I’m always looking for a few good tips on improving the LinkedIn profile (and I want to keep tabs on what everyone else is talking about), so I read a lot of articles that are some variation of “X number of ways to make your LinkedIn profile work for you”. Most give solid foundational tips for the profile; but I see one idea over and over again that I have to say something about. It seems like basic advice but I think it’s actually counter-productive. I cringe every time I see it because it’s horrible advice to give someone who is reading an article on the basics of writing a LinkedIn profile:
Create a keyword-rich summary and experience section in your profile to bolster your SEO efforts.
On the face of it, is this bad advice? No, it’s actually a great idea… if you know how to write keyword-rich online material.
Here’s the thing: most people who are writing their LinkedIn profiles aren’t brand marketers and ad agency copywriters. Most professionals barely have time to get the basics down, let alone craft a carefully-worded LinkedIn profile! In fact, at Ajax, we found that we had to develop a specific process for embedding keywords into profiles that people could use in order to keep things manageable for our clients!
So telling a LinkedIn newbie to write keyword-rich text is like putting a novice skier on a double black diamond slope. They take one look at it and say “Screw this, I’m going to get some hot chocolate”. It’s doing them a huge disservice, because instead of sharing their professional story in a meaningful way, they avoid it all together.
What can you do then if you are first diving into your social media profiles? How should you write your summary if you aren’t a copy-writing master?
- Don’t worry about the keywords.
- Just tell your story.
- Use your own voice.
- Be genuine.
- Tell me about yourself and what you do like you were telling a new friend.
And here’s the kicker. If you tell your story with confidence and passion, those keywords are likely going to show up anyway!