11 Key Ingredients For a Successful Linkedin Recipe

By David Smith

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Whether you are in business or a job seeker, your Linkedin profile is part of your personal branding, which means that the stakes are high in terms of how you are perceived by your target audience, and because it is so public, you absolutely have to get it right!

Actually, we should want to take things a step further…rather than creating a Linkedin profile that simply ticks various boxes, why not aim for a profile that is not only extremely findable in a keyword search – for example, if a recruiter is looking for someone with your skill-set – but also actually jumps off the screen when someone lands there?

I am pretty sure that you would like to know just how to accomplish that!

Here are 11 core elements within Linkedin that need to be…well…absolutely perfect!

Profile Image

This is not rocket science! If you would like to see how not to do it, may I suggest a Google Search, something like “terrible Linkedin photos” will get you there – enjoy!

I have seen photos of every variety, from the awesome to the not-quite-so-awesome; with weddings going on in the background; phantom arms around the shoulders with the other person cropped out; tops of heads cut off; stretchy or squashed images that are the result of low quality image manipulation…I know you have seen these!

Now, I’m not saying that I am the most photogenic person featured on Linkedin, [I heard that snigger!] but actually, the photographer I used was superb, and generated an image that was far superior to anything I could have accomplished myself with photoshop [short of pasting a completely different person in there] – the message here is….Use a professional if possible, your image is the first thing viewers will see…make a good impression.

You can see more on this topic here

Header Image

Some time ago, this feature was only offered to premium members, but then a few years back, this was rolled out to everyone. Using this feature is optional and I have to say that this will have no bearing on how visible you are in a search, but if done right, this will add to the aesthetic appeal of your profile and add to the ‘jumpy-out-ness’ impact when someone lands on your page.

The same rules your profile image apply, get a professional to help you if possible.

If not, and your graphic design skills leave a little to be desired, better to not use this feature rather than have an image that would look more at home stuck to a fridge door with a magnet. Get a second opinion if you are not sure!

Personalised URL

When you open an account with Linkedin, your profile is assigned a URL [a link to your page] that is made up of your name and a random series of digits – for example:


You do have the option of personalising this address:

How you change it depends on whether you are using the old or new UI - get in touch if you're stuck!

Depending on how common your name is, you may have to play around with this, if your name is Smith like mine, then you might have to get creative. Try not to fall back on a number after your name, this looks a little generic.

Believe it or not, this does add to your ranking! So it is a good return for such a small investment of your time.


You have 120 characters to really sell yourself. Without going into too much technical information, this section is really important as far as Linkedin search algorithms go.

Yes, you can leave it as the default setting, which is your job title and company name, but that is not very imaginative and at worst is just duplicating information that should appear further down in your profile.

You should aim to include your USP here…what you are good at; your strengths and what you can offer. If you are really creative, you can also include a call to action.


A maximum of 2000 characters should be enough to tell the viewer all about yourself professionally, and how you got to be who you are. You should also include some idea about where you are heading [or at least hope to be heading].

As well as painting a rounded-out picture of you, another call to action is applicable here – more about this under ‘Contact Information’.

I have heard lots of 'should I use thefull amount?' debates and controversies. I have heard consultants say 'if you use all 2000 characters, it won't get read...' or 'if you don't use all 2000 characters, your profile will be weakened by stripping out potential key words...'

I will leave this up to you. My only advice is to use whatever allotment wisely, make it look good, and use words that you want to be associated with your skills and experience, or what you are selling, or what you want yourself to pop up in a search for.


Make sure that the entire profile contains relevant keywords, especially in your headline and summary, but you should really invest time into making sure the most relevant words are included to give yourself the best chance to be fully visible.


Two issues here. Firstly for ranking, the more jobs you list, the better. Obviously, if you are just getting on the career ladder, the jobs you can list are limited to the number you have held. Three is good, four or more is even better. How far back you go is a judgement call!

Secondly, rather than creating a dry list of responsibilities, your aim here is tell a story about each role, what value you provided and what you were able to achieve. Use figures and percentages where you can, this will add power to this section.

Contact Information

If someone has found you on Linkedin, and they can see some value in connecting with you, the obvious way to go would be for them to send you an invitation to connect…right?

Not necessarily! If you are new to Linkedin, then you may not know about Linkedin etiquette. Linkedin says that you should know a person before connecting with them. This is a hot topic, but in short, trying to connect with lots of people you don’t know can lead to your account being suspended or deactivated.

But including alternative contact information as often as possible [in your ‘advice for contacting…’ section and your summary] this gives members a chance to drop you an email, or give you a call. You can connect via Linkedin once you have made initial contact.

You also have the option of adding your Twitter account and any blogs or websites that you have to your profile too.


You are likely to make many claims in your profile as to how awesome you are…quite right too! If you have corroboration of this in the form of Recommendations from people within your network, this will only add to the positive impact of your profile.

This aspect is not easy, it is hard to ask for feedback, but it is worth the effort!

Additional Sections

Once your profile is built, there are a number of ‘bonus’ sections that cover areas of your professional life from Volunteering and Certifications all the way up to Publications and Patents.

Not everyone has experience like this, but if you do, then you should add them.

Profile Strength

The following three lines of text only apply if you are still operating on the original UI.

Once you are happy with your profile content, check the strength of your profile which appears to the right of your photo section.

‘Expert’ or ‘Advanced’ is good, but don’t be happy with anything less than ‘All Star’

You need to keep adding content until the awesome-o-meter hits All Star.

If you are one of the new UI people, then you are flying without instruments - in other words, your profile still has a 'strength' but you won't know for sure what it is......following the advice in this post, however will ensure that all the invisible boxes are ticked and your profile will be as strong as possible.

Additional Action

OK, you have plenty of work to do, but it doesn’t stop there!

Make sure your profile remains fully active by building your network and getting involved in discussions within your timeline and within the groups that you have joined.

You can publish blog posts within your profile that are designed to showcase your expertise or generate dialogue with other members inside and outside your network.

Post informative links that you think your network will benefit from, but don’t spam as you will be chased from the Linkedin village with digital pitchforks….metaphorically speaking!

Engage, engage, engage!

I hope this was helpful, you can send feedback or ask anything via Twitter, you can connect with me on Linkedin if you feel we are likely to meet in the middle of a Venn diagram, or just drop me an email.


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