I see a lot of LinkedIn profiles that make me die a little on the inside.
People I know with so much creativity, flair, and personality, with a LinkedIn summary that’s lifeless, robotic, and completely incongruent with who that person really is.
Somewhere, somehow.. someone created a template that’s caught on and spread like a deadly virus. It looks a little something like this:
Joey is a game-changer whose analytical skills and innovative synergistic strategies allow him to over-deliver, particularly at highly-matrix organizations.
He is highly proficient at Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and received his lifeguarding certificate in 2011.
Joey has worked face-to-face with many clients in a corporate environment, and always strives to deliver and exceed their expectations.
He has the ability to drive change and proven track record of high accomplishments in various areas. Highly organized individual, believes in empowerment and team work, highly adaptable, strong business sense, effective communicator, result-oriented, and a can-do attitude.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for business and employment inquiries.
Have you ever seen this before? Is this your profile?
Here’s the thing: I am not a headhunter or recruiter or anywhere near that space. Often times I just want to learn a bit more about a certain individual, but I can’t.
And if I can’t, what about the person that’s in a position to potentially change their career? Will that bio be what makes them hit the Connect button or “Send Message” button or whatever it is the person hopes for them to do?
Let’s take a look at what many people are doing wrong, and how they can fix it:
The Costly Mistakes
1.) Writing in third person.
I’m not sure who the first person was to think that this would be a good idea for a LinkedIn bio. If you’re getting introduced by the host of a TV show, then sure. But a LinkedIn bio?
There are two main reasons why this sucks. A.) You’re putting up a wall between yourself and the person you’re trying to connect with. No longer are you speaking 1-to-1. You’re speaking through an imaginary agent on behalf of yourself. People only enjoy speaking to and emotionally investing themselves in real people, not imaginary agents.
And b.) it feels a little awkward. Everyone knows you wrote the third-person bio about yourself.
Write in first person! Imagine yourself sitting down directly in front of the person you’re hoping to speak to. Imagine them being genuinely curious about who you are, and think about how you would respond to them. Now use that same tone in your bio.
2.) Stuffing with fluffy keywords.
We often try to make ourselves sound way smarter than we are. And by doing that, we lose any sense of meaning in our words. If someone told you that they were ‘highly adaptable with strong analytical and organizational skills,’ how would you react? That sentence doesn’t actually mean anything; it’s just a series of ‘big’ words strung together.
Same as #1. It all comes back to natural conversation. Tell them about yourself the same way you would actually tell them about yourself. You can definitely use names of specific programs/tools and whatever else you engage with, but leave out more of the subjective words that sound good but don’t mean anything.
3.) Failing to communicate what makes you great.
“Proficient in Microsoft Word” is a perfect example of this. You’re basically telling them that you know how to use a mouse and keyboard. 15 years ago, that might’ve been pretty impressive. Today, not so much.
Many people are wasting too many words on the fluff we talked about above, and skills or experiences that don’t really fit into the picture moving forward. They’re more there to show that you did something as opposed to how it’ll help you accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish next.
Go through your bio line by line, and ask yourself: Does this sentence either convey who I am as a person or talk about the skills that are in my sweet spot?
The ‘sweet spot’ is a pretty powerful concept. What are the few relevant things that you are better at than the majority of people? These are the types of things you want to focus on in your bio.
It’s worth the fix…
Like I said, I am no LinkedIn expert. I just have a strong interest in how we interact with each other, and keep a conscious eye for what works and what doesn’t.
Going through and auditing your profile is a powerful activity, and is absolutely worth your immediate attention in my opinion.
Once you have a solid foundation, you’ll only need to make minor tweaks down the road. Spend a night or two on it now, and everyone who sees your profile in the next year or two or three will see the best version of you. Your profile will be optimized for what you want it to accomplish.
Need Some Inspiration?
I’ve put together a quick sample of 5 LinkedIn bios that I think do a great job of telling the person’s story along with their sweet spot. You can download it below:
What are your thoughts on this? Have you fallen victim to it in the past? Or do you think it’s necessary for today’s corporate environment? Would love to hear from you in the comments box below.
Thanks for reading!