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Decide on the main key-words you want to be found for.

These are the words and phrases that you think prospects and potential connections might actually type into a search. If you’re a mortgage broker, make sure you use the words “mortgage broker” in your profile, along with any variations you think searchers might use like “finance broking.” I suggest coming up with 10 – 12 and then prioritizing them so that you know what your most important keyword phrase is.

Before finalizing your list, you may want to do a few LinkedIn searches yourself to see who comes up and if it would be advantageous for you to be seen ranked above those individuals.

Once you have decided on your top one or two key words/phrases work through the checklist below making sure to include your main keywords in EVERY sub-section that recommends it. 

LinkedIn Profile Checklist



1.1 Name

Include your name as people would search for you. If someone else is already using your name then add a middle initial.

1.2 Headline

  • This is your main “promotional headline”
  • Make it as interesting and compelling as possible: What do you help people with? What do you want to be “seen” as? What will make the people you want to connect with want to find out more?
  • There is a limit of 120 characters so you may have to experiment to get it all in.
  • Begin every word with a capital letter, this makes it look more professional.
  • If you want to promote more than one thing then separate them with a “pipe” |
  • Make sure that you include the main key words that you want to be found on.

1.3 Area

Enter your post (zip) code and select your country from the drop down list.  You have the option to either select your local area or the greater metro region depending on what will work better for you.

1.4 Category

Select a category from the drop down list.  Think about which category is most closely aligned with what your target market or potential alliances would be searching for you in.  LinkedIn suggests that adding a category will bring you 15 X more views.

1.5 Photo

Make sure that you have a professional profile that reflects your brand and image.  Do NOT use a logo. According to LinkedIn having a photo will bring you 14 X more views.


2.1  Contact Details

Below your header is a tab for Contact. This contains all of the contact information that you’ve chosen to share with your connections. Make sure this is complete! You can include your email address, phone number, website and Social Media accounts.

Under Websites, you can include up to three. You might link to your Home page, to your Blog, and to your Facebook page. Or perhaps you have a second website you might want prospects to go to, or even your Google+ profile.

Make sure that you edit the label for each website name to be more interesting and descriptive, rather than just “Website.”

2.2 Websites Hint:

  • Select the category “other” from the drop down list.
  • Change the wording in the middle box to something informative (you have up to 30 characters)
  • If you wish you can use this feature to include a compelling call to action.  E.g. Free report
  • Insert the web-link in the format http://www.yourwebsitename  in the 2nd box

2.3 Public Profile URL

Make sure you set up a Public Profile URL. A customised URL is easier to remember and use, and of course looks more branded and professional.

Customize your URL by selecting the down arrow next to “View Profile As” and selecting “Manage Public Profile Settings”.  Then click Customize your public profile URL down on the right-hand side.

Use your name or as close to it as you can get based on what LinkedIn will allow you to choose and what others may have already taken.  It’s not ideal to use your business name unless your name has already been taken.

2.4 Public Profile Badge

You may also want to create a public profile badge that you can add to your email signature or website. You can create a public profile badge using the link directly underneath the link to update your custom URL.




Your Summary can include up to 2000 characters and I strongly recommend using all available space.  According to LinkedIn, summaries that have more than 40 words make you more likely to turn up in appropriate searches, which makes complete sense. The more you’re
talking about your business and industry, the more likely you are to use important keywords.

The first and most common mistake here is to write a brief biography of yourself or your work history. Not only is that boring, it’s also ineffective when you’re trying to land business for yourself. You aren’t trying to get hired, so why write for a job interview?

Instead, treat the Summary field like it’s the Home Page of your website. Talk to your prospects and really try to reach out and engage them. Explain a little bit about who you are, but focus more on what you do for people. This should not read like a list of services. People don’t buy services. They buy solutions or experiences. If you talk about how you’re going to help me, I’m far more likely to relate and to want to learn more.

If you’re a Premium member, when you go to edit your Background, LinkedIn will offer suggestions of additional keywords to add, and highlight strong business words that you’re already doing well to integrate.

  • Include keywords in your summary but don’t overdo it.  It must read well.
  • Format your summary in short easy to read paragraphs just as you would a website page.
  • Make sure that each paragraph has a heading with each word capitalised.
  • You can organise your summary in one of two ways:
    • If you want to feature more than one business, project or skill then you can do a short paragraph on each.  Make each of them as interesting and compelling as possible.
    • If you want to make your summary a call to action then follow the following formula:
      • Who you are.
      • A little bit about your passions your goals etc.
      • Who do you help?
      • How do you help them?
  • Finish with how they can get in touch with you and why they should bother.   Call to action.

You can also include your specialities in your summary as a list separated by commas.  This is a fantastic opportunity to include those keywords again. Make sure that you format it with capital letters at the beginning of words.


3.2         EXPERIENCE

  • Put in your current position including a title and a description
  • Make sure that you include your main keywords in the title AND the description. It is not useful from a search point of view to describe yourself as an owner, founder or director. Nobody is searching for that.
  • You can have more than one current position. E.g. you may have a position on a committee or with a Group. If you Blog you can describe yourself as a writer, if you are a speaker you can include that too.  Your keywords can be included here as well.  Don’t overdo the key words.  Make sure it still reads well!
  • Include all your relevant past business and work experience. You can have as many as you want. However remember you are not writing a resume.  Keep it relevant.
  • Once again, where possible include your main keywords


LinkedIn Skills serve two important purposes. First, they are additional uses of the keywords we talked about earlier. Your skills should reflect the topics and expertise that potential clients are looking for. Second, many potential clients will see this list and if you’ve done a good job of optimizing skills and getting endorsements, this section will help reaffirm what you were talking about in the previous Background section.

You have complete control over what skills are displayed, and which skills you can receive endorsements on.

Click on Edit next to the Skills & Endorsements section to edit your skills.


If you really don’t want to use this feature, you can turn it off here.


Next, you can choose whether or not your connections should be encouraged to endorse you and whether or not you want to be encouraged to endorse them. I do suggest YES otherwise you may as well turn them off.


Next you’ll see a list of the skills you’ve already added, and a field to add more. You can list up to 50 skills, so fill it up!

Make sure that you’ve decided for yourself what 50 skills you want to be endorsed for, as this will ensure you don’t get lots of endorsements for random skills. Refer back to the LinkedIn Keywords list you created earlier.

Now it’s time to prioritize those skills. The skills that are most relevant to your business and the kind of work you want to get should be listed first, so drag your skills around until they’re in the order you want. Once saved, the top ten will be listed along with thumbnails of your endorsers, followed by a list of the next 15 skills, and a button to see the final 25. So note that only your top 25 skills are seen on your profile.

Since the first ten skills are the ones that viewers of your profile can easily endorse, you can cycle different skills into that top ten listing to give them a bump in endorsements. For instance, I recently added “Mastermind Groups” as a skill. As I have only just listed it, it hasn’t received many endorsements yet, so I put it in my top ten to get it more attention.


5.1 Additional Information

Include any relevant information – make sure to include the way you would prefer to be contacted and any additional information for contacting you.

5.2         HONOURS

Include any honours and awards which are relevant.

5.3      EDUCATION

Include as much information about your education as you consider relevant


You can add any of these sections which you think will add to your credibility.  The two most valuable for most business owners are Projects and Publications.

Add/update projects

The Projects section is an ideal place to show off some of your actual work, similar to a portfolio. One of the great ways in which you can communicate to a potential client what you can do for them is by showing them what you’ve done for other similar businesses.

Unfortunately, it’s currently a rather static section. Individual projects are listed much like past job experience, without the option to add Media. If you can provide an outstanding description of what you did, or perhaps the names/brands themselves will lend some weight, definitely take advantage. If, however, you work in a more visual field, I recommend having a great looking portfolio on your own website and linking to it from here.

Add/update publications

Publications isn’t just for published books and written work, though if you’ve been published that should definitely be included here. You can also include links to blog posts, particularly if you’ve contributed articles on sites other than your own.

I wouldn’t recommend listing every single one of your guest articles here — just a nice sample to show a prospect that you’ve been published elsewhere, beyond your own website. 4 – 6 entries in this section seems like a reasonable number. But of course there are always exceptions. Just like the one-page resume rule can be broken by someone with an exceptional history, if you’ve been published in a dozen incredible places, or have an extensive library of books that you’ve authored, list them.




Recommendations are an extraordinarily powerful tool within LinkedIn. They represent independent reviews of your business, and can go a long way toward establishing your expertise with potential prospects.

Aim to recommend at least 10 to 15 people to start out.  However ensure that you are being genuine in your recommendations or it may come back to haunt you. The odds are that at least 50% of the people that you recommend will return the compliment.

Make sure that you’re displaying all of the recommendations you’ve received. And then take the time regularly to ask your satisfied customers and connections for recommendations.

Note that I said “your satisfied customers and connections.” This includes not only customers/clients but also colleagues and alliance partners, anyone who has reason to genuinely know the quality of your products or services. However, do not ask connections, who have never worked with you, for a recommendation. If I don’t know you beyond our LinkedIn connection, why would I recommend you?


7. Moving Sections Around


Another feature that many LinkedIn members aren’t aware of is that some of the sections of your profile can be moved around, allowing you to customize and prioritize the information you present connections and prospects.


Look for this icon in the upper right of your sections:

Within some of the sections, you can also reorder elements. We already talked about Skills & Endorsements, but you should also review the order of information you have within:

  • Publications
  • Projects
  • Volunteer Experience & Causes
  • Education

8.  Add Media Links


One of the outstanding features of your LinkedIn profile is the option to add Media to some sections.   Media can include images, links or video, and can serve to help educate and engage profile visitors.

Look for this icon in the upper right of sections:

Under your Summary, you can add up to 10 Media entries.  I strongly recommend selecting your best, most appropriate blog posts and videos and link them here.  Only the first five will be displayed initially, so prioritize your media links and make your first two the most important two.

In addition to the Summary section, you can also add Media to individual positions you’ve held within Experience, so take advantage of this feature and add a couple more links there, perhaps to specific services or key landing pages.


9.  Other Languages

Do you cater to other countries and languages? If so, you can offer your profile visitors an alternate version in their language., Click on the down arrow to on the right of the View Profile As button and select Create profile in another language. You can choose from several dozen languages, with more being added regularly.

When you add additional languages, those alternate versions are then available to profile viewers via a button below your profile image.


10.   Final check


10.1 Check what others can see.

Step 1: Click on the “View profile as”   button directly beneath your photo.

Step 2: Go to the top of the page to where it says “This is what your profile looks like to:”

  • Select “Connections” to see what your connections can see
  • Select “Public” to see what people who aren’t logged in can see.

Step 3: If necessary adjust your settings

Public View:

In the drop down menu next to the View Profile As button, click on Manage public profile settings. The left side will be what anyone can view from your profile, and along the right you’ll see a set of checkboxes for each of your sections. Generally, you’d want to have them all visible, but do take a moment to review them and make sure you’re not invisible to the public.

If you’re hoping to get business from your LinkedIn profile, than you want to make sure that anyone can view it, whether they’re logged in or not.

Connections View:

Click on your profile image in the upper right corner of the screen to access your account menu, and click on Privacy & Settings. Here you can:

  • Make sure EVERYONE can view your activity feed.
  • Turn on or off your activity broadcasts
  • Select what others can see when you view their profile
  • Enable Open Profile if you’re a Premium member.  (Open Profile enables other LinkedIn Members to message you at no cost without using InMail)

10.2 Check that you can be found for your keywords and name.

  1. Do a search on Linked In on your keywords to make sure that you are coming up on the first page of the search results for your keywords.  If not go back and make sure that you have not missed any places where your keywords should have been included.
  2. Do a search on Google for your name.  Make sure that you are coming up on the first page of Google.  If not go back and check to make sure that you have completed your profile fully. You should have an ALL STAR profile strength in the top right hand corner.




Brenda Thomson: Business Connections & Relationship Specialist
Helping Small Business Owners Create Powerful Networks & Communities

SMART Connect and SMART Small Business Alliance
LIN: Brenda Thomson
F: SMART-Connect Alliance - SSBA