Over the years, I’ve reviewed many LinkedIn profiles of executive job seekers. And, even though plenty of evidence is stacked against it, way too many have NO About section or a severely anemic one.
These job seekers are neglecting a golden opportunity to tell their personal brand story.
Maybe they’re not actively job seeking, or just beginning a search. No matter, most anyone with a career or doing business in any way needs a complete LinkedIn profile.
No job is permanent these days. Those who are easily found online because their LinkedIn profiles are fully populated with keyword-rich content are way ahead of the game.
What’s so important about the LinkedIn About section?
LinkedIn provides various sections – Headline, Experience, Skills and Endorsements, Education, etc. You’ll use those sections to showcase and describe your many “hard” skills, strengths and achievements.
Think of the About section similarly, but take it further.
For my clients, I go beyond just the hard skills and weave in “soft” skills too. I treat this section like a biography, which affords the opportunity for storytelling . . . probably the best way to showcase your personal brand.
I highlight the qualities and personal attributes that make them a good fit for the companies and organizations they’re targeting . . . that is, I lean on the “personal” part of their personal brand.
The About section is where you tell your personal brand story, differentiating the value you offer over your competitors. Storytelling allows you to make a more vibrant connection with people than the dry resume-speak too often used here.
Your goal here is to strike a balance between personal branding and personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or hard vs. soft skills.
LinkedIn allows 2,000 characters and spaces in this section. You may be surprised by how much you can do with that.
Try to get across what you’re like to work with and how you get things done. Generate some chemistry!
To prompt your brand story, ask yourself questions like these:
- What makes me passionate about the work I do, and the work I will do for future employers?
- Which combination of strengths and skills do I have that no one else does?
- What ROI (Return on Investment) do I have that makes me the best hiring choice?
- What makes me a good leader?
- How have I engaged and motivated my people to top performance?
8 Strategies to elevate your LinkedIn About section
As you’re compiling and writing this content, remember to pack in plenty of your relevant keywords and phrases. You should have compiled a list of your relevant keywords in researching your target employers.
- Add a quote of yours or someone else’s, speaking about the value you offer. Use something that’s not already in one of your LinkedIn recommendations.
- Add 3-5 bullet points to highlight hard-hitting achievements and/or metrics, focused around your top relevant keywords and phrases, with a brief description of how you achieved these things.
- Include a brief paragraph about why you chose your profession or industry.
- For visual appeal, include plenty of white space and short paragraphs.
- Further improve visual appeal by adding italics, bolding and other enhancements with a site like Cool Symbol.
- Add some pizzazz by copying and pasting in special characters like these: ✓ ◆ ▸
- Break down the information into sub-sections, with headers in all caps, as I’ve done in my LinkedIn Summary.
- Leave a little room at the bottom of the About section to list misspellings and variations of your name, so that people using them to search for you will still find your profile.
Give yourself permission to be bold and authentic in this content. You’re not boasting. You’re educating people about what makes you a good-fit candidate for the employers you’re targeting.
[This article was first published for my Personal Branding Expert gig on Job-Hunt.org.]