opinionI am on an early train to the city. It’s characteristically quiet as everyone is either immersed deeply into their smartphones, or asleep. But one guy is talking, loudly enough in his phone conversation for all of us to have to listen in on his problems: about his girlfriend, his job and his mother. Passengers’ eyes roll. Some gesture to him to take the call elsewhere, to no avail. He needs to vent. Although the wrong place to do so, someone he trusts must be coaching him on the other end as he pours his heart out.

The metaphor here is that most people struggle to compose their LinkedIn profile, portraying their professional life, writing in a vacuum, but not listening to how they come across. They need others’ input to express their “why” best.

As your free piece of LinkedIn advice for the day, consider these suggestions:

  • Whatever you write, read it back to yourself out loud: would you buy from you, based on what you read?
  • Use spell check and grammar check that comes with your word processing software, but that’s not enough!
  • While listening to yourself read, fix any remaining typos (like “form” and “form” as I usually have to correct), clean up vague wording, all towards making your writing  the best you can do, alone.
  • Then send your draft to a colleague or two or three, and ask them: does this really capsulize “why I do what I do”?
  • Then take their comments and criticism to heart. If they are real friends they will spend the time to make suggestions and point out where you can improve. Thank them. Offer to reciprocate.
  • Then finalize the draft, put it down and come back to it at the most creative time you have the next day. Refinements made, copy and paste it into your LinkedIn profile.
  • As a final step in this process, let all your connections know you revised your profile and ask what they think, all via a short Profile Update. Co-opt their responses into your organic profile. Keep making changes as you see fit. Keep making it better.

The end result: a much more meaningful and explanatory narrative that makes the reader find you more interesting to consider as a business partner, and contact you to offer an opportunity.

Yes, folks, this works.