LinkedIn Formatting Tips

How to make your professional networking profile pop

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People coming across your LinkedIn page may only be spending a few seconds scanning your profile. Most people will skip right over your years of work history, excellent recommendations, and insights—unless you capture their attention.

One way to do so is with clever LinkedIn formatting tricks. Of course, it is not a substitute for the actual content on your profile page, but strategic use of bold, italics, underlining, bullets, and emojis can make phrases pop and text easier to read.

Key Takeaways

  • Your LinkedIn profile page can be an essential networking tool, but only if people take the time to look at it.
  • Creative LinkedIn formatting can emphasize important items on your profile and help your page stand out.
  • Use LinkedIn formatting sparingly to be most effective.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of LinkedIn’s latest features to maximize your page.

How To Format LinkedIn Text

Recruiters, potential employers, or prospective business partners don’t have time to read through an entire LinkedIn page. When someone views your LinkedIn profile via the mobile app—which many do—they only see titles, headlines, and company names followed by a line of text. Your goal should be making those basics interesting enough “that a viewer will want to take the next step to connect and learn more about you,” said JoAnne Funch, LinkedIn expert and consultant, in an email with The Balance.

Strategic LinkedIn text formatting can grab attention. Here are some options.

Bold, Italics, and Underline

LinkedIn’s profile editor doesn’t offer these features, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them. Chaim Shapiro, director of the Office for Student Success at Touro College and LinkedIn consultant, told The Balance in an email his favorite “super hack” is using a Unicode Text Converter (UTC). UTC converts text to other formats. (He used one for his LinkedIn profile header, as you can see below.)



If you Google the phrase “Unicode Text Converter,” several online tools will appear as results. Choose the word or phrase you want to stand out, and the tool will generate different versions of your text. Then, copy and paste the formatted text you prefer into your profile editor.

However, Unicode Text takes up more characters than regular text, so you’ll have fewer available characters in your headline, Shapiro said.

Bullets

“People tend to scan text, so separating words and lines with white space and bullet points makes it easier to read,” Funch said.

To add bullets, you’ll have to be on your profile page. Click “edit” into the section you wish to update, then press the following keys to generate a bullet:

  • Windows: ALT + 0149
  • Apple: Hold down ALT (or “option” on some models) + 8

Emojis

A well-placed emoji or two can add a fun pop of color and serve as a way to break up the text. Emojis such as arrows or checkmarks can act as bullets, too, as in the below example:

If you’re using a computer, here’s how to access the emoji keyboard:

  • Windows: Windows logo key + .
  • Apple: Ctrl + Command + Spacebar

With so many emojis available, it might be tempting to insert different types, but Funch recommended limiting emojis so they’re not too distracting.

Avoid Using Too Many Formatting Tricks

Formatting can be fun once you get the hang of it, but watch out for overkill, especially on a professional networking site like LinkedIn. Potential downsides include the following.

Looking Unprofessional

The amount of acceptable formatting depends on your industry and the opportunities you’re seeking. Designers and artistic-type professionals can go heavier on formatting tricks than health care administrators or tax accountants.

Confusing Your Audience

Formatting aims to make your profile scannable while highlighting the important items. If you overdo formatting, sensory overload may result. Readers won’t know where to look first.

Your Page Looks Messy

Formatting should create emphasis, not remodel the entire page. In other words, if you’re bolding or italicizing a whole block of text, you’ve missed the point of formatting.

What To Include in Your LinkedIn Profile

Intro Section

Your LinkedIn profile summary includes your name, profile photo, and LinkedIn headline, which show up everywhere on LinkedIn, from messages to posts and emails. Optimize all three, Shapiro said. He called the LinkedIn headline the “most valuable real estate in all of social media.”

Your headline is critical because the LinkedIn headline displays in Google and LinkedIn search results. So don’t let your headline default to your current position and company. Change it to serve as your LinkedIn "elevator pitch" instead. “Focus on the skills and strengths that make you stand out as a candidate in your field,” said Shapiro.

Photo and Header

Research from LinkedIn shows that a profile picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others.

In Funch’s example below, the Intro section includes a recent profile photo, an introductory profile video, and an attractive, professional header image. Choosing a background header image is like buying billboard space, Funch said. “It stands out at the top of your profile, so everyone should leverage this space.” Funch uses her background image for marketing copy that captures the reader’s eye.

The ideal LinkedIn personal profile header/banner size is 1584 x 396 pixels. Funch recommended using Canva.com for free, customizable templates. After adding your new design to your profile, view your LinkedIn profile on the mobile app to ensure it’s readable.

Other LinkedIn background image ideas from experts at Purdue University Global include a stock image that relates to your profession or an image of you interacting with others on the job.

Custom URL

Customize your LinkedIn URL from the default to a URL that includes your first and last names to look more professional.

  1. Click View Profile > Edit public profile & URL on the right side
  2. You’ll be taken to the public profile settings page
  3. Find “Edit your custom URL” on the upper right side
  4. Click the Edit (pencil) icon next to your public profile URL
  5. Type in your new URL, and save

Featured Section

LinkedIn’s "Featured" section is relatively new. Find “Featured” at the top of your profile, under the primary Intro section. This prime real estate can present your best work, including a post, an article, your newsletter if you’re publishing on LinkedIn, a link to a website, or visual media such as an image or video.

Refresh this section monthly to keep your profile relevant, Funch said.

About Section

The About section is “where you can tell the story of your career, what makes you credible and why you do what you do,” said Funch. She suggested writing in the first-person and spending time on crafting the first three or four lines at the beginning, since viewers read those most often.

Experience Section

The Experience section acts as your LinkedIn resume. Focus your attention on your current role and don't assume people know what you do from your title, said Funch. “It is more important to include how you do what you do and what results you get for people.”

In a section like the Experience section, consider adding a call to action, which is what you want the person reading your profile to do next. Funch’s call to action appears in her Education section. Calls to action might include asking viewers to connect with you, schedule a call, or visit your website, Funch said.

Skills Section

Skills might not seem important, but the Skills section is how you’re found in searches, according to Funch. “If someone wanted to hire me, for example, on the top search bar, they might type in LinkedIn Trainer, LinkedIn Profile Writer or LinkedIn Strategist. So I include all those skills in my profile title and skills section,” she said. You can add up to 50 skills, so don’t skimp.

Note

Try to keep your Recommendations section fresh by soliciting new ones every year if you can.

Creator Mode

This setting can help you grow your reach and influence if you post a lot of content. To turn this on, navigate to your profile page and scroll down to Resources. Click on the creator mode hyperlinked text, and a popup screen will walk you through the process, including adding hashtags for the topics you talk about.

When in use, your blue “connect” button that usually shows up on your profile will change to a “follow” button. “This encourages people who benefit from your posts to follow you, and when they do, they will see your posts in the newsfeed,” said Funch.

The Bottom Line

LinkedIn formatting tricks and various profile features can help your profile page pop. But use these tools sparingly to highlight your most important attributes while keeping your page looking clean and professional.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best video format for LinkedIn?

LinkedIn allows you to add a short introductory video to your profile. LinkedIn supports 12 video formats as long as the size is no bigger than 5GB, including MP4, WebM, and MPEG-1. LinkedIn doesn’t support AVI, ProRes, MPEG-2, Raw video, QuickTime, and MOV, among others. Before you upload a video, read up on tips for creating a video resume.

How do you format a picture on your phone for LinkedIn?

Professional LinkedIn profile photos should be PNG or JPG files and sized to 400 x 400 pixels. Files can be up to 8MB. If you need to convert a file or resize an image, numerous free photo editing apps or sites are available.

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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. LinkedIn. "Formatting Text or Adding Links."

  2. LinkedIn. "10 Tips for Taking a Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo."

  3. LinkedIn. "Add or Change the Background Photo on Your Profile."

  4. Purdue University Global. "LinkedIn for Job Seekers: How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile."

  5. LinkedIn. "Video Sharing Troubleshooting."

  6. LinkedIn. "Photo Won't Upload to Your Profile."

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