How much thought did you put into your LinkedIn profile?
Probably not a lot. After all, it’s just an online CV, right?
Wrong. Your LinkedIn profile is so much more than that. It’s your opportunity to tell the world who you are, what makes you tick, why you stand out from others and to give an insight into your personality.
That’s why it’s such a shame that so many profiles I read simply tell me you’re a team player, or that you have advanced interpersonal skills.
In this article, I’m not going to focus on what you should include (that should be reasonably self-explanatory – current role, skills, achievements, what makes you tick, life outside work). Instead, I’m going to focus on how you should say it.
Get straight to the point
How you come across is almost more important than what you say. It demonstrates your personality and shows you’re more than the average Joe.
So, let’s start at the beginning.
How do you kick off your profile?
Here’s a clue – don’t say hello and don’t do the creepy ‘thanks for visiting’ thing. You’ve got to come out fighting from the get-go. You’ve only got 2000 characters to play with so don’t waste them on empty fillers. Get straight to the good stuff.
Another great idea is to use storytelling. Rather than saying you’ve been passionate about fashion all your life (on that note, please NEVER use the word passionate), write a story about what first triggered your love for it. For a start, it will carry more weight, and it will give valuable insights to you as a person.
Write spoken English
The biggest mistake people make is to make their written English formal by rigidly following the rules of grammar. If you are a regular reader of my ramblings, you’ll be well aware that I like to play hard and fast with the rules. To me, they are archaic and don’t represent the way we use language today.
As you write, imagine you’re telling a friend your story. If you wouldn’t say a phrase in a certain way, don’t write it. Plus, write in the first person – that will help your personality filter through.
That also means cutting out all jargon and buzzwords.
Make it easy to read
Easy to read content has lots of white space. Several short paragraphs are a lot easier on the eye than fifty non-stop lines of text. It’s also a great way to break up your content into logical sections.
The side of ‘easy to read’ is simple sentences and words. That means ditching the Thesaurus and using real words that real people use. More syllables don’t make you appear more intelligent – fact.
Go out with a bang
We’re coming to the end of your character limit, so how do you make sure it hits home?
From a search perspective, get as many keywords in as possible. List your specialities, skills and job descriptions to give the best chance of being picked up in relevant searches.
From a content point of view, round off with what you want. It could be an invitation to connect, a note that you’re looking for new opportunities or any other goal you have in mind.
Your LinkedIn Profile Is Important
The summary section of your LinkedIn profile is the most important 2000 characters you’ll ever write. Through it, you could potentially find your next career move or a big client that will help your business grow.
Although what you say is important, I hope this article has illustrated how you say it is just as critical.
Sally Ormond has been writing LinkedIn profiles for the great and the good for many years. If you want to stand out, get in touch.