LinkedIn Profile Formatting Tips

Woman working on a laptop by a cafe window
••• Carlina Teteris/Getty Images

Studies have shown that recruiters spend six seconds looking at resumes. Looking at a LinkedIn profile is not much different. Regardless if it’s six or 30 seconds, the point holds true: you have a short time to make a good impression when a decision-maker is looking at your LinkedIn profile. No one will argue that what you say is important. However, so is how you show it. Here are eight LinkedIn profile formatting tips to ensure that yours looks great.

Itemize Whenever You Can

Creating lists with bullets makes the content easier to read and comprehend, so recruiters won’t waste precious seconds untangling complex paragraphs.

There are two ways to add simple bullet points on LinkedIn:

A. You can copy and paste them from another document (like a Word Doc)

B. You can also follow these simple instructions:

  1. Windows - Hold down the Alt key and type 0149 on the numeric keypad. Release the Alt key. The bullet will appear immediately.
  2. Mac - Press Alt + 8 on an Apple keyboard.

Avoid Large Blocks of Text

Large blocks make it difficult to read. (Especially if a person is on a smartphone or tablet!) Keep paragraphs short, and add bulleted or numbered points whenever possible. Trim your content to only what’s relevant/interesting, use concise language, and avoid repetition.

Add Symbols to Draw Emphasis

On your LinkedIn profile, it is not possible to bold or italicize text. However, you can add a variety of symbols. Check out this article by Brynne Tillman featuring all the LinkedIn symbols you can use on your profile. You can simply copy the symbol you desire and then paste it into the section where you’d like it to appear. 

Order Your Sections to Emphasize Your Most Impressive Experience

You can move your profile sections around, so put the best ones at the top. For example: bring your projects or education sections higher if you have irrelevant experience right now.

For example, you’re an aspiring web designer but currently work as an executive assistant. However, you have some courses you took on web design and some personal projects you created. If you’re looking for a web design position, bring those up higher.

Include Media

This is only possible with certain sections: namely, your summary, experience, and education. (Which is probably where you would put it anyway, so it’s not really a limitation.) Media makes things more visually appealing and allows you to show real-life examples of your work. But, don’t go overboard. Moderation is the key.

Choose a Background Image

This is just an extra feature you can add and is certainly not required, but it adds some character to your profile and makes you stand out (in a good way). If you’re a business owner, consider one that shows off your product, logo, or trade. Or a shot of you speaking at an event, which will help you look like an expert.

Showcase Consulting/Freelance Work the Right Way

LinkedIn may be even more important for freelancers, or the self-employed than it is for full-time folks. Jeremy Schifeling, who used to work at LinkedIn but now has his own biz, explains that when you work with many different clients rather than a single employer, your LinkedIn will need to impress a wide variety of people.

He says, “Every time you want to win business you can bet that they are going to check you out, look you up and maybe come across your LinkedIn, and so every time they do the profile is going to work for you.”

To make your freelance experience look as impressive as it is, avoid lumping it all together into one section. If you offer different services, create a separate “experience” listing for each one. Add links, media samples, and testimonials to bolster your case.

Hide the “People Also Viewed” Box on the Side of Your Profile

This box on your sidebar usually displays people who possess similar skills and experience as yourself (and thus would also be of interest to recruiters). When you keep it, you are basically inviting people to look at your competition! The good news is that you can easily remove this box under your “Privacy & Settings.” This encourages people to stay on your page, not click off to someone else.


Formatting is important, but it’s not everything! To truly dominate LinkedIn, you need a killer profile that goes beyond simply being set up correctly. For more on how to create a standout LinkedIn profile as a techie, download our free profile completion checklist. A great professional profile is your first step to getting the jobs you want.