December 12, 2019

5 key tips to jump start your LinkedIn profile!

When you think about networking on LinkedIn do you feel a bit of dread?

Would you prefer to not have to put yourself out there?

Does sorting colored pencils sound like more fun?

If so, you’re in good company.

As a physician, most of you have not needed to be on LinkedIn.

But as the Bob Dylan song goes, “The times are a changin’.”

With over 575 million members LinkedIn is the number one networking site for professionals – and it’s becoming quite the thing. You can hardly swing a hula hoop without running into someone talking about LinkedIn.

People are using LinkedIn for activities such as:

Job hunting
Nonclinical career transition
Business promotion
Establishing a platform/being a thought leader

In this blog we’re diving into 5 key tips to jump-start your LinkedIn profile and have it work FOR you. 

Next week I’ll follow up with some advice on how to reach out to people on LinkedIn who can help you.

And actually have them respond!

Here are the 5 tips to jump-start your LinkedIn profile:

One – Personalize your profile with a banner photo

By default, your banner photo on LinkedIn is the blue rectangle at the top of your profile that has your headshot in the far left corner.

 You can customize your banner photo. This is the blue rectangle that is at the very top of your profile.

On mine, I have Texas wildflowers.

You can upload a photo that is simply a nice backdrop, or it can have a specific theme that goes with your professional intent.

I like finding free photos on Pixabay.

Two – Customize your headline

 The headline is under your name and by default, LinkedIn populates this with your job title and company name. The limit is 120 characters.

Ideally, you want to customize your headline by including keywords that will help those you want to attract, such as recruiters and others in your desired area find you. These words are keyword searchable.

If you have a side gig such as chart review, medical writing, or being an expert witness, you can put these words in your headline and help recruiters find you.

I was talking with one of my physician friends about her profile and as a result, she made a few changes in her headline and within hours several recruiters were contacting her!

It was like Shazam!

Three – About section

Make sure not to skip this part. The About section is a great way to let others get to know you and understand your goals for LinkedIn.

Think about if you were writing an online dating profile.

In a dating profile, you want to succinctly portray who you are in a memorable way and attract a very specific kind of person.

With millions of members on LinkedIn, you aren’t trying to attract everyone.

Think about what you could write about yourself that would appeal to the kind of people you’d like to have in your network.

Consider including the following:

  • Who you are
  • What you do –or the area you want to transition into
  • A call to action

The call to action will vary depending on your goals. If you are wanting to transition to a different sector, you can welcome people in that area to reach out to you and connect.

If you are wanting to grow a side gig or a business, you can invite people to reach out to you and include your website address.

Some people post short videos, podcast interviews or other content here.

I like an About section written in the first person that is not too long (100 – 300 words), with some white space.

Four – Skills Section

This is a great section to include skills that recruiters could be searching on such as “utilization review,” “informatics,” or “medical consulting.

If you’re applying for a job, make sure to include skills listed in the job description (if you have them).

One of the cool things is that you can write in any skill that you want. Just to try this out, I put in “bungee jumping” on my skill list.

Yes – it’s on my skill list. Now I better find some bungees and start jumping.

Another cool thing is that your contacts on LinkedIn will endorse you for the skills they know you have. This helps build your credibility and gain recognition.

Recruiters are searching on these skills and could very easily find you just from this section.

Five – Adding Contacts

People often ask, so who should I connect with?

First of all, you don’t need to worry about going over the limit anytime soon. LinkedIn allows you to have 30,000 first degree connections.
A good start is to aim for 150 contacts and work up to 500+.  Here is where LinkedIn becomes a Rolodex on steroids.

When you connect with one person, their 1st and 2nd degree contacts (think friends and friends of friends) become your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Very quickly you can have hundreds of thousands of people to reach out.

Your goals on LinkedIn will determine who you want to add to your own network.

I connect mostly with physicians in both clinical and nonclinical areas, as well as recruiters.  But I’m pretty open if someone seems like they would be a good connection.

Depending on what your interests are, for example, Pharma, public health, or informatics, you would search on and connect with people in these respective areas.

Because you also never know who knows who, connecting with other physicians, in general,  is often a good strategy unless you are transitioning to something completely unrelated to healthcare.

Bonus tip – there are a lot of customizable privacy settings you can set as to what information is shown on your profile and who sees what.  Click on your me icon, go to Account> Privacy Settings.

That’s all for now! Please feel free to reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn!

Next week I’ll be back with how to message and reach out to people who can help you.



  1. Love this, Heather–so helpful! Every time I have taken the time to improve my profile on LinkedIn, it has paid off, both in getting the attention of recruiters and others looking to connect with potential job opportunities, and in gaining more connections/networking among colleagues.

    • Thank you Yasmine! I really appreciate your sharing your own positive experience in customizing your profile. It is always helpful and encouraging to hear from those like yourself who have seen results from making strategic changes. The nice think about LinkedIn, is that it only takes a few minutes to tweak your profile and then you get to see what happens downstream. Wishing you continued success with your career and networking.

  2. Greg Gatchell says:

    Very helpful – I just updated my Linked In page.

    • Thank you very much! I’m so glad the information was helpful to you. Kudos to you for putting the tips into practice and updating your profile. I hope it works well for you.

  3. Hii .. As far as I believethat LinkedIn network is one of your most valuable business assets. Therefore, you should add people to your LinkedIn network very strategically. But people change and circumstances change, and occasionally you may find it necessary to remove someone from your network.

  4. Steven Powell says:

    Thanks for advice, Heather. Really well done: short, to the point but with a lot of substance. I was able to make some significant changes to my site!

    • Fantastic! I was hoping that these tips would be relatively quick/easy to implement. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know that you were able to use the information for your own profile! Thank you, Steven. I wish you all the best with your networking and career.

Post Your Comment