Does Your LinkedIn Profile Pass the Seven Second Rule?

by | LinkedIn Profile Development, Personal Branding, Quick Tips

You may already know it takes about seven seconds to make a good first impression, but are you considering this rule when it comes to your digital brand? LinkedIn is further putting this to the test with its new design.

In case you haven’t noticed, LinkedIn has switched things up again. But this time it’s not just a matter of playing hide-and-go-seek with common features. You may also need to update your profile.

A noticeable change is the way your Summary displays (or should I say, does not display). Now, anyone who visits your profile will only see a teaser of your Summary.

To see your full Summary, your audience will have to click “See more.” Otherwise, approximately 90 to 200 characters will show depending on whether your profile is viewed on a mobile application or desktop.

Although this concept is new to LinkedIn, it’s used for other platforms. For example, on Forbes, an author’s bio is a one-liner, and you have to click a link to read the full bio. Blame it on short attention spans or people wanting more with less.

So what’s the big deal?

This change, although small, adds another layer when it comes to building your personal brand on LinkedIn. If the first few lines of your Summary are not enticing, people will be less inclined to click to read more.

To capture the attention of your audience, make sure your Summary includes your brand message. It should speak to one or more of the following:

  • What you do.
  • How you do it.
  • How what you do adds value.

If you think in terms of an elevator pitch, which is a compelling and brief summary of your brand, the same rules apply. You want to be like Jerry Macguire in the infamous scene and have your audience at “Hello.”

Let’s take a look at my LinkedIn profile as an example:

Before: My profile highlights my specific skills and my desire to teach others ( I am a trainer at heart). I initially used capitalized headers to break up my information since my expertise is in multiple areas. It worked for the old format, but for the new format, the “ABOUT” is now out of place at first glance.

After: In this case, my message is the same since it still works for me. But I had to make some formatting changes. I removed the capitalized headings I used to break up my information. Doing this also allowed a little bit more of my skills to display.

Note: You may not be able to get a clean stop in the preview window, but try to get two full sentences directed to your target audience (e.g., recruiters).

Now, it’s your turn. Do you need to make any formatting changes? Or, do you need to adjust your brand message? Think about what you want to relay in seven seconds, and make your audience want to “see more.”

Marietta Gentles Crawford
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Marietta Gentles Crawford

Marietta Gentles Crawford is a writer, personal brand strategist, and author of "From Nine to Thrive: A Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and Elevating Your Career." With over 15 years' experience climbing through top corporate brands, she helps small businesses and freelancers communicate their brand message and stand out from the crowd.

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