Yes, I am. Because, as much as I love the platform, I know there are tons of people out there who don’t leverage it to its full potential. And, it’s usually these same people who describe the network as a pointless waste of time.
One of the first places I look on a LinkedIn profile is the person’s summary. I love that space, because it’s the area where you can be the most creative on your profile. As opposed to filling in the fields about your education or listing the bullet points of your different job duties, your summary is the area where you have a little more creative freedom to talk about yourself and your professional history.
Needless to say, I think crafting a powerful summary for your own profile is important. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. So, here are four things I think you should be sure to include—all taken from my very own LinkedIn profile.
Here’s one thing those resume bullets won’t teach you: How did you end up here? What inspired you to pursue this career path?
I always recommend starting off your summary with a little anecdote or story about why you love what you do. This doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Perhaps your childhood lemonade stand is where your love for sales really started. Or, maybe those afternoons spent sticking bandaids to your stuffed animals inspired your passion for veterinary sciences.
You want the beginning of your summary to really suck people in. So, don’t start off with a cliché “My name is Kat, and I’m a freelance writer” sort of opening. You’ll lose your readers right away.
Let’s face it—very few people are going to read through every single word of your LinkedIn profile. So, those big accomplishments that you’re particularly proud of? Make sure that you include them early on in your summary in order to draw as much attention to them as possible.
For me, this means sharing the places I’m most of proud of being published. I list those out toward the beginning of my summary, to ensure that people take note of them. They’re also listed further down with my actual job experience. But, hey, those big achievements deserve to be listed more than once!
Next, it’s smart to chat about your skills and knowledge, as well as what exactly you do for your career right now. Again, this is your chance to craft more of a narrative around your experience and skill set, rather than attempting to capture the entire picture in a few short fragments.
For me, my key accomplishments overlap somewhat with my current experience. But, I actually think it creates a great transition! In this section, make your best effort to give people a sense of what your experience and strongpoints are. Imagine answering the question, “What are you really good at?” for a stranger and then go from there. It’ll help you touch on the main points, while still remaining friendly and conversational.
I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again: Your LinkedIn summary is your chance to share a little more of your personality with readers. So, don’t pass up on that opportunity! Yes, LinkedIn is a professional networking site, but that doesn’t mean you need to be dry and stiff.
So, inject a little of your voice into your writing. I make an attempt to do this throughout my summary, but really emphasize it at the end my concluding with a little tidbit about my life outside of work. I think that personal touch is a great reminder that it’s still a human interaction—we aren’t just faceless people hiding behind computer screens.
Now, open up a new browser tab and get to work on your own summary!
Until next time!