In a recent article, I shared a step-by-step process on how to create a powerful LinkedIn headline. Here are 6 secrets for creating a powerful LinkedIn summary:
1. Start smart. Before you write your LinkedIn summary, you need to be clear on why you are using LinkedIn. Are you seeking a job in a new field? Are you happily employed but simply looking to build up your personal brand? Are you looking to strengthen your professional network? Are you looking to land new customers for your business? Chances are you probably have several goals. However, most LinkedIn users haven’t given much thought to who they are trying to impress or why they are using the site, which is why most LinkedIn summaries are not very clear or compelling. As the late, great Stephen Covey would say, “begin with the end in mind.”
2. Highlight the problems you solve. No matter why you are using LinkedIn, your summary should expand on your headline by telling the reader which problems you solve. In other words, discuss who you help and how you help them.
3. Provide evidence for your credibility. Assume that people reading your profile will be skeptical. Anyone can claim that they are a “visionary” or that they have “superior communication skills.” Highlight 3-5 of your most relevant, impressive achievements as “evidence” for your value.
4. Tell a story. The best LinkedIn profiles also have a human element to them and elicit emotion in the reader. Potential connections, employers and customers want to know why you do the work you do (or why you want to work in a certain field, if you don’t work in it yet). When you have a compelling reason/story behind your chosen career path, you appear even more interesting and credible. It’s even better if you can highlight some obstacles you overcame in your life/career in conjunction with your story.
5. Be accessible. Include your contact information. At the minimum, EVERYONE using LinkedIn should include their email address in their summary. For those who disagree, why are you using the site if you’re not open to connecting with new people? The minimal risk of being spammed far outweighs the potential reward in being accessible to anyone who wants to connect with you. This is especially true if you are looking for a new job or working in any sort of sales capacity.
6. Do NOT write in the first person. Summaries written in the first person sound very pretentious, especially when you are discussing your achievements. Use bullet points or write your summary in the third person.
P.S. You can check out my LinkedIn summary here.
Pete Leibman is the Founder of Dream Job Academy and the Author of “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You: 7 Steps to Creating Your Ideal Career After College” (AMACOM, 2012). His work has been featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN, and he’s a popular Keynote Speaker at career events for students and at conferences for people who work with students.