It’s pretty ridiculous to me that we’re never taught how to write a LinkedIn profile or any other critical survival skills in high school. I mean, can someone please explain to me why I had to dissect a frog, but no one taught me how to look for a job? Why did I learn quadratic equations instead of how to do taxes?
It makes no sense.
Then, there’s no standard search. I mean, there are rules, but even then – there are always exceptions to even the most basic principles in the world of work. Subsequently, if you go out and look for any job-hunting advice, you are sold a million ideas that the author never actually tried. We buy it because we don’t know any better. We’re wandering blindly here. Any help will help.
One of those tips is always “update your LinkedIn profile.” Then, they ramble off some keyword optimization scheme that sounds more like you’re buying a ShamWow than getting hired. And even then, a lot of people are not updating their LinkedIn profiles.
Here’s the catch. While machines do a little reading, you’re trying to keep a human’s interest. That overly professional, keyword loaded optimization isn’t going to do it.
Keeping their interest isn’t about optimizing; it’s about telling a story.
Writing A LinkedIn Profile For People, Not Machines
But we’re all making the same story mistakes. Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time rewriting LinkedIn profiles for everyone from C-Suite executives to customer service representatives to refugee counselors. It’s been wild.
What’s surprising (in addition to their incredible stories) is this. They’re all making the same mistakes. Mistakes I want to help you avoid whether you do a 1-1 Live LinkedIn Rewrite with me or take it on yourself.
- Headshot. Don’t break the rules. See Rules Here.
- Optimize your headline for the job you want. Just put the job title, nothing else. Recruiters don’t search for “now seeking a customer service opportunity.” If that’s your headline, they won’t find you when they search “customer service representative.”
- Write “About Us” paragraphs that connect the dots instead of regurgitating your experiences. Tell them how your early experience informed what you want today. Do not add that keyword list. Please.
- Add a call to action. What’s the point of your LinkedIn profile? Are you looking for a job? Are you networking? Say so. Then, provide the next step. If you want them to email, add an email. Want a text? Say, “Text me. (123) 456-7890.” I usually say something like this: If we’ve worked together before and you’re looking for X, Y, or Z, call me.
Remember, a human is going to read this. Don’t go unnoticed because your story was written for machines, not people.
And yes, I’ll do it for you in a 1-hour session. See what it was like for my friend Meg. Book a session here.
Like what you read here? You might find these helpful too!
- LinkedIn Profile Audit: New Year, New Job
- Stand Out In Your Job Search: 10 Tips That Stood The Test of Time
- The 31 Best LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.