There is no stage of the career path in which LinkedIn should not be utilized to build and strengthen network connections. The issue for some is simply how to use it to reach their full potential. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a powerful profile.
At SciTech, we understand the value of creating smart, attention grabbing profiles. It’s important for the students and employers navigating the SciTech platform to easily identify the best candidate or position. The same principle justly applies to the world’s number one business networking website:
To be found, recognized and sought after, you need to stand out.
Your professional profile on LinkedIn is a digital representation of yourself. Simply filling it out with your basic information might be enough if you weren’t also competing with the hundreds, if not thousands, of other potential experts vying for the same position. It’s up to you to transform your profile, to reflect your skills and contributions as essential resources that interested parties can and should benefit from.
To guide us on this initial introduction to strong LinkedIn profile building, we’ll be referring to a LinkedIn article from 2016 (an oldie but goodie), building on its ideas with relevant insight and advice from LinkedIn Expert Anne Pryor’s resent presentation LinkedIn Strategies to Strengthen Your Business that took place on March 8, 2018.
The LinkedIn Article, 7 LinkedIn Profile Summaries That We Love (And How to Boost Your Own) looks at profile examples, identifying why they work and what makes them effective. At the end of the article, LinkedIn provides a list which we’ve recapped below:
8 tips for writing your own LinkedIn profile summary
- Stick to 3-5 short paragraphs
Your summary is the place to share who you are and what makes you great, but it’s not the place to list everything you’ve ever done.
The 2,000 characters you have are more than enough to pull off a great overview of your professional life. Generally, 3-5 short paragraphs should do the trick.
At her LinkedIn Strategy session this Thursday, Anne Pryor took this tip a step further. The first two lines of text, she said, are the most important. That’s what’s shown in the preview, so make sure it’s direct, informative, and captivating. If you want viewers to click the ‘Show More’ tab and read the rest of what you’ve written, you have to grab their attention in the first two lines.
- Lose the jargon
Stay away from buzzwords and empty phrases. Words such as ‘motivated’ and ‘driven’ are so overused they lose their significance. Cross-check your summary with the most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn profiles and tap your thesaurus for alternatives.
Pryor was a big advocate for authenticity. When writing about yourself, don’t use the same language that comes to mind when describing a generic watch brand. Think about who you actually are and the genuine impact of the service you provide.
- Write how you speak
Think about how you would speak to someone you met at a conference, and write that way. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re high-energy, be high-energy. Using the first person “I” makes you more approachable than using the third person “she” or “he.” Pack your summary with a personality that matches yours, but always keep it professional.
Similarly, Pryor gave several ‘Human’ examples of different ways she’s helped her clients personalize their profiles and summaries for the most impactful impression. One profile she highlighted, had the person sharing how their grandfather inspired their ethical approach to business. This not only gave viewers an insight into them as a person, but it established them as an approachable prospect.
- Show lots of white space
People have short attention spans and many will skim your text. Steer clear of long dense paragraphs. Use bullet points and sub-heads to make it easier on the eyes.
Don’t use a five-syllable word when you can use a one-syllable word that is just as good. Keep your words, sentences, and paragraphs tight.
This tip is essential when appealing to modern consumers on any platform. In her presentation, Pryor demonstrated how subheads could be used to convey the most important information in each summary paragraph. That way, if a viewer skims your profile, they’re more likely to pick up the key details you wish to convey.
- Use keywords
To improve your standing when candidates search LinkedIn and Google, you’ll want to include keywords that highlight your top skills. One approach is to list your ‘Specialties’ at the end of your summary.
What’s the difference between ‘keywords’ and ‘jargon’ you ask? When jargon is removed from your profile summary, readers can still determine what you do for a living. It’s essentially filler. Keywords embody your area of expertise or describe the position you wish to acquire. Using these words strategically will increase your profile’s visibility in search engines and help you stand out.
- Add rich media
If you have a video, article or SlideShare about your company culture, definitely include it.
According to the LinkedIn expert, Pryor confirmed that video is king. A short video (no longer than three minutes) is the most effective way to grab and keep viewer attention. It’s important however, not to get carried away. A strategic use of video is relevant, engaging, informative and always professional.
Your first draft should never be your final draft. Prepare to wrestle with words, move them around, and cut unnecessary ones. Ask other people for feedback. Make sure there are no grammar errors or typos.
There isn’t just one way to write a LinkedIn profile summary. Use these examples and tips as inspiration, and make the narrative your own.
You should revisit it every 6-12 months to keep it fresh, but if you invest in it up front, maintenance should be easy.
Pryor, who works with LinkedIn for a living, updates her information constantly. This is not a necessary, or reasonable, expectation for everyone’s LinkedIn approach. Frequent updates of information, however, is a great way to keep your profile relevant and active.
For more information on how to use LinkedIn to its full potential, check out Anne Pryor’s profile. She posts regular tips and resources that can help any ambitious networker stay on top of the ever changing platform.
SciTech will be hosting a student networking webinar on March 29, How to Conquer the Networking Beast. The presentation will address in-person and online networking techniques to help take the scare out of this essential career builder.
More information and a link for registration will be available soon.