Profile writing tips for LinkedIn users.

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How to unlock that opening anecdote.

You may be surprised by this, but the best LinkedIn profiles and professional bios begin with a personal anecdote.

Why? For three reasons.

The first is that it makes the bio unique to you. After all, while other professionals may share your qualifications, none share your personality.

The second reason is that a personal anecdote will bring you, the person, to life and, in doing so, it will inspire trust.

Let’s face it, we tend to bond with people, not technology.

Lastly, beginning with an anecdote leverages the power of likability. If someone likes you right from the start, then they’re much more forgiving as they forge through your resume, which is important given that we can’t be all things to all people.

But if you’re not a writer, how do you create that opener? By approaching it like a writer does:

Draft a list of your top 3 – 5 qualifications Pick just a few key ones and don’t get bogged down in a long list. Better yet, pick the key ones that are as specialized and as unique to you as possible. If you don’t have job qualifications that are distinct from your peers, then don’t worry. Your anecdote will be. No matter how alike qualifications are between professionals within an industry, anecdotes are entirely unique.

Think of anecdotes for each qualification Don’t try to do this in one sitting. When I write a client’s opener, it takes time. I ask them all kinds of questions about why they entered their field and what professional qualifications show up in their personal lives. I look for several anecdotes for one qualification and then, of course, several more to cover all the qualifications. Take your time with this step and enjoy it. We rarely get the chance to take stock in ourselves. In the years that I’ve been writing profiles, especially LinkedIn and online dating profiles, I’ve learned that it can be surprisingly good for the self-esteem. We’re all so much more qualified, interesting and special than we ever realize.

Pick the strongest anecdote Sometimes the most engaging anecdote isn’t necessarily the one that focuses on your strongest qualification. However, if the anecdote grabs attention and the qualification it focuses on is, nevertheless, a solid one, then go with it. Your first priority is to stand out and engage. That said, do your best to get your key message featured on that first line. If that means spending more time thinking of more powerful anecdotes for your best traits, then do so.

Keep it short Your opening anecdote shouldn’t be more than a sentence or two. The point is to grab attention so that you pique someone’s interest enough that they read on. After the anecdote – that is, after you’ve personally introduced yourself – you need to deliver the goods. So be sure to have the anecdote segue into your career or contribution highlights.

Keep the body copy short too. I find that 200 to 250 words is ideal.

Add a call to action If you want someone to contact you after reading your bio, then make that clear. If you want some to read your resume for more information, then tell them so. In other words, if you want the reader to take action after reading your bio, make sure you put the thought in their head. Leave nothing to chance.

On that note, if you want to be certain that you have a top-notch bio, then hire me. I can write the opener for you and edit the body copy. I’m also available for a consultation where, together, we can discuss ways to improve on it.  To see how deftly I can transform a professional online presence, have a look at my LinkedIn profile samples. Better yet, let’s just get started.


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