Do Just One Thing – Your LinkedIn About Section

*WHAT WAS FORMERLY CALLED THE SUMMARY IS NOW CALLED “ABOUT”

The initial view of your LinkedIn About section is now just two or three lines and you need to either include all the important information and/or make it so intriguing, viewers will want to click on “see more”. The basic principles below still apply but now you need to really pay attention to the first few lines. The mobile view will be different too so check that out.

Contact information

If you’re looking for a job or business opportunities, consider putting your contact information at the top of your summary. Don’t make people have to work to find your information. A first-degree connection can see your contact information under that section. Other people may be able to see it depending on what you did with your settings. A recruiter will have a recruiter subscription and be able to get your information. But why make them work that hard? Also, there are many opportunities that might come from others not connected. Make it as easy as possible to contact you.

20 seconds

countdownAssuming the 5 seconds viewers spent on your top headline section (see “The 5 Second Rule”) has intrigued them to keep reading, you now have their attention for a maximum of 20 seconds to review your summary.   Make it easy to read. Make sure it highlights your keywords/key skills. You have 2600 characters to work with here but that doesn’t mean you have to use them all. If you do, be sure to use some white space, headings in all caps and/or bullets to make it visually easier to read. You can’t bold, underline or italicize. My summary is about 2000 characters if you want to see an example.

2-3 sentences

Keep it fairly short to make it easy to see at a glance what you do. Make sure your keywords are in the About section (one of the key areas in LinkedIn’s search algorithm)

3-5 Bullet Points

Your two to three sentences should be followed by some bullet points. Three to five points is probably plenty. LinkedIn doesn’t make it easy to type in special characters/symbols directly but you can cut and paste from elsewhere – here are a few you can use:

★⇨ ► ◄ ■ ♦ ◆ ● ✔

►Use symbols sparingly

►Stick to just one or two different ones

►Be aware that some Word symbols don’t work well on LinkedIn if you just cut and paste a section from a Word document that includes symbols or bullets

First Person Please

Write in the first person – this is your personal introduction, not your resume. Would you go up to someone at a networking event and say “James is an experienced engineer working in high tech”? I hope not.   There are ways to reduce the use of the word “I” and still keep it personal (see www.linkedin.com/in/geriwinters and https://www.linkedin.com/in/chriscummingsmba/ for examples.)

Be Interesting

This is your place to tell your story – make it compelling.   Do you have a background with several seemingly disparate skills? This is the place you can weave your story together. A teacher who became a realtor? She probably includes a lot of education with her home sales. I had a student in one of my workshops month who went into supply chain management in the manufacturing industry after a distinguished career in the Navy. He recently completed an MBA program. He has a lot to offer and a great story.

You’re nearly done!

Ask a couple of professional contacts to look at your summary and see if they believe it reflects you accurately and positively. Too wordy? Too modest? Unclear? Not telling people what action to take? Make adjustments as appropriate and you’re done!

I would love to talk with you about the benefits to you of having a great profile on LinkedIn, how to use it without it taking up more time than you can afford, what’s appropriate for you to share on LinkedIn, and how I could help you with your professional goals. Please schedule a free 20-minute strategy consultation to see how I can assist you.

(From the series “Do Just One Thing” dedicated to helping you complete and utilize your LinkedIn profile in just 5 minutes a day)