I discovered 3 really good example LinkedIn summaries in 2013 and decided to write about them. Got lucky, over 3 million people devoured that post. Thanks Google. I’ve read thousands of summaries since, most were ….just ok. Powerful, well written LinkedIn summaries are still rarer than rocking horse poop.
“Your LinkedIn Summary is the most important white space on your entire LinkedIn Profile” me in 2013. Remains true, even when truncated – it’s still the only section of your profile that projects your brand, above the fold, in your own voice.
LinkedIn gives you 2,000 characters, which equates to approximately 250-300 words, plenty of space to express yourself.
Make every word matter. Nanci Smith did exactly that.
Then there’s this delightful summary by Eleni Psaltis.
Ian Sohn nails it too.
Desmond Hardy, makes it look too easy.
The right words can be incredibly effective. Nanci, Eleni, Ian and Desmond waste no ink in getting their message across. Driven, endearing, engaging, authentic, their personalities leap off the page.
Do these summaries inspire you? How does your summary compare?
One Chance – First Impression
The summary is the only area on the LinkedIn profile where you get to define yourself from scratch, with a blank sheet, unencumbered by dates, labels or other text boxes. It’s important, because it’s the first thing people read when they’ve decided to click on your photo/headline or if they’ve actively searched on your name. It’s important, because it’s personal – its where people look to find out what makes you tick.
Are you in command of your narrative? Does your summary inform and engage?
Buzzwords Are Boringly Common Words
Every year LinkedIn studies millions of profiles to find the most common words found in LinkedIn summary statements. They’ve christened them ‘Buzzwords’ and if you’re using any of them, you should probably find alternatives. Here are the 10 most commonly used Buzzwords of 2018 (US market), in no particular order:
Specialized. Experienced. Leadership. Skilled. Passionate. Expert. Motivated. Creative. Strategic. Successful.
The Reason I’m Not Smiling?
Most of the LinkedIn summaries I’ve read have left me cold (that’s why I changed my LinkedIn headline to: “The reason I’m not smiling? I’ve seen too many awful LinkedIn profiles today“). Why is it that many professionals struggle mightily to articulate their brand on LinkedIn? When I ask my clients about this, they often tell me that they find it difficult to talk about themselves, not least in a self self promotional or personal manner. I get it, but the reality of LinkedIn marketing is that you only get one shot and the summary is the best (and most obvious) place to talk about your professional values and philosophy. If you fail to connect on a human to human level, LinkedIn will seem like a barren and austere place, because very few of those profile visits will result in action. Don’t think of a unique personal summary as oversharing, think of it as a natural prelude to a great conversation.
Tell Me Your Story
A summary is precisely that – a short version of why you do what you do, in your own words. If you can come across as authentic; convince everyone that what you do is also who you are, you’re golden. It’s not enough these days to let your experience speak for itself. We are all copywriters now.
Please write it in the 1st person. Writing a summary about yourself using 3rd person is a quaint form of deception which never worked on LinkedIn. It doesn’t make you more polished, it makes you seem aloof and out of touch.
Did you notice that none of those stunning summary writers use weird symbols or emojis? Just beautifully composed, unadorned, carefully selected words. Don’t symbol puke all over your summary. That’s gross.
Your LinkedIn summary is your chance to not only say what you’re good at, it’s also your opportunity to stand out from the crowd, to differentiate yourself, in a remarkable and memorable way. Be human, not humdrum.
Insightful LinkedIn Coaching
Not sure how to tell your story on LinkedIn? Is your profile meh? I can help firstname.lastname@example.org