Who Else Wants a Great LinkedIn Summary?


linkedinsummariesHave you ever noticed the difference between a good LinkedIn profile and a great one? Both have most, if not all, of the sections filled out—a headline, a timeline of professional experiences, several recommendations and maybe a few personal interests listed. However, the great LinkedIn profile likely has something the good one does not: an unforgettable, compelling summary.

The LinkedIn summary is arguably the most important part of your profile. Why? Because it’s one of the first opportunities a recruiter or potential employer has to find out who you are, and we all know first impressions matter. It’s also your chance to tell your story in a way that sets you apart from everyone else. Consider it a lengthier version of an elevator pitch that uses 2,000 characters to answer the question, “Who are you and what do you do?”

Crafting a superb LinkedIn summary is not easy. In fact, this section is often the hardest for my clients and the main reason they come to me for help when working on their LinkedIn profiles. I guide them on how to use LinkedIn as effectively as possible to help them get their next job. I also share several LinkedIn tips to draw more eyes to their profiles. Below are a few initial steps you can take now to move your LinkedIn profile from good to great:

Know Your Hook

When creating your LinkedIn summary, first ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I do what I do? What’s my passion and my story?
  • What are three of my biggest career accomplishments? What am I most proud of and what has led to me being promoted in the past?
  • What training or skills do I have that differentiates me from others with a similar background? What do I think I bring to the table that others do not?

These questions will help you identify your hook. In music, the hook is what typically catches the ear of the listener. It’s what makes them want to hear more. So, think of your LinkedIn summary as a song and determine what about your summary will hook the reader so that they want to learn more.

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Recruiters search LinkedIn using keywords, so if you want to show up on a recruiter’s radar, you need to anticipate the keywords they will use to find someone in the position you would like to have. Once you have identified those keywords, weave them throughout your summary in a way that does not take away from your story but still gets your profile noticed. When in doubt, check out the profiles of people who are working in your desired field and see how they use keywords.  You can also find ten relevant job descriptions and highlight the most commonly used keywords. Once you’ve identified those keywords, make sure to use them in your summary and, while you’re at it, incorporate a few into your headline.

Aim for a Tone That Fits Your Desired Employer(s)

This is a tip not enough people pay attention to: make sure the tone of your summary fits the company you want to work for! Are you looking for a job in a conservative environment? If so, don’t be too out-of-the-box in your LinkedIn summary. You want to envision the ideal candidate the recruiter is looking for and think about how you would tell your story as that candidate. If you’re interested in a position within an off-the-wall creative agency, then now’s the time to show your inventive thinking and unique background in a way that screams off-the-wall creative! *Side note: It’s helpful to scour LinkedIn to see how existing employees within your desired companies talk about the work they do. A key to success for many of my clients has been using the jargon they see on LinkedIn during interviews to show that they are the right fit for the company. Why not do the same digitally and use some of that jargon in your LinkedIn profile? If you do, you’ll be a few steps ahead of the competition.


Don’t Forget Appearances

Have you ever seen a long, winding paragraph and thought, I don’t want to read that. Well, the same can be said for a long, winding LinkedIn summary. Remember that how the content looks is just as important as the content itself. Break up your summary and present it in a way that’s easily legible. Some people like to list their specialties at the end, but you may find it more visually interesting to position them in the middle of your summary. Unlike your resume, here you can easily play around with layouts and find the best option by noting how many people viewed your profile before the changes and comparing that with the number of visitors after the changes have been made. Also try reformatting your headline to see what visually appealing features make the most impact.


Tell the Reader What to Do Next

A great LinkedIn summary doesn’t just tell a captivating story, it provides a call-to-action for the reader, enticing them to take a next step. This may be in the form of an email so that the recruiter can get in touch with you directly, or a URL for a website you want the reader to visit. Think about what you want the reader to do at the end of your summary and make that known. It makes getting in touch much easier for the recruiter and will draw more attention to whatever you would like to highlight.
Once you’ve completed these steps, gauge how your profile stacks up against other great ones and look to see if the number of people who view your profile increases. I’m willing to bet it does! For more LinkedIn tips and secrets, contact me for a consultation and guidance on how to write an unforgettable LinkedIn profile that tells your great story.


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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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