Marketer,” which tells visitors almost everything they need to know in 3 words. Choose the briefest phrase possible that describes you. 

For the second “S” Search, I chose “copywriter.” “Copywriter” is what people who have hired me from LinkedIn have searched to find me. My ego would MUCH rather use “Founder” or “Owner” or something more impressive, but no one searches for those terms. Using “copywriter” brings in clients. Figuring out your search term takes a bit of reverse engineering. Think about who is looking for people like you on LinkedIn, and then ask yourself what search term they would use.

For the 3rd “S,” Separator, you want a phrase that demonstrates what makes you different from your competition. This can be a credential, a research area, an award: anything you feel gives you a competitive advantage. I chose to highlight the proprietary marketing method I created.

2) Write a Good LinkedIn Summary

Controversial opinion: the LinkedIn summary (also known as the “About” section) is more important than your education and experience because it’s searchable on and off the platform. I mean, clearly, you need to have the credentials your audience is looking for. But they need to find you before they can hire you. The summary is also where people go when trying to cull the herd. You want to give them lots of reasons to choose you and no reason to pass you over.

LinkedIn gives us 2000 words for a summary, so don’t hold back. The idea is to write down your “elevator pitch” so people have a snapshot of your professional life, with a splash of your personality and values.

The first 2 to 3 lines are the only part visible unless someone clicks, so make sure they are high impact. Here’s what I picked:

Steps to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

To me, the most important thing someone can take away from my profile is my contact information. I’ve learned the only people willing to work hard to get a hold of you are people you don’t want to talk to. I make myself easy to get a hold of because I’ve had exciting opportunities fall out of the sky, and I don’t want to miss any.

For the rest of the summary, think about your audience’s desire to know about you. Why did you choose your area of expertise? What sets you apart from your competitors? Write up your professional life story. LinkedIn has gathered some great examples and what I like about the ones they chose is how each person writes in their own unique voice. Some are very straightforward and polished. Others have a very casual and irreverent style. (like me!) Just be authentic and do that reverse engineering thing again where you consider what search terms your audience is using. Make sure your About section includes the search terms in a natural way.

If you’re not a great writer, hiring someone to write this part for you is worth the investment.

3) A Good LinkedIn Profile Picture

There is so much banal advice about profile pictures out there. Yes, your profile picture should be head-and-shoulders, not full-length. No, you shouldn’t be wearing sunglasses or a mask. Yes, you should be looking at the camera. No, your attire shouldn’t distract from the rest of your profile. But since you have probably been on the internet once or twice, I’m going to assume you know all this.

Professional headshots are nice to have but not at all necessary. You can get a perfectly good profile picture by having someone take a smiling photo of you outdoors (because of the light) wearing an outfit and hairstyle you feel is appropriate for all audiences that makes you feel put together. That’s it. That’s all you need.

If you want to elevate your profile, the next step would be to build an entire visual brand for yourself, just like the ones I create for my clients. For example, when I helped Janet build her LinkedIn profile, I created a custom colour palette and visual brand inspired by her profile photo and her interests.

You can use your colour palette to create your header photo and all content you make. Anyone can do this on a user-friendly platform like Canva.

4) How to Get More LinkedIn Recommendations

Social proof is a fundamental part of marketing. And, of course, your LinkedIn profile is part of marketing yourself. LinkedIn manages social proof through its “recommendations” function, where people can give a user review of you, your work, or your services.

Some hiring managers or potential clients check to see how many recommendations you’ve offered to gauge how well you play with others.

Offering recommendations is actually the best way to get them. I recommend you list people most likely to give you good recommendations and simply ask them. Another option is to write a nice recommendation for them and hope they return the favour. Either way, this is the most labour-intensive part of building your profile. It pays off, though! Many people don’t realize that LinkedIn uses the content of their recommendations in its search algorithm, so if someone says you’re a kickass cupcake baker, you’ll appear higher in related search results.

Now it would be nice if LinkedIn offered us a simple link to click to leave this recommendation. Alas, they do not. Don’t worry, I gotchu. I’ve written The Ultimate Reviews and Recommendations Guide. Not only does this handy little free guide tell you how to leave a LinkedIn review, but it also gives you an email template you can cut, paste and send out. If it helps you, please share it!

Promo image for The Ultimate Reviews and Recommendations Guide, by Create That Copy & Marketing

5) Write articles and post in your industry

Okay, if you follow the last four steps, you’ll have a stellar profile. There is one final step to take your profile from great to remarkable, and that’s contributing to the LinkedIn ecosystem by sharing original content and reposting content relevant to your area.

LinkedIn is really about building your personal brand, which means establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

Think about it. Suppose your audience is choosing between you and someone else. In that case, you can set yourself apart by sharing regular posts on your industry with astute observations from your own experience, perhaps even some original articles within your expertise.

This takes dedication and consistency. That’s precisely why more people don’t do it, so it’s a great little differentiator you can use to set your profile apart.

If you are already blogging and active online in your area, you’re probably all set. However, if you aren’t, here’s how to make the process as effortless as possible. Set up a Google alert for terms related to your field. Google will then send you relevant articles. When an interesting article pops up, post it to LinkedIn and add your perspective based on your unique experience. When you’re writing this, imagine someone from your ideal audience is the one reading it. This visualization will help you know what to focus on.

I recommend putting a 15-30 minute LinkedIn session in your calendar every week if you find it challenging to be consistent. Once a month, make the session a couple of hours long and write an article about something in your area of expertise.

LinkedIn is never going to be the most exciting social media platform. But it’s hard to beat for results, so it’s worthwhile to put in the effort.

Picture of author, Bridget Brown