Over the years, I’ve reviewed many LinkedIn profiles of executive job seekers.
Even though plenty of evidence is stacked against it, a great percentage of the profiles I see have non-existent or severely anemic Summary sections.
These job seekers are neglecting a golden opportunity to tell their personal brand story.
Maybe they’re not actively job seeking, or just beginning a search. No matter, most anyone with a career or doing business in any way needs a complete LinkedIn profile.
No job is permanent these days. Those who are easily found online because their LinkedIn profiles are fully populated with keyword-rich content are way ahead of the game, should they suddenly be out of a job.
What’s so important about the LinkedIn Summary section?
LinkedIn provides various sections – Professional Headline, Experience, Skills and Endorsements, Education, etc. – which you’ll use to showcase and describe your many “hard” skills, strengths and achievements.
Think of the Summary section similarly, but for my clients I go beyond just the hard skills and weave in “soft” skills too, treating this section like a biography, which affords the opportunity for storytelling.
I highlight the qualities and personal attributes that make them a good fit for the companies and organizations they’re targeting . . . that is, I showcase the “personal” part of their personal brand.
The Summary section is where you tell your personal brand story, differentiating the value you offer over your competitors. Storytelling allows you to make a more vibrant connection with people than the dry resume-speak too often used here.
Your goal here is to strike a balance between personal branding and personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or hard vs. soft skills.
LinkedIn allows 2,000 characters and spaces in this section. You may be surprised by how much you can do with that.
Try to get across what you’re like to work with and how you get things done. Generate some chemistry!
To prompt your brand story, ask yourself questions like these:
- What makes me passionate about the work I do, and the work I will do for future employers?
- What combination of strengths and skills do I have that no one else does?
- What ROI (Return on Investment) do I have that makes me the best hiring choice?
- What makes me a good leader?
- How have I engaged and motivated my people to top performance?
Here are some strategies I use to elevate my clients’ LinkedIn Summary section:
As you’re compiling and writing this content, remember to pack in plenty of your relevant keywords and phrases, which you uncovered in researching your target employers.
- Add a quote of yours or someone else’s, speaking about the value you offer.
- Add 3-5 bullet points to highlight hard-hitting achievements and/or metrics, focused around your top relevant keywords and phrases, with a brief description of how you achieved these things.
- Include a brief paragraph about why you chose your profession or industry.
- For visual appeal, include plenty of white space and short paragraphs.
- Add some pizzazz with special characters.
- Break down the information into sub-sections, with headers in all caps, as I’ve done in my LinkedIn Summary.
- Leave a little room at the bottom of the Summary to list misspellings and variations of your name, so that people using them to search for you will still find your profile.
Give yourself permission to be bold and authentic in this content. You’re not boasting. You’re educating people about what makes you a good-fit candidate for the employers you’re targeting.
[This article was first published for my Personal Branding Expert gig on Job-Hunt.org.]