LinkedIn just gave us 20 seconds of built in video on our LinkedIn profiles to tell profile viewers what we’re all about as professionals.
We’re talking about the new LinkedIn cover story feature, and in this video, I’m breaking down what it is, how to use it, and how to make the most from it in order to stand out in your job search.
So what can we do in 20 seconds?
Place an order for taco delivery.
Do one singular Tabata workout interval.
Take a selfie.
Pour a glass of wine.
But we can also create a quick LinkedIn cover story to share what we’re all about as professionals.
What Is the LinkedIn Cover Story?
LinkedIn cover stories are a new feature that LinkedIn is rolling out to its users.
It’s video, 20 seconds at that, that lives where your profile picture is.
When users scroll over your profile photo, they’ll get a muted preview of your LinkedIn cover story if you record and post one.
What the LinkedIn Cover Story Isn’t?
LinkedIn cover stories are an enhancement to your profile. That means, they don’t replace a complete and well-written LinkedIn profile. They don’t replace the stories that you tell in your About section or Summary for the LinkedIn OGs.
According to LinkedIn, they think that the cover story is a great place for job seekers to share their career goals.
I couldn’t agree….less.
We don’t want our LinkedIn Cover Story turning into a career objective.
What we do want it to do is to showcase our personality, connect with the viewer, and give them an idea of the difference we can make at their organization. More on that later.
What Are the LinkedIn Cover Story Specifications?
Currently, LinkedIn cover stories are only available to be created on mobile, so you do need the LinkedIn app. We see this a lot with new LinkedIn features – they’re introduced first on mobile, and for some, later rolled out to desktop.
While you can only create them on mobile, they are viewable on mobile and desktop.
You get 20 seconds of video. This is not very long as we’ve already discovered.
One cover story per profile. If you want to change it, you delete what’s already there, and replace it with a new one.
You can upload a pre-recorded video or you can record directly into the app itself.
As with most stories, cover stories are designed to be recorded as portrait rather than landscape.
Once you post your cover story video, your profile photo will have a peach/orange colored frame around it and a preview of your video crops to fit and overlay your profile picture when someone scrolls over it. This preview is muted. And if I got my Mississipis right, this is a 3 second preview.
The default is only to allow 1st connections to see it, but you have the option to allow all profile visitors to view it.
What To Say In Your LinkedIn Cover Story
So what do we actually want to share in these fleeting 20 seconds on our LinkedIn cover stories? What could add even more to our profile?
When you’re creating your LinkedIn cover story, you want to think about connection:
First, we want to use this to CONNECT to the viewer through the screen. I would say that cover stories are less about what we say, more about how we say them.
Second, we want to CONNECT our strengths to a solution that we can provide to our target employers in our target roles.
Finally, we want to welcome the viewer to CONNECT with us, with a call to action.
What NOT To Say In Your LinkedIn Cover Story
If you watch #OfficeHours, you probably saw my episode with Rhona Pierce of How To Level Up.
Rhona is an expert on standing out in your job search with video, and in her video title 3 Mistakes To Avoid When Creating A Video Cover Letter, also included in the description below, that you only have 3 seconds to capture the attention of the viewer.
Same goes for your LinkedIn cover story.
Rhona also recommends getting straight to the point. So no intros like “Hi, I’m Kamara Toffolo!” or “Hi, thanks for watching my LinkedIn Cover Story!” By the time that gets out of your mouth, you’ve lost precious time. You only have 20 seconds after all.
And when getting straight to the point, she recommends telling the viewer how you can help them, and THEN telling them who you are.
Now let’s talk about putting this into action.
I am giving you a really simple script to follow that will help take the guesswork out of creating your own LinkedIn cover story.
But a word of caution here, the goal here is to come across as a friendly, warm, and confident potential coworker. Not a scripted, buttoned up, corporate drone.
So let’s dive into this.
Best Sample Script For Your LinkedIn Cover Story
#1: How You Can Help
First, taking Rhona’s advice, we need to open with how we can help.
Did you watch my video on answering the interview question “Tell me about yourself?” I’ve linked it in the description below as the approach to the opening is very similar.
You want to identify and share your career mission.
Your career mission is what drives you to do what you do.
“I’m a [type of professional] known for my commitment to [career mission].”
Example: “I’m a Digital Marketing Specialist committed to helping CPG brands develop their voice and gain visibility with their target audiences.”
Another option is you could make this all about the pain your potential employer might experience when they don’t have you there to provide the solutions that you offer.
This might sound like “[Big pain point that your target employer has].”
Example: “In today’s competitive consumer market, it can be difficult to get your CPG products off the shelves and into the hands of your customers.”
#2: Introduce Yourself + Strengths
Since this is about connection, we need to introduce ourselves and now is a great time to do it.
“Hi I’m [your name] and I’m known for leveraging my strengths in [core strength 1, core strength 2] to help [solve another big pain point].”
Example: “Hi, I’m Don Draper and I’m known for leveraging my strengths in brand strategy and earned media to help CPG brands reach their target consumers and increase sales.”
#3: Welcome Connection
Finally, let’s encourage the viewer to connect.
We have a few options here:
First, we’ve got the option for the job seeker who is actively searching and not worried about tipping off their current employer:
“If that sounds like something your organization would like help with, feel free to connect!”
Second, we’ve got the option for the job seeker who is passively searching or actively searching and definitely worried about tipping off their current employer:
“I love chatting about [your specialty] and if you do too, feel free to connect!”
Video Recording Tips For Your LinkedIn Cover Story
If you’re new to video, you might be worried about how to make sure your video looks good. I know for me, this was something that held me back from creating video for years. Literally years.
So here are a few tips to make a great LinkedIn Cover Story video FOR FREE.
I do recommend using your phone to record your LinkedIn cover story because it is designed to be recorded on, and consumed, on a mobile device.
If you have a tripod, use that, with your phone vertical, as in, portrait mode. But if you don’t have a tripod, you can use a bunch of books, board games, empty taco delivery boxes. Whatever. Just MacGiver something together and make sure the camera part of your phone is slightly above eye level for a great angle shooting from your shoulders up.
I just do not recommend holding your phone as though you’re taking a selfie, and recording that way. Even if you haven’t had 4 cups of coffee today, even the steadiest of hands isn’t that steady.
Try sitting in front of a window that gets a lot of natural light.
Or if that’s not possible, put a couple lamps in front of you.
And make sure that you have minimized the light behind you otherwise your face will be difficult to see.
Make sure that you’re in a room by yourself preferably to limit background noise.
You do not need a special microphone, you don’t need to use your earbuds. Your phone mic will pick up your voice without issue.
Wear what you would normally wear for a video interview.
So if it’s not a suit – don’t wear a suit!
Video can be intimidating at the best of times, so make sure that your clothes aren’t causing you any extra stress.
I’m excited about the LinkedIn Cover Story. I think it’s just one more way to create human-to-human connection with profile viewers, recruiters, and hiring managers. And that’s what LinkedIn is all about – connection.
Are you going to use your LinkedIn Cover Story when the feature is made available on your profile? Tell me in the comments below!