What happens when you get 16 LinkedIn pros together to talk about creating a powerful LinkedIn profile About section? You get an variety of incredible answers. You might think all of the answers would be similar. Not so.
One of our pros advises not to write a boring About section. Blunt as this might sound, it makes sense; don’t use your 2,600 characters to write a whole lot of fluff.
Don’t write a “wall of words,” another pro emphasizes; meaning keep your paragraphs short.
Your resume is 2D but your LinkedIn profile is 3D, suggests a third pro. It contains your inner world and outer world. Read what he means by this.
Yet another pro writes, “Think of your About section as a sandwich, the top slice of bread makes a personal connection, the middle is the meat, and the bottom slice ends with a personal morsel.” Yum.
A recruiter among the group stresses the importance of keywords. If you want to be found, know where to place them.
These are only six of our pros weighing in. There are 10 more who have different, yet valuable, advice to impart.
If you are one of those people who don’t have an About section, or if you want more ideas on how to make it better; read this article. It’s long, but you’ll get plenty of great ideas. The authorities who contributed to this article are the best in their trade. You won’t go wrong.
Hook the reader and demonstrate value
Taking a page from journalism, I liken your LinkedIn About section to a lead (lede) paragraph in a news story that gives the reader a sense of what the story will be about. Can you imagine a news article that skips this critical section? You’d probably skip reading it altogether. Same goes with your LinkedIn About section.
Contrary to popular belief, powerful and descriptive adjectives aren’t what make your LinkedIn’s About section powerful. While adjectives may be effective in telling the reader something, they don’t really show them anything of value.
When pharma companies need sales strategy and leadership to drive transformation, turnaround, launch new products or markets, or catapult teams from good to great – I am brought in.
The results? Plans that convert customers, bring new products to market and unseat the competition.
In addition to including details about your story, I often recommend including an email in your LinkedIn About section – which provides an interested party with an easy way to reach out without having to do extra clicking to find your contact info on your profile.
Avoid these three mistakes
I see three very common errors in the LinkedIn About section.
The first error is an empty or very short About section. Why is this a mistake? Wasted opportunity!
The solution? Summarize your qualifications for the job you want in your profile’s About section. Highlight your relevant accomplishments, and demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly.
The second error is what I call the “wall of words” mistake. The wall-of-words mistake is an About section with one or two very large paragraphs of content. Why is this a mistake? Because it looks like a wall of words and is not easily scannable! We are all in a hurry now.
So, recruiters and anyone else looking quickly to learn more about you, especially if they are looking at your profile on a smart phone (which more than 50% of them are), are not going to take the time to carefully read each dense paragraph.
The third error is omitting contact information. Anyone not currently connected to you (like a recruiter) will not be able to read what you have posted in your “Contact info” section at the top of your profile. Even if you are the perfect candidate for a job, opportunities lost!
The solution? Add a sentence at the bottom of your profile which includes your permanent, professional contact information (NOT your current work or home contact information). My recommendation is to use Gmail and Google Voice, both of which can be re-directed to your current email and phone numbers.
Don’t write a boring About section
Too many About sections have nothing in them or are boring. I read the first few sentences, and my eyes glaze over. It is such a wasted opportunity. When I ask why the person hasn’t focused on this section, they tell me they don’t know what to say.
So here is my advice. First, who is your audience? What do they need to know about you? Write it for them, not yourself. If you are a job seeker, what would an employer find of value about you? Focus on that. Likely, they will want to know about your knowledge, abilities, experiences, and accomplishments.
It would be best to have SEO in mind as you are writing, so the search engine selects your profile as relevant. Ensure you sprinkle this section with keywords used to search for someone in your field or industry.
Make sure your about section is concise. Every word you choose is important. Does it bring value and tell your story in the best way? Likely you will need to edit your About section a few times to get it right. I have. And if it makes it easier to read, feel free to use emojis if your audience appreciates them.
Lastly, do not think that the About section is written once and never touched again. You should once a quarter review your LinkedIn profile and make updates as needed. That may mean adding or deleting information from your About section, depending on the changing needs of your audience.
A.C.E. your About section: Be authentic, captivating, and effective
The LinkedIn Profile About section can be our career momentum’s greatest friend or foe. So much can work against us including writer’s block, keyword or industry jargon overload, and too much copycatting someone else’s format. If you notice any of these issues about yours, I encourage that you inner-view yourself first to turn things around.
Depending on your career goals, several parts of your answers can be included in the LinkedIn profile About section.
Be sure to evaluate this section every 3-6 months to confirm it is serving you well. Here is a communication strategy to help you ACE your About section on LinkedIn or upgrade any message about your professional value:
A = Authenticity
Does it sound like YOU? Do what you can to provide a sense of what matters to you or activates your values when you are at work. That makes you stand out in a positive way from everyone else.
C = Captivating
Are you targeting your ideal audience (those you want to read your About section the most)? Address a problem or need they have and describe what you offer to improve their situation. That is how you hold their attention to read more and take action to connect with you further.
E = Effective
Is it getting the results and impact you want? Gain clarity of what outcomes you are aiming to achieve so you can measure how it is going. That will make it clear what changes to make or if it is time to get more support with it.
Throw out the “Old-School” About section
Old School” LinkedIn profiles were told in the 3rd person and were more biographical. (Example: Mark is an executive leader who works globally with senior management. He has demonstrated strengths in helping companies make sense of their numbers; passionate about educating and sharing the story with the rest of the organization….). “Old School” profiles are known for feeling less personal and more jargon-y.
The About section speaks to your “inner” and “outer” worlds
If your resume is a 2-D representation of your candidacy, consider your LinkedIn profile to be your 3-D representative. The About section of your profile is really where your professional persona can truly come to life by sharing your bigger story.
The best stories make readers feel something. Your About section has the ability to accomplish this by weaving together a tapestry of your inner and outer worlds. Your inner world comprises your deep seated beliefs, values, & passions, which represent the steady, animating forces of your career path.
In addition to these two core components, it’s crucial to articulate what’s unique about you and/or how you do things. You’re not the only person with your job title or level of experience, so it’s critical to ensure that you stand out by honing in on an aspect of your career journey, background, or way of using your skills that will help you stand apart from the crowd.
If you’re in leadership, take the opportunity to define the type of leader you are and how you help create the conditions for success, and bring out the best in those on your team.
Finally, don’t forget to invite people to connect with you who are similarly aligned with your values and career interests. A powerful About section will serve as a rich conversation starter by giving your audience ample opportunity to connect to an aspect of who you are that sparks curiosity or emotion in them, and compels them to reach out to learn more.
Your About section is like a professional/personal sandwich
The P&P (Personal & Professional) Sandwich.
First, imagine the start and end of your About Section as two slices of bread. The middle is the filling.
- The top slice or up-front portion is where your story begins and your personal connection is established.
- Allow some of your personality to come out, writing how you speak in the first person, using.
- Create a “hook” to grab your readers’ attention, with what makes you tick.
- Include keywords without overstuffing and steer clear of too much jargon.
- Remember you want them to be engaged and read until the end.
For the filling, it’s about quality meat (skip the cheese) to capitalize on your professional impact.
The bottom slice and end should offer some parting personal morsels.
- A few little known facts.
- Call to action.
- Contact information, making it easy for them to reach out, pronto.
No matter what, avoid treating this section as regurgitation of the same information on your resume.
This is a rare opportunity for those who don’t know you, yet to get a peek inside and find out more about you outside of the required hiring documents. You can still be buttoned up and deliver outstanding value without being boring or cliche.
Lastly, know that this takes time to construct, revisions and some finesse to strike the right tone.
Have others read it. If it doesn’t sound like YOU, have another go until it does.
Decision makers read the About Section and this is a piece of the hiring process you can control so
deliver excellence, to attract excellence.
Consider these 4 tips when writing your About section
Start with a hook
With your About section, you want to catch the reader’s attention right away. You have a limited number of visible characters before the See More, so make them engaging.
You can start by telling an interesting (relevant) story about you, showcasing an impressive achievement, or outlining the most important pieces of your professional brand.
Present a concise, consistent brand
You’re not looking to make an exact replica; just make sure the message you present about yourself and the major highlights, achievements, and skills you showcase are consistent from your resume to your LinkedIn profile.
Include targeted keywords
The About section is (like most other profile sections) keyword searchable by the algorithm, so incorporate the most relevant and important keywords for your target roles. This will help increase your ranking in search results for those keywords.
Set your content apart
While the platform doesn’t offer many native options for formatting your content, there are two options to add a unique look that will make you stand apart from your competition.
Emojis – While it’s important not to over-use these, a few well-placed emojis can make a big difference in the engagement-factor of your content.
Yaytext – Yaytext.com (not an affiliate link) is a web-based tool that converts plain text into styled text (bold, italic, etc.) which you can then copy/paste into your LinkedIn profile.
The About section is like the back cover of a book: 10 best practices
Imagine your LinkedIn [Profile] like one Book in a massive Bookstore of 760M+ Professional Stories. The [Top card] is like the spine of the Book; [Profile photo], [Headline], graphic [Background photo], and small details may be what gets someone to pull your story from the shelf. Once that interest is initiated, we all know the back cover turns the browser into a buyer; this is your [About] [Summary].
The Most Successful [About] [Summary]s contain the following:
If you build that [About] [Summary] correctly, you will drive your [Profile] browser to devour the chapters within your work & volunteer [Experience], dive into your proof of knowledge leadership [Activity], understand the categories you serve in your [Skills & endorsements] and be further sold by your written [Recommendations]. Hope these thoughts help you, Market, & Book Your Own Success!
Your about section answers, “Tell me about yourself”
LinkedIn provides every user with the opportunity to write a summary about themselves. What is it you want someone to know about you?
You have up to 2,600 characters to answer the question “tell me about yourself?” This is time when less is not more! This is your chance to explain who you are and how you work.
- What got you started in your field or career
- Why you love what you do
- Your top achievement and why it’s significant
- Work processes or procedures you enjoy
- Certifications, degrees, memberships that are important to you and the industry
- Problems you solve and who benefits
- Breadth or depth of industries you’ve worked in
- Why people like working for you or with you
- A hobby or interest outside of work that’s important to you
How you string all this information together and structure your About section is equally important. Make your content skimmable by writing in shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs.
Writing your About section will test your writing skills as well as you creative thinking. Enjoy the process of detailing what you want to be known for!
Write in 1st person and explain what you can do for employers
Want to know a secret about how to get readers stop in their tracks when they read your LI profile?
Write your About section like your story, not like a biography!
Gone are the days when we would write our About sections like a formal, third person, boring biography.
What problems do I fix?
What do I bring to the table?
How do I make a difference?
How do I contribute to team goals?
What are my leadership strengths?
What are my top contributions?
What is my value statement?
What is my communication style?
What am I known for?
What am I passionate about?
You can also break up and organize different sections of your About section with emoji’s like arrows, dashes, stars, etc. This is a great way to showcase your different skill sets into mini stories with headlines like:
BUSINESS & TECHOLOGY PROCESSES
TEAM LEADERSHIP & SUCCESS STORIES
One thing to remember is to keep your reader in mind when writing your About section. They are thinking, “How can this person help us? How can they fix our pain points? What makes them different from everyone else in this role?”
Once you’ve completed the content, don’t forget your call to action! Offer an invitation to connect or follow, remind them to check out your portfolio of projects, work, or events in your Featured section, suggest a virtual coffee with people in your industry, or put a link to your website for more information.
There is so much you can do with your About section that will help it jump out and draw the reader in.
Make sure to list your skills; recruiters are looking for them
Despite its popularity with recruiters and omnipresence in hiring, LinkedIn is first and foremost a networking platform.That’s why Reid Hoffman created it in his living room in 2002. When viewing your profile, people want to know whether you are someone with whom they would like to network.
But you’re not here reading this installment of Things Career Related because you just want to network. You’re reading this article because you’re in the job search and want to be found be people like me.
The specific keywords I might search are those based upon my understanding of the need that will unearth the most relevant candidates.
For example: if I am seeking a senior information security professional, I might search CISSP, a well-regarded certification for such professionals. I might also search for specific experiences or skills (e.g., threat or vulnerability management or pentesting). CISSP, threat management, vulnerability management, pentesting…all of these are keywords.
Personally, I avoid focusing on job titles. This is because I learned long ago that titles issued by employers can be non-intuitive. I’ve seen marketers with the job title of technical writer, VPs who are individual contributors (looking at your financial services industry)…heck, I’ve been an editor who didn’t actually edit anything.
For a powerful About section: talk about specific skills you have, the experiences you have had, the things that set you apart. That’s how you will be found by recruiters.
Show your greatness with your About section
When I talk with my clients about their LinkedIn profile About section, I tell them it should tell their story. But that’s too vague. There’s more to your About section than this simple statement. Another way to explain this section is that it should encompass your overall value.
There’s more than showing your greatness to consider when you’re writing this important section for the first time or revising it. To read further about 8 general tips and some ways you can write your About section, click here.
Your About section should sell you to the reader
The About section of your profile is your chance to really sell your reader. There are many ways to optimize it, but the two most important things any job seeker can do are:
- Lead with a highly relevant introduction
Your entire LinkedIn profile should be geared towards your target audience.
If you’re a job seeker, that means you’re writing it for the recruiter or hiring manager at your dream company who might read it. What do those people care about? They care about finding someone who matches the criteria for their roles. A winning About section opens with that.
“Award-winning sales executive with 8+ years experience driving $10M in new business for early stage cloud-based SaaS companies.”
If a recruiter or hiring manger needs a competent sales person in the SaaS / cloud space, you just checked a lot of their boxes! Relevance is key.
- Provide supporting evidence of their experience with results-based “Case Study” bullet
Now that you’ve introduced yourself, you want to back up your intro with some specific case studies of your best experience.
• Generated 5 deals worth $12M at [Company] in my first 16 months as an Account Executive
• Won “OneTeam” award for largest deal of the year ($8.7M) in 2021 at [Company]
These bullets should speak to specific wins and include measurable / tangible outcomes that make your value clear.
If you leverage both of these strategies in your LinkedIn About, you’re going to be off to a great start!
Think of your About section as a sales pitch
Before diving into what a powerful LinkedIn profile About section is, let’s start with what it isn’t: it is NOT a word-for-word copy of the summary paragraph from your resume.
Imagine you’re browsing for a book on Amazon. A few books happen to match your search criteria. You click on them, and your eye immediately goes to the book description on the sales page (aka the short blurb you’ll likely find on the back cover) where you can skim through a short summary.
What makes a compelling pitch for the About section? First of all, your pitch should reflect who you are and what makes you unique without giving away too much. Take an objective look: if your About section makes you want to read more, its core mission is accomplished. If, however, it reads as boring, overwhelming, and cluttered, then it’s definitely time for a revamp.
Writing the About section is my favorite part of crafting LinkedIn profiles for my clients. This is the perfect place for the core parts of your value proposition, i.e.:
- Summarizing who you are and what you do (what would you say during a handshake introduction?)
- Showcasing what sets you apart from your competition (what is your secret sauce?)
- Telling your target audience what’s in it for them (why should they keep reading?)
- Letting people know the easiest ways to get in touch with you (you might want to include a couple of options, such as your email and Twitter)
Think about S.H.A.R.P. acronym when writing your About section
When creating a LinkedIn About section, think S.H.A.R.P:
Searchable: Build your profile around your value offering and strategically integrate select words and language that support your offering and relate to your industry/role. What keywords and language are common for what you want to be found or known for (as a job seeker or professional)? Do some research to find out.
Action-oriented: Write your profile with an active voice and share a few career wins or measurable achievements that support your brand and offering. Be specific about who you are and the outcomes you have generated. Metrics can really pop off the page.
Robust: The About section allows up to 2,600 characters – put these characters to good use to fully maximize all the above and more. A few paltry sentences won’t cut it. Just remember to focus on the quality of content versus quantity.
Personalized: Write the About section in the first person to create more connection with readers. Be authentic and consider using the space to tell a story. Outline who you are as a professional, what makes you unique, and the value you have to offer.
Well, here you have it. If you read to this point, skimming or reading every work, thank you for taking the time to do it. Every point to make about the About section has been covered. Or are there other points that haven’t been made? If you can think of any, let me know.
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