People are learning about you online before they ever shake your hand. The second they know they are going to meet you or have a call with you, they’re going to type your name into Google. This makes your virtual brand more important than ever. And it means you must be able to tell your story online in 3D, creating a dazzling, complete picture of who you are and what makes you great.
The best place to do this is in LinkedIn. It’s often the first place people go when they want to learn about you. Those who start their digi-sleuthing with Google will likely end up at your LinkedIn profile because it typically shows up at the top of your results.
Once they click on your LinkedIn page, your summary is the most prominent zone. It’s the ultimate place to showcase your story. In my previous post , I shared a three-step formula for building a stellar LinkedIn summary. But how do you know that it’s stellar? Does it tell an authentic and compelling story? Is it a jolt of caffeine or a serious sedative?
To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your summary, I’ve developed a Snooze Test, drawing on proven principles of personal branding. Start by reading your LinkedIn profile as if you were reading it for the first time, through the eyes of your audience. And read slowly; don’t skim. Then, for each of the following questions, give yourself a rating from 1 to 5, where 1 is ‘very little’ and 5 is ‘completely’. Keep track of your numbers so you can calculate a total score at the end.
- Does the opening sentence, phrase or headline make you want to read more?
- Is your profile authentic – accurate, real and precise?
- Does it help you stand out from your peers?
- Is it relevant – addressing the needs of the people you are trying to attract?
- Is it compelling? Does it provide interesting facts, figures and statements that make the reader want to get to know you?
- Does it contain a mix of 70-80% professional content and 20-30% personal information (like your passions, interests, hobbies and life experiences)?
- Does it tell people how you add value, going beyond simply listing what you have done?
- Does it exude your personal brand attributes – those personality characteristics that make you YOU?
- Is it pleasing to look at? Did you create enough white space to break up the paragraphs? Did you write impactful headlines for different content blocks?
- Do you include some validation (things like “People say I’m…” or a favorite quote or “The Association of XXX awarded me…”)?
- Is it well-written and carefully proofed, with polished grammar, spelling and punctuation?
- Does it include all the keywords for which you want to be known? This is vital for optimizing online searching.
- Do you augment your summary with images, videos, presentations and documents that bring your message to life? LinkedIn allows you to upload multimedia “evidence” that sits right below your summary.
Now, total your score. If you scored between 60 and 65, bravo! Your story will attract the attention of those who need to know you. If you didn’t, there is room for improvement.
If you scored lower than 60, you likely want to spruce up your summary. If you scored lower than 40, you may prefer to start over. Use this step-by-step process, to document your story.
Do the writing off-line so you can upload your final Summary to your profile all at once. If you make a series of small changes in LinkedIn, your network will be alerted to every annoying iteration – unless you change your setting to prevent these notifications from being visible.
Once you refine your summary or create a new draft, you’re still not quite ready for prime time. Apply one final test before you upload it to your profile.
Identify three people who will provide you with honest feedback:
- a member of your target audience
- a mentor or coach who wants you to succeed and will provide honest feedback; and
- a personal friend or family member who knows you well
Once you get their feedback and make your final refinements, you can then upload your summary.
A bonus: The “test” provided here applies not only to your LinkedIn summary, but to all versions of your bio on various social media, your byline and your company intranet profile. Remember to update your story every time you have something new to add. It’s a great way to keep everyone current on the brand called you.
This article was written by William Arruda from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. SmartRecruiters is the hiring success platform to find and hire great people.