Tips for Writing a Better LinkedIn Profile
Check out these practical tips to enhance your LinkedIn profile.
TIP 1: START WITH THE “WHY” AND ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION
It can be hard to talk about yourself in glowing terms. This can make it hard to write a LinkedIn profile, which is why everyone defaults to thinking of it and using it as an online resume. But it can—and should—be so much more.
We’ve been using this question to help people identify their why, which helps everything on LinkedIn fall into place. Why do you do what you do, why are you motivated to pursue a certain career path, and why have you been successful?
Ask yourself this question: What has been the guiding philosophy throughout my career?
Once you identify your own guiding philosophy, weave it into the storyline you develop about yourself on LinkedIn. Get stuck on how to describe something you’ve done? Go back to that one key point and rework it.
TIP 2: MAKE THE SALE ABOVE THE FOLD
We all do it. You have a conference call with someone new or you’re meeting a prospect for the first time. Checking out their LinkedIn profile is part of the research you do beforehand.
But how often do you dive into the fourth or fifth bullet of one of their jobs from 15 years ago on that profile? You’ll read their headline, get an impression of what they do, scroll through the experience section to see where they’ve worked, and maybe glance at their schooling.
So, you really need to make the “sale” in your profile above the fold. This means focusing on your headline and the summary section.
A few best practices we’ve found help us create more effective LinkedIn profiles:
- Make the headline pop: Sure, you can default to your job title in the headline, but it’s not really a standout move. You’re leading with what you do instead of why you do it. A better approach is to offer a glimpse of yourself and frame it in terms that answer the question “what’s in it for me?” for your profile viewer. Think of this as a billboard on the highway…you have about three seconds to get someone’s attention flying by at 70 m.p.h.
- Spend time on the summary: The summary is where you tell the story of you. Try using a lead-in sentence (almost a “summary of the summary”) followed by a few short paragraphs that capture your value as a professional.
TIP 3: HUMANIZE YOURSELF
Let’s be clear. LinkedIn is still a professional network. We’ve seen a bunch of non-professional nonsense making its way into my newsfeed recently. It’s not a dating site, it’s not Reddit, or a place to talk about your latest medical mishap.
That being said, you can humanize yourself in your profile in a professional way. Volunteer to save dogs? Lead a Girls on the Run group? Sit on a corporate or non-profit board? Work that into your profile in the Volunteer section. Likely, whatever you’re doing outside of work aligns in some way with your guiding philosophy, so it’s perfectly appropriate for your profile.
Here’s another practical tip for being a little more human. Check out your public profile URL. If it has a long random list of numbers at the end of it, there’s an easy way to get rid of them and customize your URL. Take a look at the simple instructions here.
BONUS TIP: HOW TO NOT LOOK SILLY WHILE UPDATING
Maybe you’re revising your LinkedIn profile for the first time in years and realize you have a lot of updates to make. The worst thing you can do is notify your network of every single update you decide to make. They’ll show up in your followers’ newsfeeds if you’re not careful.
To make sure you’re not sharing each and every profile edit, click Share profile changes to “No.” When you’re updating your profile, you’ll find it at the bottom of every section you’re editing, right above the Save button. Use it wisely!