The LinkedIn “About” section (formerly known as the Summary) is the one place on your profile that can be thought of as a “freestyle” section–you can write whatever you want without any structure. However, this freedom actually leaves a lot of executives wondering what writing style to use for 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 even bothered to add 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.

Coming across as engaging and approachable is especially critical for executives. Coming across as a personable leader will help position you as someone who can earn the buy-in of rank-and-file employees.

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.

Additionally, this conversational approach is taught in the premier certification program for LinkedIn profile writing: the Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert designation from the National Resume Writers’ Association. I’ve earned this certification and renew it annually–but this was already my approach for many years prior to the creation of the program.

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?

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 a lot of LinkedIn users don’t know what the best practices are! Many of the executives I see on the platform haven’t put much effort into their profile and clearly didn’t invest in professional help. However, there are other users who have put in effort and hired LinkedIn profile writers, so keep in mind that recruiters and decision-makers might be comparing you to them.

Also, some of LinkedIn users have an About section that consists of a paragraph written by a robot (more on that below), and robots haven’t yet mastered the art of LinkedIn profile writing.

Should you let a robot write your “About” section?

As AI permeates every aspect of our lives, LinkedIn came up with the idea to offer its users AI-generated wording for their About sections.

This (in theory) solves the problem of LinkedIn users not knowing what to say in the About section, and often not even adding the About section to their profiles because of writer’s block.

You’re probably wondering how this works. The basic gist is that if you have some information on other sections of your profile, like jobs listed in the Experience section and skills listed in the Skills section, the AI will use that information to create a short paragraph.

Unfortunately, these AI-written paragraphs are similar to cliche-filled resume summaries that do little to differentiate the person from other candidates.

When a robot tries to write

Let’s say you’re a VP of Finance. LinkedIn’s robot might say something like:

“Results-oriented finance executive with experience in the technology industry…”

While I applaud the fact that robots can write nowadays (amazing!), let’s unpack the above example:

  • That wording doesn’t differentiate you from other finance execs who have worked in tech companies. Also, your headline would probably include this information already.
  • If you think “results-oriented” is going to distinguish you, a search for this phrase on LinkedIn produces 67,000 profiles containing that term. It’s an old resume cliche that no longer impresses decision makers (instead, focus on what the results actually are).
  • The robot-generated paragraphs are bland, boring, and unremarkable. They aren’t written in the conversational, informal style I recommend. They don’t shine a light on what you’re passionate about in your career.

What’s at stake

However, if you’re a 6-figure or 7-figure executive or entrepreneur, people are forming impressions of you based on your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters, potential team members, C-suite leaders, board members, journalists–the higher you rise in your career, the more attention it will get.

To make your About section engaging, I recommend you take the time to write content that is insightful, compelling, and heartfelt.

Looking for that human touch?

If you find the crafting of your LinkedIn profile to be challenging or simply too time-consuming, I recommend partnering with an executive LinkedIn profile writer (not a robot!) who can ask you powerful questions to draw out your personal brand and intriguing insights–that’s what will make your About section memorable.

I’ve been helping executives with their LinkedIn profiles for more than a decade, and they consistently report to me that they receive more profile views and more relevant recruiter outreach after working with me. A digital native, I stay up to date on LinkedIn, and I maintain my LinkedIn profile writing certification (Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert) through the National Resume Writers’ Association.

I invite you to learn more on my executive resume writing home page, or let’s talk if you’d like to chat about whether we would be the right fit to work together.

This article first appeared on

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. and Canada, 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 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!


This is only U.S. and Canada (for now).


The prices charged by photographers on this list may vary quite widely. Give some thought to what budget you’re willing to invest. You might be able to get a fairly 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 could be hit or miss. Funds permitting, you might consider making an investment in your image.


Photographers by metro area

New York City

Orange County, California

Inland Empire – San Bernardino County, California

Inland Empire – Riverside County, California

San Diego, California


Boston Area, Massachusetts


Dallas Area, Texas

Charlotte Area, North Carolina

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


This article originally appeared on


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!

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