How to Set Up a LinkedIn Personal Profile
Last updated December 30, 2013
Please share this page with your friends and colleagues! You can use our easily printable PDF version, available below:
How to Set Up a LinkedIn Personal Profile (107 KB)
- Visit http://www.linkedin.com and fill in your first name, last name, email address, and password. If you have multiple email addresses, use the one that is associated with your company’s domain name. When you are finished, click “Join Now.”
- After you click, “Join Now,” you will be redirected to a page that will ask you for your employment status, country, zip code, company name, and job title. Take note of the different options for employment status – you will likely want to choose “Employed” or “A business owner.” Also note that when you complete the company name field that a new field will appear for your company’s industry. Fill in all fields and click Create My Profile.
- LinkedIn will also send you an email to verify your email address at this time. Verify your email address by either clicking on the link in the email or copying and pasting the link into your browser.
- At this time, LinkedIn will offer to find people that you already know on LinkedIn by examining the contact list of your webmail contacts. If you opt to skip this step, you can always do this later. Either fill in your email and email password and click Continue, or click “Skip this step.” For the purposes of this guide, we are going to skip this step.
- If you have not already confirmed your email address, LinkedIn will now ask you to confirm your email address before it will allow you to proceed further. (See step 3.)
- Once you have confirmed your email address, LinkedIn will offer you a chance to invite other people that you know to join LinkedIn by inputting their email addresses. You can either choose to type in some email addresses and click Send Invitations, or you can opt to skip this step. For the purposes of this guide, we are going to skip this step.
- LinkedIn will now ask you if you want to pay for a Premium (paid) profile, or if you would rather have a Basic, free profile. Click the “Choose Basic” button.
- The initial set up of your LinkedIn profile is now complete. LinkedIn will now redirect you to your new LinkedIn home page. If LinkedIn shows you a video pop-up, you can either watch the video, or click the “x” in the top right to make the video go away.
- To edit your new profile, hover over the “Profile” dropdown menu and click “Edit Profile.” We recommend the following settings:
- Add a photo to your profile. This enables users who are searching for you to immediately recognize you (if they already know you).
- Fill in your past work positions, along with a description of each. Be as complete as possible – later, when you ask for recommendations (otherwise known as testimonials), your colleagues will be able to leave recommendations for any of these positions.
- Fill in your past education. Again, be as complete as possible – LinkedIn users can leave recommendations for the interactions that they’ve had with you while in school.
- Skip the Add recommendations step until you are done setting up your new LinkedIn profile.
- We also recommend skipping the Add connections step until you are done setting up your new LinkedIn profile. (You may as well have your colleagues see the completed profile, rather than a version in progress.)
- Add your company website to your profile, and add your personal website, if you have one.
- LinkedIn offers you the option to link a Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile. This will enable you to post LinkedIn updates to Twitter.
- Customize your public profile URL by clicking Edit next to your Public Profile URL. You will be redirected to a view of your public profile. Click on “Customize your public profile URL.” We recommend that you include your name in your URL. In addition, you might choose to include your company’s name or acronym appended to the URL (especially if your name is already taken). Words can run together or be separated with dashes, but no spaces are allowed. Click “Set Custom URL” when you are done.
- Fill in a personal summary. This should be a short description of your work and education experience. You can also talk about your company and its services. You have 2,000 characters to work with. When users view your profile, they will see a truncated version of your summary with a “View More” link. Thus, we recommend putting the most important information about yourself in the first paragraph, so that LinkedIn users will be able to see your most important information without clicking the “View More” link.
- Add a list of your specialties. If you need ideas for these, see if you can add any that you have listed on your resume. The character limit for this section is 500 characters.
- Add some projects. Each project requires a name. You can also add a URL, which turns the name of your project into a link to that URL, allowing someone looking at your profile to click through to learn more about your project. You can associate each project with one of your past occupations and specify a date range for the project. You can also add “Team Members” to the project – people who collaborated on the project with you. Bear in mind that you cannot edit the Team Member section of a project on someone else's profile. If you'd like to remove yourself, you'll need to reach out to that person and ask them to remove you. That being said, you should be careful to only add Team Members to projects on your own profile who would not be mind being listed as such. Don’t forget to add a short description to each project.
- Add any other information that you’d like other LinkedIn users to be able to view, such as interests, honors/awards, contact information, birthday, and marital status. You can control the visibility settings of your birthday and marital status by clicking on the padlock next to each of those fields.
- Adjust your privacy settings to your needs. You can adjust your privacy settings by hovering over your name in the top right of your LinkedIn screen and selecting “Settings” from the dropdown menu. Here, you can adjust settings for the following:
- Activity broadcasts (otherwise known as status updates)
- Your activity feed (this shows things such as what you’ve recently updated on your profile)
- What information about you others see when you’ve viewed their profile
- Who can see your connections
- Profile photo visibility
- What displays on your “public” profile (that is, the profile that will be shown to users not signed in to LinkedIn)
- To edit the privacy settings for your birthday and marital status, you will need to return to the Edit Profile page and click on the padlock next to each of those fields.
- Once you’ve completed setting up your profile, start adding new LinkedIn connections. To do this, either click on “Add connections” on the Edit Profile page, or click on “Add connections” in the Connections dropdown menu at the top of any LinkedIn page. There are (at least) four different ways to add new LinkedIn connections:
- Fill in your email address and password, and LinkedIn will access your webmail contacts. You will be given the option to select which of your webmail contacts you’d like to connect with.
- Upload a contact list file from your computer by clicking “Import your desktop email contacts.”
- Enter email addresses in manually in the box under “Enter Email Addresses. Enter email addresses of people to invite and connect. Separate each address by a comma.”
- Search for your colleagues by typing in a name in the search box in the top right of the page. When you find someone you want to connect with, click on the “Add <name> to your network” link on their LinkedIn profile.
- Ask for LinkedIn recommendations by either clicking on “Ask for a recommendation” on the Edit Profile page, or hover over the “Profile” menu, click on Recommendations, then click on Request Recommendations. You may also decide that instead of using LinkedIn’s request recommendations feature, that you would rather send a personal email, or talk to your colleague in person.
Congratulations on setting up your LinkedIn personal profile! Now that your page is set up, learn how to maintain and optimize your LinkedIn personal profile.