Career & Work Life Matters, ISSN 2150-6299, Vol 5, no. 14
How To Write A Compelling Summary Section on your LinkedIn (or other social media) Profile
Do you ever struggle to choose the right gift? Do you know someone who always seems to give you “just the right thing”?
A gift that’s unique. That makes an impression on you.
One that your remember.
Choosing a great gift is about more than making the right choice. It’s also about how it is presented. Both the gift and the gift wrapping.
Like a well-chosen gift, your social media profile needs to be a good fit.
It needs to be unique. This requires the right combination of substance and attention to presentation. Nowhere is this more true than in the summary section. Why?
Because your summary is the section with the most flexibility.
It’s where you choose what to write. You are free to to select what’s important. It’s an opportunity to communicate your career brand. Your uniqueness as a professional.
So how do you choose the right content? How do you present it attractively?
Feeling unsure about what to write is one of the reasons that many professionals neglect the summary section of their profile. For even the most accomplished writers, it’s challenging to write about oneself.
But here are three principles that you can apply.
These three things are relevant whether you’re starting from scratch or you want to improve what you’ve already written.
1. Be approachable
2. Be clear
3. Be consistent
Let’s begin with the first principle. Be Approachable.
Why is it so important to be approachable? What does this mean in practice?
Social media profiles are meant to be read quickly.
Platform users are often reading on small screens. They may be multitasking.
In practice, this means that you need to write in a way that connects with your reader quickly. So how do you do this? How can you write in a way that makes the reader feel you are approachable?
One way is to write in the first person.
This makes it easier to connect with you as an individual. The key is to do this in a subtle way. You want to be personable, but not come across as someone who is only focused on themselves.
If you’re accustomed to writing reports, you’ll be very familiar with formal writing. You may have had less practice in writing in a conversational style. But for most professionals, an informal style is more appropriate for their social media profile.
To be effective, your profile needs to read. If your style is too formal, it requires more effort to read. But it’s also important to remember that you’re not talking to your best friend. This is public information.
Consider the most appropriate style for your career goals, personality, and professional field. Choose a writing style that makes your summary easy to understand and easy to read.
Now that you have some ways of finding the right writing style, what about the content?
This brings us to the second principle. Being clear.
What should you include? What should you leave out? The answer is that there is no easy answer.
The right choices depend on you and your career goals. Do you want to expand your network to include peers from other companies? Are you exploring new career avenues and want to build relationships with people in a different field.
Once you have selected your primary audience, it will be easier to choose the right content. If you’re still unsure, download this worksheet to clarify what you want to get from LinkedIn (or other social media platform).
One trick that copywriters use is to think of one person who represents your primary audience. With that person in mind, write in a way that communicates with that one individual. This will help you select the most important information to include.
Being clear is key to applying the third principle. Be consistent.
A summary that has a consistent message that is congruent with who you are will be much more powerful.
As human beings, we have an amazing capacity to make social judgements based on limited information. We are skilled at filling in the blanks. This includes drawing conclusions from your social media profiles.
So what you can you do to influence how others perceive you?
One of the most important things you can do is to stay focused on a main message. Review your summary with this in mind. For example, if you are a scientist your focus will be different than someone who is a sales director or marketing executive.
Review your profile as a whole and ask whether you are presenting a consistent message. Mixed messages confuse readers and raise questions.
A message that is consistent will not only be clearer, but also make your reader feel more comfortable. It’s a good idea to get feedback from trusted friends and colleagues. Ask them for their immediate reaction rather than their analysis.
Like a gift, your profile needs to have the right content combined with great presentation. Assembly requires know-how, skills, and creativity. Don’t let uncertainty about what to write get in your way.
Apply the three principles that we’ve covered in this article to create a profile you can be proud of.
Here they are in summary:
1. Be approachable by choosing the right tone and style
2. Have a clear message that is customized for your primary audience.
3. Be sure that you are consistent in what you communicate.
LinkedIn has between 300 and 400 million users.
A great summary is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
By applying these three principles, your summary will be more inviting and more interesting to read. With a great summary, you will have an essential ingredient for better results from LinkedIn.
|Jennifer Bradley helps professionals lead their own careers, empowered with the information, tools, and resources that they need. She offers individual coaching and consulting, teaches classes, and publishes articles on career development and career transition. If you’re new to the Career & Work Life Matters Blog, and would like to discover more about your personal career management skills, request a Free copy of the Career Scorecard.|