LinkedIn Profile Do’s & Don’ts

Tips on creating a professional LinkedIn Profile

Building a powerful professional brand, no matter who you are or what you do, can be really difficult. Writing about yourself is not easy and selling yourself in order to get that DREAM job you’ve been after can be grueling. Because LinkedIn is one of the winning platforms and tools in business networking, we need to craft our profile in such a way that it could be seen as your very own “professional brochure” – your digital identity

So how do you take control of your online presence? 

How do you do this in a professional manner? 

How do we craft our LinkedIn profiles in such a way that impresses those hiring, inspires others and of course shapes or builds our own confidence in ourselves, abilities and services? 

Here are 9 tips about the do’s and don’ts of building your professional profile and portfolio on LinkedIn, to enable your profile to brand and market you in the most powerful way:

1. Before you even begin take note!

The last thing you want to do is flood your audience with notifications or emails on your profile changes and activity when updating your professional portfolio. Your updates can be done quietly by toggling over “Notify Your Network” which appears on your LinkedIn profile in the right sidebar – switch this from On to Off.

2. Your Profile Picture

DO: Your Profile Picture needs to be a Professional Photo 

This is your public face on a digital platform – your network (and the world) is going to see this. This photo needs to be a great representation of yourself. 

If you do not have the budget for a professional photoshoot – take a photo of yourself. Make sure that you are dressed professionally, have a tidy and distinct background and that the lighting is good! Have the camera at eye level and smile! 

DON’T: Use a Family Portrait 

LinkedIn is YOUR professional profile. The photo used needs to be of YOU. This is not JUST a social platform, it is a PROFESSIONAL platform.

The above applies to your cover image. Being professional is key and first impressions only come by ONCE.

3. Your Headline 

DO: Direct this at your target audience 

If you are searching for your dream job, construct your headline in such a way that is compelling and striking to your specific audience. Ensure that you stand out – infuse your headline with keywords that will reel in talent seekers and hiring managers. 

DON’T: Use the auto-generated headline or Say You are Unemployed 

LinkedIn automates your headline with your current company and role title- saving you time BUT not saving you from being exactly like the next person in your role, field and industry. 

Saying you are unemployed uses up a lot of the character and word space in your headline – how are you going to sell yourself to recruiters? This space is limited, be specific and educate your readers. A headline can be a perfect demonstration of what it is that you do and want to do. 

4. Your Summary 

DON’T: Use the summary section as your Cover Letter

This is a summary. Don’t over-indulge in a long write up about yourself and why you want your specific dream job. Think about how you would read someone elses profile – as human beings living in the 4th Industrial Revolution we prefer digestible morsels that are easy to read over and understand quickly. Therefore don’t copy and paste everything from your resume. Do not add your entire life’s worth of experience and previous positions here. This is what the next section is for.

DO: Be concise, to the point and state the facts
Create the perfect visualisation of who you are, what you do and what you want to do. Remember that you are selling yourself.

5. Your Experience

DON’T: Go back 20 to 30 years. 

Those in talent acquisition do not need an entire detailed previous work trajectory. Your LinkedIn profile should showcase and align to your career goals and future. 

If you do, however, want to showcase everything you did from 1985, consolidate this and summarise this into one experience in your profile listings – business and technology has changed so drastically since then that it is irrelevant to your future career.

DO: Mention Achievements

Within each role, write a short indication of what achievements you accomplished whilst being part of that company. Keep this short and concise – unless you are a copywriter? Keep in mind that the reader wants an overview – not the whole book.

6. Your Skill Set 

DO: Include all of your skills relevant to your future and present career

Remember – these are your selling points. These are your BUZZWORDS that lure in and attract recruiters and those hiring to the professional portfolio that you are selling. 

DON’T: Include Misleading and Irrelevant Information 

Keep in mind that your skills and abilities are always going to be questioned and tested – whether it be in the interview phase of the hiring process or when working on the job. Don’t be misleading – you will unfortunately pay for this in the end.

7. Your Interests

DON’T: Skip the Interests Section on LinkedIn

Yes – you are showcasing your abilities, skills and professional experience BUT you are also human! The human element is so important when showcasing yourself – you’re going to work with people too, right? 

Those acquiring the correct talent to a business or company are also looking for the perfect culture fit. They are seeking out what you could potentially have in common with their values in the company, or perhaps how much you have in common with them! Sharing your interest will allow for the reader to create a connection with you, human to human.

8. For the Job Seekers 

DO: Change your Privacy Status and let Recruiters know you are in the Market, 

Did you know that you can actually change your status of your LinkedIn profile to “Open to Job Opportunities”? 

  • Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. 
  • Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
  • Click the Privacy tab at the top of the page. 
  • Under the Job seeking preferences section, click Change next to Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities.

DON’T: Add that you are looking for a new opportunity in your summary or profile

This is a definite no-go. Your current managers have access to your profile, irrespective of whether they are a connection or not.

9. Writing For ME

DO: Write in the first person.

Tell a story. Show your personality and be unique. Impress recruiters and those hiring by crafting in such a way that optimizes your profile and portfolio showcase.


Keep your profile updated, succinct and professional. In a platform showcasing millions of profiles and business professionals DON’T let yourself become part of the saturated automated profiles. Showcase that you are unique and help yourself stand out!

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