How do you write the perfect About section? Make sure it’s YOU who shows up.
I cringe when I see an About section that starts like this:
“Dynamic thought leader with five years of experience…blah blah blah…”
Honestly, what part of that sentence entices you to read more?
We’re people, right? And LinkedIn is a social network. So, doesn’t it make sense to come across like a real, warm-blooded, imaginative, driven, funny, and smart human being? Of, course it does.
Your LinkedIn profile is not a digital version of your resume. Your resume and LinkedIn profile serve different purposes, and when combined, they complete the story of who you are both professionally and personally.
Think of LinkedIn as the heartbeat of your career marketing strategy. While your resume proves that you’ve got the skills and qualifications to do a job, LinkedIn tells a hiring manager what gets your blood pumping, what moves you, and most importantly, whether you’ll fit with their organization’s culture.
In 2,600 characters or less, the About section is where you describe your hero’s journey – your wins, your challenges, your lessons learned. It’s where you recount how you’ve grown intellectually, emotionally, and professionally over time. It’s where you draw your audience into your world and inform them, convince them, excite them, and perhaps make their hearts beat a little faster.
How? Like this.
Imagine you’re sitting face-to-face with a hiring manager and answering the question, “Tell me about yourself?” Would you begin with, “Dynamic thought leader with five years’ experience…?” I hope not. Chances are that the word “I” would factor prominently in the dialogue. But first, as with any good story, you need to pique the listener’s interest – give them a reason to lean in. Asking a question, relaying a quote, or making a thought-provoking statement is a great way to start. These opening remarks are known as “a call to read,” and the rest – your why, your background, proudest accomplishments, values, your heart, and character – flow out from there.
Let’s unpack one of my all-time favorite About sections, one I wrote for a beautiful young student who has her sights set on a career in Civil Engineering.
“What does best mean to you?”
Compelling right? Studies show it’s difficult to resist learning the answer to an intelligent question like this. It motivates the reader to click the “see more” link. It also helps to follow the question with a series of colorful arrows like these ⬇️⬇️⬇️.
“To me, being the best means growing beyond our original goals and is achieved through tactical learning, practicing, and conviction.”
Aha! Her values, commitment, smarts, and her “why” are beginning to take shape.
“My passion for Civil Engineering arose from an inner drive to:
- Improve my community by helping to build it.
- Upgrade the living standards for people around the world.
- Strategize multi-faceted puzzles by considering all variables in building solutions.
- Create environmentally-friendly projects that shape and influence the way people live.”
Immediately, these bullets tell a hiring manager that this candidate is a life-long learner who goes well beyond what’s expected of her. Her motives exceed making a living. She has a mission. She has integrity – heart – and is going to make a difference in the world.
“For over seven years, I’ve dedicated my energy to attaining a career in Civil Engineering so that I can continue contributing to society. Before college, I spent a gap year working in the industry, learning the trade and the “language” of builders and architects. I volunteered for charities that addressed cultural and infrastructure challenges and taught myself ArchCAD. In 2019, I made the President’s honor list for outstanding academic achievement in Seneca College’s Diploma in Civil Engineering Technology program.”
Let the credibility begin! These SMART statements prove that, not only can she perform, but that she’ll do it incredibly well.
“As a problem solver and a human development advocate, I am dedicated to doing my part. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit rural Tanzania and witnessed firsthand the poor living conditions – the dry earth, the water shortages, and the many children who missed school because they had to fetch water. I vowed to help.
I am a quick learner who loves research, analyzing things and technology. In middle school, I received an award for solving timed math problems and achieved a final grade of 97% in high school. In 2014 I began using my gifts and skills to create low-cost floor plans for people in my community.
I donated all the money I earned to help solve the water shortage problem in Tanzania. I also negotiated with a well-drilling company to lower their rates and am gratified by the difference these changes made. Because children attend school on time now, they’ll be able to contribute to their communities when they become adults.”
Wow. Now here’s a self-starter who is mature beyond her years. But there’s more.
“In my interim role as Retail Coordinator and Team Leader at TJX, I learn something new every day. My staff tells me that they appreciate my consistency and integrity and my family-oriented and diplomatic nature. I often hear that I am a quiet authority who provides a calming presence and who also gets things done.”
Notice how her transferable skills and attributes come through in this paragraph? Consistency, integrity, commitment to learning, diplomacy, calm, leadership (quiet authority), and get-er-done attitude are the qualities of an exceptional Civil Engineer.
“Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.”
Including a call to action makes it easy for the reader to get in touch with you.
Specialties: Cost Estimating and Surveying | AutoCAD | Civil 3D | Concrete, Wood, and Steel Design | Materials Testing & Geotechnical | Building Inspection
Including specialties at the bottom adds keywords for SEO purposes and highlights skills and abilities.
Special thanks to Khairun-nisaa Kambi at https://www.linkedin.com/in/khairun-nisaa-k/ for allowing me to use her profile to demonstrate an example of the perfect ABOUT section. Her story inspired me; I hope it does the same for you.