How VC pitches can help you craft your LinkedIn profile
Most professionals know LinkedIn is a network with lots of people — 450 million members — and think, ‘I should be there too’.
They’re right. But just throwing up some titles is like saying ‘I’ve got a great idea’ and nothing else.
Startups know better than any other group the hard work that goes into making that idea matter.
Here’s what you can learn from those whose lifeblood depends on getting the right attention to attract interest, funding and create mutual benefit, which is also what LinkedIn is about.
1. You are your LinkedIn profile
Even more than the idea, investors invest in people. Over and above any idea, entrepreneurs are selling themselves.
They get 10 minutes to showcase an idea and show that they’re integral, passionate, experienced, knowledgeable and have the leadership to deliver on it.
On LinkedIn, this is your LinkedIn profile. And as your stand in, you have to make it the best version of you that you can.
2. What you see is what you get
A pitch deck has been described as:
The most important single document you will generate in the life of your company. It is the opening salvo and “the hook” by which you will (or will not) capture the attention and imagination of a potential investor.
Since 10 slides can make or break a future, startups put enormous effort into getting them right.
Although they’re not formulaic they’re based around:
- A high level summary that captures the essence
- A clearly articulated problem
- Why they’re the best solution for it
- Proof that they can deliver it.
Craft your LinkedIn profile like a pitch deck.
In doing so, avoid War and Peace in favour of a meaningful narrative and where possible use bullet points, images and videos since we take in images 10x faster than other information. Visual content gets 94% more views and is 40 times more likely to get shared.
3. Hone that elevator pitch
This is where you collapse multiple universes into 30 seconds or less. It’s hard. But no one else can succinctly explain who you are and why you matter.
- AirBNB — book rooms with locals rather than hotels.
- App.io (previously Kickfolio) — streams your mobile apps from the cloud to any device.
- Slidebean — presentations that design themselves.
In a network of 450 million, professional titles like CEO, Regional Manager or Consultant mean little.
Instead, you have to share a clear vision of who you are and why you exist. Ask yourself, what do you do that matters to people you want to reach? That’s your bio.
It’s the first thing people read and like a great pitch, it earns you the right to a bit more time and attention.
4. What’s your problem?
Successful startups always articulate a problem, for which they are the solution.
Why does the problem come first? Because there are lots of great ideas with no markets. Investors are risking time and money so they need to know the great idea matters enough to enough people to be make money.
For example, Piccsy identified that ‘image discovery is fragmented and distributed across a web of sources that has become impossible to navigate’.
You can imagine the heads nodding without even being in the room. Millions have experienced this frustration.
They captured that clearly in a visual that reflected the complexity of fragmentation.
While a LinkedIn profile isn’t divided into problem and solution sections you can bring the same thinking to the Summary.
What problem is there out there that you are, if not uniquely then particularly, capable of fixing?
The benefit of this approach is it takes you away from the generic, of position (CEO) or skill (leadership skills) to the specific.
If your strength is as a ‘turnaround CEO successful securing investment in not-for-profit sectors in high conflict zones’ then you are a better match for the person whose problem is finding a leader who can get money for organisations that are high risk.
I’m not suggesting you can’t move outside well defined professional boundaries.
If you want to transition into a new sector, create a summary that highlights how your existing skills position you for a new challenge. But it’s the same thinking.
5. Why you’re the solution
Startups create a solution that resonates with investors by showing that there’s a market, a business model and that they have the skills and team to deliver on it.
Moz identified the problem that ‘every week web marketers need to log into each of these services (and listed 14) to collect their KPIs and that ‘Moz can put this all in one place’.
This graphic showed why they were capable of delivering it.
The history from 1981 to 2011 reflects the company journey and operating landscape and how that has impacted on the product over time.
On LinkedIn, this is your work experience.
Although not in graphic form, Experience is a way to build a picture by naming the achievements you’ve had in each role. These form a chronological narrative and logic about where you’ve worked, teams you’ve been part of and the skills you’ve acquired.
You need to anticipate the questions you’d get if you were on the Board and an employer or business was there to prod and poke.
- How have you used these skills to overcome the problems our company has?
- Who is your competition?
- Why are you better than the competition?
- What are you doing to further develop your skills?
These are not substitutes for direct connection, they’re proof that might pave the way for it.
6. Show some personality
Is there anything more boring than corporate speak written in the third person?
‘Jo/e is a corporate communicator with highly developed written skills’. So is June, Jim, John, Joanne and the 5 million other corporate communicators with highly developed written skills.
Inject a bit of personality into your LinkedIn profile.
“I write 80 speeches a year for politicians who have to show that waste management is as important as innovation for the economy, that’s not just about deadlines it’s about dexterity. I can write.”
Get your copy of Dionne’s FREE eBook: Scrub up, stand out and explode your professional brand
Scrub up, stand out and explode your professional brand is a series of four easy-to-action LinkedIn Masterclasses that take you from wobbly beginner to confident Social Executive.
Get your copy here.