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Build Your LinkedIn Profile

Why Use LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a widespread social media platform used by job-seekers, employees, and employers to establish and maintain professional online presences. It is a valuable tool for developing your network, seeking jobs and internships, and developing your career.

Getting Started

When you make a LinkedIn account, the first task is crafting your profile. What you add to your profile will be visible to your connections and potential employers (depending upon privacy settings—see below). Once you establish your profile, update it as you would a résumé to reflect your experiences and interests. Keep in mind, who is the audience you are trying to reach? How can you draw attention to what you have done and why you do it —this should not be a CV-like recounting of academic accomplishments alone.

The four major sections of a profile discussed here are the Intro, Summary, Experience, and Education. While there are other sections to consider when crafting your profile, these four sections necessitate the greatest degree of curation.


The Intro section includes a Headline, your pronouns, current role, industry, and location, and whether you are open to work or hiring. Think of this information, plus your headshot, as your LinkedIn business card. When you appear in search results, users will see this information alongside your name. Therefore, it is key that your Headline provides a snapshot of you and your aspirations.

Your Headline is a short, memorable professional slogan that conveys your professional brand, strengths/skills, and interests/goals.

  • Needs Improvement: Graduate Student at Northwestern University
  • Better: Neuroscience PhD Student at Northwestern | Expertise in SQL | Seeking Data Science Position


  • Check out the profiles of students, alumni, and professionals in relevant industries. What works well? What does not? How are experiences framed?
  • When you are open to work, say so with a frame around your headshot and by indicating the kind of roles you are interested in pursuing.
    • Under your settings, view the “Job Seeking Preferences” and if you are looking for internship or full-time opportunities, select “yes” to allow recruiters to know you are open to opportunities.


The About section provides space to articulate a longer version of your Headline, sharing the sum of your experiences and goals toward your aspirations. Think of this like an abstract of your interests and skills for a given professional space (or spaces).

Your Summary should build on your Headline. Use the Summary to describe who you are, including your background/experience, strengths/skills, accomplishments, and goals/aspirations. Tie these elements together into a cohesive professional narrative. Use industry keywords and keep it concise (4-6 sentences).


  • Social scientist with 5 years of experience using qualitative and quantitative methods. Effective communicator, collaborator, project manager, and educator seeking to apply expertise in field of child development.
  • Data scientist using time-series and weather sensor information from industrial machines to create preventive maintenance models. Programming: Proficient in Python (e.g., Pandas, Scikit-learn, Scipy, Bokeh, Tensorflow), MATLAB, R, GIT; Data Analysis/Database: Image processing, machine learning, working knowledge of SQL.

Experience & Education

The Experience and Education sections mirror the corresponding sections of a résumé in which you itemize these data points.

Visibility Settings

In the settings menu, you can alter the visibility of the components of your profile. Privacy is a personal choice, but there is a distinct advantage to making your profile publicly visible.

  • Public profile: Your profile can always be updated, do not strive for perfection before going public. The usefulness of LinkedIn is in others’ ability to see your profile—and vice versa.
    • Select "Edit your public profile" to edit the visibility settings of your profile. From this editor, you can designate which parts of your profile you wish to be visible to any LinkedIn user.
  • Your contact info: Share your contact info in your “About” section or in your settings, be sure your email address is at least visible to those you connect with.
  • Profile viewing options: LinkedIn will inform a user when someone has viewed their profile. You can alter your Profile viewing options to curate whether someone sees your full intro or an anonymized version of your profile. Someone seeing that you have viewed their profile is actually a positive and may lead them to check out your profile.