Four Steps to Creating Your LinkedIn ‘About’ Section
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
The ‘About’ summary on your LinkedIn profile adds the personality that resumes and the LinkedIn ‘Experience’ sections cannot. Think of this section as a way to link your values, hobbies, and passions with your professional success. Hiring teams need to know that you will be fun and contribute to the team. Use the ‘About’ to highlight how your character reflects on your professional standards, approach, and outcomes.
Many people are comfortable writing about themselves, resulting in compelling profile summaries on LinkedIn. However, if you don’t fancy yourself a gifted writer, the formula below can help structure your development process. Whether you’re great at self-promotion or not, consistently deliver your ‘why’ - showing how you will make a difference to a prospective employer.
Preparation and research will positively influence your outcomes. Before you begin writing, download a few prospective job descriptions and compare them with the profiles of others in your profession. Consider the following:
Are there common keywords across the descriptions and profiles?
How will you match the tone of the job descriptions while highlighting your personality?
What makes your candidacy different from others striving for the same role?
How will you convey your ‘why?’ Why are you good at your job and love what you do?
What are the three main points you want to tell an employer about your combined personal and professional self?
1) THE HOOK: CLICK THE ‘MORE’ BUTTON, PLEASE
Someone viewing your LinkedIn profile will likely only see two lines of your ‘About’ profile. To build a great first impression, it’s imperative that your hook – these first two lines – encourages the reader to ‘click’ to read more. Use this section to convey your ‘why.’ You can highlight a specific skill or choose to enhance your personal brand statement. If you’re struggling to write the hook, save this section for the end. Write all your other paragraphs, and they may very well provide the inspiration you need to create your hook.
2) PERFECT FIT: MY PERSONALITY CONNECTS TO THE ROLE
Resumes are dry; necessary, but oh so very dull. The ‘About’ summary is an opportunity to share how your personality, professional values, and approach make you good at what you do and why you love it. If you’re in finance, talk about a quirk that has you always counting. If you’re a technology writer, give an example of how you’re a true gadget geek. This paragraph should showcase how you’re effective because you fit the role on many levels – personally and professionally.
3) READY TO WORK: I AM AN EXPERT IN THE FIELD
Employers need to know that you have the skills to get the job done. An accomplishment or project that showcases the tools in your toolbox is appropriate here. Use job-specific keywords (with intention) to grab the reader’s attention and briefly summarize your expertise in practice. Action words for this section might include: award-winning, leading, proven, or accomplished. You can also share your commitment and plans for professional development, such as an Agile or coding certification.
4) COOL FACTS: I’M FUN TO WORK WITH TOO!
This section of your summary is a great place to add dimension to your candidacy. Teams want to work with people that help make work fun – or at least enjoyable. I recommend clients begin this section of the ‘About’ by completing the statement “When I’m not working….” To close, you might ask people to connect. You can share a fascinating hobby, a past role, or relevant activity outside of work. This area might also include plans you have for personal development, such as a plan to scale a mountain or get a sommelier certification.
Okay, so you’ve gotten to a final draft – great job! As you put the finishing touches on your ‘About,’ note that LinkedIn summaries are conversational and written in the first person, so you ensure that you don’t sound stuffy and unfriendly. You might also revisit your ‘hook’ to ensure that it showcases the blend of your personality and profession.
Do a final check on your personal information; if your representations aren’t appropriate for a casual work gathering, they shouldn’t be shared here (read: religion, politics, etc.). Some other considerations include:
Set the summary aside to rest. The next day, check for clarity and delete unnecessary words
Use emojis and meta text sparingly, as searches don’t read these items effectively
Use buzzwords only if completely necessary to reinforce a point
Limit your ‘About’ text to 2,000 characters, with a lower count preferred
The ‘About’ portion of your profile is where you set yourself apart - making the professional, personal, and vis-a-versa. It’s where people find out what makes your story unique. So, keep it cool and revisit it at least twice a year for a refresh.
SEO Hint: If you haven’t exceeded the character count, the keywords you collected in your research can be placed in a list with hashtags (no commas or returns) at the bottom of your summary. Knowing that keywords are essential but not wanting to appear overzealous in their use, you can put a disclaimer like “Shameless Keywords:” in front of the list. Let’s humorously call them what they are – a practical yet annoying way to increase search functionality.
As a certified career coach, Hillary guides extraordinary people and their personal brands. She’s a career solutionista that helps clients discover their unique worth to find new employment, pivot industries, or move toward cause-oriented work. When Hillary’s not busy coaching amazing people, she rides bikes, learns about wine, cooks for friends, and travels globally with her family. Find out more and sign up for her newsletter at www.careersolutionista.com.