LinkedIn summaryIn the days when you were job hunting, did you ever send in just your resume as your application, with no cover letter? Or now as a business owner, would you respond to a potential customer with an email that only included a link to your website, with no introduction or verbiage?

Of course not! You always provide a cover letter, or give someone a description of your services, if you hope to get that person to consider working with you. It is your chance to make a great first impression and you don’t want to squander that opportunity.

The LinkedIn version of this proper introduction is called your About section (formerly called a Summary), and according to recent statistics, more than 50% of professionals on LinkedIn have not created one! That’s just crazy, in my opinion…but before you panic, it’s okay if you don’t have one right now, because you probably didn’t understand the importance, so today we are going to create a creative and compelling About section for your profile.

Your About section provides a great opportunity to tell us your story. Without an About section, your profile reads like a boring resume and we have no idea how exactly you can help us. You are definitely more than the facts and figures of your past on a piece of paper (or computer screen). But, without this crucial information, people may quickly quick away from your profile, and miss the value you have to add. Also, your About section should not be a simple cut and paste of the “about us” page from your website. It should be tailored to your LinkedIn audience to capture our attention and compel us to contact you.

You could also consider your About section as a 30-second “elevator pitch” to keep it focused and short. What can you tell me in 30 seconds that would compel me to learn more about how to work with you? You are allowed 2600 characters here, but I wouldn’t suggest writing that long, since most people don’t want to read your whole life story! To give you an idea, my About section is about 1100 characters (see lower in this post). There should be just enough information to get their attention and make them hungry to learn more.

Here are a few key points as you write your About section:

  • Include your keywords (multiple times is fine)
  • Make it original and memorable (make me care!)
  • Write in the first person (like you would talk to me – “I am…” not “John is…”)
  • Speak to your target market (show how you can make their life better)
  • Include a “call to action” at the end (what do you want people to do next? Call me, email me, visit my website, etc)

Some of you may work in industries where it seems difficult to write a creative and compelling About section, so I’d like to share this example from the Vice President of a large corporate bank. Does this person sound like a boring and stuffy corporate banker that you’d hate to work with?

LI summary banker

I think that is a great example of telling your story, helping me understand who you are, how you can help me, and why I should let you help me. This About section also follows my general guideline of writing 4-5 paragraphs, using this simple structure:

  • Who you are
  • Who you serve
  • How you help them
  • Why would they want to engage with you
  • Call to action (so I don’t have to hunt down your contact info if I’m ready to hire you!)

Here’s a breakdown of these five guidelines and how I employed them in an earlier version of my About section (my keywords are highlighted):

LI summary karen

In summary (see what I did there?!) telling your story in a memorable, compelling and brief fashion is infinitely helpful in attracting your ideal clients.. Your About section is one of the two most important areas of your profile, and makes a strong first impression of you and your business. Take some time today to revise your current About section, or to finally create one, and get yourself in the “right” 50% of professionals on LinkedIn!