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How to write a LinkedIn profile that’ll blow up your phone

Illustration by Twylamae
Words by Alyce Greer

While still being totally honest.

Think about this: LinkedIn is like Tinder for work.

On both platforms, we carefully select the one photo that makes us look the best for the part. We have a limited number of words to impress potential employers/suitors, and express why we’re such a great catch. And, we aggressively sell ourselves, hoping we’ll grab someone’s attention.

Preferably someone with our dream job and a salary that makes our eyes water.

As someone who writes LinkedIn profiles for other people, I believe if you’re a professional, or you’re trying to build your career, it’s crucial that your LinkedIn is on point. 

But, like dating, it’s an extremely daunting task, and most of us would rather stay unemployed than write self-endorsements. We’ll quit dinners out and drinks with friends forever if we have to — just don’t make us reference our commendable time management and passion for working in a team.

*gag*

While I agree it’s important to spruik your professional qualities on LinkedIn, it’s equally important to add a personal touch. Of course, you don’t have to come right out and tell them you’ll be the one throwing up at the office Christmas party, but showing them you’re human could be what lands you your next job.

When writing a LinkedIn profile, I like to break it into sections:

Headline

Make use of the space under your name to write a personal slogan. I think it’s meant for your current job title but whatever, a personal slogan is far more powerful. It gives you a chance to summarise who you are and what you do, and allows you to flex some personality. This is especially important not only because it leads your profile, but also because it sits under your photo in the ‘People You May Know’ section. So put as much thought into this as you did your selfie.

About 

For some reason, there seems to be a general consensus that our professional selves should be void of all personality. We try to convince our potential new boss in our cover letter, interview, and first month on the job that we live a life free of sin: we love working late, volunteering on weekends and have definitely never stolen a roll of toilet paper from the office bathroom.

While I don’t advocate mentioning your penchant for theft, I do feel your LinkedIn about should balance both sides of your personality.

LinkedIn only shows 25-40 words of your summary, before readers have to click to ‘see more’. So, hook in the reader by kicking off your summary with an interesting fact, story or anecdote about yourself.

Use the first paragraph to summarise exactly what it is you do, and don’t be afraid to make it a bit offbeat. As an example, here’s mine:

“I’m Alyce, and for most of my life I’ve been caught in a heated love triangle between words and clothes. At some point I realised I could convince people to pay me to play with words and clothes all day long, and so I’ve been doing that ever since. I basically spend my days writing and styling – but mostly writing because deep down, although it will probably hurt clothes’ feelings, I sort of like words a little bit more.”

Use the second paragraph to dive a bit deeper into your career. How did you get to this point? Which impressive companies have you worked for? Do you have any highlights, achievements or awards worth mentioning? What are you bringing to the table that your competitors are not? Avoid simply listing your experience, as you’ll get to do that further down the page.

If you struggle with talking yourself up, try making a list of everything you’re proud of, and craft them into a paragraph. Also, imagine everyone reading your LinkedIn is naked.

Lastly, use the third paragraph to include something personal about you. Avoid cliches like ‘socialising’, and choose one or two interesting facts that show you’re not a bot.

How about that you’re usually the one that throws up at office Christmas parties? But seriously, don’t write that.

You know what I mean.

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