Want to quickly distinguish yourself from your job-hunting competition on LinkedIn?
Look no further than your LinkedIn About section (formerly the Summary).
The “elevator pitch” of your social media profile, a powerful, pithy About can position you as a strong candidate and compel employers to take a second look at you.
So how do you craft a knockout message of brand value for your LinkedIn About section?
First, you’ll need to master the concept of writing for an online audience and take the principles of SEO into consideration, then wrap your content into an attractive package.
To rework your LinkedIn Profile About into a power-packed description that elicits attention from recruiters, start fresh with these 5 steps:
1 – Skip the long, winding paragraphs.
Blocks of text (4 lines or longer) are hard to skim in a LinkedIn About section. Remember, you are writing for the web, NOT a piece of paper.
Instead of plopping your too-long resume summary or bio into LinkedIn, break up those large paragraphs. Short, easy-to-digest sentences reel in all types of readers, especially those with short attention spans.
In addition, shortening your descriptions of career success stories will also force you to write tight, keyword-rich content, which is perfect for online reading.
As an example, this LinkedIn About for a COO uses brief statements to outline the scope of his authority and describe career accomplishments:
After my recruitment as XYZ Company’s first COO, I led 500+ reports to deliver:
- $32M revenue improvement from new sales channels
- Strategic alliances with manufacturing and supplier partners
- M&A integration for acquisition of AB Company
2 – Pump up the keyword volume in your About section.
LinkedIn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) doesn’t have to be a mysterious concept. Basically, to rank strongly in searches for employees with your skills, you’ll need to add more Connections (which helps your Profile become more “important” in LinkedIn’s perspective), you must frequently engage and comment on others’ activity, and you’ll need to use better keywords.
The keywords most important on LinkedIn are what employers use to find a candidate like you: job titles, skills, industry names, and other related terminology.
As an example, an Operations Director who finds production, Lean Six Sigma, manufacturing, process improvement, and cost savings in job descriptions could add this achievement to her Summary:
Leveraged Lean Six Sigma for process improvement and 31% cost savings on manufacturing production line upon promotion to Director of Manufacturing Operations.
The benefit of keywords? They’ll bring your Profile more traffic from interested employers, and when woven into your success stories, demonstrate how you used these skills to produce results.
With 2,600 available characters, your About is a great place to inject keywords into each sentence, repeating them for greater density.
3 – Use borders or symbols to break up lines of About text.
Did you realize you can add borders of varying sizes and thickness on LinkedIn? By using special characters (+, _, ~, #, among others), a border can be used to “box off” or distinguish important aspects of your background and qualifications.
The following example shows how to use a border and symbols to set off a group of achievements:
►►Examples of Manufacturing Strategy & Leadership:
– Decreased production cycle time, with accompanying 16% drop in costs.
– Sourced global suppliers meeting stringent quality standards.
You can find more interesting décor for your About in Symbols to Spice Up Your LinkedIn Profile.
4 – Use your About to convey ROI to employers.
What business problems do you solve? How are you unique among others in your field? Your LinkedIn About offers one of fastest glimpses into your personal brand – so make it memorable!
Instead of “Highly accomplished professional with more than 15 years of sales expertise,” kick things up a notch with “I’ve brought employers a competitive edge (and up to 53% more revenue) by building executive relationships inside Oracle, Bank of America, Sony, and AIG Insurance.”
Adding up your years of experience or rattling off a list of your skills doesn’t help employers figure out where you add value.
Tell them – in powerful, keyword-rich sentences that include metrics – why you’ve advanced in your career, and how you can meet their needs:
I’ve earned quick promotions for improving software revenue reporting, trimming headcount 28%, and implementing new IT systems… preparing me for a Controller role in the tech industry.
As IT Operations and NOC Manager, I’m considered a go-to expert for global connectivity strategy, eliminating 24% in vendor costs and improving bandwidth between Frankfurt and Chicago offices.
Note the keyword content (NOC Manager, software revenue, IT systems, Controller, IT Operations, global connectivity) used throughout these statements.
5 – Convey your value proposition in first-person language.
Social media is all about engagement and relationship-building, right? Then foster some rapport with the people who read your About section.
First-person language (“My work as a CFO affords the opportunity to become involved in complex financial reporting and modeling”) turns your About into a conversation, rather than a stilted, uncomfortable description (“Bob launched his career in supply chain management at ABC Company”).
The other benefit of writing your About in first-person? You can inject some energy and personality into your thoughts, showing readers why you’d make a great connection or employee:
You might believe a CIO’s job is to select the best technology, but I ensure the business need drives this decision, whether the goal is faster service, better quality, or more profit.
Sales has been my passion ever since I realized I could help businesses select the right enterprise software tools – adding continual value to customers long after the deal is closed.
Great, comprehensive article, Laura. If anyone has difficulty writing their LinkedIn Summary, they should read this. I totally agree that “word blocks” need to be short–no more then three or four lines.
I also like the idea of using borders to set apart powerful accomplishments. I’m in agreement that the Summary–nay whole profile–should be written in first person point of view; however,
I also think some profiles warrant third person, such as executive level or published authors, etc. You may get some heat from people who use third person. But by no means should a person simply dump his/her resume Summary onto the profile.
Outstanding, Laura. It’s always good to see your sage advice on LinkedIn.
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