For the last several years, I have been spending several hours a week, in total hundreds of hours on LinkedIn every year researching profiles and tools, testing theories and using the groups to focus and test ideas, and asking for feedback to discover what works well, what does not work well, and what the trends are among the LinkedIn population. On top of that I spend hundreds of hours per month teaching social media and counselling clients, assisting people to use life skills and assisting them to make decisions that achieve the results they want. Not only do I see thousands of profiles and test ideas on my profile, I spend a great deal of time sharing and helping others to use what I have found.
I have seen profiles that are bland, I have seen LinkedIn profiles written in 1st person, I have seen them in 3rd person, I have seen stories and I have seen facts – the good, the bad, and some very, very ugly. Sometimes, I even find (and suggest corrections) spelling mistakes. So, combing through what I have found, I wanted to give you six simple rules to use for crafting your LinkedIn profile.
Rule #1: Begin with the end in mind
Before you even begin to write your profile, decide what you want people to take from it. Decide what your personal vision statement is, and then start to promote it. Your personal vision statement will carry through in all your networking activities.
Rule #2: Profiles are NOT resumes!
Your resume speaks to what you have accomplished and your features as a worker to the employer. Your profile speaks to your character, your values, and the attitudes you use in the workplace or in a professional setting. It does not give the reader a true idea of who you are as a business person, thought leader or individual when you fill it with dry facts or write in the third person. What it does do is either sound elitist or as if you are writing a biography – leave the third person reference for celebrities.
Rule #3: Write with conviction
When you write your profile, use concrete words and tell the readers what to expect. Tell them some interesting facts about you, and showcase some of the features you bring to the table. Passive voice, poor grammar, spelling mistakes – all these and more serve to give the employer or a network contact the impression you do not take care of your brand.
Rule #3: Connect to others
Writing in the third person makes others think you are telling a tale – it does not let them connect to you as a person. It seems distant and pompous – and believe me because I know – I had a profile written in the third person for well over a year – until I got great feedback on what a mistake it was for what I wanted to achieve. I rewrote my profile, and immediately I saw a dramatic increase in network opportunities reaching out to me, finding me, and having people connect to me as a person. Other connections on LinkedIn want to know that you value them as a professional, but also as a person.
Rule #4: Introduce yourself
If you are a fan of Seinfeld, there was a hilarious episode where George started to identify himself in the third person. ”George likes his Kung Pao chicken spicy!” is what he exclaims in the middle of a business meeting. Well, it was funny because it was so ridiculous. Is this what you want a new contact to think – that you refer to yourself in the third person when talking to people? I would hope not. LinkedIn is a virtual networking platform for business professionals who want to do more business. It is the first step in building a relationship with someone, so using LinkedIn in a good way means using the same tools you would in real life.
Rule #5: Solve pain, not just talk
Your profile is meant to appeal more to the reader, to increase knowledge about what you can provide to your new connection, and about what they can expect from connecting to you. An effective LinkedIn profile showcases as much value as possible to the reader, and will prompt discussions and conversations about you, your company, your products and how you can benefit others. When a reader engages with you, or joins your network, your profile should outline what they could expect. The next piece, of course, is making that happen.
Rule# 6: Write how you speak
You want to sound like you are speaking face-to-face with someone and telling them a story about your background and how you can benefit them. By writing in first person you can begin a conversation, rather than using third person and telling someone your bio, or sounding like the inside cover of a book. It will showcase your communication style, and further will outline the fact you interact with people on a personal level. Remember when writing your LinkedIn profile to personalize it by writing in the 1st person. Show your audience that you are just like them, you understand them, their pains, and you are here to help.
Now, is your LinkedIn profile summary dry, and your experience sections in written in the 3rd person, sparse, and impersonal? Go now, fix your profile, and come back to add a comment. You are missing out on have a great LinkedIn profile every moment you are breaking these rules. Go….now!
Since Social Media is about conversation, why not read this article, then make some changes (if there are any you feel necessary) to your profile, then come back, and leave a comment. Let’s all learn and share, that is really what Social Media is for.
About the author: With a total network of over 15 million on LinkedIn spanning Australia, India, China, the UK, Germany, USA, Canada, and even Iran, Chris Kulbaba is a LinkedIn Heavy Weight, and his wish is to help you become one too! Chris is able to assist you to craft your Unique Value Proposal which shows how your values can align with others to create the “fit factor” and enable you to achieve real momentum in your career.