LinkedIn has been a popular career-networking tool for years. Recently, the LinkedIn summary has become an increasingly popular feature of the site ... so much so that my clients are asking me for help writing and revising their summary statements.
A good summary can tell the story of your career in your terms—highlighting the best moments of your work history, detailing your greatest strengths.
I have compiled my favorite tips for writing a strong summary statement based upon my experience writing my own summary, work with clients, and research on what earns the most views.
- Avoid the most commonly words. Two words are overused in summary statements across LinkedIn. Those words: responsible and creative. If those words appear anywhere in your LinkedIn summary, replace them with something more original.
- Know your audience—who are you targeting? Potential employers? Clients? Which industry do you want to work in? Is it media … energy … technology?
- Information to include: your most important accomplishments; what you do better than anyone else; quantifiable facts about your career; what distinguishes you from your peers.
- Format considerations—summary should be 2,000 or fewer characters; the current popular style is to write in 1st person, e.g., "I am a consultant who specializes in ..."
- Explain how you ADD VALUE—what service do you provide to your clients? How do you make money for your company?
- Include one or two brief statements about your personal interests—hobbies, philanthropic activities, life experiences, etc.
- Include the keywords you want to be searched for? Does your summary include the name of the job you have or the job you want? Does it include your ideal industry? If someone were to search you on LinkedIn or Google, would your summary statement come up as a result? For example, my summary should includes “Jessica Knapp,” “communication,” and “consultant.”
- Be sure to proofread.
This site offers several templates with helpful details to start you on writing a successful summary. Numbers 3, 4, and 5 are most applicable to traditional business contexts.
It takes trial and error to write a good summary statement, but the payoff is being able to present yourself to potential employers actually the way you want to be seen.