Let’s face it: an attractive, optimized LinkedIn profile is a must in 2020. Yes, your resume still matters. But loads of hidden job search and direct recruiting is happening on LinkedIn. So if you want to get on the HRs radar, you gotta get things right with your LinkedIn profile summary.
What to Put in Your LinkedIn Summary
A good LinkedIn summary includes the following elements:
- A professional headline of 120 words (or less) that mentions your career focus and key skills.
- A snapshot of your work experience, main duties, and achievements.
- Industry-related keywords, skills, and talents that make your profile more visible in search results.
- Industry accolades, certifications, and/or other credentials that make you more attractive as a job candidate.
- Links to portfolio items, case studies, or other PDFs that can illustrate your work experience.
With that being said, now let’s take a close look at the how-to part.
How to Write a LinkedIn Summary in 5 Steps
1. Do Some Prep Work
Before you start banging random words on your keyboard, take a five and pounder over your strengths as a job candidate. Harvard’s Office of Alumni Affairs and Career Advancements suggests that you ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s your ideal job?
- Where do you want to head next in your career?
- What are your main skills & talents?
- Which achievement do you want to be known for?
- What are some of your main personality traits, interests, and values?
- What differentiates you from other candidates?
- How would your peers describe you?
2. Place Your Key Message In The First 300 Characters of Your Summary
LinkedIn automatically truncates profile summaries after 300 characters or so. That’s why you need to make those first few sentences strong and enticing, prompting a potential connection to click “Read more”.
In essence, that first blurb is your elevator pitch. Here are several tips to nail it:
- Include a big “bragging right” or a quantifiable achievement
- List 2-3 of your most prominent skills
- State your experience and industry
- Avoid jargon and jumbo-sized words
- Don’t include any negatives
To illustrate these points, here’s a quick LinkedIn summary example for a sales manager:
“Seasoned (5+ years) Automotive Sales Executive, working at Ford dealership. Previously, Toyota and BMW. Proactive, friendly go-getter, who closes new deals 15% faster than my peers. I’m passionate about helping customers to find the optimal vehicle for their needs and become a loyal brand supporter”.
3. Research Industry Keywords For Your Profile
While LinkedIn has a dedicated section where you can list up to 50 skills, you should leave some more for your profile summary. That’s the key step to optimizing your LinkedIn profile for higher visibility in search results!
These keywords act as strategic breadcrumbs you leave for the recruiters. OK, but where do you find them?
First, look into the popular job descriptions in your industry and jot down any recurring hard and soft skills. Then, browse your peers’ profiles and see what verbatim they are using. Lastly, you can always browse the official LinkedIn Skills database for suggestions.
Plus, Stanford has this nice list of LinkedIn keywords for different career niches.
4. Recap Your Career
Remember: your LinkedIn profile summary is an entrée, not the main course.
It should not recite your resume or other information you have listed in the Work Experience section. Instead, it should provide a quick overview of your main experience and achievements.
Ideally, you should answer these three questions in your summary:
- What are you doing right now?
- What are your main achievements?
- Where do you want to be next?
Below are several excellent LinkedIn summary examples, illustrating how to recap your career:
Former SVP of Marketing at Automatic
Machine Learning @ Apple
Director of Public Relations at Foundry
Bonus tip: If you are new to the workforce, try answering the next questions in your LinkedIn profile summary instead:
- What are your main career goals/aspirations?
- Why are you passionate about your industry, field of study, or research?
- Do you have any unique life experiences that made you interested in some particular industry?
5. Close With a Call-To-Action
A punchy call-to-action statement at the end of your LinkedIn profile should prompt further action from the reader:
- Encourage them to connect with you
- Message about any relevant job opportunities
- Contact you directly via your email or private messages
- Check your personal website or portfolio
Such a quick prompt will help you keep the ball rolling!
Your Next Step — Get More Active!
LinkedIn is a social media network, meaning that the more people you know — the higher are your chances of getting onto someone else’s radar. So once you are done with filling in your LinkedIn profile, work on growing your professional network.
- Connect with all your current and former colleagues
- Add people from your college
- Seek our connections with recruiters & HRs in companies you might be interested in working
Also, add a quick personal introduction note each time you are sending an invite that briefly states your reason for connecting, plus features your elevator pitch.
It looks like we are both working in the digital banking industry. I’m a Senior UX Designer at CocoBank, experienced in interaction design, rapid prototyping, and former Finalists in the Stirling Prize. Let me know if I could be of any help!”
And that’s how you master the LinkedIn game!