LinkedIn may have undergone many changes over the past year but one thing remains the same – your LinkedIn summary continues to be one of the most important, if not THE most important, features of your profile. Therefore, it is essential that you capitalize on this valuable space by maximizing what you offer to potential viewers of your profile.
Your LinkedIn Profile is not your resume and if you are using it as such you are limiting yourself professionally. There are certain expectations and restrictions that have become standard for a resume; your LinkedIn profile gives you the freedom to embrace your individuality and express your personality in a way that a resume doesn’t. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to market yourself in a broader sense and is so much more than a traditional resume so take advantage of it by letting some of your personality show through. Your summary is exactly the place to market yourself by offering insight into your professional vision, accomplishments, and goals.
The purpose of your LinkedIn profile is to connect with professional contacts and prospective employers. While it’s very easy to make superficial contacts, the true purpose is to have a profile that makes the reader contact you for a genuine connection or job opening. The key to making these authentic connections is creating a LinkedIn profile that offers a compelling summary that draws the reader in and makes them want more.
Much like a newspaper reserves the front page for the big, juicy news stories, your summary can be considered the ‘front page’ of your profile. If your reader has to scroll down to get to the good stuff you risk your reader not scrolling down at all. Put your good stuff front and center on your profile. Don’t make them look for it. Your summary has to promote, sell, and close the deal. It may sound difficult but it doesn’t have to be.
There are 2,000 characters available to you for your summary. This doesn’t mean you need to use all 2,000 characters; when it comes to your summary you should strive for quality over quantity. A text heavy summary can be overwhelming to your reader and make it hard for your best qualities to shine through. To start off you need something that will get your reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading. You don’t want to sound like everyone else so bring attention to the attributes that set you apart. Your summary is a great place to talk about career accomplishments; you might not have room for all of them, but a few select accomplishments that show what you’ve done and what you can replicate for potential employers will have an impact on your reader.
Make sure you work in industry-specific keywords as this will increase your chances of showing up in a search. However, try to avoid what mashable.com deemed the most overused buzzwords: creative, organizational, effective, motivated, extensive experience, track record, innovative, responsible, analytical, and problem solving.
Even though you can’t use different fonts, colors, or enhancements on your profile you can bring attention to your summary by using a little creativity. Try using: ******* , ======= , -> -> -> , >>>>>> , or ^^^^^^^ as bullet points or to separate sections of your summary in order to bring a little style to your profile.
Do a search for your same position and see what comes up. This will give you a good idea of what’s out there and how to make your profile stand out. See what others have done, what you like, and what you don’t like. While it’s ok to borrow qualities you like from other profiles it is important to still make your profile and summary your own.
Once you have an outstanding summary make sure to maintain it by keeping your summary current, monitoring your views, and being an active LinkedIn participant.
by Megan Koehler