LinkedIn profiles:  how to write an effective profile through storytelling

I admit it. I love to tell stories.

Of course, I also enjoy hearing good ones.

Movies, those Netflix series, and great books all have one consistent element — an exceptional saga. So should everyone’s LinkedIn profile.

I’m a European American whose ancestry could be termed a “classic mutt.” There’s the Danish influence from Grandma Dorothy Hagen. Her husband, Ray, was a classic German. My late mother told me that her family had roots in France, England, and Wales.

So, my background revolved around European-based family stories. Great-grandfather Henry Hagen spent most of his life as a New Orleans newspaper copy editor. He worked with author Sidney Porter who became known as author O’Henry. According to my grandmother, it was her father who helped him discover the famed moniker.

Carl Scherer came to America from Germany in 1868 to brew beer in Decatur, Illinois. His son, my great uncle John sold the brewery and his father’s recipe to the Papst brewery. This relative made the sale before Prohibition started and then took the proceeds to start a Pepsi bottling plant.

So, storytelling has been a natural part of my life. As a journalist and speaker, I love to spin stories in my work.

The history of European storytelling

The history of European storytelling is a long and rich one, dating back to the earliest days of human civilization. The first stories were likely told orally, and they were passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth. These early stories were often based on mythology and folklore, and they helped to explain the world around people and to provide them with a sense of identity and belonging.

As writing developed, stories began to be recorded in written form. This allowed stories to be shared more widely and to be preserved for future generations. Some of the earliest written stories in Europe come from ancient Greece and Rome. These stories include the myths of the Greek gods and goddesses, as well as the epics of Homer and Virgil.

In the Middle Ages, storytelling continued to be an important part of European culture. Many of the stories from this period are based on Christian beliefs, and they often teach moral lessons. Some of the most famous medieval stories include the Arthurian legends and the Canterbury Tales.

The Renaissance saw a revival of interest in classical literature, and this led to a renewed interest in storytelling. Many new stories were written during this period, and some of the most famous works of European literature, such as The Divine Comedy and Don Quixote, were written during this time.

The Enlightenment brought with it a new emphasis on reason and logic, and this led to a decline in the popularity of traditional storytelling. However, storytelling continued to be an important part of popular culture, and many new stories were written during this period, including the novels of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

The 19th century saw the rise of the novel as the dominant form of storytelling in Europe. Many of the most famous novels in world literature were written during this period, including War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and Moby-Dick.

The 20th century saw a new wave of storytelling, as new forms of media, such as film and television, became popular. Many classic stories were adapted for these new media, and many new stories were also written.

Now, let’s fast forward to the 21st century. Storytelling has found a new medium — social media.

Social media and storytelling

As a social media consultant and coach, I find it interesting that most LinkedIn profiles I encounter lack a clear story.

Take my friend Art G. Garcia, a friend who I enjoy having lunch or dinner.

Give Art a beer, and he can tell you some outstanding stories about his time in the Air Force.

So when I looked at Art’s profile, I was saddened to see what I term as the classic “resume-speak” which appeared in his LinkedIn About section.


Resume-speak occurs often on LinkedIn because people want to transfer this job-searching document to this platform. It makes it easy because LinkedIn collects your personal data so that recruiters and human resource professionals can find your talents.

I know from talking with recruiters like my friend Charles that LinkedIn charges a lot of money to access their nearly one billion profiles.

If the typical profile holder allows LinkedIn to help them with their profile, the result will look a lot like Art G. Garcia’s about section as shown above.

When I get with Art for “high tea,” I am going to ask him what he means by the comment “to serve by delivering world-class PM skills.”

I am going to pull up this simple PowerPoint slide and ask him to imagine that it’s his grandmother or elderly relative who is asking him at Christmas what he’s doing these days.


Will Art respond with a resume-style response?

I truly doubt it.

I’m sure that his grandmother or elderly relative will also ask him why he loves working in project management roles.

I recently met Art for lunch.  I showed him some examples of others who changed from resume-speak to a story-telling format.  In 20 minutes (see below, he had a much better and different profile.  I believe if he's talking to one of his elderly relatives, they will understand Art's passion and enthusiasm for project management.



Resume-speak profiles about throughout the more than 900 million profiles on LinkedIn.  I know from experience that when people embrace story-telling as an alternative that they will have a profile that resonates with the first-time viewer.

And with that our brief tour of the LinkedIn profile comes to a close. I hope you have gained an appreciation for how LinkedIn can help your career journey.

Of course If you are looking for further ways to enhance your profile and tell an effective story my team and I are willing to offer our services. 

Let's connect!