A seemingly small change by LinkedIn has added significance to the first section of all LinkedIn personal profiles. What used to be a title-free section is now labeled “About,” providing direction to both the writer and the reader.
Now, instead of mindlessly skimming someone’s profile, the eye is drawn to “About,” and the brain recognizes that the content underneath speaks to the owner of the profile.
What should you write in your LinkedIn ‘About’ section?
From a content standpoint, nothing should change.
There are still three primary ways to write your “About” section based on the purpose of your LinkedIn profile.
1. Job Search
If you are unemployed or looking to change jobs, it is critical that this section include relevant keywords, which will help you appear in searches conducted by recruiters or hiring managers using LinkedIn Recruiter.
It is still important, however, to think through the content of your ‘About’ section, particularly the first 2-3 lines. When that recruiter or hiring manager clicks to view your profile, you have seconds to make a first impression.
Write those first few lines with the recruiter or hiring manager in mind, and make them count.
- Check the Jobs Board: Search for the type of job you want on LinkedIn and pull keywords or phrases from the requirements (make sure they apply to you, though!).
- Add Specialties: A sly way to add keywords is to add a “Specialties” section at the bottom. Simply add the word in all caps and follow it with SEO-friendly items (e.g. SPECIALTIES: LinkedIn Profile Optimization | LinkedIn Lead Genearation).
2. Lead Generation
If you are looking to generate leads with your LinkedIn profile, your ‘About’ section should be an extension of your sales page. The weight of “salesy-speak” will vary based on what you are selling and who you are selling to, however.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it more important for the reader to know WHO I AM or WHAT I DO? This often comes down to how vulnerable your customer or client has to be to work with you. If you are a health coach, for example, your client will really need to trust you in order to work with you. You will want to speak more to who you are. If you are a copywriter or website designer, you will lean more toward talking about what you do or have done.
- What will catch the attention of my audience? My “About” section starts with the phrase, “I have found my Zone of Genius.” It is a reference to The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I have had multiple people inquire for services after reading that line. In short, it catches the attention of my audience. What will pull in the person you want to attract?
- Will my target be searching for what I provide? Some products and services are searched for on LinkedIn (e.g. copywriting, website design), others aren’t. If you are offering something that will be searched, make sure your “About” section includes relevant keywords.
I am defining “Influencer” as a person who will be vetted through LinkedIn. This may be a C-Level employee with a publicly traded company, a sought-after speaker, or someone in a credentialed industry (e.g. lawyer).
In each of these scenarios, the goal of the “About” section is to provide credibility, because the user is visiting the profile to enhance trust.
Tips for writing this section as an influencer:
- First person vs. third person. I rarely recommend writing in the third person (especially since LinkedIn wants us all to operate our own profiles), but the decision should come down to what the target audience would be more comfortable with.
- Tell your story. Users will visit your profile to learn who you are. Include a lot of what you would say within a professional bio.
Make it Count
Whatever you include in your LinkedIn “About” section, make it count. Start with a bang – put thought into those first 2-3 sentences – and use all 2,000 characters if you can … SEO will reward you!