How to Write a LinkedIn Profile Using the Science of Attraction
LinkedIn says there are over 277,000,000 registered members on the number one social network for professionals. The infograph below shows where most of these 270+ million members are located.
Where the 270+ million registered members on LinkedIn are located
If you’re on LinkedIn, you’ve obviously got some competition. Even searching for specific job titles shows millions of people.
Searching for “Accounting” gives 8,838,810 results.
Search for “Marketing,” and you’ll get 21,749,090 profiles.
Even “Coaching” shows 5,208,185 LinkedIn members.
Of all the ways to stand out, there’s one thing that you can do right now that will take you less than an hour, and make a phenomenal difference.
Following the directions in this post transforms your LinkedIn profile into an attractive one. It places your profile on a pedestal above others that have similar job titles.
You won’t have to manipulate searches or pay to advertise.
All we’re going to do is show you how to rewrite your headline and summary in a compelling way.
Before getting into the formulas of how to do this, here are the reasons why it works.
Understanding the Science Behind WHY People Use LinkedIn
We’re going to use the social science of attraction to help you with your LinkedIn profile. According to a study titled “The Measurement of Interpersonal Attraction” (get the pdf here) there are three major ways people are attracted to each other.
- Physical Attraction. This is the most common type of attraction, but for writing your LinkedIn profile, it’s not useful. While some studies suggest physically attractive people have higher chances of success, others suggest physically attractive people are not the best to work with.
- Social Attraction. Social Attraction is liking someone because they are friendly people. They are people that handle themselves well in groups, have many friends, and are people you want to know. LinkedIn isn’t primarily a social network for friends, so this isn’t as important as the next one.
- Task Attraction. BINGO! This is the type of attraction that’s most important for LinkedIn. Task Attraction is the desire to get someone’s help in doing something for you. It’s attraction based on performance. Let’s make use of this in writing your profile.
We like people that can help us complete tasks
Writing Your Knockout LinkedIn Headline
You’re given 120 characters to write your LinkedIn headline. Most people don’t make use of this important real estate. Instead, they just add their job title and work location.
That’s okay…but you could do better.
Use the following formula in a combination that works for you:
Verb + problem you solve + whom you solve it for + job title.
- Verb: Use something that you do. You’re not just a job title – you complete tasks at your job.
- Problem you solve: Let people know what it is you do that makes people’s lives better.
- Whom you solve it for: Specify the people that you help, so they know you’re the person for them.
- Job title: Even though you’re being creative with your headline, your job title is still important to use.
Just a reminder: The above formula is a way to maximize the use of the full 120 characters. It’s not just an opportunity to get noticed. It’s your opportunity to include searchable keywords.
Here are some examples:
Calculating the bottom line for Fortune 500 companies, by monitoring their checks and balances. Senior Accountant at ABC CO.
Training and conditioning busy execs that want to stay in shape and balance nutrition. CEO of ABC CO.
Walking dogs for over 25 dog lovers in the XYZ area. Also do grooming! Assistant Dog Walker at ABC CO.
Before moving on, don’t forget this one thing: use clarity over cleverness in your headline. The point in using this formula is not to be cute; it’s to be actionable in telling people what you do.
Now for the next part, the summary.
Writing an Interesting LinkedIn Summary
You’re given a ginormous amount of characters (2,000) to write your summary. Most LinkedIn profiles don’t go over 500. I know it can be daunting to write about yourself, but don’t panic.
Here’s what to do first:
Your short blurb – the intro to your summary
You have a couple of options here. Don’t overthink it. Try to use something that’s relevant to what you do. Take your pick from the following intros, or come up with your own.
- Quote from someone you like – from an expert in your industry or someone you’re associated with.
- Statistic showing relevant fact – use something that educates and generates attention.
- Follow up your headline – if your headline asks a question, you can open up by answering it.
Keep it simple and interesting. The point of this short into is make your summary not appear like a label on a box of cereal.
Once you have your short blurb, use a conversational opening. Imagine you’re writing a letter to someone you’d like to know really well.
Hi, I’m NAME.
Once you have that, go right into your expertise and elaborate on your headline. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 20+ year veteran in your field, or an up-and-coming star. Let people know immediately what your level of experience is so you don’t waste their time.
Tell people how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing and your results – and be honest about it. Keep it short. Use as much proof as you can. Five sentences max.
With that done, end your intro by giving people a choice between two options…
- A call to action. Let people know the best way to contact you. Add your phone number, email, website, or whatever the best method is to contact you.
- The opportunity to “read more.” Some people might want to get to know you better before contacting. Tell them that if they are interested in your background, they can read the rest of your summary.
An example of how to phrase the end of your intro would be…
If you’d like to contact me, the best way is to call my cell phone and leave a voice mail. My number is (xxx) xxx – xxxx (Be sure to mention my LinkedIn profile if this is where you got my number. Thanks!)
If you’re interested in knowing more about me, continue to read my full story…
Once you’ve written your intro, you’re ready to move on to the main section of your LinkedIn profile summary.
The body – the heart of your summary
Use your LinkedIn profile summary to show milestones, decisions, and outcomes
The body of your summary is the best place to differentiate yourself through writing. If you’ve been stuck trying to figure out what to write here, we’ve got your back.
When your summary is done, it will include your…
- Milestones. Past problems and situations that led to your career decisions.
- Decisions. Critical choices you made in your life that guided your future.
- Outcomes. Results of your decisions. If they are negative, show what you learned.
By hitting these three key points, you’ll show you’re expertise at getting tasks done. Task Attraction is what we’re striving for here.
Since the best way to tell someone something is through a story, we suggest you explain your milestones, decisions, and outcomes in a series of short stories.
Telling a series of short stories in your LinkedIn profile summary
In the beginning of this post, you saw the worldwide span of LinkedIn’s network. From every corner of the globe, people are using LinkedIn to communicate. People on LinkedIn are speaking different languages, reared in different cultures, and have their own customs and norms.
In order to break that communication barrier we’re going to give you a universal method of sending a message: telling a story.
Stories are used in all cultures – no matter their location OR moment in time. If you’re familiar with the Hero’s Journey, [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth] you see where we’re going with this.
Telling your first short story
First, take a milestone from your past that led you to where you are today. It doesn’t matter if it happened when you were eight years old – if it relates to where you’re at now, put it down.
For example, let’s say you’re an architect. One of your milestones could be…
4th grade Lego Contest
Once you have the first milestone, set the stage for it by giving a little background…
As a child, I was fascinated with buildings. When I was in the fourth grade, there was a Lego building contest at my school.
With that one short sentence, the stage is set. You’ve sparked curiosity in readers, and they want to know what happens next. Now move on to the decision you made in that situation…
This got me excited, so I spent hours drawing and planning what I would make. I knew right then I wanted to be an architect. I made the tallest building in the contest because that’s what I thought would get me first place.
You’ve just let the reader know about your decision. Now it’s time to bring things to a close. What happens next? Let him or her know your outcome.
Well, I didn’t win the contest, but I learned something that day. It’s not about being the tallest – architecture is about function, structure, and beauty. Had I given up when I was in fourth grade, I would not have been able to design the 8th wonder of the world.
In under 200 words, you’ve told a story that summarizes a critical time in your life. You’ve communicated a milestone that relates to your current position. You explained the decisions you made. Finally, you showed the outcome.
This three-step process can be used for anything in your past. A milestone could be a former job. The decisions could be things you did there. The outcomes could be what you’ve achieved and learned.
This doesn’t take long to write, but it allows the reader to connect to the person that wrote it. Your stories are what separate uou from all of the other “architects” in your field.
Once you’ve finished your first milestone, move on to the next one.
Telling the rest of your stories
Using the milestone, decision, and outcome approach, you can tell a series of short stories that led you to where you are now. Your profile doesn’t have to be boring. Telling your stories shows people you understand the tasks you’re presented with. It also shows you have real-life experiences that relate to your career.
Go ahead and use the exact same storytelling structure for all of your milestones. It won’t be repetitive. Stories never get old. They’ve lasted since we’ve learned how to tell them.
Once you’ve completed sharing your milestones through storytelling, wrap up your summary by…
- Thanking the reader in a conversational tone.
- Restating your call to action.
Do This Before Saving Your New LinkedIn Profile
Before hitting save, go over your profile to make sure you’re not using buzzwords. Buzzwords are words that sound important, but don’t mean anything. To help you eliminate buzzwords, use the latest 2013 buzzword list from LinkedIn.
According to the list, the following buzzwords were the most abused…
Look at this list and review your profile. If you see any of the above buzzwords, get rid of them. You’ve taken the effort to show how attractive you are. And you’ve shown how interesting you are through the power of story. Don’t let a buzzword be a thorn in your profile.
A good rule of thumb for avoiding buzzwords is to use a mixture of conversational language and the language of your industry. You want to appear friendly, but also show you know about the type of work you do. Pull out a picture of someone you know, and write to him or her. Doing this will help you eliminate words that don’t make any sense.
When you’re sure you’re not using buzzwords, see how you can use more action words. Use this action word list from Wake Forest University as a reference. It’s even categorized based on the skill sets you’re targeting.
Once you’ve done that, pat yourself on the back. You’re finally done! Hit save, share your profile, and see what types of feedback you get!
Oh, and be sure to share your profile in the comments below if you followed these steps. We love to see people taking action with our posts!
Want to take it to the next level? Ask Sumer about Leadership Copy Packages to help boost your LinkedIn presence.
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- Make Your LinkedIn Strategies Count
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Michelle is the fearless leader of Sūmèr. A lover of the written word and content marketing strategy, Michelle is reinventing how businesses communicate with their customers.
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