Below are three common mistakes I see regarding LinkedIn summaries.
1. You don’t have a bio. You know how it feels when you try to strike up a conversation with someone and you get blank stares in response? Yeah, that’s how it feels when I visit someone’s LinkedIn profile and they don’t have a bio. You have a great picture, you have the magic number of connections, but you don’t have a bio. Something’s wrong.
2. It’s too short. A lot of people have a bio, but it’s nothing to write home about. They offer a few empty sentences of what they’re interested in, they make a passive mention of their experience and work history, and give a short list of their areas of expertise. This simply isn’t good enough.
3. It’s written in the third person. How cold and uninviting. Employers want to have a conversation with you, not your speechwriter. Your profile should be personable, yet professional, but this doesn’t mean it has to read like you’re being introduced to deliver a keynote speech.
Below are three ways to improve your bio.
1. Be personable. Employers hire people they like and people do business with people they like, so be likable. You can show your likability by the words and phrases you use and by your tone. Your bio should not only include your professional experience, background and career goals, but it should also include things about your personal life, like what you like to do when you’re not working.
2. Maximize the character count. LinkedIn allows you to use 2,000 characters, about 330 words to explain your value through your bio. If someone told you that you have exactly five minutes to convince them why they should hire or partner with you, would you use five minutes or three minutes? You should use five, because if you use three, you make the assumption that you’ve said enough. But what if you haven’t? There’s so much to say about the value you offer and you can’t do this in only a few sentences.
3. Speak to your audience. Be sure to have a specific purpose for wanting people to view your profile. If it’s to get a new job, you need to speak to hiring managers and people in the industry. If it’s to get new clients, you may need to approach your bio from a different angel. Regardless of who your audience is, you need to ask yourself a few questions that will help you communicate to them more effectively. What do you want them to learn about you? How do you want them to feel? What are your short and long term goals? It’s easier for people to help you when they know how they can help you. Be clear, be persuasive, and leave your audience wanting more.
A well-written bio is critical as it allows you to make the connections you want to get the opportunities you deserve. So make it count, make it better, make it beautiful, make it powerful.