Just like you shouldn't have a resume without a cover letter, you shouldn't overlook the summary story on your LinkedIn.

The summary story -- called "About" under your name and headlien -- is your biggest opportunity to tell your career story and let would-be managers or clients see how you would be perfect for the job. But it might also be the biggest missed opportunity in your profile.

I work on a lot of clients' LinkedIn profiles and pay attention to many more profiles. Too often I see that people let the LinkedIn powers that be auto-fill their summary story. It's often chock full of the generic, overused sort of terms that LinkedIn says to avoid. Strategic and experienced, for example. Not sure how to get started telling your story? Here are some tips, things to think about and inspiration.

1. Find your theme.

What is the theme or common thread that has defined your career? Maybe it's how you have progressed as a leader or embraced to opportunities or sought out new skills. Sometimes the common thread -- the thing that explains how each of us got where we are, chose the paths we chose -- dates all the way back to childhood.

If you read my LinkedIn, you'll see I was destined from grade school to be a journalist and writer. It can be helpful and affirming to reflect on what you enjoyed doing, learning or exploring while growing up.

2. Tell your story in third person.

I strongly suggest you write your "About " in the third person. I'll give you three reasons, which I outline further in column from earlier this year. First, your name is your brand, so use this opportunity to repeat it and make it top of mind for those reading your profile. I bet people are less likely to remember names associated with profiles that read "I" this and "I" that.

And that brings me to my second reason: Third person sounds less boastful. Finally, it's your ready made bio. Next time someone asks for your bio -- maybe you are a guest speaker or conference panelist -- you are ready with an expert bio.

3. Keep it simple.

Think about how you would describe your career or what you do to your mom, your date, your best friend. Think highlights and overarching themes. Save the finer details and play-by-play for the more resume-like experience section. Think of one good story that is your career story.

And whatever you don't don't forfeit the chance to tell it yourself, your way.

Published on: Jun 19, 2019
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