Is your LinkedIn profile bad or badass?
If it sounds like my client John’s did, it’s bad:
I am an experienced business development leader with a track record of success in multiple positions. I am a hands on, outgoing, team player. I am looking for a company culture and position to utilize my skills and many years of experience to contribute to their growth and overall success.
Here are the problems with John’s LinkedIn profile:
- It lacks humanity – he sounds vague and robotic.
- It lacks results – he offers no examples of past accomplishments.
- It focuses on features rather than benefits to an employer: He describes himself as an “experienced business development leader,” a “hands on, outgoing, team player,” but never shows the business pain he solves.
Know this: You are being Googled, and your LinkedIn profile is the first result in a Google search. As the host of your LinkedIn profile, are you wowing visitors who drop by?
Be distinctive. By sharing your humanity, your proudest successes and how you’ll benefit an employer, you’ll transform your own profile from bad to badass.
And get the attention you deserve.
Disarm viewers with genuineness
Please ditch the 3rd person. It may make sense for a BIO or resume, but not for your LinkedIn summary, and here’s why.
Your likeability is key at this stage of the game. In contrast, 3rd person builds a wall between you and your viewer, making you seem stiff and aloof.
Using 1st person drops the wall. Here are some sparkly lines I re-wrote for 2 clients’ profiles:
John: I thrive in a challenge. Got chaos? Stuck in neutral? I’m on it. I love pulling companies and teams forward in their mission.
Becky: I’m old school in the best ways: A genuine, hand-holding insurance professional who goes the extra mile for my clients. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?
- In what way are you the best at what you do? C’mon, tell us what you’re secretly smug about (but don’t sound smug)!
- What business problem do you love to sink your teeth into?
- Why are you passionate about your industry and what is needed that only you can provide?
No matter what position you’re aiming for, from sales to C-suite, be relatable. Hear ye, executives! You can be genuine and a powerhouse.
Succinctly describe past successes
Nobody wants to sound like a braggart. That’s why so many profiles sound like John’s. According to LinkedIn’s Catherine Fisher, 46% of executives don’t feel comfortable sharing their achievements.
Know this: If you don’t, you will be skipped over. Achievements make you stand out whereas listing features like “team player” and boring keywords make our eyes glaze over.
Here’s how I’ve described clients’ successes on their profiles. Tell me if it sounds like bragging:
Yasmine: When I see potential in others, I want to nurture it. At one engagement I mentored a colleague through a sales cycle and within 6 months, her impact helped triple the account revenue to $1M+. Today, she is a high-performing senior sales support contributor.
Jerry: In my work with Fortune 500 companies prior to focusing on healthcare, I mastered the art of revenue management. When asked to help a struggling healthcare practice in 2004, I turned the business around from $4M to $20M in revenue in only five years.
Provide high level detail – a sentence or 2 that drives home what you accomplished. Too much detail isn’t appropriate on your LinkedIn profile. Share enough to be convincing, that will invite a conversation. No need for a career autobiography.
Here’s a formula:
- Describe your superpower(s). Then describe a result you achieved using those superpower(s) – in 250 characters.
Emphasize benefits, not features
Your features — strengths and competencies — matter. But they take a back seat to how you benefit your future employer, who reads your profile thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
Here are some different ways to emphasize the benefits of hiring you that address an employer’s concerns:
John: As a kid, I could fish ALL DAY, hooked by the thrill of “What’s next? What’s bigger?” That same curiosity and fascination for what is possible stays with me today. I love creating ideas and concepts, testing and improving processes, nurturing productive teams to meet aggressive sales goals.
Doug: My secret? I run your business like I’m the owner. You’ll NEVER hear me say, “Let’s throw this food away, I didn’t pay for it.” I don’t waste your product, your labor, your time, or your materials. Sure, I can do it the easy way, but I’d rather not waste money.
- Something you learned as a kid or in your early profession that has stayed with you. How do you apply that knowledge to solve problems, grow revenue or streamline processes?
- Like Doug, frame a cherished principle as a secret. Then describe how it provides value, solves problems or saves money.
As the host of your LinkedIn profile, expect surprise guests to drop by. When they do, it’s essential you make it worth their while: By being relatable, sharing your accomplishments and describing benefits over features, your guests will never want to leave.
Image above drawn by Anya Talatinian.
Julie Bondy Roberts, MA, GCDF is a certified LinkedIn™ Profile Writer, LinkedIn trainer and Career Transition Coach. She is the founder of Coming Alive Career Coaching, and loves teaching people how to get found on LinkedIn. A participant in one of her workshops recently wrote: “Julie’s LinkedIn class took me from a skeptical LinkedIn novice to a believer in the power of LinkedIn!”
To learn more about LinkedIn™ Profile Optimization packages & training your group or organization on growing your business through LinkedIn, contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Julie on Twitter and Facebook.