Once upon a time, LinkedIn provided individuals with a chance to tell their story. To be creative. To move beyond their straight-edge resume.
Too often, we waste this opportunity. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
The key to telling a good story on LinkedIn is understanding the purpose of a profile. A LinkedIn profile exists to initiate or strengthen professional connections. It is a free opportunity to build a network and make a lasting impression on, well… 450 million current users.
Perhaps you use LinkedIn to gain clientele. Or maybe it replaced your – what’s the word again? – rolodex. Regardless of your purpose, you need to tell a story.
So what’s key to creating compelling LinkedIn narrative?
Start with a catchy introduction. You wouldn’t approach someone at a networking event and rattle off your top five accomplishments. Likewise, you wouldn’t grab a photo wallet out of your pocket, unfolding a collection of miniature certificates. Guess what? The first line of your LinkedIn summary is not the place for this either. Engage the reader. Tell them what excites you. Describe what you’re passionate about. Share your purpose, your drive, why you do what you do. This is your opportunity to captivate them. You have a blank slate with up to 2,000 characters. Motivate them to open your story book. Encourage them to keep reading.
Fill it with creative narrative. Since LinkedIn is often referred to as the online resume that never sleeps, it’s not surprising that many people copy and paste the exact bullet points from their resume onto their LinkedIn profile. Don’t fall victim. Use first-person narrative to explain what you did. Infuse your personality. While the content should align with your resume, it should not be an exact copy. Make it exciting. Make it intriguing. Fill your storybook with imagery and experiences that lead to questions, discussions, and mutually beneficial relationships. Get the reader to flip through the pages.
End with a call to action. Everyone appreciates a happy ending. It’s the same with your LinkedIn profile. What do you want the reader to do? What action do you want them to take? You must tell them. Invite the user to connect with you. Provide your preferred contact method. Encourage them to read your work, check out your website, review your portfolio, collaborate with you, or join your cause. Engage the reader from beginning to end. You know you’d be mad if the last page of your book was torn out. Give them a happy ending.