Being on LinkedIn involves more than just having a LinkedIn profile. You need to optimize your profile too. But we get it: it’s not the most sexy thing on your to-do list.
However, as a job seeker, LinkedIn could be one of your strongest tools in your tool box, just like your resume or CV. It’s your digital business card and your summary is the equivalent to your elevator pitch.
In general, there are two types of recipients for your LinkedIn profile: the built-in search engine (the algorithm) and the real life human beings who visit your profile. In order to satisfy the search engine you need to feed it with the right keywords. That means keywords related to your industry and career. In order to satisfy the real life humans (a.k.a. recruiters and people who are interested in your professional life) you need to appeal to their heart and mind.
But what exactly is a LinkedIn summary and why does it matter what it says? I will answer that and more in this article. So grab a cup of coffee, lean back and start learning.
What is a Linkedin summary? And why do I need it?
A LinkedIn summary is an essential part of your LinkedIn profile. It’s the first thing people see when they visit your profile. That’s why leaving it blank (or just using LinkedIn’s standard suggestion) just won’t cut it.
It’s simple, really. You need a great LinkedIn summary in order to show up in more relevant searches. And you need your summary in order to stand out from the rest of the search results (aka. the competition).
You can use your LinkedIn summary no matter if you’re an active job seeker or if you’re trying to build your personal brand. Either way it’s an integral part of your profile.
It is your chance to shine on your profile - completely free of dates and titles. This is all you. You can choose to focus on your biggest achievements, your great personality, your career as a whole, or something completely different. But no matter what you choose, your summary section strengthens your personal brand like no other section of your profile.
How to write a LinkedIn summary - 9 tips
If you find it difficult to start writing your own LinkedIn summary we’ve created a list of 9 tips to get you going. Remember, there is no right or wrong here (except for not having a LinkedIn summary at all).
- Take some time to reflect on what makes you unique
- Start out strong
- Know which keywords are relevant and use them
- Be open about your career
- Tell about your greatest accomplishments (use specific examples and data)
- Inject some personality to your LinkedIn summary
- You have 2,600 characters available - use as many as possible
- Keep your LinkedIn summary readable - add plenty of bullets and whitespace
- Use a call to action at the end - what do you want visitors to do?
This list is meant as an inspiration to get you started and not all tips may apply to you and your situation. So take the ones that feel right and get started on your own LinkedIn summary.
8 great real life LinkedIn summary examples
We are all different and some of us just visualize things better when there are some tangible examples to look at. That’s why we’ve searched high and low for some great real life LinkedIn summary examples for you to be inspired from.
Business Development Manager LinkedIn summary
This business development manager uses his LinkedIn summary to tell about his personal approach and dedication to his work. After describing this he goes on to list his specialities and more general skill sets. He uses the keywords he wants to rank on in searches and ensures the relevant people find him.
Group Director LinkedIn summary
This LinkedIn summary example from a group director illustrates passion, dedication, competency, and some impressive results and tasks. Note how she manages to add in relevant keywords both in the main text and at the end as a list of specialties.
Lawyer LinkedIn summary
In this summary example the lawyer shows her expertise by mentioning how many years of experience she has and which degrees she holds. This is essential information and is sure to stand out on a search. She also lists her core competencies so that she’s sure to appear on the relevant searches.
Managing Director LinkedIn summary
As a Managing Director for a company you’re probably on LinkedIn to make connections within your industry. That means it’s important to focus on what your company can offer to potential customers and employers. This summary focuses on just that: What they offer, what makes them unique and who their solutions are ideal for. The call to action in the bottom is great for potential clients to get in touch.
SEO Specialist LinkedIn summary
As in the example above, a SEO specialist needs a big network of potential collaborators and clients. In this LinkedIn summary our SEO specialist quickly sums up what he can offer clients and what results he has achieved. Note how he also added a bit of social proof by writing what other clients have said about his work. He also writes a very clear call to action in the end by inviting people to connect with him.
Software Architect LinkedIn summary
This software architect’s main goal with his LinkedIn summary is to display his skills. He does this by listing his extensive knowledge areas and core competencies. This summary is filled with relevant keywords for both the algorithm and visitors. A classic version of a short summary.
Taxation Specialist LinkedIn summary
Taxation laws are notoriously difficult to understand so a LinkedIn summary for a taxation specialist needs to be in a language that everyone is familiar with. In this example it is easy to understand what is being said and you’ll quickly learn if you are in the right place to get help. Besides this, the keywords he’s implemented make sure he is among the relevant search results.
UX Designer LinkedIn summary
This UX designer adds a personal touch to her LinkedIn summary by mentioning how she lives and breathes UX so much that it’s become part of her DNA. This is a great way to show you’re passionate about your job and it will without a doubt attract attention.
Takeaways on How to Write a LinkedIn Summary
So, you’re now familiar with the importance of your LinkedIn summary and know a few tips and tricks to get you started. As you can see there are many (many!) different ways to approach this and in the end you’ll need to find out for yourself what works for you. The summary you write today might change in a year. And that’s a good thing. It means you’re evolving as a professional.
The most important takeaway is this: Write a LinkedIn summary. It doesn’t have to be long or perfect. As long as it’s there. Use the relevant keywords and base it on you and what makes you unique.