Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Free Resources on Strategy, Headshots and Thought Leadership

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Optimizing LinkedIn® is surprising complex. It’s hard enough to consider, understand and address:


If you would like help with that effort, you can always take a look at the worksheets I have posted on this site.

After you have a full grasp of these key points, the next challenge is to craft a compelling narrative that draws people in, while understanding how clients, recruiters and/or other potential viewers might use LinkedIn to find and vet you as a candidate.

For your LinkedIn summary and other sections of your profile, there is a delicate balance of including the keywords that will attract your target audience while creating a robust and polished profile rather than a disjointed list of bullet points.

Your next hurdle might be to create an inviting profile photo, for which you can either hire a professional photographer (and even that is not always foolproof, see the checklist below) or learn the principles of portraiture for the LinkedIn format on your own and enlist friends or family to join in your efforts.

A further step is to combine the above strategies with the technical features of the platform, including other artificial intelligence features that drive LinkedIn searches (in addition to keywords) and privacy settings that keep your personal information protected. You could literally spend weeks or months trying to create and implement your strategy and the tactical means to achieve your goals.

You can consider the above a roadmap and take steps each week or month to improve one aspect of your LinkedIn profile. 

If you are taking full stock of your profile and would like some guidance, here are links to some free resources from my Powerful LinkedIn Profiles for Executives and Attorneys course on my online learning site, Segal Online 24/7:

Your LinkedIn Strategy

On Thought Leadership

Working with a Professional Photographer: The Checklist

If you would like to maximize your downtime during the upcoming holiday season and sign up for the full course, keep reading below!

I have a limited number of 20% off coupons available for readers of this blog, if you would like to enroll in Powerful LinkedIn Profiles for Executives and Attorneys.

The coupon code is SAVE20, and you can enter here (while they last). To learn more about the course, including a full brochure, click here.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, resume writer and author of two well-received books on interviewing and career development. She served as a corporate attorney for 15 years before launching her coaching practice, including roles at White & Case LLP and a hedge and private equity fund manager. Anne Marie is based in Stamford, CT and serves an international clientele. 

Image above copyright 2019 Alejandro Barragan IV. All rights reserved.






Introverts + Professional Networking: My Own Story of Networking with (and Finally Meeting) Dorie Clark

If you follow me on LinkedIn®, you might have seen yesterday’s post that, after years of following her work, I finally met a mentor of mine, Dorie Clark, in person. Coincidentally, during a coaching call today with a CFO client about networking, the story of how I first “met” Dorie became highly relevant to our conversation.

I put the word “met” in quotes above, because for a long time my interactions with Dorie were simply online conversations, virtual high-fives and back-and-forth comments, given the busyness of business that we all have come to call life. As my client and I were brainstorming this afternoon about ways she could build out her networking and thought leadership, the idea of leveraging LinkedIn naturally became part of the conversation.

With Dorie’s recent “Land Your Book Deal” workshop and last night’s dinner with her and follow conference participants fresh on my mind, I confirmed that yes, online networking certainly can work, if you choose to network with people who are good match for you and make the effort to grow the relationship. And yes, I do practice what I coach and have real-life examples of forging professional relationships online that emerge and take form offline as well.

After first hearing about Dorie and reading her work, I became an immediate and huge fan. Many months after that, I quoted her and J. Kelly Hoey (another bright light to watch and learn from!) in an article I published. When I went back to retrieve this article for my client, I was surprised (and also not surprised) to see that it is from 2 1/2 years ago!

Again, I am practicing what I coach: networking is not transactional. Identify key relationships that make sense to nuture and invest your time and energy there, because you find shared, evolving and long-term value in the connection. Don’t be in a hurry to see some “payoff.” The payoff, in many cases, is in the relationship itself.

With Dorie

In case you would like to read the article in which I quoted Dorie and Kelly back in March 2017, I’m reprinting it below:

Introverts make better networkers.

That’s what J. Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network, told a packed room of lawyers and investment professionals at the New York City Bar Association in late January of this year. After interviewing numerous sources for her book who are highly effective networkers, she realized that many of them self-identify as introverts.

The idea that introverts can truly shine at networking strikes many professionals – including many introverts – as a foreign concept. If they prefer being alone to lighting up a room and are driven more by introspection than connection, how can introverts be great at networking? After all, extroverts more easily strike up a conversation, keep it going and follow up with less fear. By their nature, they crave interactions with others. So how are they not the best networkers?

To get to the right answer, we need to be asking the right question, and that is: “What is the purpose of networking?” Effective networking, after all, is not an exercise in having the most Twitter followers or connections on LinkedIn. It is not, in fact, a numbers game at all. The goal of networking is to build an interconnected group (i.e. network) of individuals with whom you can create – over time and with meaningful energy invested – mutually beneficial relationships. A smaller network of more powerful relationships has infinitely more value than a so-called Rolodex of people who are weak contacts at best.

If you are looking for a place to start, remember that everyone already has a network. Everyone on the planet, in other words, has fellow alumni from high school, college, professional programs, work colleagues, neighbors, family, friends and/or other groups of people who form a network. Add to this basic network the people you may meet at yoga, tennis, church, the public library, nature walks, car shows, birthday parties or the myriad of other activities that may populate your day, and you may already have hundreds or even thousands of connections. If you start to actively associate with those in your existing network with whom you have a professional affinity, rather than envisioning networking as something that “other people do” or “only others do well,” you will make that first step toward actively creating an integrated network that works for you, rather than only belonging to a passive one created by default, not design.

The key to tipping the balance is to reframe the act of networking. It does not need to be a business-card exchange in a crowded event with strangers – something Kelly calls “random acts of networking,” which is generally ineffective – but it instead can be seen as an ongoing project of building relationships. By their nature, introverts are very thoughtful about how and with whom they communicate, so although they may not network in as many settings with as many people, they are more suited to creating a greater return for their ongoing efforts.

So how, as an introvert, can you effectively network in a non-threatening way?

Just as you would invest your money wisely, you can target your time invested to achieve the greatest return on such investment. This means, as I said above, that you first understand why you are networking so that it is a purposeful exercise. Are you building a network for a career transition that you foresee undertaking in the next 12 months, for example? If so, you will want to network with people who are in your target field or have undertaken similar transitions, who can help you along your way. Are you planning to write a book? You may wish to build a network of authors and experts in your area of writing, as well as others who are at the same stage in your writing journey, so you can support and share ideas with each other.

On a practical level, Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You and Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It and a self-proclaimed introvert, has great advice for other introverts who wish to grow their networks. As she offered in an interview with Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino: “There are plenty of new and interesting people to meet who already have some connection to you, so ask for suggestions from friends and colleagues about who they know that they think you should connect with.”

Connecting with warm contacts, in other words, is a good place to target your networking efforts as an introvert. As Dorie says, you will already have a starting point, and the common ground will allow you to build a professional relationship more quickly. In addition, if you grow a network through current connections, your target networking audience will be hand-chosen rather than arbitrary leads, so they are likely to be better matches in any case.

This emphasis on warm connections does not suggest that introverts should avoid conferences and other big-ticket events altogether. Rather, in their characteristically thoughtful way, introverts can carefully choose and plan a limited number of events that are likely to bring results and how to achieve them.

As I mentioned in my own book, Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals, to network effectively, you need to show that you actually value the other person. Many people miss this crucial point, which is one reason so many introverts (as well as ambiverts and extroverts) have formed a negative impression of networking. They have been “networked to” rather than “networked with,” and (wishing to escape further uncomfortable interactions such as those in the past) have turned off to networking altogether.

Showing you value the other person by focusing on the relationship – and not what you can “get out of them” – can transform networking from what may feel or seem like a selfish, needy or transactional endeavor to a fundamental human connection among people who can enhance each other’s lives. With this end in mind, introverts, as well as extroverts, can create a network that works for them.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, resume writer and author of two well-received books on interviewing and career development. She served as a corporate attorney for 15 years before launching her coaching practice, including roles at White & Case LLP and a hedge and private equity fund manager. Anne Marie is based in Stamford, CT and serves an international clientele. Her online learning platform is accessible here.

This article, other than the introduction, was original published on Forbes.com and is accessible here. Image above copyright 2019 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.



Should You Attach Your Resume to Your LinkedIn Profile?

Have you often wondered if you should attach your resume to your LinkedIn profile? Maybe it would help boost your job search?


Why not?

1) If your home address is on it – which it shouldn’t be; only use city, state and zip or equivalent – you are putting your information at risk for identity theft.

2) You also may find (or never know) that people are borrowing your information and creating a resume that is essentially a copy of yours with another name on it. Because they do not need to post that publicly – unlike a LI profile – they can secretly trade on your goodwill and dilute your brand.

3) If you have one form of resume posted on LinkedIn and bring another (targeted) resume to an interview, you may compromise your credibility (i.e., if the two versions do not to match).

In other words, you will have less control of your personal branding in the interview because your audience will have already seen your resume. They may not even read a new one.

Instead of attaching a resume, put the important information and keywords directly into your profile, so the LinkedIn algorithm can do its work to match you to the right jobs.

Website Anne Marie Segal 2019 Barragan Square Say CheeseFor more LinkedIn tips, click here.

To find or follow me on LinkedIn, click here.

– Anne Marie Segal, Executive Coach

Image of Anne Marie: Copyright 2019 Alejandro Barragan IV. All rights reserved. 

Remaining images: Adobe Images.

April and May 2019: Upcoming Events at Segal Coaching LLC


Thanks to those who joined the webinar I presented to The University of Chicago Alumni Association webinar. Here are the slides and replay, if you missed it or would like to review parts or all of the presentation.

If you are seeking out Board positions, straddling between multiple audiences or currently unemployed, check out the Q&A at the end of the webinar.

Here are some upcoming workshops, webinars and events in April and May 2019. Please click through each link for more information, and you may email any questions to knowyourself@segalcoaching.com.


Leveraging LinkedIn®: One-Day Workshop

Friday, April 12, 2019

A unique feature of this collaborative workshop is the opportunity for group feedback on your writing efforts to further develop your ideas.

network abstract


From Scratch to Finish: Crafting a Compelling LinkedIn® Profile

Multiple Dates: Tuesdays, April 9, 16 and 23, 2019

Getting More Mileage Out of the LinkedIn® Platform

Multiple Dates: Tuesdays, May 7, 14 and 21, 2019

Anne Marie Segal, executive coach and Nationally Certified Online Profile Expertwill guide the workshop and webinars with content-rich handouts and real-time advice. Her clients are executives, attorneys and board candidates,and she has written and reviewed hundreds of LinkedIn profiles.

Her recent Forbes article, “15 Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile,” is available here.

Photography Event

LinkedIn Headshot Photography Sessions

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Held in collaboration with the photographer, Alejandro Barragan IV.

Images above: Adobe Images.



Want to Know More About LinkedIn®? For UChicago Alumni and Guests: Webinar on Thursday, March 14, 2019

If you want to get up to speed quickly on a range of topics related to LinkedIn, I am presenting a one-hour webinar this Thursday for The University of Chicago’s Alumni Association.

It’s called LinkedIn for Job Search, Networking and Career Building, and it’s free for UChicago alumni and invited guests (including you!) with the link.

Is LinkedIn a platform that you want to make work for you, but you haven’t had time to figure out how to do that?

Do you struggle to write your LinkedIn profile?

Are you worried that you may be missing opportunities because you are not more active on LinkedIn?

Do you want to know how recruiters use LinkedIn’s powerful search features, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning?

Asian businesswoman in formal suit working with computer laptop for Polygonal brain shape of an artificial intelligence with various icon of smart city Internet of Things, AI and business IOT concept


If you want to get up to speed quickly on a range of topics related to LinkedIn, I am presenting a one-hour webinar this Thursday, March 14, 2019, for The University of Chicago’s Alumni Association.

It’s called LinkedIn for Job Search, Networking and Career Building, and it’s free for UChicago alumni and invited guests (including you!) with the link.

Thursday, March 14, 2019
12:00 pm CST
Cost: Free



LinkedIn is simply the most powerful online tool for job search and career building today, and it keeps evolving. In this webinar, executive coach and writer Anne Marie Segal discusses how to build your credibility and opportunities on LinkedIn, including profile writing styles, job search tools and tactics, networking strategies, thought leadership and profile optimization in the age of artificial intelligence.

This hands-on presentation includes content-rich slides and handouts to illustrate advanced functionality and help you leverage the LinkedIn platform to move your career forward.

For more information or to register, click HERE.


For more workshops and webinars by Segal Coaching LLC, please visit: annemariesegal.com/seminars.

To view prior UChicago webinars, please click on one of the videos below:



First image above: Adobe Images.

Mind Your Career logo: copyright 2019 The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

“Good” LinkedIn Profile Pictures: What Do They Actually Look Like?

What makes a “good” photo is subjective and somewhat elusive, right?

When you are talking about art photography, yes. What appeals to one person may not make any impression on another. In the case of LinkedIn profile pictures, however, there are some basic principles that apply.

What makes a “good” photo is subjective and somewhat elusive, right?

When you are talking about art photography, yes. What appeals to one person may not make any impression on another. In the case of LinkedIn profile pictures, however, there are some basic principles that apply. I have addressed some of these in my earlier articles here and here, and in response many readers have asked me to post what I would consider “good” LinkedIn profile shots. So here are some great shots of four different men (credit: Adobe Images, not real profiles).

Remember that the tone of your LinkedIn profile photo should match the brand that you wish to portray. If you want to project that you have executive presence, your LinkedIn profile photo should communicate that (see images 1 and 2 below). If you tend toward the creative in your work – regardless of your field, from visual, theater or culinary arts to science, technology or even (in some cases) finance – a more creative photo may be appropriate (see image 3 below). If you are a professional but more about substance than form and rarely wear a suit, you may wish to skip the suit in your profile picture (see image 4 below). In all, your LinkedIn photo and profile generally should be a calling card for who you are if someone were to meet you in “real life” (in a business context, of course).

IMG_0422 (LinkedIn size smiling man in suit)Successful black business man ceo downtown workspace proud confident arms crossedIMG_0418 (LinkedIn man in blue suit)An Indian business executive with folded arms

Remember that your LinkedIn profile picture will likely not be the same size as the original image, so pay attention to the background and finer details with an eye for the ultimate image as it will look when cropped to size. In image 3 above, the peeling paint (and tousled hair) add to the creative look of this shot, but otherwise the above backgrounds are interchangeable and not tied to the image each is hoping to portray. Some people like to have a background with more “visual information” while others prefer a clean, neutral look. Note that neither of the original shots for the first two images were centered, and in the second one the background could have been distracting in the original composition but it nonetheless works for LinkedIn.

Head And Shoulders Portrait Of Mature Businessman In OfficeSuccessful black business man ceo downtown workspace proud confident arms crossed

One last note, as I see this far too often on LinkedIn (and almost as much as a shot of someone with another person cropped out – don’t do that!). Make sure that when you take an image or have one taken of you, that the camera is or zooms in close enough to the subject so that the image does not look blurry or pixilated when cropped. Below is an extreme example, but I see this often with clients who have a spouse or friend take a picture and then send it to me for review. If you are out of focus, you will not project the confidence and presence that you wish to convey. 

IMG_0416 (pixilated enlargment man in suit)

This last image has another issue, of course, which is that it was cropped very close and has a very light background, so the person looks more like a talking head than a professional candidate.

If you would like to compare the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn profile pictures, you can also visit my prior articles on LinkedIn photos here and here.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through local booksellers) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond.


LinkedIn Profile Pictures: Do They Make You Want to Connect?

At least once a week, I am asked to comment on a LinkedIn profile picture. As an executive coach with a prior background in art (in addition to law), I base my opinion not only in good taste but the principals of photography and design.

At least once a week, I am asked to comment on a LinkedIn profile picture. As an executive coach with a prior background in art (in addition to law), I base my opinion not only on good taste but also on the principals of photography and design.

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to give my readers an opportunity to view and contemplate some LinkedIn-sized and styled pictures before giving my recommendations and highlighting insights that each one can teach us about our own profile shots. In this post, I have included many of those prior images and more.

There are some of the obvious points, such as good focus and high enough resolution, that we can all see (if we are paying attention). But what else could we do to make our images even better?

If you clicked on a LinkedIn profile for this person with the image below – full disclosure: all of these are samples from Adobe Images, not from real profiles – would you be inclined to connect with him or her?

I give some feedback below that can help you understand how to look at images more objectively and improve your own profile picture on LinkedIn.

AdobeStock_129949762 (cropped at podium)

Some people like to have “action shots” that show them in leadership roles. To that extent, the image above works. However, pointing off to the side of the image takes the viewer’s eye in that direction as well, and away from one’s image and profile generally. It also makes this person look closed off rather than approachable. Further, the words in the background are distracting and do not add any credibility (compare, for example, someone on the Tedx stage). That said, an action shot that is professional and well-done can sometimes work well.

African American businesswoman

A lot of things are done well in this picture. It is generally well-cropped – it could be a bit tighter at the top – and the person is dressed professionally. However, she does not look happy in this shot, and the lighting on her hair and background is distracting. This is the most common type of picture that I see, i.e., one that makes the person look “good enough” to be happy with the picture but nonetheless does not show him/her in the best light (literally and figuratively). Some people don’t like to show their teeth, but you can smile more with the eyes in that case.

The above picture has the same issue with the distracting lighting in the background, although the lighting on the individual is better. This woman has chosen to have her hand in the picture, which sets it off as a more individualized shot and may be appropriate for certain fields where someone is asked to connect with people emotionally. For example, a therapist or a fiction writer may benefit from an image like this. By contrast, a litigator who needs to show an ability to meet challenging situations head on would not want to have an image that is too “approachable” or “soft.”

sailing man captainsailing man captain

Some people like to highlight their hobbies in LinkedIn profile pictures. Here’s my response. First of all, if you crop too closely (first image of two), you lose the entire point of the picture, and the various design elements end up looking distracting. This is the same point I would make to those who put up a photo with another individual cropped out of it (such as a shot at a wedding, with a spouse or significant poking into the side or corners of the image). The resulting image is similarly distracting and does not communicate that you are a serious, focused candidate.

In general, being too dressed down or too dressed up (think tuxedo for men, for example) may also give the impression that you are not willing to adapt yourself to a work environment but instead have your own agenda which will always or often trump the employer’s. So only if (1) one has an independent source of income, and LinkedIn is not a significant source of career or business leads or (2) these details are actually related to one’s career or business (e.g., if the man above were involved in marine work), would such a LinkedIn profile picture make sense. This is where the “LinkedIn is not Facebook” distinction comes into play. LinkedIn is about work, not pleasure, so wear your work face (presentation, wardrobe, etc.)

I should add that if you look closely at the man’s face, the top half of his face is in shadow and the bottom half is in sun. Once you notice this element of the photograph – as some of your LinkedIn viewers will do – the uneven lighting is quite distracting and casts a soft shadow (pun intended) on your attention to detail. In this image, it is not as pronounced as in other photographs I have seen.

Beautiful young adult lawyer business woman professional in a suit at the courthouse

There is a lot I like about the shot above. It is clean, interesting and engaging. But don’t miss little details. The red nail polish, that is, has got to go. It is out of character and distracting, and it shows a lack of attention to detail.

shutterstock_146589713 (resolve)

This is a good shot in many ways, although the person is not looking into the camera, and the cropping is quite close. In an artistic field (for example), this may be appropriate, but not in a corporate setting.

Asian man portrait

When I look at the above shot, I can’t help but wonder if the individual dresses like this all the time and if it conveys his “true self.” Not all of us need to be in suits, and some people prefer LinkedIn to express how they will show up every day. If that is your personal brand, then this sort of image may work. 

Waitress serving food to visitors

In this shot, the person’s shoulders are off-kilter, which is distracting and could subtly take away from her credibility. The background is also overwhelming – especially the lights – as is the lipstick. If this person were my client, I would suggest she try again with a new shot.

woman with brunette hair standing posing

For this last one, I would say watch the sleeveless look as well as the posture and “pout.” Again, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. Would you wear it for a meeting with the CEO? If not, it’s not the right look.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership development coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon.com) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond. 

Image credits above: Adobe Images.

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