By Hailley Griffis

LinkedIn, the professional social network has over 364 million members in over 200 countries and territories, and is by far the best professional tool I’ve adopted.

Through LinkedIn, I’m able to regularly be in touch with amazing people in my industry, potential clients and I frequently have recruiters reach out. LinkedIn helped me grow a freelance business and has helped me find jobs and make connections, and I want LinkedIn to be just as useful for you, so here are some of the best LinkedIn tips I can muster.


1. Get a custom URL

This is a small thing, but you can have a custom LinkedIn URL. It means, instead of it will be – how much nicer does that look? It also makes it easier for you to remember and share the URL (we’ll get to that in a min).

Here are the steps to getting that custom URL: 

  1. Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
  2. You’ll see a URL link under your profile photo like Move your cursor over the link and click the Settings icon next to it.
  3. Note: “Update your public profile settings” will show up if you don’t have a public profile. Learn how to enable your public profile.
  4. Under the Your public profile URL section on the right, click the Edit icon next to your URL.
  5. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  6. Click Save.

2. Make the most of your summary

I’m surprised at how often the summary is underused! Think of it like an introduction, or an elevator pitch. You want to make a great impression and the summary is exactly how you do that. Here are 3 things to keep in mind:

1. Make it a brief overview of your specialties.
2. Use the ability to add visuals and URLs to add more information that will capture attention.
3. Update it frequently as you gain more knowledge, responsibility or change roles.

3. Use a professional LinkedIn photo

I once used a selfie of myself (looking very nice) as my LinkedIn profile photo and got called out by my boss. And he had a good point – it didn’t look professional. He had one of my colleagues come in and take photos of me – thank goodness too! It’s that easy, find a friend with a semi-professional camera, a nice backdrop and wear nice clothes, then bam, LinkedIn profile photo is done.

4. Choose an appropriate cover photo

LinkedIn lets you add cover photos, so use them wisely. I used a generic LinkedIn one of a laptop and coffee, it’s on brand with who I am.

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I’ve seen some pretty bad cover photos. They have tons of text in them, or the image is stretched, or they are too bright / dark. Check out for some great options, or do what I did and stick with what LinkedIn recommends.

5. Attach links to your job description

Much like your summary should have visuals, your job experience should too. Did you get mentioned in a company blog post? Did your company make the news for a project you were involved with? Even just attaching the link to your company’s website adds a visual element that you can’t argue with.

If you have them, portfolio samples and projects you’ve worked on or pieces you’ve written are best in these sections.

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6. Join relevant groups

Joining groups that are on topic with your industry or specialty does two things.

1. It puts your profile in front of other industry professionals who have joined the same group.
2. It makes anyone who looks at your profile see that you involved in what you do (and you are).

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7. Schedule updates 5 days a week, reach 80% of your audience

Head over to Buffer – it’s free to sign up. You can set your schedule to 5 days per week and send out 5 posts per week. If you don’t want to make them yourself – Buffer will recommend them for you.

By sending out 5 posts per week on weekdays, LinkedIn says you’ll reach 80% of your audience. Now while this is for businesses, a similar number applies to professionals. When you post consistently, you’ll show up in people’s feeds or in the daily email digest that LinkedIn opts to send some people.

8. Periodically go through your LinkedIn for typos

I thought I had already been through my profile with a fine toothed comb when I found a misplaced comma and a typo. I was in shock after having reviewed it for so long. But herein lies the importance in going over it with fresh eyes. Leave it for a few days and then go back and read it from start to finish. Or better, have a friend go over it for you and swap profiles!

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9. Write referrals

Referrals on LinkedIn can go a long way. Help your colleagues out and write them a referral it will make them more likely to return the favor – everyone wins.

10. Request referrals

When you leave a job is the perfect time to ask for referrals, because your work is fresh in your boss and your colleagues minds. This is important because if you ask them two years later they won’t recall with as much detail.

Referrals on LinkedIn are just like referrals in real life, they speak to your expertise and ability to work with colleagues who want to refer you publicly. I try to get at least one referral for every piece of experience on my profile, or at least the most recent ones.

11. Change your title

As you change positions be sure to update your LinkedIn title. It will show up in people’s notifications and you always want them to know where you are at in your career.

12. Add volunteer work

Volunteer work always looks amazing, and often times when you’re young, it offers more responsibility than an entry level job. You can either add volunteer work under the volunteer tab, or the experience tab. In the beginning or my career, I added all volunteer experience under the ‘experience’ tab – because it is just that.

Also, adding your experience there allows people to write recommendations for you – whereas when it’s under volunteer they can’t. Hopefully LinkedIn will change that, until then I’m keeping my experience where it is.

13. Follow organizations

Keep up with organizations you’re interested in, just like you would on Twitter and Facebook. Similarly to how your groups are displayed on your profile, as are the organizations that you follow. Follow the ones you have worked at, the ones who are in the same industry and those you admire.

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14. Use your LinkedIn URL in many places (especially when job hunting)

When Twitter and Facebook ask you for URL’s but you don’t have a website? Well now you have an answer. Add that LinkedIn profile custom URL everywhere you can.

15. Don’t put ‘Looking for new opportunities’ in your title – call out your specialization

Everyone has their own opinion about this, here’s my two cents: It looks more impressive to list in your title that which you are trained or educated in, rather than the fact that you are currently looking for new opportunities. Add that bit of information to your summary so that once someone has clicked through to your profile (because your title caught their attention) they see that you’re currently job hunting.

16. Adjust your public profile

You can control how much information people can see, or cannot see when they view your profile without being connected to you. Interested in having everyone see your job titles but not the description? You can change that.

Here’s where you go to edit that info: 
Your public profile appears when people search for you using a public search engine like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. You can edit your public profile from the Edit Profile page.

To hide your public profile:

  1. Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
  2. Click the Settings icon next to the URL under your profile photo. It will be an address like
  3. Under the section Customize Your Public Profile, click Make my public profile visible to no one. Your LinkedIn profile won’t appear in search engines and won’t be visible to non-LinkedIn members.
  4. Note: If you disable your public profile, it may take several weeks for it to be removed from search engine results.
  5. To show your public profile or change the sections displayed:

Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.

  1. Click the Settings icon next to the URL under your profile photo. It will be an address like
  2. Under the section Customize Your Public Profile, click Make my public profile visible to everyone. Your basic information displays by default.
  3. Check or uncheck the boxes to select which sections you’d like to display or hide.
  4. The changes take effect immediately. You can reload that page to see any changes you made.

I cannot write enough lines explaining how wonderful I think LinkedIn is. At first, I had no idea how to use it. I had little professional experience and wasn’t good at writing about myself. As I started out in my career and throughout University, I focused a lot of attention on my LinkedIn profile. I wrote and rewrote my summary. Then had friends read it over. I talked to mentors about the best way to display my experience and I volunteered like there was no tomorrow to keep taking on more responsibility.

Slowly, my professional experience has increased and with it, my LinkedIn profile expanded and got more attention.

Even if you have to start with no experience, I highly recommend starting to build up your LinkedIn profile as there’s no telling how many opportunities will come from displaying your experience online.

Hailley Griffis is a digital nomad and freelancer who loves all things communications. Connect with her at and keep up with her current location in the world in 140 characters or less on Twitter as @hailleymari.

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