How to Create a Powerful LinkedIn Profile

by | Dec 8, 2020 | MY JOB Gen Z

Highlights from Chapter 4 in our forthcoming book.

Think LinkedIn is only for older professionals? Well, that may be where your next boss is looking for YOU.  



LinkedIn: Why Bother?


  1. Over 760 million users from over 200 countries.
  2. 80% of users cite professional networking as one of the keys to their career success.
  3. 92% of recruiters look here for candidates.


What to Include in Your Profile


  1. Headline: Make it snappy and unique; e.g., “High-school senior and sculptor offers art-therapy skills” or “Economics major seeking to empower the other 99%.”
  2. Summary: Use more than forty words in order to boost your search-engine optimization. Here’s where you want to let your personality come through. Include your wishes for your career as well as why those goals, and why you’re the one to meet them.
  3. Contact information: List your name and location. Ensure the email address is one you check often. Include a telephone number. The more ways a potential employer has to contact you, the better.
  4. Current employment status: If you’re not yet employed, consider listing your current volunteer or intern position. Another option is to say, “currently seeking _____ opportunity” or “advertising student seeking challenging employment” to show forward thinking and optimism for the future.
  5. Account type: Choosing a basic account will suffice for most LinkedIn members, unless you’re in the field of human resources or recruiting.
  6. Photograph: Choose the most professional headshot you can obtain. Like it or not, people will judge you by the smile, warmth, and intelligence that shine through. This isn’t the place for a cool pic of you in sunglasses, at a party, or at the beach with your dog. Profiles with a high-quality headshot get 21 times more profile views.
  7. Experience: First, list any paid work experiences. Consider listing them in an order that most closely matches your career goals rather than chronologically. Keep it honest but inclusive of all other relevant experience, including summer experiences, volunteer stints, hobbies and talents.
  8. Skills: LinkedIn offers fifty from which to choose. If you pick at least five, you’ll be contacted by 33 times more recruiters.
  9. Education: Include what you’ve studied beyond the diploma; e.g., certifications and online learning.
  10. Personalized URL: If possible, use your full name as your LinkedIn URL; that will make it easier for people to find you. Click the “gear” icon next to the public profile link, then click the pencil message next to the URL. Your personalized URL must be between 5-30 characters.
  11. Edit, proofread, edit, and check again: Aim for brevity and clarity. Use syntax that’s sharp and refreshing, not stuffy or pretentious. Ask a hawk-eyed teacher or family member to double-check your entry before you hit “publish.”
  12. Network with people: Now it’s time to reach out to everyone you know: teachers, relatives, family friends, and anyone you’ve met who’s already working in your field. Why? Because especially online, it’s all about whom you know and whom they know.



Polishing Your Profile


Keywords: Using industry terms helps people find you when searching on a specific topic or skill. For example, if you’re a nursing student, you might weave in such words as “medical,” healthcare,” and “patient-centered.” However, try not to repeat any words in your profile — instead, summarize or synonymize.


Updates: Posting updates keeps your profile fresh, notifies your contacts of new content, and brings online searches to you. Consider posting interesting articles you’ve encountered or your own work — blog posts, articles, how-to lists, or on-the-job stories of challenges and triumphs.


Video: Especially for Gen Z, any story that you can tell on video in 8 seconds or less (could be yourself talking or images with captions) has the best chance of connecting with and being shared by others.


Activity: Check in often, just as you would with any other social media tool. If you send someone an invitation to connect, add a personal touch as to why. If you receive an introduction or recommendation, be sure to circle back to those who’ve helped you along your career path. It’s not just good karma, it’s also your good reputation, which will open doors for you in the years to come.


Cover image used with permission from and gratitude for avel-chuklanov-DUmFLtMeAbQ-unsplash.jpg of Unsplash. 


This post comes to you as a portion of the book:

MY JOB Gen Z: Finding Your Place in a Fast-Changing World

(c) 2021 by Suzanne Skees and Sanam Yusuf

An open-source, narrative nonfiction book full of true stories of jobs along with best practices for how to make your dream-job come true.


Note from the authors:

Join us each Tuesday and Friday as we release highlights from our new book, that will be FREE to our community members.

Share with your friends and followers; it’s FREE, open-source, and available to everyone.

No one makes a penny on this book project, which is intended to inspire and empower Gen Zers to launch their careers and land their dream jobs. Suzanne and Sanam have volunteered their time, and we’ve chosen this platform to transmit our book so that YOU don’t have to pay for publication costs.

However, if you feel inspired to help someone in poverty to have access to dignified work, jump here to donate directly to the nonprofit job-creation program of your choice–all vetted and supported by Skees Family Foundation.

Thanks for being with us! We’re excited to share our book with you.

–Suzanne & Sanam

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Suzanne Skees, author of the three-volume MY JOB series on real people in remarkable jobs, believes in the power of our jobs over our identity and wellbeing and, conversely, our ability to change our world with the work of our minds and hands. She lives by the Pacific Ocean and spends as much time as possible listening to the surf, and to silence.



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