“I’m new here to LinkedIn but every time I click on a profile, I always go to the about section first.”
This comment from Rita Foffel on a recent poll pretty much sums up what I suspected:
Our LinkedIn headlines reel people in, but our LinkedIn about section is where they go for more. My poll results confirm the about summary is high on the list of importance, and I’m willing to bet most of LinkedIn feels this way too:
Consider Denise Lee’s comment on about sections: “I want to really understand more about you and what you’re doing on this platform. That’s telling me: 1) Who you are 2) What you do 3) How you do it differently and 4) Why I should pay attention to you.”
It’s SO Hard to Write About Myself!
Much like the about section on your website, your LinkedIn about section is meant to give a deeper dive into you.
So why are they so hard to write?
If you’ve ever struggled with writing it, you’re not alone. Knowing what and how to write to attract the attention of your ideal audience can be a challenge for many (most) of us.
That’s because it’s not easy to talk about ourselves. Often we’re too close to our business and have too many ideas running through our heads. The curse of knowledge and our years of experience cloud our best writing.
Or worse, we skip this section entirely, getting around to filling it out later. I’ve seen many about sections just three lines long and even a few missing entirely on profiles. When we neglect this area, we’re missing out on a huge opportunity to tell our story to attract others to us.
Writing your about summary shouldn’t be a struggle. Here are 6 top-level tips when crafting an about section that’s both personable, professional, and persuasive.
1) Your About section is NOT your resume or CV
LinkedIn formerly called this the “Summary” section which was what we did back then — dump our resume or CV and use jargony words and phrases like “synergy, ambitious and experienced.” Or worse, “motivated, professional, passionate about working in dynamic environments” commented Sara Stella Lattanzio in my recent post on the top 10 mistakes on LinkedIn.
Thankfully, this section has been rebranded as the “About” section to give a more personalized approach to our profiles. Last year, LinkedIn bumped the character count to 2,600 characters so there’s now plenty of room to tell your story and make a connection in your about section.
We all have different goals here and your about section will vary. However, if you’re an executive, entrepreneur, or employee, we’re all working in H2H (human to human). People want to do business with people who actually sound human and relatable.
ACTION TIP: Have you reviewed your about section lately? If not, take a look and read it aloud and also read it on mobile. There are probably easy ways to make some quick updates and edits that better reflect you.
2) It’s All About Them, Not About You (at Least at First)
Yes, maybe you’ve heard this line way too many times, it’s almost cliche, but it’s worth repeating.
Have you been to a networking event or party and met that one person (or maybe you know someone like this) who always talks about themselves?
Doing the same on your about summary tells the reader they aren’t that important. A balance between their problem and your personal story will help them realize they’re in the right place.
Your reader wants to know how you fit into their world. Position yourself as the guide and make them the hero of the story you’re telling. We’re drawn to leaders who can relate to us and then lead us to our desired outcome.
ACTION TIP: Keep your page easy to read, with lots of white space, headers, subheaders, and subtle emojis. Attention spans are short and most people will scan this area.
3) A Captivating and Compelling Headline Draws Them In
This might be the most important area to focus on your about section. On LinkedIn, the first two sentences must capture readers’ interest and attention so they’ll click “see more.”
An aspirational headline, benefit statement, or question that speaks directly to your ideal audience will entice them to keep reading.
Readers are on your profile looking to solve a pressing problem, desire, and need for inspiration or education. A compelling headline gets their attention to the problem you solve for them.
Or for sales and marketing leaders like Thomas Igou, it’s more about the person, not the problem they solve. “I check others’ profiles because, most of the time, I see a post or comment from them that I find interesting on my feed and I want to know more, or I have received a connection request. In both instances, I want to know about THEM, not how they can help me, but who they are” he says.
No matter your goal, once you have their interest and have them nodding their head in agreement, it’s time to move to your personal story and how it connects to them. Your brand story should detail who you are, whom you serve, and what makes you different/unique.
ACTION TIP: Write your opening sentences after you’ve written your about section. It’s okay to test/update it as you get more clarity and direction on your customer’s needs.
4) How You Talk is How You Should Write
Unless you’re a major influencer or industry giant (and even then), I’m personally not a fan of writing in 3rd person. Here’s an example of Gary Vaynerchuk’s about section written in more of a bio format.
If you were meeting a potential new client or customer in person, think of how you’d present yourself. What would you say and how would you say it?
This is your brand voice and will vary depending on your audience demographic and niche but it should sound helpful and relatable. Be human, personable, and conversational like you’re talking to a friend.
Apps like Hemingway and Grammarly will gauge your writing style, readability level and help you avoid cliches, misspellings, industry-speak, or jargon.
ACTION TIP: Use a talk-to-text app like Ottter.ai or hit the audio icon in Google Docs to record yourself talking about your customer, how you help them and what makes you different. You’ll find this conversational language will work well on your about section. With minor edits, you’ll authentically capture your brand voice.
5) Stories Attract Them, Social Proof Sells Them
We all want to know we’re in good hands. This is where your expertise and authority can reassure your readers you’re the one to help them.
The best about sections show, and don’t just tell. Let the endorsement of others validate your expertise.
While this doesn’t have to be a resume, it’s important to highlight in a few sentences what makes you qualified to help and the results you can achieve for them.
ACTION TIP: Use a few of these examples of credibility and social proof:
- First-hand experience and transformation of the client’s problem
- Number of subscribers/followers
- Years of experience
- Past specific jobs
- Media mentions
6) Give Them a Reason to Stick Around
You’ve just written words that make them nod in agreement knowing you get them. They identify with your story and are impressed with your credentials.
Now it’s time to gently guide them to work with you with a call to action (CTA), a non-salesy or pushy way to keep the spark going.
CTAs can include signing up for your email list, contacting you for a free consultation, or download a resource guide
ACTION TIP: Use an app like LinkTree to feature multiple links to share with your readers Most importantly, encourage them to subscribe to your email list so you can continue providing value and build strong relationships. You can also have them directly DM you to for the next steps with you.
Your Readers Want to Hear From You
Your about section is your welcome mat and first impression of your business and brand. While there’s not a one-size-fits-all about section format, these 6 tips will help you focus on your personal message and how it relates to your ideal audience.
As you get more clarity on your business and learn more about your client, you’ll find yourself tweaking it to better read their minds and speak their language.
Remember, people want to know more about you. Your about section will help introduce them and instantly build the likeability and credibility of your personal brand or business.
What About You?
Are you at that crossroads, ready to put yourself out there, but not sure how? Let me know below. I can relate and would love to follow your journey.
I’d also love to know your thoughts on who has an irresistible about section here on LinkedIn. Share below so we can learn and get inspiration.