“Captivate me with that headline.”
Once upon a time, if you wanted a job, you’d look up the jobs section of the newspaper, highlight the jobs you were interested in, send your CV with a covering letter and cross your fingers( and toes) and hope that you’d get a reply and better still, an interview.
Today, LinkedIn has taken the place of the newspaper, your CV, and even that first meeting.
Your presence on LinkedIn matters. In fact, 87 percent of recruiters will vet your candidacy by visiting your LinkedIn profile, according to data from Jobvite.
It’s therefore important you have not only a LinkedIn profile, but an outstanding one.
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Your LinkedIn profile is made up of 3 main parts:
Before someone reads the detail, the first things they’ll see are your photo, your headline and then your summary.
Your headline is your slogan.
Imagine you’re a brand. Your headline is your slogan NOT your job title. (Think Nike: Just Do It; Apple: Think Different)
Your headline is your chance to be different from everyone else on LinkedIn – to stand out from the crowd.
It’s where you can take control of your ‘brand’, in other words, say who you are.
It’s where you put yourself in your reader’s shoes and imagine what they would want to know about you.
It’s where you sell yourself, not your job.
When people browse through lots of LinkedIn users, the only information they see is a tiny photo and a headline.
You need to do everything possible to make them want to click to read more.
So how do you do this?
Take a look at what the influencers in your industry are doing. Look at their headlines.
Choose the ones you like and ask yourself what you like about them.
What keywords have they used? Try and include them in your headline (that will help with LinkedIn searches)
Then think about how you would describe yourself in a few words in terms of what your value is -not your job title.
For example, my headline is “I help professionals succeed in business with English” NOT Business English Trainer. I am not suggesting my headline is excellent but it’s different.
The headline in LinkedIn only allows you 120 characters. You don’t have to use them all. Short and simple is ideal.
Your summary is your covering letter.
It’s where people get to know you as a person before they discover what you do and have done throughout your career.
Your summary is your golden opportunity to show your uniqueness.
It’s therefore important that your summary is original and ‘speaks’ with your voice.
Before you start writing your summary, ask yourself these questions* and write down any surprising things you discover:
- Who am I at work?
- What are the core features and values of my personality?
- What unique perspectives and experience do I bring to my field?
- What original ideas have I brought to the place where I work now?
Time to write the summary
Your summary doesn’t have to be long. Take some time to plan it. Once again, you can look at other LinkedIn users’ summaries to get some inspiration.
- Write your summary in the first person. Your personality will come through much more clearly.
- Keep it short. Don’t say something in five words that could be said in two. Also, aim for four to five paragraphs of no more than a sentence or two each.
- Proofread everything multiple times. If you’re not sure about your English, ask a colleague to proofread it. Read your LinkedIn summary out loud to make sure it sounds natural and eliminate mistakes.
There are many ways you can structure your summary.
Some people choose the opening line, the pitch, the call to action and the proof. To find out more about this, see here.
Others, like me, choose question headers, call to action and the proof.
For example, I’ve chosen to answer three questions:
- This is who I am
- This is who I help
The sections allow me to give my reader a glimpse of my personality and values, the clients I help and have helped and showcase my teaching/coaching method.
The Call to Action
It’s important to tell the reader what you want them to do next. Do you want them to email you? Message you? Sign up to your newsletter?
My call to action encourages my reader to contact me directly. A simple “Message me” or “Email Me” would be enough.
Attach samples of your work below your summary. Show off that video, slide deck, report, or publication that you finished recently. These embeds are very helpful in proving that you know what you’re talking about.
This brings me to the end of this week’s lesson. Having researched and written about this subject, I have a sneaky suspicion that my LinkedIn summary needs updating! Better go off and do that now.
On a serious note though, if you’d like me to coach you with writing or updating your LinkedIn profile, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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And if you think any of your co-workers or friends would benefit from this lesson, why not share it with them and encourage them to join the EWAT community?
Ciao for now