LinkedIn Profile Tips: Make Your Summary Pop & Grab Attention

It’s difficult to compress years of experience into 2,000 words — which is why writing a LinkedIn profile summary is challenging.  But going the extra mile pays off.

  • For starters, the LinkedIn summary is one of the first things browsers see on your profile; if it’s interesting enough, it’s incentive to look at what else you wrote.
  • Second, your LinkedIn summary gives a picture of what your years of experience and education is all about — generic job titles like “Public Relations Officer” doesn’t exactly hit the significance of what you do.
  • And lastly summaries, as the term implies, provide a total of all your selling points. A powerful profile summary can integrate even the most random data into a meaningful whole.

So how can you write a LinkedIn profile summary worth the space? It’s all about phrasing, phrasing, phrasing!

Below are some tips to create a LinkedIn profile summary that pops.

LinkedIn Profile Tips For A Great Summary #1: Identify your audience. It’s not about you.

There are LinkedIn summaries that go on and on about who the writer thinks he is and what are his dreams for the future. But remember: potential employers are more interested in what you can do for them than your star sign and your favorite restaurant. (Okay, star sign and resto preference may be an exaggeration but you get the point.) When you write a summary, start by identifying who you want reading your profile, then detail how they can benefit from hiring you.

Good: I am a self-driven legal management graduate with a passion for research.

Better: Assign me to legal research — what you’ll get is an accurate and exhaustive list of court decisions organized to impressively support your argument.

LinkedIn Profile Tips For A Great Summary #2: Make it snappy.

If you want to create impact, avoid long-winded statements that take forever to get to the point. You’re not writing a graduate school thesis, you’re delivering an elevator pitch. The sooner your readers get to what makes you stand out, the better. And yes, you can temporarily forget what your grammar teacher told you, not everything has to be written in complete sentences.

Good LinkedIn Summary Example:  In 2004-2007, I worked as a city engineer helping out in the construction of major roads and highways. In 2007-2010, I shifted to private consultancy; I provided professional advice on safety issues during construction. In the last three years, I became part of the National Housing Authority, teaming up with architects and social entrepreneurs in building low-cost residences for disadvantage communities.

As you can see from my experience, I have the skills needed for a leadership position in a large engineering firm. I know how to work within a team. I am goal-centered. I have attention to detail. I also have a caring heart that can appreciate the human side of any business.

Better  LinkedIn Summary Example:  What makes me a good fit to a leadership position in your firm? A city engineer’s track record of accomplishing projects with a national scope. A safety consultant’s keen eye on meeting strict building code standards. And a team player’s ability to build strong and sustainable structures despite limited budget — all in the service of a great social cause.

LinkedIn Profile Tips For A Great Summary #3: You can get creative.

Yes, it’s called a profile summary and the term sounds so…formal.  But it need not be. Browse through LinkedIn and you’ll see that many use the space creatively. Two thousand words, after all, is about 3 pages worth of double-spaced text on a standard document. You need not hit that word count ceiling but it does give you room to screw vanilla in favour of chocolate.

Why not tell a story? Share how you built your first business, all the challenges you overcame, and the intense focus that got you to the finish line. Or talk about your most memorable client (or your most satisfied one); paint a picture on how that encounter happened. If you want to illustrate that you totally get your target market, you may even go for a humorous or empathetic piece about your clients’ needs and how you can help fill gaps.

For instance, consider a LinkedIn profile prefaced by an intriguing teaser like “How I Closed a Thousand Dollar Deal on the Back of a Paper Napkin.” Wouldn’t that title alone make you want to read more? And if you can deliver on the title’s promise — that you did manage to close a business deal using ideas scribbled on coffee shop tissue paper — you will get that interview. Sometimes anecdotal accounts impress more than fancy job titles and university degrees.

LinkedIn Profile Tips For A Great Summary #4: Make it clear and structured.

If the first three suggestions seem difficult to follow (that’s okay, writing doesn’t come naturally to all), just remember your basics.

Create text with structure: each paragraph should be talking about a coherent and distinct subject to facilitate flow of ideas. You can, for example, have three paragraphs: first paragraph talks about who you are, the second paragraph talks about your skills, and the last can be your call to action: a statement that would entice the reading HR personnel to pick up the phone. If paragraphs feel too cluttered, bullet points will do.

LinkedIn Profile Tips For A Great Summary #5: Use keywords.

And lastly, use words you know persons in your field are using, and words that an HR personnel would recognize and be looking for. Being an internet database, keyword search is a typical way headhunters filter candidates from the masses. You want to create a profile summary that will show up on search engine results. Figuring out what’s a good keyword and what’s an annoying cliché may mean some research, but it’s to your advantage to know what terms will land you that job.

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