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How to Write A LinkedIn Bio

May 15, 2020
Having a good bio is important. It's the first thing prospects and connections see. Your first impression. This is the process of how I made mine stand out.

What's Inside

For Humans, by a Human

Start With a Hook

What Can You Bring to the Table

What's the Table Like With You Seated At It

Under the Hood

The End Notes

Remember

I find writing about myself challenging. I know this comes from a passionate dislike for being around arrogant, narcissistic people. Writing and talking about my achievements, posting news on Facebook, even posting pictures of myself on Instagram — they’re all things I battle with. This might be an extreme on the self-promotion-loathing scale, but I think everyone sits on there somewhere.

Is it a self-esteem issue? A lack of confidence? I’m not sure. I’ve sat down and thought about why I battle to acknowledge my achievements, not only in a personal capacity but even worse — in front of people.

You could imagine then, writing a LinkedIn profile is not something that comes naturally to me. It is essentially the epitome of self-promotion. You are selling yourself!

I have started, deleted, restarted, re-deleted… and then just given up, countless times. I know there are others out there like me. However, it is a valuable part of giving your connections an insight into more than just being good at Microsoft Excel and having worked a summer internship once upon a time. Despite this, my LinkedIn bio is still empty. Maybe by the end of this article I’ll have taught myself how to write one.

Let’s start here: what are we trying to achieve through a bio?

For Humans, by a Human

Your bio should be more than a professional summary. It should give insight into who you are, beyond your list of achievements, skills and employment history.

In a time where humans are getting replaced in workplaces by bots, AI and automated processes, companies are moving away from traditional skill-based hiring. They’re hiring people for who they are and what they can bring to the table that no robot can. Show them the human side of you. Show them what no robot can. Show them what makes you unique and how that uniqueness brings something valuable to the table.

That’s all good and well, but how to start?

Start With a Hook

Most important: make it something short and interesting. Try keep it to one sentence. I couldn’t think of anything which fits those guidelines, so I went with something that gives some insight into how I think and operate, which (I think) creates a bit of interest.

I couldn’t write this, so I asked friends for help.

What Can You Bring to the Table?

A company’s value proposition is the service or good they offer which defines the problem they aim to solve. Here are some examples to give you a good idea.

Uber

The smartest way to get around. One tap and a car comes straight to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. Payments are completely cashless.

iPhone

Every iPhone we’ve built is on the same belief: A phone should be more than a collection of features. It should be absolutely simple, beautiful and magical to use.

Slack

A messaging tool for teams who put robots on Mars. NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory is one of tens of thousands of teams around the world using Slack to make their working lives simpler, more productive and more pleasant.

These are three quite different examples of how to frame the value you can provide. Think about what you bring to those around you which adds value to their lives. Don’t be specific to your working experience.

Here’s my attempt:

This is their feedback: I “make things happen and get things done”. That seems accurate. Paired with being “extremely motivated” and “goals-driven”, the two make a pretty formidable pair for driving growth and taking steps towards making a positive impact. That is what inspires me: making a difference.

What’s the Table Like With You Seated At It?

Whenever you get hired, you’re joining a team. Whether that’s a team of 5 or 500, you’re a cog in the wheel.

How do you keep things turning?

The most important part of asking friends to help identify your skills? Noticing those they don’t include. I’ve always tried to do everything myself. This is improving. Joining the teams I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in has taught me a valuable lesson in delegation. Two of my favourite quotes which go hand in hand illustrate this: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” and “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results”. I enjoy leading, but this gives me the insight to know how to be a valuable team player.

Under the Hood

What’s your fuel?

What happens outside your working life which gives you the energy to keep moving forward and adding value?

The logic of ending on a personal note is this: The reader ends with a healthy understanding of you as a person, but without being hard-sold which sometimes leaves a sour feeling in the mouth.

In my free time, I’m normally muddying my shoes. I love mountains, camping and all things adventure. I’m a trained pilot and love both the rigidity and freedom of flying. My dream is to fly around the world, tagging fourteeners.

The End Notes

If someone were to read these few paragraphs, would they have a complete picture of you? If yours needs a few extra brush-strokes, have a read through and see where best to fit that info in.

Here’s my complete summary:

I couldn’t write this, so I asked friends for help.

The prominent feedback was this: I make things happen and get things done. That seems accurate. Paired with being “extremely motivated” and “goals-driven”, the two make a pretty formidable pair for driving growth and taking steps towards making a positive impact. That is what inspires me: making a difference.

The most important part of asking friends to help identify your skills? Noticing those they don’t include. I’ve always tried to do everything myself. This is improving. Being part of the teams I’ve been involved in has taught me valuable lessons in delegation. Two of my favourite quotes which go hand in hand illustrate my thoughts on this: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” and “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results”. I enjoy leading, and this gives me the insight to know how to be a valuable team player.

In my free time, I’m normally muddying my shoes. I love mountains, camping and all things adventure. I’m a trained pilot and love both the rigidity and freedom of flying. My dream is to fly around the world, tagging fourteeners.

Hey, that’s not half bad.

Remember

You’ll notice this format is largely not skills and achievements focused. Make sure the rest of your profile is. Put your best foot forward. Make sure the reader can find info on your skills and accomplishments if they want to.

Whenever you write something which is going to be read by a few people, it’s often a good idea to let it sit for a while before coming back to edit and publish. Once you’ve finished writing your summary, you might think it sounds great. Let it sit for at least 24 hours and don’t think about it. Your brain will continue mulling things over. When you revisit you will notice mistakes, bad readability, or just waffle. Edit and leave it again. Keep iterating until when you come back, you don’t make any changes. Then post it.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

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