What Makes a Good LinkedIn Profile?
What makes a good LinkedIn profile? If you spend any time on LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed something about the summaries. Most of them are a bit…
OK, I’ll avoid the temptation to be rude.
Put it this way. The majority of LinkedIn summaries fall into these 2 categories:
- The waffler – Plonks in pretty much everything.
- The mystery – Leaves it blank.
Now, this wouldn’t matter… if it weren’t for the fact that LinkedIn is the most powerful professional network in the world. Recruiters, potential clients, future employers, decision-makers and influencers – they all hang out on LinkedIn.
And guess what?
They’re not looking for cat videos.
They’re looking for people with your skills. So how do you write an awesome LinkedIn summary – something that will make a difference to your future? Here are 6 useful tips:
1. Get to the point
Let’s start with the bad news. LinkedIn users aren’t that special when it comes to attention spans. They’re as impatient as everyone else on the planet, so get the best stuff in early.
Your first sentence is crucial. It needs to pack a punch. You could, for example, lead with a value statement.
|As a LinkedIn profile writer, I help business owners better articulate their value and reach more customers.|
Alternatively, you could start with a question. Pick one that addresses a need, then prove that you can answer it.
|Are you challenged with consistently building a new sales pipeline? As a Commercial Sales Director, I have revitalised Acme Ltd by generating at least 200 new leads per month for the last 3 years.|
Rather than focusing on yourself, make it clear how you help other people. On LinkedIn, most people visiting your profile want something – and you provide it.
If you talk to them directly and show how you can help, your LinkedIn profile automatically becomes more powerful.
2. Beware the character limit
If you’re writing a LinkedIn summary, this is useful to know:
On desktops, there are 310 characters to play with before “Show more” cuts you off. On mobiles, it’s 122 characters.
There’s not much room for waffle, is there. Talking of which…
3. Avoid meaningless buzzwords
LinkedIn is awash with buzzwords. At best, they’re a wasted opportunity to say something meaningful and at worst, they make you look unimaginative and a tiny bit dumb.
Helpfully, every January LinkedIn releases its Top 10 overused buzzwords. Even more helpfully, here’s the latest list:
Unless you want a potential employer to play Buzzword Bingo with your profile, ditch all those words.
Besides, why would anyone believe you’re `creative’, `experienced’ or `skilled’? It’s not enough to just say so.
Try replacing them with action-based words – achieved, accomplished, built, captured, drove, generated, revitalised, restructured, transformed…. I could go on, but you get the idea. These words force you to provide evidence of what you’ve done for others.
4. Tell a story
All humans like stories, we’re hardwired that way. It goes way, way back to sitting around camp fires surrounded by sharp-toothed creatures that wanted to eat us.
You can learn a lot from a good story – cooperation, empathy, teamwork, communication… Back then, soft skills saved us from becoming dinner. Today, all professionals expect them as standard.
Here are some useful questions to ask yourself:
Why are you doing your current job? What brought you there? What were the challenges? How did you meet them? What was the result?
Look, I’ll give you an example:
|I went from call centre worker to Sales Director within 2 years. It was tough, but I learnt the value of energetic persistence and hard work. I’ve never been happier.|
If you want a career change, make it part of the story.
|My title is Sales Director but ever since childhood, I’ve had a natural aptitude with technology. This is why I want to continue my career as an Accounts Manager with a vibrant, forward-thinking digital marketing agency.|
Don’t be afraid to use humour. I came across this profile the other day:
|I spent the first 3 years of my career as a stand-up comedian, before realising my children liked seeing their father and not starving.|
5. Be clever with SEO
As you’ve probably heard, you can optimise your LinkedIn profile for search engines.
In fact, LinkedIn itself is a search engine – but it’s disguised as social media. It returns results for people with similar connections and groups.
Here’s a quick how-to guide:
1. Complete everything – every single teeny tiny bit of your profile.
2. Connect wisely with existing and future customers, potential employers, colleagues and people within your network who post and share regularly.
3. Join groups relevant to your professional expertise, then take part in the conversation.
4. Optimise your job title. Choose the most popular keyword for your job (`leadership coach’, for instance) rather than your own quirky version that nobody searches for (`transformational influencing counsellor’).
5. Put relevant, keyword-rich skills in your headline (e.g. Leadership coach | Executive coaching | Leadership training)
6. Include them in your summary, but don’t keyword-stuff. Seriously, just don’t. People will notice.
7. Optimise your previous job descriptions for keywords.
8. Publish your own content.
Actually, I’ll repeat that last one…
6. Publish your own content on LinkedIn
It’s a no-brainer. Your connections will see, read and interact with excellently written, useful content. They will share it with their network who will, in turn, pass it on to their own connections.
Bingo! With little effort, you’ve earned professional credibility and drawn thousands of decision-makers to your website.
OK, I know what you’re thinking:
You don’t have time to produce superb content. And you’re not a natural writer.
I am. Get in touch here.