We all like to think we are unique, someone special, or one of a kind. If that is true, then why do so many of us choose to look like everyone else when it comes to our LinkedIn profiles? Why do we use a generic job title? Why does our summary sound like someone is speaking about us rather than for us? Why do we load up on meaningless jargon rather than meaningful keywords? The answers range from laziness to ignorance. Hopefully, the following will address the ignorance and maybe even inspire action to counter the laziness.
Be More Than Your Title
While you may be a Director of Marketing, you are more than that so why not reflect that by using your title and headline to convey the value you provide and how you help individuals and companies? Think about the people looking at your profile. Do you want to be one of many Directors of Marketing or do you want to be the exact person for whom they are looking? You can still include your title but add your value proposition to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other Directors of Marketing.
In these screenshots, you can see the before and after. The generic Director of Marketing.
Ah, now here is someone that might be able to help me
You have 120 characters available to you for your title and headline so why not make the most of them?
The example above may not be perfect, but it is on the right track. You do not have to be perfect on your first attempt. In fact, treat your profile as a living document that you regularly edit to keep it current and to reflect the skills and experience that are in high demand.
Let Your Summary Tell Your Story
The same philosophy applies to your summary. It is the section where you get to tell your story in your words but not at the expense of excluding the keywords meant to aid your discovery. Do not fill it with buzzwords, jargon, or vague, meaningless corporate speak. Here is an example of an actual summary that I challenge you to explain its meaning.
Think about your summary as you and what it would say if it attended a networking event on your behalf. It would not talk about you in the third person. It should talk about accomplishments over responsibilities. Nobody wants to know that you managed a team of five people. They want to know that you managed a team of five top performers that drove a twenty percent increase in revenue. Use your summary garner interest and provoke a response.
The following example is not complete, but it is a start. It is meant to show you that you can be bold and provocative. You want people to read your summary and conclude that you are someone they want to connect with to have a conversation.
Do not say anything that feels wrong. Write what feels appropriate and that you are comfortable standing behind. Again, you likely will not hit a home run on your first try. Keep at it until it feels good but do not let perfect become the enemy of the good. Get something posted that works and revisit it periodically to make any changes you want. Keep it current and reflective of your thinking and activities.
Convince. Don’t Confuse.
Whether it is your headline or your summary, avoid buzzwords and jargon. While some words might be necessary because they are the most common or appropriate, try to differentiate yourself whenever possible. Granted, you need to make sure to incorporate that right amount of keywords to be discovered but don’t go overboard and stuff your headline and profile with keywords that will satisfy searches but make for awkward reading.
Here is a list of the top buzzwords for 2016. How many sound familiar? How many have you used and how often did you use them?
Ultimately, your LinkedIn profile is just that, yours. You can say whatever you want, but please give consideration to your objectives and the audience you are trying to attract. Convince them that you are the person they need to be speaking with. Don’t confuse them with jargon or buzzwords that leave them wondering if you can help them at all.
LinkedIn has many incomplete and/or poorly constructed profiles. Don’t follow those paths. You have the opportunity to build a robust profile that could garner attention and make a tremendous first impression. Take the opportunity to be different. Be yourself. Stand out.
About the Author:
Andrew Jenkins is Founder and Principal of Volterra, a professional services firm that has provided social media strategy, outsourced social media management, content development and planning, and social selling training to numerous mid to large enterprises. Andrew has spent the last twenty years working in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) spanning social media, wireless, and e‐business throughout North America and Europe. He has been identified as a social selling expert and has been featured in LinkedIn marketing campaigns, most recently as one of ten Canadian success stories. He speaks regularly at conferences and events about social media and social selling. He is a member of the Board of the Direct Marketing Association of Canada. He holds a BA in Economics from Laurentian University, a BFA in Film Production from York University, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He also taught entrepreneurship at OCAD University and currently teaches Digital Strategy at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.