How to create a solid LinkedIn profile – step by step (2021 edition)

How to create a solid LinkedIn profile – step by step (2021 edition)

How to create a solid LinkedIn profile – step by step (2021 edition)

LinkedIn is a living organism that keeps changing features, algorithms… which means the advice that comes from us, has to adapt accordingly. Our recommendation and tips as to how to create a solid LinkedIn profile here:

Start offline:

  • Prepare your LinkedIn profile in a document prior to uploading it.
  • You want to make sure a perfect, proofread, triple-checked version of your profile goes live.

Set a goal

  • Why do you need a profile? What would you like to achieve? Who do you want to address?
  • Reason: a headhunter looks for different aspects than journalists or an investor. Every reason has a different target group. Every target group has different needs & expectations.
  • Examples of how you might want to position yourself:
    ◦ (potential) employer author
    ◦ (potential) employee
    ◦ (potential) service provider
    ◦ (potential) investor
    ◦ (potential) business partner
    ◦ industry expert
    ◦ …
  • Tip: limit yourself to ideally 2 roles.

A solid LinkedIn profile – step by step

…now to the “filling-out” part field by field from top to bottom.

Your name

  • First Name, then Last Name. NOT the other way around – this mistakes happens more often than you’d like to imagine.
  • If you have a common name, make it less common by e.g. adding your middle name. Don’t have a middle name? Invent an initial. E.g. Sandra Bichl might turn into Sandra M. Bichl. For consistency purposes, start using it also in your email signature, etc.
  • No titles in your name. No MBA, PhD, MA, MSc, etc. Exception: Germany, Austria or if it’s really important in terms of your credibility.

Contact info

  • Make sure that your “primary email address” is your business email (under settings). Primary means it’s the only one visible.
  • Add a link to your current company website.


  • That is the line BELOW your name and can be edited separately.
  • Update your Tagline so that it is attractive to your target group / audience.
  • Definitely wrong: any variation of “Looking for a job / challenge / new opportunities”. You can see statistics on that in the table below:

  • Definitely correct: something that defines you with your target group.


  • You would be surprise how many people make mistakes in this section. Make sure you choose the correct one: remember that your position doesn’t equal the industry you work in! E.g. If you are a CFO who works in a company that produces and sells snacks:
    ◦ correct industry: FMCG
    ◦ wrong industry: finance
  • If you plan on changing industries, select the one you are targeting.
  • If you could work across several industries, choose a priority industry.

Link to your profile
Personalize it by creating a link that can be included in your signature or application documents (click on the edit button next to the link):
• Good link:
• Bad link: (by default)


  • Your profile picture should be: professional, authentic, invite people to get in touch with you, natural, UNLESS you want to create e.g. an authoritarian, cold image on purpose!
  • Dress in a way that a person from your target group who meets you for the first time would actually see you.
  • Make sure that that your photo meets the following criteria:
    ◦ homogeneous background
    ◦ head & shoulder shoot
    ◦ wearing white or dark shirt or suit (in other words: dressed as if you were to go for an interview)
    ◦ it would be nice to wear some accessories: a tie / scarf / pin etc.

Background image

  • Should be in line with what you’d like to achieve. Safe bet: keep it neutral/blank.
  • Consistent with the overall image you are building for yourself.
  • Be careful: a picture of a nice landscape will only distract the reader’s attention instead of focusing it on the content of your profile. Exception: if it’s corporate policy.


  • If you are a CEO (or a Board Member) your target is to have min. 500. If you are a manager with at least 10 years of experience, you should have min. 200 contacts.
  • Don’t want others (e.g. competitors) to see who you know? Go to Privacy & Settings → “Select who can see your connections” → “Only you”.

Profile summary

  • Unique, unique, unique = your Unique Selling Proposition.
  • Quintessence of who you are.
  • Written with your target group in mind.
  • Best structure:
    ◦ first for “human reader”
    ◦ then key words for the LinkedIn algorithm
  • How do you know if it’s good enough?
    ◦ If you are a Finance Director and another Finance Director reads your profile summary and can “copy/paste” the profile with 2-3 minor changes, it’s not good enough.
    ◦ If it describes you or only a few people on the market, then it’s good enough.


  • Do NOT “copy/paste” your CV!
  • Show the last 7-10 years, in some cases 15 years.
  • Do not publish sensitive / confidential data.
  • Be consistent in how you describe positions, e.g. 3 lines per entry.
  • Make sure your profile is balanced: it doesn’t contain too much or too scarce information. If there are too many “?”, you have bigger odds of rejecting → the recruiter has to contact you and ask for details / your CV. If there are too many details → they don’t need to contact you.


  • Add only language skills that you can work in.
  • Remember to add your own native language.


  • Choose groups that confirm your expertise.
  • Hide (don’t delete) groups that are not relevant.
  • You can easily message other group members (no need to purchase InMail).

Other sections

  • Projects: interim projects, if they are not your bread and butter; other relevant business cases that you are allowed to share.
  • Honors & Awards: relevant and from the last 5-7 years, unless it is something really worth mentioning.
  • Organizations: relevant memberships, incl. board memberships.
  • Education: studies, important trainings; NOT high school; feel free to ignore this section if divulging your age would be disadvantageous.
  • Publications: include articles, books, media mentions.
  • Recommendations: do it well or don’t do it at all. Either decide not to have any or do it right: recommend others and ask for recommendations. Important: don’t lie and only recommend people you would actually recommend. Headhunters have started to verify those recommendations!

Go online
• Now that you have prepared your profile “on paper”, proofread it.
• Triple-check grammar, punctuation, spelling.
• Ask 3-4 people from your target group to confirm that the content actually speaks to them.

Other tips for a solid LinkedIn Profile

Research target job ads in terms of the required skills (possible from a premium account) and strategically add them to your profile on LinkedIn. Ideally get a group of friends / colleague to endorse each other’s top skills.

Job Seeking Preferences
Fill out your job seeking preferences to ensure you are seen where and how you’d like to be seen.

Search results
Want to be high?

  • Make sure your profile is complete, especially with a photo.
  • Make sure to add connections (min. 200, ideally 500+), but without SPAMming.
  • Use relevant key words in your tagline and profile summary and across the entire profile.

Adding connections

  • Set your own rules of who you want to add and who you do not want to add. Stick to it.
  • The elegant & professional solution is to prepare LinkedIn adding text formats that you personalize on a case-by-case basis.
  • Exception: adding somebody you have just interacted with as that already gives a good context.


  • LinkedIn has launched the events feature some time ago – now you can actively search events and join them.
  • It’s a good way to increase your network by reaching out to fellow participants!

Do you have a professional, flawless profile? Not sure? Feel free to request a complimentary LinkedIn Report, with feedback on all your sections systematically by clicking here. Or just send an email to Subject: LinkedIn Report