LinkedIn profiles are really cool. Think about it; you get to have a website that it as all about you – about your experiences, your skills, your education… your story. But most of us aren’t that experienced in telling (and writing) our story, so we get flustered when we are putting together our profile. One of the most common traps people fall into when writing their LinkedIn profile is that they approach it just like they were writing a resume.
This has a lot of negative effects, but one of the biggest mistakes is that people fall back on using resume-speak, the jargon and empty phrases that are used when putting together a resume. The problem with resume-speak is that no one believes it:
Results-driven… yeah, right.
Team-oriented… sure you are.
Goal-focused…if you say so.
These days, people are pretty skeptical about what they read and hear. We’re exposed to so many marketing messages that we have learned to tune out most of what people tell us. How can you share your awesomeness, then, if your audience won’t believe what you tell them?
Don’t tell people how good you are.
There’s a flip side of our resistance to what we hear. We’ve learned to give a lot of credence to results and actions that can be seen and documented. This is where the LinkedIn profile shines, because it is chock-full of ways for you to demonstrate all of the experiences, skills, and knowledge that you have. With a little bit of strategic thinking, you can use your profile to show that you possess all the attributes you claim, i.e., you can prove that you can walk the walk. Here are a few ways you can make your profile show instead of tell your story.
- Take as many adjectives as possible out of your profile. Try this: Print out your profile onto a piece of paper Take a pencil. Cross of all of the adjectives. Is your profile still compelling? If not, you are leaning too heavily on using the adjectives to tell people about yourself. It would be hard to have a profile completely devoid of adjectives, but it’s a great goal to have. How to avoid adjectives?
- Use the additional information sections to tell your story. The LinkedIn profile has a number of areas that allow you to go deeper into your story – use them. If you are highly trained in your field, list your certifications or classes in the education section. Are you a thought leader in your industry? Then list the publications you have authored or that you have been mentioned in. If you network a lot or are involved in your community, be sure to list the groups that you are in, and be sure to list any volunteer work you do. And always remember:
- Write for people. Remember that the visitor to your profile is a person, not a search bot looking for keywords. Use language that is understandable to the average reader. It’s a cliche in writing (one that works) that you should write in a way that your grandmother would understand. So keep it simple and to the point!