Business Writing Tips for Online Profiles

By Natalie Canavor

Try approaching your online profiles with some business writing strategies. Online professional networks, such as LinkedIn, XING, and Ryze, are good business connectors for many people and are generally considered the “professional” social media. The tips you find here apply to profiles for LinkedIn and similar business networking sites.

To adapt these ideas to other media, read a batch of profiles on the site or service that you’re interested in joining and see what approach you feel works best. Use that style and the guidelines of the medium.

In general, an online profile is a chance to communicate more of your personality than in a résumé. Writing in the first person works best because you automatically take a more personal tone and genuine feeling comes across. Write with a sense of where you want to go, not just where you’ve been and are now. Align your profile with your big goals. You can use the headline area to list what you do and appeal to search engines with search terms. For example:

Business Writing. Magazine Features. Writing Workshops. Publication Projects.

Then create a strong opening statement that instantly tells people what you want them to know about you. Surprise! You can draw this from your core value statement or your story. For example:

When I realized how terrified most people are of sitting in the dentist’s chair, I decided to find ways to make the experience more positive — something people would look forward to. Or almost.

If you’re trying for a career transition or new job, take advantage of the chance to say so:

I’m a public relations professional with a great background in the entertainment industry. My special love is hip-hop culture. I’m looking to connect my two passions.

Successful online material doesn’t follow a formula. Experiment and scout for profiles you like, both in and out of your own field, and draw your own lessons from them. A few tips and possibilities:

  • Share your enthusiasm and passion for what you do.
  • Include the achievements you’re most proud of.
  • Skip empty rhetoric and get down to brass tacks; what you actually do and what it means is always more interesting.
  • Know what you want to achieve with this profile — find new customers? Connect with an industry? Showcase creative skills? Establish expertise?

As always, write to specific audiences to accomplish specific goals.