I get asked a lot about how to write a LinkedIn profile.
- What should I say?
- How long should it be?
- What if I don’t want anyone to know I am looking for a job?
- I’m not looking so how should it sound?
- What should I include?
- Should it sound like my resume?
- How much stuff should I put in the profile?
These are all good questions; however, there are two questions that should be asked before any others:
Who do you want to read your profile?
What do you want them to know about you?
Although these are the foundation of your summary; most people cannot answer it.
They caught a case of analysis paralysis. There is an overwhelming amount of information available on how to write your LinkedIn profile we have forgotten the why.
The why is the who and what – who are you targeting and what do you want them to know. The answers to those two questions help you answer all others.
Let’s say, for example, that you want someone to know that you are a sales rock star.
Who do you want to know this – is it potential clients? Or perhaps, although not actively looking for a job, you would not mind high level decision makers to take notice.
You have a good place to start – rock star. What else? Dig here. Ask yourself ‘what else” about five more times. This will help you create a stronger, more personal representation of who you are – not just what you do.
So, what else?
- You are competitive and like to win (still compete running marathons)
- You like challenges (seeking out new markets and making a name for your company)
- You like helping other people (help coach the new guys when they come on board and sit down with your clients to come up with solutions instead of selling them a product)
- You can’t get enough information (always reading new content, attending training or coaching to improve your skills, going back to school, taking classes on woodworking because it has always interested you)
- You coach little league and volunteer at the humane society
The things you want people to know about you go beyond your professional skills – they incorporate your personal strengths. Who you are as a person and how that translates to making you a rock star. LinkedIn is a step beyond the resume, a peek behind the curtain so to speak, for people to see you, not just your career.
Now that you have some what’s to tell, let’s turn back to your audience. I want you to think like them. Why is it important for them to know these things about you? Why would they care? In our example, being competitive, striving to continually improve yourself, giving to others as a solution provider or mentor are all strong qualities of top performers and leaders. Giving back to your community shows you have a good balance in life and further rings true the giving back to others and helping.
You also want to put the proof in the pudding – give some accomplishments to complete the value statements. If you provide solutions to your clients, that equates to money. Making money for a company and helping your clients make money is good. This is something they would want to know.
Once you know who you are speaking to (who you want to read your profile) and what you want them to know about you, it will become much easier to have that conversation. Your summary is a conversation – a one-on-one conversation with the person reading your profile.
Click here for a quick synopsis and basic formula for writing a LinkedIn profile that supports where you are while showcasing yourself. Although the article speaks to writing a profile looking for a job while employed, this formula is a good foundation to begin any profile.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
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