LinkedIn Character Limits – Fishing for Answers
Each section of your LinkedIn profile has a limit on the number of characters allowed. Knowing your limits is important as you craft effective statements and descriptions.
- First Name – 20 characters
- Last Name – 40 characters
- Headline/tagline – 120 characters
- Status Updates – 140 characters
- Summary – 2000 characters
- Company Name, Position/Title – 100 characters
- Position Description – 2000 characters
- Skills and Specialties – 40 entries
- Interests – 1000 characters
I will be using a fishing analogy as I talk about the sections of your profile.
Your Professional Headline or Tagline
Your tagline or headline is your bait. Different species of fish have different tastes in the bait they chase. When you know the type of fish you want to catch; you will know the type of bait to use. The same is true for your headline; different people will respond to different information. You must know what you want, find out what you are getting and, if necessary, change what you are saying!
Your LinkedIn headline or tagline is your bait on LinkedIn. This piece of information follows you around on LinkedIn and the Internet. You have 120 characters available to describe the value you have to offer and entice your prospects to “nibble” for a little taste. It is sad how some people waste this space by simply displaying their job title. Does it really say much if your tagline says “Partner”, “CEO”, “Sales Manager” or something similar? This is simply not enough to draw them in unless you are the CEO of Coca Cola, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble or some other well known organization. Read my article Put Your Name in Front of 20,000 People with Your LinkedIn Headline
As I said with the headline/tagline different fish respond to different types of bait. Your LinkedIn profile is no different.
Your status updates are another form of bait which shows up on your connections’ news feeds. When your connection makes a comment on your status update, your update will show on the news feed for all of your connection’s connections.
Your status update is limited to 140 characters the same as Twitter
Summary Section – Your Story
Your summary section can be up 2000 characters; following the fishing analogy your summary is your hook. When you are fishing, the bait is extremely important but if you put it on the hook incorrectly the fish will take the bait, but not the hook. Different types of fish, because of their size, require different hooks . No one hook will work with every type of fish. Likewise, no one story will excite every reader! Watch your profile statistics and look at the profiles of those who view your profile; are they your target readers? If not, your message may require tweaking!
There are different schools of thought when it comes to the summary. Some say use all 2000 characters and others recommend keeping it brief. My recommendation is to use however many characters you need to tell your story; of course not exceeding 2000 characters. Leave plenty of white space and make it easy to read. Check out my article Are You Really that Boring – Your LinkedIn Summary Must Reel Your Audience In
Company Name and Your Position or Title
This field is searchable, outside of LinkedIn, so think about how you want to use these 100 characters. You could use your title, but you could also include something more descriptive of the actual role you filled. You want to make your profile work for you!
Position Description – This Is Your Experience
2000 Characters Each
Your experience is where you reel in your prospects: customers, recruiters, hiring managers, etc. Each experience allows up to 2000 characters of information; each piece being a little more enticing as your story unfolds. Each experience should be a little vignette or short story into your career. For a detailed description of this section check out my article LinkedIn Experience Section – Record it Correctly
Your Specialties and Interests
40 Skills or Specialties
Your specialties and interests are a list of up to 40 characteristics or skills you have attributed to yourself. Your connections can provide endorsements for these characteristics. They are simple endorsements where a connection says they endorse you for the skill. Nothing more, nothing less.
Interests – Conversation Starters
This is an interesting free form section. You have 1000 characters where you can record your interests. To me this is an overlooked section because it opens the door to virtually endless possibilities and conversation. Your interests are the opportunity to build your relationship with your reader on another level.
Are you looking to meet someone and you want to find commonality with the individual beyond experience, skills and abilities; this is the place to look? Ideally you will write things which are of interest to you and hopefully to them, for example:
- Are you a golfer?
- Do you play tennis?
- Are you a master seamstress?
- Are you a chess master?
- Do you enjoy mountain climbing?
- Do you ride a bike to work?
- Do you like exotic travel?
- Do you collect seashells?
LinkedIn character limits shouldn’t be looked at as constraints; instead think of them as guidelines to make you more effective in your writing.
My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve! Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.
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