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How to Write an Effective LinkedIn Profile

boston college career center


From the Career Center


Using LinkedIn professionally will help you greatly in establishing connections, developing relationships, and exploring companies and industries.  

Your LinkedIn profile is often thought of as an online version of your resume.  The basic profile you create will likely closely resemble your resume.  However, LinkedIn allows you to enhance the content of your resume and use your profile as a dynamic networking tool.

Download our complete Guide to Using LinkedIn Professionally (pdf).

Students should use this guide to:

Create a profile


  • Name:  Include both your first and last name.  Remember, your name is your brand and is the first piece of information people will see when they view your profile or your name appears in a search.  If you have a common name, it is recommended that you include your middle name or initial.
  • Profile Picture:  Select a friendly, professional-looking picture.  LinkedIn differs from resumes in that it is important to include a profile picture, as employers gravitate towards profiles that show approachable potential hires.  The Career Center offers LinkedIn Photo Booths at each of the major Career Fairs where you can have a professional picture taken for free.
  • Headline:  Your headline is your unique tagline to capture readers’ attention and entice them to read your full profile.  LinkedIn will automatically generate a headline for you based on your most recent position in your Experience section.  Strong profiles will have an updated headline to include area of study, career ambitions, or keywords related to a desired career field.  If you are searching for an opportunity, it can be helpful to incorporate this into your headline.

    Sample Headlines:
    • Aspiring Consumer Marketer with a Passion for Strategy, Promotions, and Campaign Management.
    • Boston College Junior Seeking Accounting Internship in New York City
    • Social Media Branding Specialist | Seeking Marketing Internship
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  • Location:  While at Boston College, you may choose to include your location as “Greater Boston Area.”  Once you begin searching, it is beneficial to update your location to your desired location for employment.  This will ensure that you appear in searches conducted by employers near that area.

  • Industry:  Select the industry you intend to enter.  

  • Current & Previous Experience and Education:  LinkedIn will update these sections based on the information you provide in the Experience and Education sections of your profile.

  • Contact Information:  Update the contact information you wish to provide to viewers of your profile.  You can include email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, Twitter accounts, and personal websites.  When linking a Twitter account or personal website, ensure that the content is professional.  The details you include in the Contact Information section will only be shared with your direct connections.
LinkedIn Key Tip
  • Public URL:  Customize your public URL to include your name.  Having a customized, professional URL will enable you to easily include your LinkedIn profile in an email signature or resume.  To update your URL, enter the Edit Profile mode.  Click “Edit” next to the URL in your heading box.  In the text box on the right hand side, click the pencil under “Your Public Profile URL.”  Enter your desired URL and save.

Additional Sections


As with your resume, you are able to add various sections to your LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn has created sections for you to choose from.  You do not need to include all of the sections the site offers, rather add only those that are relevant to you and your career field.

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Summary
The summary is your opportunity to expand further on your personal brand.  Here you can describe your greatest accomplishments, ambitions, and interests.  When writing your summary, it is important to remember the audience.  You do not want to write large blocks of text; instead, use shorter blocks and bulleted lists where appropriate.  As with all professional documents, ensure that your summary is grammatically correct and without typing errors.  Based on your industry of interest and the experiences you’ve had, you may choose to include an image, video, or other document in your summary section.

More Sample Summaries:

  • A second year Marketing undergraduate student at Boston College with an interest in marketing, advertising, and social media. Seeking a summer internship to apply my experience assisting a company’s branding needs through social media outreach, developing marketing plans, digital marketing, and conducting customer research.

    Specialties:
    • Event planning
    • Social networking and marketing
    • Account management
    • Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)
    • Adobe CS5.5 Suite (Photoshop, Flash)

  • Enthusiastic and focused student graduating in May with in-depth agency and industry experience and a focus in advertising and the arts, specifically dance and theatre. Served in college on the Executive Committee for a yearly student-run dance extravaganza and each year moved up in leadership roles to finance manager, choreographer, marketing coordinator and president of the organization.

    Interested in an entry-level position with an advertising agency in account management or media planning in New York City; currently preparing to move to the city post-graduation. Also qualified and experienced with arts administration and arts and theater education with elementary school children; extensive volunteer service in classrooms and after-school programs.
  • An Introduction
    Officially, I am a senior in Boston College's Carroll School of Management studying marketing and information systems. But more importantly, I am a creative thinker who produces, values, and supports ideas that push boundaries. Marketing is my passion, and my specific interests lie in brand management, digital marketing, social media marketing, and product marketing.

    Why Marketing?

    The concept of branding has interested me from a young age. Though I may not remember which cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings as a child, I can still recall numerous commercials for various everyday products. Despite the fact that these products were seemingly ordinary, compelling brand stories expressed through unique advertising made them extraordinary. The lasting impact a brand can leave on a consumer and the loyalty that results from this impact fascinates me. Successful brands connect with their consumers, I believe that marketing is the key to a positive relationship between a brand and its audience.

    A Forward Thinker

    Norman Mailer once said, "One must grow or else pay more for remaining the same." This idea not only applies to individuals but also to brands. Today's consumer responds to innovation and creativity, and I hope to build a career around devising and implementing avant-garde marketing campaigns.

Experience, Volunteer Experience & Causes, and Organizations
These sections resemble the similarly-titled sections on your resume. They will likely contain the majority of the information you share on your profile informing others of what you have done in the past. When updating these sections, include internships, work experience, extracurricular activities, and volunteer experiences. Describe each experience in enough detail to inform the reader about your responsibilities and accomplishments in each position. Be sure to include action verbs, industry-specific keywords, actions taken, and results achieved.

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Education
Include your Boston College education and any other higher education experiences you may have.  This could include study abroad experiences, previous degrees, exchange programs, or time spent at another institution.  Here you can also include Activities and Societies you participate in.  In the description section, include any relevant information not stated elsewhere, such as thesis titles, minors, or scholarships.  LinkedIn has a special section for listing courses, so you do not need to write related coursework in the description.  

Courses
Include any relevant courses you have taken and associate them with the proper Education entry utilizing the drop-down menu.

Skills
List your skills or areas of expertise.  Include keywords and phrases from your industry.  While you can add up to 50 skills to your profile, initially, try to add at least 10 skills.  Unlike on your resume, it is acceptable to list interpersonal skills in addition to technical or industry-specific skills.

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Your direct connections on LinkedIn are able to endorse you for skills on your profile.  Skills that receive more endorsements will automatically be listed first in your skills list.  However, if you would like to highlight certain skills, you can change the order by clicking “edit” in this section.  In order to obtain endorsements, consider endorsing your connections’ skills, as they may choose to return the favor. 

Projects
Include any projects you would like to highlight from your educational experience, work experience, internship, or elsewhere.  Describe your responsibilities and accomplishments.  You can also add the team members you worked with for each particular project.

Additional Optional Sections

  • Honors & Awards
  • Languages
  • Interests
  • Personal Details
  • Publications
  • Test Scores
  • Patents
  • Certifications


Questions?


For more information about LinkedIn or to have your profile critiqued after incorporating the suggestions in this guide, please contact the Career Center.

Please note: LinkedIn is constantly updating their site and adding new features.  This guide will be updated on a quarterly basis to reflect those changes.