How to Write a LinkedIn Profile Summary (the About section)
Today’s article will help you get ‘refresh my LinkedIn Profile’ off your to do list.
When you attend a networking event and someone asks you ‘what do you do’ is this the moment you freeze, immobilised by the pressure to talk about yourself? Or perhaps you’re one of those superstars who embraces this opportunity as your time to shine.
Talking about yourself and explaining what you do, the problems you solve and the communities you serve is a very important skill to develop when you run your own business or lead an organisation. If you are a business owner, crafting your wording and messaging is something you’ll need for the About Us on your website, your Bio when you’re asked to contribute your expertise to a guest panel or conference speaking event, or the summary, now called the About section, of your LinkedIn Profile.
But where to begin?
What You Need to Know about Your LinkedIn Profile About Section
LinkedIn reports that a summary of 40 words or more makes it more likely to show up in search. The LinkedIn Profile summary section is often overlooked by many LinkedIn members, especially those who have been reluctant to tend to their LinkedIn garden. If you’re wishing to attract better clients, get that next promotion or be head hunted, here’s your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and improve how you tell the story of who you are, including:
- your experience
- highlights from your career so far
- the type of things you are interested in
- goals you would like to achieve as they relate to your professional focus
This section is not a cut and paste of your professional summary in your resume (which I see all the time), it is more like a bio, or About Us section from a website or company report, and should be written in the first person. This means you writing about you!
The key is to make sure we get a sense of your personality and how you approach your working life, not just your skills and experience.
Here are the 7 steps I suggest you follow to help you write your LinkedIn Profile About section, or the summary (as it was once called).
Step 1: Decide what do you want to be the ‘go to’ for when people mention your name
Before making any changes to your LinkedIn Profile, consider what you want to be the ‘go to’ person for when people mention your name. By being clear about this and writing about yourself with this in mind, you’re making it easier for your connections and people who view your profile to recommend or refer you.
Once you know this, make sure it’s reflected in how you write about yourself in this section.
Step 2: Decide who you are trying to influence when you’re on LinkedIn
Why are you spending time on LinkedIn? What types of people are you trying to get into more conversations with? The more you can focus on these people when you write your About, the better. It helps them decide if you are ‘for them’ and whether you are the right cultural fit.
Remember – there’s really no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to writing LinkedIn profiles, because how you choose to approach your answers in Step 1 and 2 will influence how and what you write. There are many different ways to write this section. Here are some examples of what you could consider including in the format I suggest in Steps 4-6 below.
- take a storytelling approach showcasing major milestones in your life
- showcase your career achievements
- open with your favourite quote
- ask the readers a challenging question
The approach you choose to take should be consistent with your professional brand and preferred approach.
Step 3: Write your LinkedIn Profile in the first person
When I attend a networking event and someone asks me about myself, I wouldn’t say ‘Karen helps people with LinkedIn’. The same is true for your LinkedIn Profile and it’s why I recommend you always write your LinkedIn profile in the first person.
This means you, writing about you! The benefits of writing in the first person are it:
- can make you more approachable and accessible
- gives people a sense of who you are and what you stand for
- helps people decide if you are ‘for them’ or their organisation
Step 4: Maximise the first line of your LinkedIn About section
The first line of the About section of your LinkedIn profile is critical as people need to click on ‘read more’ to see beyond the first three lines. Be compelling and relevant to the people you want to influence.
“If you are seeking guidance with LinkedIn for your business or your role, I can help. As the founder of Think Bespoke, I lead a collective of experienced content marketers, writers and career planning professionals dedicated to helping Australians achieve their business and career goals.”
Remember that this example is suitable for my goals and focus for LinkedIn. You need to consider what is relevant for you.
Step 5: Use the Middle Section to provide a snapshot of your career experience, where you’ve worked and who you’ve worked with
Here’s a format you can adapt to help craft the middle section of your LinkedIn Profile About section.
With over (insert no.) years experience in the (insert industry types, types of roles and / or the specific companies) I have extensive experience working with (insert top and most relevant experience areas and clients and projects as they relate to your core strengths and what you want to be the ‘go to’ for).
Step 6: Use the Final Section to provide insight into your perspective and the problems you solve
In the final section you can showcase how you can assist clients or organisations solve particular problems. You can also explore how your skills and experience have informed your perspective on the industry you work in and the opportunities for future trends.
Please note – when we write LinkedIn profile updates for clients, in some cases it is relevant to swap the final and middle sections. Again, it depends on their goals and focus for LinkedIn, identified in Step 1 and 2.
So many people seem to get stuck with this section. Steps 4, 5 and 6 give you a structure and a starting point to writing your LinkedIn profile About section.
Step 7: Have a call to action and add featured to showcase your focus for LinkedIn
It is also worth considering a call to action, such as ‘I invite you to connect’ or adding links to your website or relevant professional portfolios or projects demonstrating examples of your work.
You can feature different content from your profile, including Posts, Articles (which now feature images properly!), Links and Media.
As one of Asia Pacific’s Top 10 LinkedIn Experts I share fortnightly news with my global email community and run monthly online Lunch and Learns to teach professionals how to unlock LinkedIn. Sign up to my newsletter to help you learn LinkedIn – the right way!