LinkedIn Character Count Cheat Sheet
Before you get started, here is a cheat sheet of each area so you know up front how many characters or keystrokes each field allows. Letters, numbers, punctuation and spaces count towards character count.
- Name: 60 maximum characters.
- Professional Headline: 120 character limit.
- Summary: 2,000 character limit.
- Website Anchor Text: 30 maximum characters.
- Website URL: 256 maximum characters.
- Phone number: 25 maximum characters. Only your 1st degree connections can see this information.
- IM (Instant message): 25 maximum characters. Only your 1st degree connections can see this information.
- Address: 1000 maximum characters. Only your 1st degree connections can see this information.
- Company Name: 100 maximum characters.
- Job Title:100 characters.
- Position Description: 200 minimum and 2000 maximum characters.
- Personal Interests:1,000 Characters
- Skills and Endorsements: You may add up to 25 skills using 61 characters per skill.
- LinkedIn Status Bar Update: You can use up to 700 characters unless you want to update your Twitter status at the same time. Twitter updates are limited to 140 characters. If you go over the 140-character limit, only the first 140 characters will be visible on Twitter.
Upload a headshot photo. The photo should look like you today, so be realistic and choose something recent
✖ Don’t crop a photo from a night out with your girlfriends at the club.
✖ No cleavage.
✖ No hats or sunglasses, unless you a Lady Gaga J
Claim your personalized vanity URL. Have you taken the time to claim and personalize your LinkedIn profile URL? No? DO IT — it’s free!
If someone is already using your name combo then LinkedIn will probably suggest an alternative like “lisatufano14.” Do NOT accept the LinkedIn suggestion. Avoid adding arbitrary numbers to your customization
✖ www.linkedin.com/pub/lisa-tufano/65/993/488 <—- not cute, hard to remember and/or print on business cards, etc.
✔ www.linkedin.com/in/lisatufano/ <—- much cleaner and it assures people that you’re a savvy social media user
Choose a headline with impact. You should use this space wisely because it shows up in Google search results along with your name and location. That means you can potentially use this for important SEO related to your job or a future job. It also shows up in the LinkedIn search results before people even click on your profile.
You can easily localize the keywords by changing plain old “Account Executive” to “Perth Account Executive – Digital SEO Wizard interested in Social Media Marketing and Brand Development.” Highlight your existing specialties, or shoot for the stars and use it to describe your dream job title / field.
Take advantage of your Summary. This is free billboard advertising. Recruiters use keyword searches to find you based on what you write in this section. Make it personal and write it in first person. This is NOT the place to copy and paste verbatim from your résumé, or fill with corporate mission statements. This is YOUR personal mission statement.
This is about where you’ve been, and even more importantly about where you’re going.
Build out your network. LinkedIn will recommend people based on your existing LinkedIn connections, so check this section periodically and click the “Connect” link below their name/position if it’s someone you’d like to add into your network. Even if you don’t know the person, it’s probably not a bad idea to connect.
Fill out the rest of your profile, especially with rich content. In terms of valuable LinkedIn profile tips, this definitely should not be overlooked.
It is now possible to upload photo and video content and create mini-galleries that spotlight your professional work. So whether showcasing a gallery of graphic design assignments, or makeup before and afters, or a business whitepaper that you wrote… there is now a place for it within your LinkedIn profile. Take advantage of this opportunity to add a visual dimension to the otherwise standard bullet points about where you have worked and when.
Be diligent about adding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords to your profile. This comes to repeating certain keywords throughout your profile, so recruiters can see the keywords in headline, summary, and your individual work descriptions.
Do a search for keywords for which you would like to appear in LinkedIn search results. Look at the profiles of those that appear in the top few results. Examine the location and frequency for which they’ve placed those keywords. Now take that knowledge and apply it to your own profile. The LinkedIn search algorithm is similar to Google: No one knows exactly how it works and it changes at any time. So instead of being fixated on the search results, in addition to the exercise mentioned, consider adding as niche as possible keywords to your profile to differentiate yourself. Keywords really do matter.
Consider upgrading your profile to Premium. There are some enhancements and perks (including customizable background images) that come with a Premium membership depending on your membership level. If you’re a job seeker or just want to keep costs down, there is still a hidden “Personal Plus” membership level for $9.99 instead of $29.99/month, but you can only access it through the LinkedIn app right now. To get it, log into your LinkedIn app, click “Who’s Viewed Your Profile,” and look for the gold upgrade button.
You can add some flair using old school symbols like the ones below. Unfortunately you cannot indent or align copy in LinkedIn, so these can be effective tools for creating visual separation between paragraphs, jazzing up bullet points, or highlighting key pieces of information.
Just copy and paste them into your profile and use sparingly to maximize their impact:
☑ ✓ ✔ √ ► ◄ ▲ ▼ ⇒ ⇓ ⇚ ⇛ ❝ ❞ ☝ ☟
★ ☆ ✳ ✴ ❊ ✦ ✧ ✿ ■ □ ❖ ◊ ● ♦ ◘
⇨ ⇦ ✆ ☎ ☏ ✉ ✍ ✎ ✏ ✑ ⌨ ♛ ♕ ♫
Optimize your location
Here’s counter-intuitive one, but it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your target visitor. Make sure the location stated makes you more approachable in your target market because you are considered “local,” and it also means you get found in more relevant search results because many are using the location feature to filter results.
Align your industry
The concept here is the same as in optimizing your location. What would the type of person you want to find you enter in the “Industry” field? This can be tough because even those that work at the same company as you might list different industries here. One interesting thing is if you have upgraded to a paid LinkedIn account, your complete “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” will also include data as to which industries best represent the visitors to your profile. You might have to do some experimenting here, and not everyone uses the Industry feature to filter search results, but you should put your best foot forward and experiment in seeing how changing your industry might affect your profile views.
Build credibility with recommendations
With all of the quid pro quo recommendations you see out there, many ask if LinkedIn recommendations are for real. Yes, they very much are in the context that they help you establish credibility if someone viewing your profile doesn’t know you. You don’t need to have 30+ recommendations, but a few real recommendations can go a long way in helping to establish your credibility.
Don’t ignore endorsements – manage them
Of all the features that LinkedIn has released, endorsements are the one that have stirred the most controversy in the professional community. I believe you should avoid that controversy and need to utilize whatever functionality LinkedIn provides you. With that in mind, there are great ways in which you can utilize LinkedIn endorsements. For the purpose of your profile, you should at least be editing your Skills and make sure that those that you want associated with your brand comprise all of the maximum 50 you can display. Some believe that endorsements might also affect how you appear in LinkedIn search results. It’s time to stop ignoring endorsements and embrace them by letting them show off your skill set and providing your profile with a little bit more credibility (although not nearly as credible as having good recommendations, of course).
Join relevant LinkedIn groups
Why would I mention joining LinkedIn Groups as part of a blog post on professional profiles? It has to do with your contact-ability: Joining the same Group allows others to contact you using the Group messaging feature. Which LinkedIn Groups should you join? You don’t have to join the maximum 50, but at least join a few groups that are related to your industry, discipline, or location – not to mention alumni groups from your university or even previous workplaces. If you haven’t been active in groups before, you might be surprised as to the business opportunities that exist within LinkedIn Groups! Even if you don’t have time to be active, displaying those group logos on your profile increases your contact-ability.
Are you connected enough?
If you don’t have enough LinkedIn connections, you simply might not show up on as many LinkedIn searches as a 2nd degree connection as you should. From an outbound networking perspective you also won’t discover many of the hidden connections that exist all around us that are only uncovered when 1) we have a specific objective to search for a person and 2) we have a robust network.
Follow companies and LinkedIn Influencers
If you are a fresh grad looking for that dream job or a current student looking for summer internship you should definitely follow companies on LinkedIn. Following companies on LinkedIn is helpful in many ways. You get to know the latest news about the company and the newly posted jobs. Sometimes companies just post the job on their LinkedIn profile before going to any other job site.
Even if you are not actively looking for jobs, following companies gives you the understanding on what is out there in the market. If you see a bunch of companies posting a job for a particular skill, you know that skill will be something to learn.
Also do follow LinkedIn influencers. LinkedIn influencers are usually well settled and well known professionals of their respective fields (Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Jeff Haden). Occasionally they write articles on LinkedIn sharing their stories and experiences. Things and events that changed their life or sometimes other valuable advices. This might not have a sudden visible impact on your career but you can grow a lot from their words of wisdom.
Rearrange Your Profile. LinkedIn enables you to reorder the sections of their profile in any way you prefer. When in edit mode on your profile, hover your mouse over the title of each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click then drag and drop to another position on your profile. If you have won awards, for example, you may want to move these below your summary section.
Customize Your Invitations
It is common and acceptable to send an invitation to connect to a professional you do not know without an introduction—but do not send the standard invitation, “I would like to add you to my LinkedIn network.” Send a personal LinkedIn message mentioning something or someone you have in common, and don’t hesitate to appeal to his ego. For example, you might send the following invitation, “Mr. Steinfeld, I am expanding my LinkedIn network to include some of our university’s most admired career advisors. I would be happy and honored to share my network with you.” In order to get this personalization option, you must click on the “Connect” link on the person’s actual profile. Avoid sending a broadcast invitation to multiple people since you won’t be able to personalize each one.
Start with people in your inner circle plus your current and former classmates and co-workers, and expand from there. Before sending the invitation, read through each person’s profile. You may pick up hints on specific ways you can offer to assist them immediately that you can include in your message. If you don’t know them very well, you may want to remind them who you are, who you have in common, and let them know why you think it might be mutually beneficial to connect with them. Don’t mention your job search within your invitation, but once you are connected, use their email addresses to ask them for informational interviews and/or introductions to others who can provide you with information and/or advice.
Don’t worry if people don’t respond immediately. Some will respond quickly and some slowly, and some may never respond; but that’s one of the things that will help you determine your most promising LinkedIn relationships.
Bring Your Profile to the Top of Search Results
Since recruiters are constantly searching LinkedIn for candidates using keywords and job titles, you will want your profile to appear as high as possible in the results of those searches.
After you have completed your profile to the 100% level, go to “Advanced People Search”
Enter keywords that describe your targeted position.
Enter your location.
Hit “Search.” Does your profile appear on one of the first few pages of results?
Now open the profile of the person that appeared at top of the first page of the search results. The keywords that LinkedIn used to filter the search will be highlighted.
Repeat the search using job titles instead of keywords.
Now go to your own profile and increase the use of the most important keywords and job titles that you believe recruiters at your targeted jobs would most likely use when scanning LinkedIn for candidates. Note that the more specific you make your keywords and job titles, and the more times they appear, the higher your position will be in a LinkedIn search.
Understand Where People with Your Background are Coming From and Going Next
Use LinkedIn Company Home pages or “Advanced People Search” to find network contacts working at your target companies. Look particularly for employees who graduated from your school with a similar degree and/or came from your home country if you are an international student.
Also use “Advanced People Search” to find people who worked at your target companies in the past and where they have gone after leaving the company. You can use this information to help broaden your list of prospective employers within a specific industry, and you may be able to find some informational interview contacts who can give you honest feedback about companies on your target list.
Look especially for people who have recently joined the company. You might contact them asking for an informational interview, “I have been researching your company and noticed that you recently joined. Can we spend a few minutes together in person or on the phone so that I can understand why you joined the company?” This can be particularly helpful if their profile shows that they are an international student or otherwise came to the U.S. relatively recently. If you get the interview, ask the contact how he got the job. If that fails, you can still examine his background to try to understand what made him attractive to his new employer.
Use the LinkedIn Job Board
When you access a job within the “Jobs” tab, LinkedIn will immediately show the contacts in your network that can connect you to the company. You can also save the searches that give you the best results, and set them up to alert you to new job postings by email.
Update Your Profile and Status Multiple Times per Week
The more active you are on LinkedIn, the more your profile will be visible to recruiters. To be more visible, add or modify a skill or put something of interest (job fair or networking event you are attending) into a status update one or more times per week to let your network know that you are still actively engaged in job search.
Join Your Alumni Group
Go to LinkedIn.com/college and your alumni network. At the bottom of the page, you will have an opportunity to join your LinkedIn Alumni group. Make joining your alumni group, and contacting alumni at your target list of companies, a priority.