How do I strengthen my LinkedIn profile?

Sara's Career Tip of the Month

Hi there! I'm Sara Ayazi. As a career counselor here at the Office of Career and Professional Development, my goal is to help you navigate your career successfully! Each month I write a bite-sized tip on commonly asked career-related questions. You can visit the archive of all of my tips. Or, to receive these monthly tips via email, sign up for our email list.

Career Counselor Sara AyaziDue to the pandemic, we do not have as many in-person opportunities to network. Because of that, we are all looking for different ways to find and develop relationships with professionals in our field. One way to do so is through LinkedIn.

With over 706 million users, LinkedIn states that it is the largest online professional network. LinkedIn can help you find other people who share your professional goals and shape the image that you would like potential employers and other professionals in your field to see.

Before you start networking, I recommend creating a strong profile. In some cases, your profile is a person’s first impression of you. One helpful analogy is to equate your profile with how you would show up to an interview. You want it to be professional and represent the best version of you. Below are three important sections that you can start working on today to build your profile:

Photo: LinkedIn profiles that include a photo get more views than those that do not. According to LinkedIn, profiles with photos are 21 times more likely to be viewed. It is not necessary to have a professional headshot. Rather, you can ask someone to take your photo using a cell phone. The main recommendations are to:

  • Dress professionally
  • Smile
  • Use a background that is not visually distracting

Headline: A LinkedIn headline is a brief description at the top of your LinkedIn profile that serves several purposes: it can tell the reader who you are and where you want to go. There are many different ways to showcase your headline and, whenever possible, I would encourage you to tailor it towards what you would like professionals in your field to see. Below are examples:

  • You can include where you are currently working or interning: Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate at UCSF | Pharmacy Intern at Kaiser Permanente  
  • You can also include your professional interests in your headline: Second-Year UCSF Dental Student Interested in the Intersection of Health and Technology
  • If you have a specific focus, you can include that in your headline: Fourth-Year UCSF Medical Student Focused on Health Disparities Research

About Section: The About section is a brief summary that tells a professional story of who you are. Think of it as the answer to the interview question: “Can you tell us about yourself?” In this section, you can elaborate on your accomplishments, motivations, interests, and goals. Like your LinkedIn headline, you can tailor this section by providing information that is relevant to the field that you would like to pursue.

If you are looking for where to begin, below are examples of sentence starters:

  • “I have a strong interest in …”
  • “My [skills, strengths] include …”
  • “My [classmates, supervisors, preceptors] would describe me as …”
  • “My goal is to …”

For more support on your LinkedIn profile, make an appointment with our office. If you have a career-related question that you would like me to answer, feel free to send an email to [email protected] with the subject line "Career Tip of the Month." Your question may be featured in next month's Tip of the Month!


Copyright © 2021 The Regents of the University of California, All Rights Reserved; Do not reprint without permission. Developed by Sara Ayazi at the Office of Career and Professional Development, UCSF, [email protected]

Upcoming Events


Alumni Career Paths in Science Communication

Date: April 21, 2021
Time: 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.