What style is best for the LinkedIn “About” section?

The LinkedIn section previously called the Summary is now called the About section, but that hasn’t changed one of the most common points of confusion for users: what style is best for writing this section?

If you spend some time looking around LinkedIn, you’ll find that many executives and professionals use wording in the About section that reads like a resume summary, while some use content that reads like an executive bio, and others simply list some keywords related to their career. Then there are those who haven’t bothered to even put this section on their profiles.

My approach (and best practice): conversational and informal

Personally, I always go with a conversational and informal approach unless a client has a strong preference to use a “bio” type format or other approach. With LinkedIn being a social media platform, using a first person, conversational style helps the reader feel like they’re meeting you versus reading another impersonal resume-style summary of someone’s career.

I’m certainly not the only advocate of this; in fact, this approach is also recommended by authors of popular books about LinkedIn, as well as leading LinkedIn profile writers, executive resume writers, and career coaches who stay on the cutting edge. It has become a best practice.

Why be conversational?

Coming across as engaging and approachable is especially critical for anyone in sales, business development, PR, and other people-oriented fields. Even for those in the C-suite, coming across as a personable leader will help position you as someone who can earn the buy-in of rank-and-file employees.

Should you follow the pack?

Your natural instinct may be to look at peers in your field for examples of what to do on your LinkedIn About section. But remember: just because several peers have handled it a certain way doesn’t mean that approach is necessarily the best or most compelling approach.

The reality is that most LinkedIn users don’t know what the best practices are! Most people don’t spend very much time and effort on their LinkedIn profile and don’t invest in professional help, so many of them use the cliche-filled summary from their resume.

Draw in your readers

If you write your About section in a conversational tone in first person rather than third person, it will stand out. Read 10 profiles all written with terms like “results-oriented” and then read one that feels like the person is talking to you–it’ll be more memorable!

Additionally, after LinkedIn’s 2017 redesign, only the first 2-3 lines of the About section are displayed; to read the rest, a reader has to click “see more.” If those first couple sentences are too dry, your readers might not be motivated to read the rest. Attention spans have never been shorter than they are today.

“You do you”

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to LinkedIn. If you want something more formal written in third person, you can certainly do that.  A recruiter who’s interested in a person’s qualifications will want to reach out regardless of the writing style of the About section. The most important questions to consider are: Does it position me correctly? Is it well-written? Have I checked it for errors by reading it out loud?

This article originally appeared on KellyDonovan.com.

Curated list of head shot photographers

A lot of my clients end up needing a new head shot while they’re working with me. Since I tend to have multiple clients in major metro areas around the U.S., I decided to start curating a list of head shot photographers who do good work for business head shots–including LinkedIn photos. The intent is not to have every city on here, but I want to at least have some of the top metro areas.

The criteria I came up with for this list:

  • A client, friend, or trusted business contact used the photographer and recommends them; or it’s someone I know
  • AND I’ve seen the photographer’s work and believe it meets the minimum standards I would have for a LinkedIn head shot for a client (that being said, some of these folks may specialize in business head shots more than others)

I will add to this list regularly to expand it. For the time being, please let me know if any of these existing entries need updating!

Costs

The prices charged by photographers on this list may vary quite widely. I suggest reviewing their website to see their work and think about what budget you’re willing to invest. If you want to consider a lower-priced option, you might want to look at their work first to compare it before making a decision.

You might be able to get a decent or even good LinkedIn head shot for a rock-bottom price (perhaps through a Groupon or just a low-cost freelancer or studio). However, at the lowest price points, it can be hit or miss. Funds permitting, you might consider making an investment with a top-notch professional.

Photographers by metro area

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Orange County, California

Inland Empire, California

  • Focal Instincts Photography (Kat Meezan) in Corona 949-292-2314
  • Michelle Smith Photography in Redlands 909-280-2404

San Diego Area, California

Ohio

New York City

Boston Area

Connecticut

Dallas

This article originally appeared on KellyDonovan.com.

Are You Being Reactive on LinkedIn?

Are-you-proactive-or-reactive-on-LinkedIn

Stop Being Reactive on LinkedIn, and Start Being Proactive!

While many job seekers focus on applying for advertised jobs on LinkedIn, a more effective approach is to use LinkedIn to contact decision makers at companies of interest when they’re NOT advertising an opening. This is especially true for executive positions.

Use LinkedIn’s “advanced search” feature to identify people who currently work at the company you want to work for, then scroll through the results to pinpoint the person who would be your boss or your boss’s boss if you were to get hired there.

Send the person a short message on LinkedIn asking to arrange a short conversation, either in person or by phone. You could say, for example, that you’re preparing to re-enter the workforce soon and would like to talk to them for research purposes. Don’t ask about job openings or offer to send your resume, which can come across as pushy and desperate.

To send a message to someone who isn’t a connection, you can use InMail, a feature available to those with paid LinkedIn accounts. In fact, this is usually the ONLY reason I recommend someone have a paid account.

By contacting a company when they’re not advertising an opening, you won’t be one stranger among hundreds of applicants. Instead, you’ll be able to build a relationship with someone who will keep you in mind for when they do have a suitable opening, and could even introduce you to decision makers at other companies.

As with many aspects of life, being proactive instead of reactive on LinkedIn can really pay off!

This post originally appeared on KellyDonovan.com.