Chances are, if you’re a professional in today’s social media-driven world, you have a LinkedIn profile. According to LinkedIn, their professional social network now includes 380,000,000 registered users–and it’s growing. With 118 million users in the U.S. and 39 million students and recent college graduates joining the site, it’s worth pausing to consider a simple change that can make you stand out in the crowded world of LinkedIn: writing a stand-out summary.
On LinkedIn, the summary feature is the first part of your profile viewers must scroll through. It’s a crucial virtual first impression you can make to current and future employers and colleagues. However, many users overlook their LinkedIn summary as simply one more box to fill out and feature to scroll past. But leaving the summary blank it is a serious misstep, because it’s the ideal space to briefly tell the story of who you are and what you do. Without it, you risk creating a profile filled with experience but lacking a humanizing portrait of the person behind the profile.
Whether you’re going into the job market or simply need to update or rewrite your current summary, consider the following tips:
1. Tell the story of who you are
The summary is the best place on your LinkedIn profile to give people a sense of who you are, including your personality, your passions, and your achievements. Keep your writing polished and professional, but write in first person and allow your personality to shine through.
2. Start with a hook
Since the summary is the first significant block of text viewers will encounter on your profile, try to write an original and attention-grabbing opening sentence that will encourage visitors to keep reading. Avoid cliches and vague language, such as “I work in consulting.” Be more descriptive and aim for an opening line that helps you to stand out from the crowd.
3. Keep it short and reader-friendly
The summary has a 2,000 character limit, so keep your writing succinct and focused. Maximize the character limit, but pick carefully what you choose to highlight. Your job experience and qualifications are featured elsewhere on your profile, so think about focusing on
information that visitors to your page won’t find elsewhere on your profile.
Remember, your LinkedIn summary is your a great opportunity to convey your passions, motivations, and accomplishments in your own words on your profile. So, spend the time to craft a professional and personal summary. If you’re still looking for tips to boost your LinkedIn profile, consider taking an elearning class on LinkedIn, such as Optimising Your Presence on LinkedIn, available on OpenSesame.com.