Understanding and optimizing your Linkedin Profile – The basics

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Linkedin in the recent past has slowly emerged as a preferred platform for professional networking. It has added close to 20 million users since last November, which directly bears a testimony to its emergence and ever-growing popularity with professionals worldwide.

For more information on the infographics check the References section below
Do read essay on Linkedin Overview and the update on Linkedin reaching 150 million users.


However, as a professional networking tool it falls short if you do not update, and constantly monitor your profile online. Linkedin is a solid online presence management tool. It updates your peers, colleagues, and future employers on what capabilities you are currently building on. It updates them on of your achievements, honors and helps you share your credentials at a moment’s notice. Since debuting in 2002, Linkedin has come a long way in providing value to its users be it networking, sharing or using its myriad services.

Why users connect

Linkedin users connect with each other based on the value they think you will provide them and vice versa. The value can be your expertise, the news you share, the links you post online, the company you belong to and so on. Linkedin has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to adding a connection. It is not easy adding people and sometimes randomly adding people and too many subsequent rejections can result in a “suspension” warning from the service provider. I feel this is one of the reasons the service is still 1/5th the size of Facebook but its current user base number 150 million in itself huge when it comes to a bonafide marketplace of professionals belonging to diverse sectors across the globe.

Linkedin – your online asset

The essence of getting it right on Linkedin is putting your best foot forward without overdoing it while at the same time not (never) selling yourself short. If done with due diligence, your Linkedin profile can be an asset you can rely on for jobs, growth and connecting with the right people.

All content you worked hard at – writing, re-writing, and pruning from time to time will work 24×7 for you. And an up-to-date profile will make it easier for you to share quickly with your peers, or recruiters in case there is a job opening.

Why people sometimes choose not to connect

Personally, I do not connect if I do not see a lot of activity in someone’s profile. Few things, which give a solid clue are:

  • Photo - Photos make it slightly personal. All the more reason you should have a presentable photos in your profile.
  • Number of connections – Less number of connections also means less activity. People with 150 or less are people who also don’t bother logging in and reaching out in their network.
  • Amount of content – You operate lean with little or no content either on you, your current profile, positions you have held or a summary of your overall experience summary. Less information equals less inclination to connect because people don’t see the value.

The basics

Linkedin has a lot of components that need to be worked on before your profile is up and ready. While Linkedin has it all organized, you need to make sure you fill in the right content that is relevant to and accurate to your profile. While editing your profile you will see the following subsections:

  • Skills & Expertise
  • Education
  • Honors and Awards
  • Certifications
  • Experience
  • Courses
  • Recommendations
  • Publications
  • Organizations
  • Projects
  • Languages
  • Summary
  • Additional information
  • Groups and associations
  • Applications
  • Contact advice
Note: If you are logged in on Linkedin right now click on the ‘Improve your profile’ tool for a walk through for
completing your profile.

Your content

Your content is majorly text since Linkedin has kept media such as photos on your profile to a minimal unlike other social media websites and online presence services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. However, it does provide options that add color to your online presence in a strictly professional sense. Applications such as WordPress, Google Presentation, SlideShare Presentations, Reading List by Amazon and others designed for specific sectors such as real estate and legal can be added to your profile.


Your objective at the time of writing or filling out your Linkedin profile should be to present content in a:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Compelling
  • Credible, and
  • Reader-centric manner

What to avoid

A lot of articles have been written on the buzzwords that should be avoided in your Linkedin profile. Some of the common ones I have noticed apart from the usual are:

  • Keen
  • Accomplished
  • Out-of-the-box
  • Expertise
  • Expert
  • Excellent
  • Excellence
  • Intuitive

What to avoid once more

Common buzzwords apart from the ones listed above as per Linkedin’s top overused buzzwords in 2011 are:

  • Creative
  • Effective
  • Organizational
  • Extensive experience
  • Track record
  • Motivated
  • Innovative
  • Problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • Dynamic


The company recently released an infographic on which words feature in which geography the most:

Linkedin Series:

This is the fifth in a series of short essays on Linkedin that will talk about how to make the best use of this service for your professional networking needs, finding jobs, expanding your network, integrating and using the proper settings for your social media channels, and optimizing and maintaining an online profile.


All content in text form is my own except where attributed to the respective authors/owners/creators. The image copyrights of the infographics lie with the respective owners. The sources for the infographic have been mentioned under the References section below.

All content presented in text or image form does not represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of my current or future employer.

The author of this essay/post has not received any remuneration for endorsing or writing favorably about this product or service. Thank you.

For more information on the infographics and the source check the References section below

Copyright and Licensing

© Copyright Salil Lawande 2012
Produced in India
February 2012
All rights reserved
In case you are interested in featuring any of my essays, notes or articles on your website, blog or online/print publication, kindly get in touch with me so we can work out the details.
For copyrights and licensing visit:
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Third party copyrights and attributions

All trademarks, copyright or copyleft based material, official and unofficial logos are the property of their respective owners. If you have created or own any particular piece of work which has not been attributed then please get in touch with me at the earliest.
All articles, quotes and photos featured on this blog unless or otherwise attributed belong to the author of the Salil Lawande Blog and the Morph Each Week Projekt blog.


Infographics featured in this essay have been sourced from the Linkedin official company blog and Visual.ly – a community for sharing infographics and data visualizations. I have listed below the title, link below for your reference.

1Linkedin Top overused buzzwords in Linkedin Profile. Visit link.

2Linkedin Quick Facts. Visit Visual.ly link.

3Linkedin Q3 Reports. Visit Visual.ly link.

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