In any sort of persuasive speech, your attention-getter sets the tone of the entire performance. An engaging introduction reels your audience in, while a boring one sends them looking elsewhere. Imagine walking into a hotel lobby and finding it unpleasant. No matter how good your room may be, that initial entrance soured the experience.
Your LinkedIn profile is the same way. Using LinkedIn is vital for the modern job search, and your summary is your introduction to recruiters. The website itself declares the summary as one of the most important pieces of information you can describe.
“Your summary or About section is the one place you define yourself in your own words, free of start dates and titles. Whether you use it to put career choices in context, highlight your biggest achievements, or show off your personality, the summary is your chance to put your best self out there. It strengthens your first impression in a way no other Profile section can.” –LinkedIn
If you’re doing some spring cleaning with your profile, we’ll go teach you how to craft an exceptional summary that shows the real you.
Prioritize the first few sentences
If your summary is the introduction to your profile, the first few words are the introduction to your introduction. Laura Smith-Proulx reveals that your full summary isn’t immediately displayed until someone clicks on “see more” (on both mobile and desktop versions).
That means your summary needs to “pop” immediately to catch the eyes of the looker. You want to hook your audience immediately by getting directly into your brand and making your objective clear right away.
The modern job search is all about appeasing the search engine. Realizing this is the key to making sure you’ll show up in a recruiter’s search at all. To do that, LinkedIn experts recommend using keywords throughout your profile.
Executive resume writer Jessica Hernandez simply defines these keywords as “Keywords are a list of words and phrases that are related to your work—they are the words that a prospective employer would search for when trying to find someone like you.”
Find words relevant to your industry and use them often. This will make sure you show up in searches AND make it easier for a prospective employer to get an idea of what you’re all about. While you should use keywords, make sure to avoid making your profile a jumbled mess of jargon.
Showcase your personality
A recruiter isn’t just getting an automaton worker when they look at your profile; they are looking at a complex human being. At the end of the day, not only does a recruiter want a qualified worker, but they want someone that is a good cultural fit for the organization.
Because of the nature of LinkedIn, you still want to be professional, but don’t be afraid to let a little flair or humor out. If you followed the above advice, your audience will get a view of you as a worker and you as a person. Having this insight allows the reader to have a more detailed picture of how you will fit in with the company.
Find a format that works for you
In keeping with the above advice, you can craft the style of your summary in a manner that best describes you. There isn’t a single cookie-cutter approach to take. SocialTalent reminds us that the summary is your chance to tell your story as you see it. Just like in an elevator pitch, you’re using that short space to say who you are and what you bring to the table.
The Muse’s Aja Frost analyzes different strategies for telling that story, including the mission-based strategy, the personal strategy, the short-and-sweet summary, the blended summary, and the accomplishment summary. These five example methods allow you to decide what’s important for you and the best way to summarize yourself. All five are great starting points, and you can click the above link for more details.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn itself goes over 14 well-designed and radically different summary styles and provides reasons why they work. All 14 off an excellent place to start and can serve as a template for your own story. It’s all about finding the best way to represent you!
Your LinkedIn summary is a summary of you as a worker, told by you. This is a chance for you to be yourself, and ideally, you don’t talk in third person in real life. Avoid this common pitfall!
Aja Frost provides us with a great example of a short, detailed summary that follows all of the above advice.
If you aren’t using LinkedIn as part of your job search strategy, you need to do so immediately! And a successful LinkedIn summary is the welcome mat to the rest of your profile. Make sure it’s clear, direct, and a good summary of you, the writer. There isn’t one successful must-use template, so do some research and some tweaking and find what works for you!