How To Be A LinkedIn Rockstar

May 18, 2016

How To Be A LinkedIn Rockstar

May 18, 2016
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

In today’s economy, it is important to have a professional online presence, especially an amazing LinkedIn profile. Companies are using LinkedIn to hire professionals as well as using LinkedIn to get a feel for potential candidates. You want to make sure that the vibe your LinkedIn profile is giving off is hirable and not fireable. On today’s post, I am giving you some of the basics of becoming a LinkedIn rockstar and making sure your profile is up to par with your personality.

How To Be A LinkedIn Rockstar | Do you want to rock LinkedIn? Check out this amazing post featuring the advice you need to know to rock every aspect of your LinkedIn profile from the profile photo to the recommendations section (and more.)

First Impressions: Amazing Profile Photos

The first thing that anyone will often see about you on your LinkedIn profile is your picture, of course. Your picture needs to speak volumes because that is what will get someone interested in clicking on your name while looking at multiple profiles in the search area, or making sure that they don’t click immediately off of your profile if they clicked a direct link.

You want your picture to be:

Well Lit

Lighting can make or break any picture. You want to make sure that the picture is well lit, but obviously not overly so. Make sure you take the picture outside on a simple background like a wall or someplace where the lighting is really good and even indoors.


Not in the sense that it’s taken professionally (although a professionally done headshot wouldn’t hurt if you can afford it.) You want to make sure that the headshot shows you off in a professional way. With professional clothes, your hair done, etc. You want this to be a good picture. Dress for the job you want. If you want a professional desk job at an accounting firm, you probably don’t want to wear jeans and a t-shirt in your LinkedIn profile picture.

Doesn’t Look Like A Selfie

Okay, now, it may have to be a selfie. Sometimes that’s the best way you can make sure that your picture looks good. I have taken some selfies in my day so I know they can look hella good. You want to make sure, though, that your picture doesn’t look like a selfie if you can help it. For example, don’t have an obviously extended selfie arm in the shot. In today’s age, there are so many easy ways to take a selfie without actually taking a selfie. Get a tripod for your cell phone and put a self-timer on (or get a selfie remote for your phone.) This way you can control the shot without that dreaded selfie extended arm ever being in the photo.

Show A Little Personality

No, don’t lick your tongue out at the camera or showcase your amazing duck lips skills, but you can still showcase your personality in your photo. Your outfit and your smile can both speak volumes about you as a person so be sure to showcase that. If you are a bright sparkly person, be sure to have a pop of color in your outfit. If you smile all the time, smile in your profile photo. Showcase your favorite colors, dress/accessory style, and more in your profile photo. When you choose the outfit for this photo know that it makes a statement. Every word you write or picture you showcase on your profile makes an important statement about you.

Summaries That Sell

Okay, so now, we are moving on into the summary. How can you write a summary that sells you? Your summary is the second thing that someone will see about you on your profile, besides the simple things like your name and where you are currently employed.

Keep It Fresh

You write SO MUCH on your LinkedIn profile so you want to make sure that the content in your summary is actually fresh content—or at least written in a fresh way. It is okay to summarize some of the key points of your profile in case someone skims the rest of your profile, but summarize, don’t just copy and paste the information. Share something new that they can’t just see looking at your header or browsing other sections of your profile.

Inject Your Personality

This is another perfect place to inject your personality with the words that you choose in your summary. Use this space to really sell yourself and don’t be afraid to brag a little here. This LinkedIn profile is important because it’s their first glimpse at you. They don’t know you personally, so it’s your job to make them want to know you better through your profile. Don’t ever be afraid to brag on places like this, because they need to know your worth so they keep reading!

Write For Your Audience

This goes for any section that you are writing on your LinkedIn profile—write for your audience. Unless you are writing for a 1st Grader, leave the spelling errors and text talk at home. You want to be professional here so that means spell checking your work and spelling out every word you type. Since this isn’t Twitter and there aren’t really character limits, it’s okay to go above and beyond to make sure that what you write is stated exactly how it should be.

Descriptive, Results Driven LinkedIn Sections

There are many sections of your LinkedIn profile that essentially serve as a resumé. These sections are the experience, honors & awards, volunteer, organizations, and education sections of your website. In this section, I am going to share how to make these sections descriptive and results driven.

Power Words

One of my favorite resources is this post from MyDomaine called “200 Power Verbs To Use On Your Resumé” I love this post because it features hundreds of verbs that really add flavor to your resume and can also do the same for your LinkedIn profile. These words can be extremely useful if you want to make a LinkedIn page that stands out, and doesn’t use the same old verbiage that some profiles tend to use.

Include Numbers

If you built your blog’s network by over 1,000 followers in a year, why would you ever say that you just built your blog’s network? Numbers and timeframes really help build the case for why you make a great candidate. Do you want to be results driven? Share your results. What did you do and how long did it take you to do it? Share those amazing stories with potential employers because they want to see if you can truly put your money where your mouth is.

Niche Your Involvement

This is not 100% required, especially if you are not actively looking for a job, but once you start, you may want to niche your involvement in experience, awards, or any other category you can. Padding is good when you are shipping boxes, but sometimes you need to get to the nitty-gritty. What exactly do you offer the employer looking at your profile who wants to hire you for a tech startup? If you can make your other involvements work for what you want to get hired for, include them, otherwise scrap them for now. You can always download a current view of your LinkedIn profile by saving your profile as a PDF so you can re-arrange it after you have gotten a job.

 How to save your profile as a PDF. Go to your profile, click the arrow beside How to save your profile as a PDF. Go to your profile, click the arrow beside “View Profile As” and click “Save to PDF.”

Powerful Recommendations

You have the power to ask for recommendations from the people you have worked with on various jobs in the past. It’s important that these recommendations are powerful so that when a potential boss looks at them they are blown away by how much work you have done in your job or career.

Customize Your Recommendation Requests

Do you want your recommender to focus on some aspect of your work with them? Ask them to do so! Your recommender probably wants to offer you the best recommendation possible, so guide them a little and let them know the kind of information you are looking for.

Only Request Those Who Know You Personally

The best way to create powerful recommendations is to request them from powerful people, people who know you powerfully well that is. If they know you personally, can speak to your amazing skills, know about all the work you do with your education or career, they will be the best recommenders. You want to make sure that your recommendations speak volumes. These are the people in your life that can speak to your greatness so make sure you are showcasing the right recommendations.

Contact Information

What is your profile without adequate contact information? There are many ways to contact someone inside LinkedIn, but you always want to make sure you provide extra contact information just in case!

Professional Email Addresses

The biggest thing I have to say about contact information is be professional. Getting a professional Gmail email is so easy. If you are still in college or graduate school, using your education email is such an easy thing to do. If you are out of school though (or your school doesn’t provide an email address) hurry over to Gmail and get a simple email address. It is so easy to register for one so that you can avoid sending professional emails to Please don’t.

Professional Voicemail Messages

While we are on the topic of professionalism, for the love of everything, set up a professional voicemail! When I was in college, for 1.5 years I was basically a telemarketer for the admissions department at my school. I would contact potential students to let them know about the events we had going on or missing application material. It was an interesting job, to say the least. I can’t tell you how many high school seniors had the worst voicemail messages. Funny voicemail messages are fun amongst friends, but there comes a time when you need to keep it simple and go for a simple voicemail message.

My go-to message? “Hi, you’ve reached {insert your name here} I am sorry I can’t get to the phone right now; but if you would leave your name, number, and a brief message I will return your call as soon as possible.” Short, simple, and sweet. Maybe also a little boring, but when you have potential employers calling your number, boring can sometimes be the way to go. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t inject your personality and voice into it, I mean it’s literally your voice, but keeping it simple is always better than doing too much.

Skills & Endorsements

The skills and endorsements section of your website is a great place to showcase what you know, and a quick way for your connections to show support for what you are great at. Here are my recommendations for the skills section.

Start Small

You can be skilled in any number of amazing things, but my biggest suggestion is to start small. Think of the things you are most skilled in and go from there. My advice? Get together a list of 5-10 skills and really sell those skills over any other skills you may have. As you get more endorsements for those skills, branch out to other skills. Make sure you get a few good endorsements for your first skills before you do that though.

Pick Skills That Matter

What skills are people in your field actually looking for? It’s no good to have a bunch of endorsements for skills if no one is searching for those skills. So what if you have 500+ endorsements for sitting on a couch if no one is hiring people with that skill? You could be the most amazing couch sitter, and I am certain that won’t get you very far in your career.

Highlight Those Skills In Other Places

LinkedIn is a search engine, above all else. You want to be sure to use those skills as keywords and inject them into other places on your profile, especially those sections like the summary and experience sections.

Start Giving Endorsements

Do you want to get some endorsements? Start giving some endorsements. Giving your colleagues endorsements is one of the easiest ways to start collecting them. Keeping a small list of skills at first is important so that you can make sure you concentrate your endorsements in areas you really want to show expertise in. So be sure to keep it simple so that your profile really stands out on the skills that you have chosen.

The Importance of Groups On LinkedIn

LinkedIn has thousands of groups that cover a wide array of topics. LinkedIn groups can be so fun to join in, and can really create some awesome connections with people you don’t even know. These groups are where you can further find influencers in your niche and people you want to follow and become professional friends with. Here is my advice for LinkedIn groups:

Find 1-3 Groups Related To Your Field(s)

There are so many groups that you could potentially join on LinkedIn, but my advice is to stick to 1-3 groups at first. It is so easy to become inundated with LinkedIn Groups and honestly not that invested in them. Find 1-3 groups that you will love to look at, and make sure they are active groups. Get accepted in those groups and you are well on your way.

Make It Your Goal To Interact Those Groups

Obviously, once you are in those groups, you need to make it a point to connect with the people in those groups. Make a thread sharing a great article you think they’d find interesting, ask for help, and help others with their projects and surveys if you can. Get out and about in these groups. In my opinion, staying consistently involved in LinkedIn groups is way harder than say a group on Facebook, so that means you really need to put it on your schedule and make sure you check out the LinkedIn groups at least every week to interact and answer any questions that you can.

Keeping Up With Your Professional Contacts

Obviously, LinkedIn is great at one thing, keeping up with your professional contacts. In this section you will learn more about growing your network on LinkedIn and keeping up with your network once you start growing it.

Make It A Goal To Share Your LinkedIn Profile

Sharing your LinkedIn profile is important. Just like other networks, you need to share your LinkedIn profile to grow your network. Post about your LinkedIn on social media networks—especially ones filled with family and friends like Facebook so that you can grow your network and fill it with classmates and friends who could be your future colleagues.

Also, share it anywhere you have a large following of professionals in your niche. A lot of people follow a lot of professionals like that on their Twitter profile so be sure to share there as well (with Twitter it’s really easy to be swept away so add a picture so your post stands out, and know that you may need to share multiple times to get any real traction there.)

If you have someone particular in mind, just reach out to them. If you want to connect with Person A, send them a request. It can be super simple to just direct message them and say, “Hey, I love your work. I’d really love to connect with you on LinkedIn if you have an account. My LinkedIn account is…” Obviously, you want to make sure that you spend some time to customize this request.

Customize Your LinkedIn Request If Possible

Now, let’s get to the actual request on the website. It’s not always mandatory, but especially if you are requesting a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection that you don’t know personally—customize the request. Why do you want to connect with this person? What can they bring to your LinkedIn network? Did they attend your school but at a different time than you? Did you major in the same thing so you want to connect with them as a colleague? Or maybe you saw them at a conference and want to connect professionally? Understand exactly why you want to connect with them and put that into words so you can connect with them.

Constantly Find New Connections

New people are constantly joining LinkedIn and you never know when you may find a new connection. There is a section of LinkedIn called “People You May Know” and I suggest checking that section out once every week or so to see if you see any new and interesting people there. You never know what sort of connections are out there and it’s important to grow your LinkedIn network, because the more you grow your network the larger your potential network is. You want to grow your network so that your 2nd and 3rd-degree connections grow larger and larger. Some people really like to restrict who can see their LinkedIn profiles so sharing more connections means you can see more LinkedIn users.

Interact With Your Connections Once You Have Them

There are so many ways to interact with your connections once you have them:

  • Send them a message thanking them for connecting with you.
  • Send them other messages, like a post you think they’d like to read or a job listing you ran across that, would be perfect for them if you know they are looking for new work.
  • Like or comment on a status update they have posted.
  • Send them a few endorsements.
  • Congratulate them on a new job if they have one.
  • Write them a stellar recommendation if you know about their work ethic.

Interacting with your connections once you have them is so important. Consistently connect with someone and you can really showcase a lot about yourself. The next time they see a job that they think you’d be interested in they may be more likely to send it your way.

Share Information On Your LinkedIn Profile

Why would someone follow you on LinkedIn if all you ever use it for is to share when you get a new job? Make it a point, at least weekly, to use it as a professional social network. So, why did I put an emphasis on professional? This is LinkedIn after all, so when you share awesome content on the site, you want to make sure that it is 100% professional. Have you read a cool new post that you think people in you follow would love to read? Share it! This is not the place for funny cat videos, although even professionals love a good fun cat video. Be aware that what you share speaks to your professionalism so be sure that you keep what you share 100% professional.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you have found this post amazingly helpful. I always love to share my expertise with you all if possible and I hope you learned some amazing LinkedIn strategies on this post. Check out some other great resources:

  • LinkedIn's Tailoring Your LinkedIn Profile To Your Goals Tip Sheet. This PDF is filled with amazing tips for people who are new to LinkedIn or just playing around with their LinkedIn profile to make it better.
  • My LinkedIn profile, it is a work in progress, as always, but I'd love to connect with my readers there.
  • J.T. O'Donnell's LinkedIn profile. J.T. is seriously one of my favorite LinkedIn Influencers. She gives such amazing advice for all you people wanting to learn more about getting a job and all things career.
  • Career Contessa. This is basically one of my favorite career blogs right now. I adore this site.
  • Levo. This is my other favorite career blog. If you have seen something on the internet about careers, there is a great chance it came from Levo, they have an amazing presence in the career information space.
  • UpToWork's guide: How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Summary And Profile To Get Jobs.

What are you going to do today to make your LinkedIn profile stand out above the rest?

P.S. Did you miss the LinkedIn Rockstar checklist? Check that out here so you can get this posts tips wrapped up in one two page PDF.

Amanda Cross

Amanda is the founder of The Happy Arkansan. She is a happiness enthusiast with a passion for helping others and red/purple lipstick.

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  • Murielle Marie May 18, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Dear Amanda, this is by far the best LinkedIN post I have read in a very very long time. This post is so valuable, and so full of little gems, I’ll make sure to share it with all my business clients!

    • Amanda Cross May 18, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you so much Murielle! I am so glad that you loved this post and thought it was informative. This comment made my day!

  • Jessica Hughes May 18, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Great tips! I think LinkedIn is still an untapped area for some, so this is a great post, thanks for the advice!

    • Amanda Cross May 20, 2016 at 3:40 am

      I definitely agree with this. You can use your LinkedIn for so much and it can be a great way to get your own work out there as well as find a job. Glad you loved the post!

  • Tia @ Financially Fit & Fab May 19, 2016 at 12:47 am

    I rarely use my Linkedin page; but this posts encourages me to get it together. I love how detailed you made this post.

    • Amanda Cross May 20, 2016 at 3:39 am

      Tia, I am so excited to hear this. You have to let me know how your LinkedIn profile is going after using some of these tips! Also thanks for noticing the detail, I tried to make this a really great guide for those looking to make their LinkedIn pages stand out!

  • Chloe | Boxwood Ave. May 19, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Thanks for sharing the ‘power words’ post! That’s such a great resource!

    • Amanda Cross May 20, 2016 at 3:38 am

      No problem! That post is one of my favorite resources for fixing up any resumé or profile. I get stuck using the same words for things if I don’t look up other words I can use.

  • Brittnee May 19, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    This is great! Such a good resource, Amanda. I’m definitely sharing with friends.

    • Amanda Cross May 20, 2016 at 3:37 am

      Thank you so much Brittnee! I hope your friends find this resource just as helpful!

  • Jenn May 20, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Awesome tips. I know nothing about LinkedIn. Will be bookmarking this for later.

    • Amanda Cross May 20, 2016 at 3:36 am

      Thank you so much for your words and thanks for bookmarking! Hoping this will give you lots of tips for your LinkedIn page!

  • Maryam May 27, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    This was super helpful… I’ll definitely bookmark this post. This for sharing x

    • Amanda Cross May 28, 2016 at 6:27 am

      Hi Maryam! I am so happy that you found this post helpful! Thanks for bookmarking, and I hope that you rock your LinkedIn profile!

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