Are you making this common mistake on your LinkedIn profile?

Oct 3, 2019

Last week, I completed the gruelling task of updating my entire website and LinkedIn profile to reflect my new and refined business offerings.

As I was making amendments to LinkedIn, I was reminded of one of the biggest mistakes I see people make on their LinkedIn profile — not having an effective About section.

So, why does this matter?

Most professionals and business owners see LinkedIn as a vital tool for building their personal brand and business. The About section at the top of your LinkedIn profile is particularly crucial. It’s where you highlight your point of difference, attract the right clients, communicate your value and why you can help them.

Yet, many fail to maximise this important area. Their LinkedIn About section is either written like a CV or contains very little information. Recently, I reviewed a client’s LinkedIn profile and their About section was completely non-existent!

Struggling to create your About section or know it could be better?

Read on to discover the common mistakes people make and how to fix them. You’ll learn practical tips to create an effective LinkedIn About section that helps you stand out and attract more clients.

WHY YOUR SUMMARY IS IMPORTANT

The goal of your LinkedIn About section to tell your story and emphasise what makes you unique. You want to be clear about what you do, so the right clients click on your profile to find out more.

Common errors include having a short (or no) About section and regurgitating the content of your resume.

There are two problems with this.

Number one, failing to have a About section or populate all the space provided restricts your ability to be visible to potential clients. You have a 2000 character limit in your LinkedIn About section. The entire word count should be utilised and the section optimised with relevant key words that are searchable by customers looking for your services.

Number two, this section should not repeat the information on your resume. Relevant career highlights belong in the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile, where you list past positions. However, your About section should never be written like the ‘Professional Summary’ section on your CV.

HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE LINKEDIN ABOUT SECTION

Creating your LinkedIn profile can be tough. And writing an effective About section has a number of unique requirements. Here are the practical tips I’ve used, that I recommend to all my clients.

#1 – CREATE A COMPELLING OPENING

Only the first couple of lines of text in your About section are visible when someone first clicks on your LinkedIn profile. The person will need to click ‘see more’ to view the rest. For this reason, it’s essential to use compelling copy to ensure your potential client reads on.

Make the first 1-2 sentences of the About section and your profile headline stand out. Clearly communicate what you do and who your target clients are. And include keywords where possible.

#2 – WHO DO YOU HELP & HOW?

Your LinkedIn About section should define exactly who your customer is, what you do and how you add value to them.

However, always make it about your client, not you. Speak directly to the pain points that your ideal client is experiencing and the solutions that your services provide.

If in doubt, ask yourself – why does this matter to my client? Then, adjust your language and present your experience in a way that addresses your customer’s problems, fears and desired results.

#3 – BUILD TRUST & CREDIBILITY

Demonstrate your expertise and highlight anything that gives you credibility or makes you stand out. Include your relevant qualifications or certifications, years of experience, customer results, awards or media features.

Where possible, use specific facts and figures to create trust and make the results more tangible.

#4 – HIGHLIGHT YOUR POINT OF DIFFERENCE

Rather than being an account of your professional experience, your LinkedIn About section should highlight your story and what makes you unique.

Be sure to summarise your strengths and emphasise your point of difference by including who you are and why you do what you do.

#5 – FINISH WITH A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION

In the final line of your About section, include a clear call to action. If a potential client wants to work with you, they need to know how to contact you. Make this as easy as possible for them by telling them exactly what you want them to do next – email, phone or visit your website.

Always give them just one call to action and make the relevant contact information visible at the bottom of your About section.

#6 – USE KEY WORDS

Key words are important because they are the way people find you on LinkedIn. Think about what your ideal client is searching for when looking for your services on LinkedIn. Make a note of at least 3-5 key words and include them throughout your About section.

A great way to do this is to include a ‘Specialties’ or ‘Expertise’ section at the bottom of your About section and either list out or bullet point the key words your clients are searching for.

Finally, be sure to use the entire 2000 character limit and space in your About section to capitalise on key words and make your profile more searchable.

#7 – MAKE IT EASY TO READ

Make sure your About section is pleasing to the eye and simple to read.

Use short paragraphs, no longer than 2-3 sentences or bullet points to break up the text. Make it easy to navigate so people keep reading on.

Writing your LinkedIn profile – and your About section in particular – can be incredibly challenging. However, when done correctly, a powerful and complete LinkedIn About section will effectively communicate your expertise, improve visibility and attract more clients.

These tips have helped my clients and I develop an About section that converts. I hope they assist you too.

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Stacey Back is a Career Strategist, Leadership Coach + Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achieving corporate leaders and business owners at a mid-career crossroads find the work that lights them up, increase their income, impact and create a career + life on their terms.

Stacey also supports professionals to transition from their corporate job into their own consulting business. She works virtually with individuals based across the globe.