3 Useful Changes for an Awesome LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn made three useful changes that can help you make your LinkedIn profile awesome. The changes were part of LinkedIn’s new look, designed to be simpler, more modern, and easier to use.

If you didn’t notice the LinkedIn profile changes, then you’re not alone. LinkedIn introduces changes to some members before others, and doesn’t notify us about what’s new. So it’s hard to keep up with LinkedIn profile changes and other changes.

Here are four LinkedIn profile changes that freelancers should know about. Three of these changes can help you develop an awesome profile. But two of them may not be necessary. The fourth change doesn’t seem to help freelancers and can make us seem desperate for work.

Change #1: More Space for Your Headline

Your headline is the most important part of your LinkedIn profile.  Done right, your headline will help you:

  • Rank higher in search results when clients are searching for a freelancer
  • Impress clients who are checking you out before deciding whether to contact you
  • Impress colleagues who are considering giving you a referral.

LinkedIn has increased the length of the headline from 120 characters to 220 characters. That gives you more space to get the attention of clients and colleagues and make them want to click on your profile to learn more about you.

Clearly say what you do and how you help your clients. Use relevant keywords, especially “freelancer” and “freelance [writer, editor, etc.].”

You don’t have to write a longer headline—and you shouldn’t do this just because you can. I didn’t change my headline, which is 115 characters:

Freelance Medical Writer | Targeted Content to Attract, Engage, and Motivate Your Audience(s) | On time, Every time

But if you need a little more space to write a compelling, client-focused headline, expand your headline. Just don’t feel like you have to write more now.

Change #2: A Longer About Section

About is the second most important part of your profile, after your headline. LinkedIn has also increased About from 2,000 to 2,600 characters. Like the longer headline, having more space for About can be helpful. But it may not be necessary.

Here’s why. People—especially clients—are busy. And they have very short attention spans.

So you need to offer clear, concise client-focused messages and brief, scannable content to show how you help clients meet their needs.

What shows before people have to click see more—the first 220-270 characters (about 102-167 characters on mobile)—should:

  • Build on your headline
  • Offer a clear, concise client-focused message.

Then briefly summarize your services and your relevant experience and background. Use bulleted lists to make services and other content scannable.  Also make your About section scannable by using short sentences and short paragraphs.

And continue to use the keywords that clients are likely to use to search for a freelancer like you, such as:

  • “Freelancer”
  • The type of clients you work with
  • Key services
  • Industry-specific keywords.

Like your headline, don’t write more just because you can. My About section is 1,521 characters. It provides clear, concise client-focused messages and scannable content. I’m not expanding it.

Learn more about how to get more clients with your LinkedIn profile

 Get details about writing your LinkedIn profile and examples of headlines and the beginning of About:

The Ultimate LinkedIn Profile for Freelance Success This Year


Change #3: New Featured Section

The best change LinkedIn made for freelancers is the new Featured section.

Featured lets you display your best work and market your freelance business to anyone who looks at your profile. It’s prime LinkedIn real estate: below About and above Activity.

You can use Featured to display your:

  • Work samples
  • Website
  • LinkedIn posts
  • LinkedIn articles
  • Logo.

Here’s my featured section, which you can see better on my LinkedIn profile.

The first two items, and maybe part of the third, show automatically. You can see more by clicking See all.

My featured section is different than most freelancers because I have a video for my freelance business and also featured my latest book. I put my video first (a video is a nice but not necessary marketing tool) and my book second. Then I added writing samples.

For most freelancers, samples will be the best way to use featured. Here’s an image of my samples under featured.

Do You Already Have a Featured Section?

If you didn’t choose what you want to appear in Featured and you had media under About, LinkedIn moved it to Featured. So if you had media before, check your Featured section. It probably looks terrible like mine did before I customized it.

If your profile doesn’t have a featured section, this means you didn’t have any media in About. Don’t create a featured section unless you have at least two pieces of relevant content to share. Many freelancers haven’t used Featured yet, so you won’t look bad if you don’t have this section.

Add, Delete, or Move Content in Featured

Fortunately, you can add, delete, and move content in Featured pretty easily.

If you don’t have a Featured section yet, go to Add profile section and choose Featured.

To add content, go to your profile, Featured and Click the + button. Then choose the type of content you want to add and add the link or file (images, documents, presentations, or videos).

To edit or delete content, go to your profile, Featured and click the pencil tool.

You can also edit the order of content by clicking the pencil tool. Then click the three lines on the right and drag content up or down. You can only drag it up or down by one item at a time. So if you want to move content up or down further, just keep moving it one item at a time.

LinkedIn requires you to add a title to Featured content. You have the option of adding a description. Write a relevant title and a brief but interesting description.

Some experts say that you should update Featured often. I disagree. Update Featured only when  you have something new that’s relevant to add.

Also, you can add as many pieces of content as you want but only two or part of a third will show. People can see the rest by clicking See all. But don’t add too many pieces of content. Two to five pieces of high-quality content seems right to me.

For more information on how to use Featured, check out Valerie Morris’s blog post, How to Use the LinkedIn Featured Section on Your Profile.

Change #4: OpenToWork

The new OpenToWork photo frame on your headshot lets you tell people that you’re looking for work. When I started seeing this, it seemed desperate to me for freelancers.

If you have freelance in your headline, as you absolutely should, then clients and colleagues will know that you’re always or usually “open to work.”

I wanted to see what other people thought of OpenToWork. So I wrote a post about it on LinkedIn.

Many freelancers said that OpenToWork seemed desperate. A few freelancers were using it, but even they don’t like it. Only one freelancer who commented liked this feature.

So I’m not going to tell you how to use OpentoWork. If you want to go against my advice and use it, you’ll have to figure this out on your own.

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