How to Create a LinkedIn Profile

By Liz Froment •  Updated: 08/18/23 •  17 min read

If you’re a freelance writer, there’s one social media platform you need to be on.


Now before you yawn and say it’s some boring place to post your resume, hold up.

LinkedIn is chock full of business owners, marketers, and editors who are looking to hire people just like you to write for them.

So creating a LinkedIn profile is something that should be on every freelancer’s to-do list.

And that’s what this post is for. We’re going to show you how to get up and running on LinkedIn, plus some tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile to start getting potential leads to come to you.

Ready to do this?

The Basics of LinkedIn

LinkedIn has all the main functions of every other social media site you know and love. You can create your own profile, connect (and network) with others, send messages, chat with other online users, join groups, and post content.

So if you’re already familiar with a site like Facebook, you’re good to go.

Where LinkedIn stands out is it’s another place you can advertise your services to an audience full of people who may need them. Everyone on the site is there because they want to build relationships with other people, so you’ve got a willing audience full of potential leads.

LinkedIn allows you to form a network of people in your niche or industry, and this network is an absolute killer source for finding jobs and clients. So you don’t want to miss out.

But in order to really take advantage of everything the site has to offer, you need to get yourself set up.

Getting Set Up

First, head over to LinkedIn to sign up.

LinkedIn also has a pretty good video series on how to get a profile up and optimized.

I’d recommend saving that link and going back to it if you get stuck. It demonstrates exactly how to get started with all the basics, like adding photos and work experience.

LinkedIn Profile video series

Before starting, a few things to keep in mind.

LinkedIn sign up page

Next, you’ll be asked to verify your location. In an ideal world, you’ll be making connections everywhere, but I’ve actually found that starting local can be a big boost.

Then you’ll be asked for your job title, employment status, and company. If you’re a full-time freelancer, make freelance writing your gig.

Remember, this is a business-orientated site. If you’re freaking out that you don’t have a company when you start typing in the dropdown, and nothing shows up, all you have put here is your website URL.

Finally, they’ll ask you what you want to use LinkedIn for. Don’t worry so much about this part, there are no wrong answers!

For most people, it will be building a network or finding a freelance writing job.

If you want to use it to find work, fill in what you want — for most of you, that will be remote freelance writing or content marketing work. You can always change this later.

You’ll be asked if you want to get job alerts for this. Feel free to click yes or no. And then they’ll also ask if you want to alert recruiters. Again, this one is up to you. Most recruiters are looking for full-time employees, in my experience.

Then you’ll be offered the option to do things like download the app, connect with people in your email, and add an image. You can do all these at once or skip for now and do them later on. I’d suggest you can skip it for the time being.

The last thing they’ll ask is if you want to follow some companies or hashtags. It’s up to you to do it now or later. But if you know the industry you’re in, say insurance or SaaS marketing tools, it’s fine to go ahead and follow a few.

After you get through all that if you’ve clicked you are interested in LinkedIn for jobs, then you’ll land on a jobs page.

That’s great, but we want to make you get your profile up and running first.

Now, the real fun begins!

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Your LinkedIn Profile

Your profile is the most important part of LinkedIn, you want to nail this to really see some traction on this site.

So don’t skimp out on this. (Imagine I put those clapping hands emojis between each of the words in that sentence). Spend some real time thinking about your skills, what you offer, and the major pain points of the clients you want to serve.

In this section, I’m going to dig into how to build a LinkedIn profile that people (including prospective clients) will want to click on.

The very first thing you need to remember as you create your profile is that LinkedIn is a search engine. For people looking for writers, it works just like Google.

They aren’t typing in ‘talented wordsmith’. They are typing in ‘freelance cyber security writer.’ You want your profile optimized just like you’d optimize a blog post for SEO.

That means thinking about what the person hiring you is going to type into the search box. So don’t make your profile cutesy and clever (at least at the start) because it’s much more difficult to get found.

Alright, with that warning out of the way.

Here’s what your new LinkedIn profile looks like:

generic linkedin profile overview

Do not leave it looking like this any longer than you have to.

So let’s cover the basics first.

There basically nine major areas that comprise your profile. You want to optimize each of these to get the best results.

And when I say optimize, yup, I’m even talking about optimizing for keywords.

LinkedIn uses an algorithm just like your favorite search engine to find people. So, you want to know exactly what keywords the people you want to work with and connect with are going to be searching for and use them all over your profile.

Now, let’s take a look at each of these on their own.


Start with your photo. Click on the image of the camera right in the middle of your profile, and you’ll be asked to upload a photo.

Use a professional headshot, if possible.

If you don’t have this, then a nice clear photo of you smiling is a good option. Don’t include anything where you’re at the beach shirtless or holding a beer. Keep it to a photo you’d be happy to show your mom.

You should also create a header photo, LinkedIn calls it a background image. To edit that, click the pencil icon.

LinkedIn has sample background images, but I’d recommend creating your own. Think of this image as a billboard. It’s a perfect place to advertise who you are and what you do.

I’d recommend making this image in Canva. They have a ton of free templates for LinkedIn background images.

Here’s what to include:

Here’s a great example:

blair sharp linkedin profile

Even if you are just starting and don’t have the social proof, add your email address and website and highlight the niches you write in.


This should be self-explanatory, but you never know, so I’m including it here. Use your actual name, don’t be a weirdo, and stuff some random keywords in here.


This is the first thing everyone sees, so you have to nail this, make it engaging and interesting, something that grabs attention right away, and also includes the keywords you want to target.

As you can guess, “Writer at” is a terrible headline.

Remember you are targeting keywords.

Here’s my headline. It is very straightforward and not ‘interesting’ but it’s chock full of keywords.

liz linkedin headline

You can also say something like, “I’m a freelance medical writer content helping supply companies improve sales.” A headline like this works for a couple of reasons:

Also, test! If something isn’t getting you any bites, change it up.

Current Position

Again, self-explanatory. When you filled out this information as you were creating your LinkedIn account, it became the drop-down option, so it’s pretty much set.

If you’re working for a company, you can include that or not. It’s up to you.

If you’re freelancing, make your company whatever you call it. Mine is If it’s Joe Smith Writes or Mighty Words, then call it that.

Don’t spend time overthinking that you need to have a company name. Your actual name or URL is fine.


This is the traditional ‘resume’ portion of your LinkedIn account, so you want to include all of the experience you have. Click the blue link that says ‘Add a New Experience,’ and you’ll get this pop-up:

LinkedIn experience

You can include not only gigs you’ve been doing as a freelancer but your background employment as well. There’s no doubt your past job roles have some skills you’ve picked up that are useful.

For example, my 9-5 work experience is in finance, so even though I’ve been freelancing for a few years now, I include that experience because I do a lot of financial writing. So my prior employment history actually helps showcase my expertise in the areas I’m writing about.

You really want to be as detailed as you can be here (and don’t forget to include a few of those keywords you want to target).


Whatever educational degrees you have, enter them here.

Mostly, this is great for connecting with others from your past schools. Remember, any little thing can help when you’re trying to connect with lots of people. Fellow alumni are likely going to be more willing to click that ‘accept’ button on your requests.

About section

This is the heart of your profile.

You have a lot of space to tell people who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you above others. Don’t be afraid to really show off here.

The key thing you want to think about here when it comes to your summary is that you’re using it to attract your ideal customers. So you don’t want to actually make it all about your life story.

And, when you look at a profile, you only see the top few sentences. To really pack a punch, make sure you make that part shine. Say concisely what you do, who you serve, and any special sauce you may have.

liz about page linkedin

Remember, keywords! So add those in here.

If you are a medical writer, technical writer, or copywriter, use those keywords and ones that stand out in your respective niches.

Right off the jump, I talk about being a financial content writer and highlight the specific areas I write about for more keywords.

Then I give a single sentence that helps me convey to potential clients why they should hire me.

The goal of this part is to get potential clients to click and read more.

So work on making those first few sentences really shine.

Then, treat the rest of your about page just as you would on your website.

Go more in-depth about your experience and how you can help potential clients.

Hit keywords here too, and think about the client’s pain points. What are the big pains you can help solve?

In most cases, those boil down to making more money and saving time.

So even if you’re brand new to freelance writing, you can still help your clients save time using your writing and communication skills and expertise in the niche.

And if you get stuck?

Turn to some AI writing tools. Talk about your experience, list your clients and their pain points, and ask it to help you brainstorm an about page.

I bet you’ll get a bunch of good ideas just from that.

Additional Sections

The above sections are what LinkedIn wants you to fill out.

But we’re overachievers, right? We like to go above and beyond, so now it’s time to add a few key sections that will help get you found.


Highlight any specific skills in this section. Keep these skills tight. You want them to target what you are really good at in your business. So start with the skills you know you have that clients are going to want.


There is an entire drop-down of accomplishments that you’ll want to consider adding to your profile too.

The main ones to note here are publications, certifications, and projects. If you have industry-specific honors and awards as well as coursework, be sure to add those too.

Any additional information you can add in these sections can help add credibility to your profile and abilities.

Once you’ve got those set, congrats! You’ve got your profile set up.

LinkedIn Tips to Get You Started

But that’s not the end. Nope, sorry. There are a couple of things you can do to

Nope, sorry. There are a couple of things you can do to really make your profile shine and continue to build your personal brand. I want to cover those in this section.


The best way to grow your presence on LinkedIn is to build your network. This helps to expand the people you’re connected with. It helps to build credibility, lets more people see your stuff, and exposes you to more potential clients.

So get networking right away.

Something to remember about LinkedIn is it usually takes some time to build connections there. I don’t advocate jumping in and start pitching people for work.

Everyone is deeply tired of endlessly getting pitched in first contacts (myself included). You have a far better chance of standing out if you don’t do that.

Instead, understand that networking here is a marathon, not a race.

Send a connection, comment on their posts for a few weeks or months, and then kick up a conversation where you can much more casually mention what you do if they’re interested.

I’d try to set aside at least 15 minutes a day to follow and send connection requests to people you want to add to your network. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to add a note in the request if you don’t want to.

I recently took a class with marketing pro Ed Gandia, and he said his students report higher connection request acceptance rates when people don’t include notes.

But feel free to experiment on your own. Send notes to half your requests and no notes to the other half, then see what the data says.

Post Content

Just like posting on Twitter (I’m not calling it X), posting on LinkedIn can help you get in front of potential clients.

A lot of people really stress out about posting. And when you see the ‘gurus’ telling you to post very long content 7x a week, it’s completely overwhelming.

So I’d step back from that and start small.

Ideally, you’re jumping on LinkedIn daily (but try to get on there at least 2-3x a week) to build your network.

Pick one of those times to post. So start with 1x a week.

Talk about what you’re doing in your business, how you help your clients, tips and tricks you’ve learned, and so on.

It doesn’t have to be perfect at the start — and it won’t. But over time, you’ll feel more confident and get better at it.

You can also spend time commenting on other people’s content, especially in your niche.

If you go on LinkedIn 3x a week, I’d try this approach:

I think that’s really doable for the vast majority of people.

And you can get it done, all in, in less than an hour a week.

Over time, all of that will add up, and you’ll start popping on other people’s radars.

Personalize Your Link

Did you know you can make your link your name instead of a bunch of random letters and numbers? This makes your profile really easy to share with others and just gives it a bit more of a professional look.

Follow the steps here to get started.

Add Featured Content

A cool feature for freelance writers is the ability to add some examples of your work to your profile. It’s another way to help you stand out, and it saves potential clients from having to click away from your site.

If they see 3-5 killer samples right on your profile, they may decide to get in touch with you right away to start a conversation.

To do this, click ‘Add a profile section’ from your profile and then ‘Add featured.’

add featured section linkedin

From there, you can add a post, article, link, or media.

So if you have live links up, add links.

If you have samples for your site but no clients yet, add media and upload them. If you want to use LinkedIn to create your freelance writing samples, click add a post.

Here’s an example from my profile.

liz featured posts linkedin

I have all samples that are directly related to my niches. This is important. If your niche is automotive, then don’t have featured posts about beauty products or home improvement supplies.

Remember, always remember, that you are creating a profile not for you but for your potential clients. Way too many people forget that — and it may be why you’re struggling to find work.

Stay Up To Date

Your LinkedIn profile isn’t something you want to just set and forget. You need to be updating it all the time. That includes adding any new clients you’ve worked with, new certifications, new portfolio content, etc.

Set aside a schedule on a quarterly basis to go back through your profile and update it accordingly.

Join Groups

Groups here are basically the same as you’d find on Facebook. Find and join groups in the areas that you want to be known for and participate. These groups are a great way to connect with others to expand your network.

If you want to be fancy, you can also make your own group and really highlight your own expertise.

Embrace the Potential

Remember, as you get more advanced on LinkedIn, you’ll find you can use it for a lot more than simply networking.

This post should help you get started with the basics of getting your LinkedIn profile up and running. Now, it’s up to you. Set aside time to develop a plan, know the keywords and customers you want to target, and build your profile.

Once that’s set, with a little time and effort, you should be able to start building all sorts of new leads and connections that can help you grow your business.

Liz Froment

Liz Froment is a full-time freelance writer and the one who keeps Location Rebel running like a well-oiled machine. If she's not writing something informative or witty for her clients, she can most likely be found reading a good book.
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4 comments on "How to Create a LinkedIn Profile"

  1. KG says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial on Linkin!

    1. Liz Froment says:

      No problem, KG, hope you can use it to your advantage with LinkedIn!

  2. Andrea Torti says:

    Personally speaking, I think LinkedIn is a great place to both collect ideas for new content and repurpose your old pieces – definitely worth a try!

    1. Liz Froment says:

      For sure. I’ve been getting way more into the blogging side of things on LinkedIn Pulse and it has huge potential. LinkedIn isn’t just about building a network anymore.

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