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Career Seekers - Job Search Tool Kit

How to have a LinkedIn All Star Profile

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LinkedIn Profile Basics

LinkedIn - Job Search - Certifications

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a professional networking site.

You use it to stay in touch with your professional connections and look for new career opportunities. Recruiters use it to look for candidates in a very similar way you use Google to find any information online.

LinkedIn recruiting is already growing rapidly. Reports have shown that interactions between recruiters and members have increased by 40% over the past two years. There is a good reason for this. Sourced candidates (those found by recruiters through active search, not regular job applications) are more than twice as efficient to hire. Plus, in 2018, more than 31% of all hires are proactively sourced. So—This means that recruiters like hiring via LinkedIn a whole lot better than most channels. A recent study revealed that 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to look for new employees. Perhaps even more importantly—this same study has shown that almost 40% of all employers might not interview you if they can’t find you online. LinkedIn is where they’ll start looking.

Get a custom url

When you create your LinkedIn profile, the default URL that you get doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Instead of a URL with a million confusing numbers at the end, you need to create one like this: Now put a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume. You need to get a custom url or it will look something like this, “”. A custom url like this looks much better: “” This is easy to do. Go to  Next, on the top right you will see “Edit your custom Url” From there it is super easy.

Your name

If you put a postgraduate degree, a certification, or other academic or professional titles next to your name, chances are your profile won’t appear in the search results for your own name. Limit your name to just that: Firstname Lastname. You can enter your credentials in the LinkedIn headline

work history

Your work history

Recruiters want to see continuity in your work history. Employment gaps are red flags. Underneath each job, include approximately six bullet points describing the scope of your responsibilities at that job. Don’t write only about your duties. Focus on your achievements. Don’t just show recruiters what you did—highlight how well you handled it. Start with an action verb (or first-person + action verb). Follow it with a specific task. Use numbers whenever possible.

The 10 things you must do to have an all-star profile

Use a background picture.

Use something simple and professional–no cats, grandkids, etc. Choose a plain, neutral background 

You need a LinkedIn profile photo

This is critical for your LinkedIn success! Adding a profile photo could result in 14 times more profile views. use a simple, professional headshot with a smile. Having the same picture on multiple social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ will help build your personal brand. Whatever you do, don’t use a selfie, your company logo, you and your furry friend, etc. These types of photos could damage your personal brand which defeats the whole purpose of being on LinkedIn. If either width or height exceeds 4000 pixels, your photo will not upload. Dress the way you’d dress to work. Make sure your face takes up over 50% of the frame. Aim for your eyes to be in the top third of the picture. Take a lot of photos, trying out different angles and expressions—and then take your time to choose the best one. That said, don’t choose your LinkedIn profile picture by yourself.


A vast majority of LinkedIn users have headlines that undersell what they offer—their current professional titles, and nothing more than that. This is your elevator pitch. In one sentence you need to sell yourself–what skills do you offer to solve their problem.

Want to make your headline stand out? Go to and paste your headline. It will give you the same headline using multiple fonts. pick one that stands out but looks professional. Copy and paste into your headline. Almost everyone else on LinkedIn uses the same font. Now every time you post an article or comment on someone else’s post, yours will stand out.

Do you need more than the 120 character limit LinkedIn gives you? Most people don’t, but if you do, here’s another tip: Download the LinkedIn app onto your smartphone. After you paste your unique characters, use the LinkedIn app to do the rest. This way you can get up to 220.

Education, Industry, and personal information.

Make sure to include your zip code. This is important. If you skip this, your profile will rank much lower. Again, the goal is to show up in more searches and be ranked higher when you do.

Summary Section

Many people make the mistake of using this section to talk about their hobbies, interests, etc. Recruiters do not care. This is your opportunity to speak directly to the hiring manager. Tell a story about your target market–their pain–talk directly to them! How can you solve your problem? Imagine the hiring manager reading your summary nodding as he or she reads your summary, thinking, “This is what I need.” Get to know what words and skills come up in job descriptions and other people’s summaries. Keywords are an important part of searches made by recruiters. You want to use keywords from your industry that are also authentic and really describe what you can do for them.

At least TWO past positions

At least ONE needs to be in a current position with a description. If you are unemployed, do not make the mistake of leaving this blank. Some leave their previous position on, or you can put ‘seeking new opportunities.”


You need a minimum of three. Focus on skills your target market is looking for. Choosing a suggested skill is better than entering one manually. The suggested skills are based on what recruiters search for on LinkedIn. Look for the hottest skills to optimize your profile so that it matches current trends.


The more endorsements you have for a specific skill, the more likely it is that you’ll come up in the search results when someone is searching for someone with that skill. If you scratch backs, your back will get scratched. If you want endorsements and recommendations—start by giving them. When you start building your network, ask the people you’ve worked with, your friends, your old professors, and fellow students to endorse your skills. And make sure you’ve already gone ahead and endorsed theirs in return. LinkedIn no longer requires three recommendations to have a complete status. It is still considered a best practice. Recommendations that are written for specific roles show up underneath each position in which they are written. Each person that writes you a recommendation will have a thumbnail of their profile photo right next to their recommendation. Endorsements are one-click acknowledgments from your network showing that you are being recognized for a certain skill.

At least one article on LinkedIn Pulse

This is simpler than it sounds. As soon as you open LinkedIn, you will see “Write Article” as one of the options. Try to write something specific to your industry. Don’t worry if not many read it. Ask a few friends and family if you need to. This will help you with rankings.

More than 50 connections

You don’t need 500+. Just reach out to enough people until you get at least 50.

How to Use LinkedIn for Networking

Wonderful. Now you have this terrific profile and can sit back, relax and wait for all these wonderful job offers to start rolling in. Not so fast. This is just your starting point. LinkedIn is a dynamic environment. Its power lies in the networking capabilities it provides.

You will not get very far unless you go out there and interact with your network! Using LinkedIn is not entirely different from interacting on any other social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. The only difference is, LinkedIn has a specific purpose: networking with fellow professionals. You don’t need to be a super-connector with 500+ connections to make LinkedIn work for you.

Some “experts” will tell you the more, the merrier. However, that might be true if you are new to LinkedIn and need to build up your connections to get at least 50, but as your number of connections goes up, it is better to prune your number to weed out those who add ni value and do not have similar interests.  Why? The smaller percentage of your connections who read your posts, the less likely LinkedIn is to feature it very prominently on others’ timelines.

If you’re a new user or a student, the easiest way to start networking is to join groups. Start with the alumni associations linked with your university. Start by joining groups linked with your university. You’d be amazed how generous these people can be with their time and advice – as long as you are professional and thoughtful in engaging with fellow members. I would also join groups in your industry that are in your area. Here are some in the Tampa/St. Petersburg job market I recommend:

Project Management – get an overview of industry and employment opportunities

Business Analysts and Project Managers

Here are some in the Tampa/St.Petersburg job market. There will be similar ones in every city.

IIBA Tampa Bay Community

PMI Tampa Bay Chapter

Tampa Bay Business Network

The IIBA is especially active. It is also very good for data scientists, business intelligence analysts, product owners, etc. There are a number of recruiters who are active members. Guess why they are here?


Project Transition USA

Hire Heroes USA

Tampa Bay Career Transition 

Project Transition USA is very active and has all sorts of training and events for veterans.

Troops to Tech

What if you need additional skills for the skills for the jobs you are looking for?

No matter how good your profile is, if you do not have the skills employers are looking for, you need to get them. Fortunately there are two ways to help without taking any money out of pocket. See if you qualify for a WIOA grant. If not, the Icome Share agreement is risk free (you pay nthing and owe nothing until you are working in a job with decent pay).

See if you Qualify for a WIOA Grant

Are you unemployed? There is a little known federal grant program that can pay for you to get trained, certified and placed in your career at no cost to you. Availability and amounts are based on where you live. If you qualify, this program can pay up to $10,000 to get trained, certified, and then get help getting placed in their career. The amount and availability vary by county

This can be used to get certified in fields such as Cyber-Security, Information Technology, Project Management, Business Analysis, and more. Some of the most highly sought-after certifications include CompTIA, Microsoft, Cisco, Project Management Professional (PMP), Scrum Master, and others.