"How can I add some personality to my About section so I don't sound like everyone else?"
My client, a General Counsel in the tech industry, was ready to move to a new company. The problem was that she had been happily employed for the last ten years and hadn't had to think about marketing herself during that time.
As she began her job search process she knew she had to update her resume and LinkedIn profile and she knew the Summary/About section was important.
Why Is The Summary/About Section So Important?
A complete profile ranks higher in search results. Let's be honest. Most people don't even fill out their Summary/About section. And I get it. It is awkward to write about yourself and most people don't know what to say. If you consider that one main reason for being on LinkedIn is to be seen and found by people who can help you grow your career (recruiters, future employers, etc.) then it is important to have a profile that is 100% complete, meaning all the sections are filled out. When a recruiter types in keywords looking for someone with your experience, the complete profiles, which are keyword optimized, are the ones that float to the top of the search results. So it is to your benefit to take the time to fill out this section.
Stand out from the crowd by adding some personality and context to your career story. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter or hiring manager who is reading through a stack of resumes trying to find the best people to bring in for an interview. It is likely that the top 3-5 candidates have similar professional backgrounds. They have all worked in the same industry and have the same experience that makes them qualified to do the job. A candidate who has an interesting, well-articulated story can easily separate herself from the rest of the pack.
Why Is It Difficult To Write A Summary About Yourself?
One of the difficult tasks of writing about yourself is figuring out what you want to say. What is important? What makes you interesting? Should you include everything you have ever done? When you are so close to your own story it is difficult to know what to leave in and what to leave out. Everything feels important.
A common mistake is to do what feels easy and safe which is to write a summary or tell your career story by talking about each job you have had in a chronological format. Unfortunately, your entire career autobiography is not a summary and it is not what people want to hear.
How To Add Some Personality To Your LinkedIn Summary
Your summary should be a concise and compelling story about who you are, what you do, why you do it, and what you can do for the people you want to serve.
Start by thinking about your audience. Yes, you have an audience on LinkedIn. They are your friends, colleagues, co-workers, recruiters, and future employers. Each of these different connections can help you land your next role. For example: if you have a specific role in mind like General Counsel at a tech company in Boston, you want to ask yourself,
"What are the parts of my career story that would make that employer want to hire me?"
I suggest studying the job descriptions of your ideal jobs and creating a list of keywords, duties, and qualifications that are routinely mentioned to understand what these types of employers are looking for. Then write down what you have done that matches what you found on the job descriptions.
Create an attention-grabbing line. Notice that when you first land on someone's profile you only see the first two lines of their About section. This is valuable real estate where you can either bore your reader or get them excited to learn more about you.
You can write a standard opening line like,
"I'm an attorney with 10 years of experience in the tech industry."
or you can say something like,
"I believe tech counsels play a key role in the innovation process. The world is changing rapidly and it is the General Counsel's job to adapt the law to a complex new world."
Which opening line makes you want to read more?
To create an attention-grabbing line, don't tell me what you do, tell me what you think. Share your point of view about your industry, your role, or your work. Your viewpoints are unique to you and will help you stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Highlight Your Relevant Experience, Skills, and Accomplishments. The keyword here is "relevant" experience, skills and accomplishments, not all of it. After researching job descriptions to learn what is important to your ideal employer write a short paragraph that highlights your relevant experience, skills, and accomplishments. Be sure to include keywords found in the job descriptions so that your profile will be found by recruiters searching for people with that specific experience. Your future employer should read this part and have a good understanding of what you can do for them.
"In my current role, I'm responsible for..." or "Over the past 10 years I have..."
Tell us the why behind what you do. You are more than just your job title. An interesting part of your career story is the why behind what you do. Why did you choose this profession? Did you make a career change? What do you enjoy about your work? What makes your work meaningful to you? Sharing this side of you allows your audience to get to know you on a more personal level.
"The thing I enjoy most about my job..." or "I enjoy helping my clients achieve..."
End With A Call To Action. The whole point of being on LinkedIn is to connect with great people and strengthen one another's network. You help your connections by sharing your expertise and access to your network and they help you with the same. So encourage people to connect with you.
"I enjoy networking with like-minded professionals to share expertise, opportunities, and connections. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn."
You are so much more than your job title. Employers hire people, not job titles, so give them a reason to hire you. Share who you are, what you think, and what is important to you. Don't risk losing the job by playing it safe and sounding like everyone else. Instead, do the smart thing and learn how to tell your story in a way that makes employers want to hire you.
If you want help crafting your compelling career story sign up for a free 30-minute consult here.
CALL TO ACTION
Join the Career Design LinkedIn Group and get access to more great articles and resources to help you design a more fulfilling career.
If you are interested in working with me to create a more fulfilling career then schedule a free consultation at MGC Coaching.
If you found this post helpful, give it a like and share it with your network.
If you have any thoughts or questions leave a comment below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mo Chanmugham, Esq., CPCC, ACC is a former entertainment lawyer turned executive career coach and the founder of MGC Coaching. He helps ambitious professionals who are feeling stuck gain the clarity and confidence they need to create more fulfilling careers.