Do you know why someone is reading your LinkedIn profile? They want to get a sense of you: who you are, what you do and what you enjoy doing – in a professional context.
I heard it said that LinkedIn is a virtual handshake. I think that is perfect. Although it is a huge, digital platform, it is very business-personal because it is a one-on-one conversation between you and the person reading your profile.
The reader is imagining what your voice sounds like, how tall you are and all the little particulars about you based on the words you choose. They are going beyond putting together the face with the name, they are filling in details.
The reader can look at your experience section or perhaps they have read your resume. That is the business-business side of you. LinkedIn is the business-personal side. This is where your personality should shine through. Instead of assumed I statements on the resume, you are speaking directly to the reader using I and me. (i.e. resume: “Manage team of 30” – LinkedIn: “I manage a team of 30”)
You are beginning a business, networking relationship with the reader by digitally extending your hand and using your summary to say, “Hey, nice to meet you, let me tell you a little bit about myself”. You are speaking directly to them, again, a one-on-one conversation.
Writing about yourself is hard. I get it. Even though branding is my passion and business, I cringe every time I have to put something together for myself when I lead training or for a speaking engagement.
The easy thing is popping your bio or resume into your LinkedIn. Just because it is easy does not mean that is the best plan. For your experience section, it is doable – just remember to insert the I’s and me’s so it is more of a conversation and not so standoffish.
However, for your summary, dropping in your bio or resume is a terrible plan.
Bad to Worse
Imagine you are at a networking event. Go ahead, close your eyes to visualize – no, wait, if you do that you won’t be able to get the rest of this. Scratch that. Keep reading and imagine an event with 25 people or so. It is business professional environment, pretty lively with everyone getting to know each other.
Now imagine a professional looking person walking towards you and extending their hand, introducing themselves at Pat. You tell them “Nice to meet you Pat, so tell me about yourself, what you do.”
Now imagine this response:
“I have 15 years’ experience as a financially savvy, customer experience-oriented Operations Manager with a passion for success. I have proven success in process efficiency in manufacturing and am proficient in Windows, Access, PowerPoint and Excel.”
Did you stop listening at customer-experience-oriented? Probably, because that is not normally how people communicate in a face-to-face, relaxed business environment. It is boring, it is memorized, it is robotic and not a person.
This is the resume dump in your summary. The distance puts up roadblocks in starting a conversation.
Let’s set the stage again for a different response:
Professional Pat comes over, handshake giving their name. You say: “Nice to meet you Pat, so tell me about yourself, what you do.”
“Pat has 15 years’ experience as a financially savvy, customer experience-oriented Operations Manager with a passion for success. Pat has proven success in process efficiency in manufacturing and am proficient in Windows, Access, PowerPoint and Excel.”
Whoa! Wait, what? Who is Pat? I thought I was talking to Pat but is Pat talking about a different Pat? It feels like a SNL skit. When I hear someone who talk about themselves in third person little buzzers and flashing lights go off in my head and I look for the quickest exit possible.
This is the bio dump in your summary. This goes beyond roadblocks into the road was swallowed by a sink hole.
Do not take the easy way in dropping into your LinkedIn summary. Take a few minutes to ask yourself:
- Who do I want to read my profile?
- What is important to them?
- What do I want them to know about me?
Write the answers to these questions down. Then say it out loud as if you were standing in front of that person in a business, casual environment.
That, my friends, is your summary and one that will start great conversations!
A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
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