How to stand out on LinkedIn? Obama and Shaq have ideas.

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

Your LinkedIn profile needs a makeover 📸. Instead of another standard guide on how to create a great LinkedIn profile, we thought about the most popular people on the planet, from Barack Obama to Alex Rodriguez, to see how they are standing “out” on LinkedIn.

There are a total of 14 sections that make up a rockstar LinkedIn profile 🌟. You don’t have to complete all of the sections overnight to have an effective profile. Your LinkedIn profile takes time and a plethora of experiences to come together. Don’t rush the process. Enjoy it!

The LinkedIn Levels

Creating a LinkedIn profile can be overwhelming. Focus on one level at a time. Your goal is to get to Level 4 🤩


Level 1

Have a cool headline like Obama ⭐️

Barack Obama’s LinkedIn:

Perhaps your headline won’t be “Former President of the United States of America” but you should have something that will be relevant to the reader - as this will be the very first thing they will look at.

You can keep it simple from anything like “Senior at [blank] University | Looking for marketing roles” to more creatives headlines like “Aspiring Full-Stack Engineer”. Use your headline wisely.

Pro Tip 💡: Using | (vertical symbol) is a great way to make your headline easy to read. Example: Pre-Law | Debate National Champions | Athlete

Use that bio space like Shaq! 🏀

Shaq’s LinkedIn:

Remember the golden rule of LinkedIn is that your profile should be focused on where you are heading. When working on your LinkedIn, always ask yourself, am I telling the right story to a recruiter or a potential mentor? Shaq has this in mind with this thoughtful bio! Overall, we think Shaq has one of the best LinkedIn’s out there. Way to go, Shaq.

List your experience (and don’t be afraid of unorthodoxy) like Alex Rodriguez ⚾️

Alex Rodriguez’s LinkedIn:

Does your experience as a waiter apply to your Wall Street job? Do you think your work as a doorman won’t do you well for your new internship in sales? Think again.

Just like Alex Rodriguez who traded the baseball diamond for the conference boardroom, unorthodox jobs can present a fuller picture of your experience and what you bring to the table, even if that job was on the ground, on the move, or on the field.

Be specific and action-oriented like Jennifer Lopez 🔥

Jennifer Lopez’s LinkedIn:

Listing your experience is not enough. You should go the extra mile, and be specific in what you did. Share numbers if you can. In this case, Jennifer Lopez went the extra mile. Keep in mind that the more specific you are with your LinkedIn the better. Are there metrics you can share with the reader? Was there a specific project where you wowed your manager? The fewer buzz words, the better. Shine like J-Lo.

Get educated like Stephen 📚

Stephen Curry’s LinkedIn:

Stephen Curry has a great LinkedIn profile all around. Stephen demonstrates excellence on 🏀 and off the court 💼. Listing your education on LinkedIn is a no brainer, whether you taught yourself or were homeschooled. If you pursued traditional education, you should include your major, the dates you were a student, and if possible any media that links to your school’s recognition.

Have a headshot (not) like Mark Cuban 👀

Mark Cuban’s LinkedIn:

Have a great photo of yourself! Do not be afraid to show personality in your LinkedIn profile but always be mindful of the audience. Not everyone can get away with smoking a cigar like Mark Cuban in their profile photo. Sorry, Mark, but I am sure you would agree! It should be a headshot and not a group photo or a photo of you cropped out from another photo.

Pro Tip 💡 : Below is a great example from Issa Rae. This photo is inviting, and it makes you want to talk to her. You want people to like you and trust you - a powerful photo can do that.

Level 2

Include a memorable cover photo like Gwyneth 🖼️

Gwyneth Paltrow’s LinkedIn:

Gwyneth Paltrow did not include a picture of her home just because it is pretty. She happened to start her company,, a weekly newsletter on wellness and lifestyle, out of her kitchen so her photo is connected to her work.

What do you love? What is your “why”? What industry do you aspire to be in? Do you have a favorite quote? What is your most proud moment? This is an opportunity to choose a photo that represents you or your aspirations. You can go abstract or really detailed. Just make sure it looks good!

List your awards like Oprah 🏆

Oprah’s LinkedIn:

No worries, it doesn’t have to be an Academy Award.

Did you get recognized for an extracurricular club or a sport? People want to know. List them out, and shine like the star you are.

Add your licenses & certifications like Kai 🕶️

Kai Frazier’s LinkedIn:

Kai Frazier is not a celebrity that you might know, but she is a cool entrepreneur working in virtual reality. Her LinkedIn profile is also popping 🙌. If you have licenses, badges, and other certifications that you have received for your career path, showcase them on your LinkedIn profile.

Level 3

Be featured like Andrew Yang! 🎙️

Andrew Yang’s LinkedIn:

You don’t have to be a presidential candidate to have an online presence. You should upload any existing media to your LinkedIn profile that showcase your skills, including your personal website. For example, if you have been interviewed by your school, or participated in a podcast. Have you created or been in a documentary as well as any Youtube Video? Only upload professional content that represents the best version of yourself.

Strut your skills like Kevin 🎤

Kevin Hart’s LinkedIn:

We can’t all make the world laugh like Kevin Hart, but each of us has superpowers and gifts that cannot stay hidden. LinkedIn has a Skills & Endorsements section, so you can list your skills and people can endorse you. This gives you more validation and credibility in the hiring process.

Show your Interests like Bozoma 📌

Bozoma Saint John’s LinkedIn:

Follow your role models, favorite brands, or industry associations. This is the space to tell us more about who you are. Who knows if you have common interests with the recruiter or hiring manager?

Remember, a LinkedIn profile is about you and your personal vision, so market yourself accordingly. Take it from Bozoma Saint John who is a Chief Marketing Executive in Silicon Valley.

Level 4

Be active like Jessica! 🎙️

Jessica Alba’s LinkedIn:

Posting allows you to stay at the top of the radar of your network. A post in TikTok can show your fun and creative side. A post on Facebook and Instagram can show your social side with family and friends. A post on LinkedIn can show how you contribute professionally.

Jessica Alba is a busy founder, actress, and mother. She still has time to not only post fun TikTok videos but also comment and share on LinkedIn. She celebrates current events like International Women’s Day as well as volunteering initiatives.

Pro-tip 💡: On the homepage, LinkedIn posts top news, so if you don’t know what to post, you can look at their list for inspiration and hashtag them. Who knows your post might trend and be promoted by the LinkedIn team giving you more views on your profile.

Recs on Recs like Jessica 📝

Jessica Santana’s LinkedIn:

Not, Jessica Alba. I am talking about Jessica Santana. She is another boss lady and founded a nonprofit called America on Tech. It is important to have your professors or former bosses recommend you on LinkedIn. All it takes is 3-5 sentences from each recommender and your profile is off to the next level 📈.

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