Your LinkedIn summary is one of the most important parts of your profile. It’s an opportunity to show people who you are, what you do and spark people’s interest, motivating them to want to learn more about you. However, many people either don’t write a summary or completely miss the target in terms of making a lasting impact on their audience.
In this article, I’m going to equip you with everything you’ll need to write a LinkedIn summary that successfully expresses your personal brand, authentically tells your story and profitably markets you as a professional.
What Makes A Strong Summary?
The best LinkedIn summaries tell a story. The goal here is to be personable and go beyond just sharing your accomplishments, accolades and professional experience. Now, that’s not to say that those aspects aren’t important, believe me, they are. However, people are much more likely to hear what you have to say if they feel like they know you.
So, to kick start your summary writing journey, let’s jump into some actionable tips that will make a real impact on your LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Summary Writing Pro Tips
Grab Attention Immediately
Only the first three lines of your LinkedIn summary are visible to those visiting your profile without having to click “Show More”. This is why it’s so important to start off with a bang. Remember, when people visit your profile, some may have a low level of commitment towards your brand and might leave fairly quickly if they aren’t given a good reason to stick around.
LinkedIn Summary Examples That Are Rocking It
Patrick Bet David
Patrick immediately related to people by showing that he’s been through extreme adversity and has overcame it. Also, sharing how he escaped from a war torn country is quite personal which lets the reader get a peek into who he is as a person.
Tony jumps right into telling his story. He gives readers insight into why he chose entrepreneurship and shared a bit about his upbringing. This immediately creates a sense of curiosity and entices people to know more about him, his business and his journey.
SEO Optimize Your LinkedIn Summary
Due to it’s high domain authority, search engines deliver a lot of results from LinkedIn. This is why it’s so important to include relevant keywords in your summary. Take the time to do proper keyword research and give thought to which keywords you want to rank for both on and off of LinkedIn.
NOTE: Pay attention to who is currently showing up for the keywords you want to target on LinkedIn and how those same people are showing up in the Google and Bing SERP.
LinkedIn SEO Optimization Tips:
- Use a vanity URL
- Target a blend of short tail and long tail keywords
- Use tools like SEM Rush, Wordstream’s Keyword Tool and Google Keyword Planner to conduct your keyword research
- Tastefully place keywords in your LinkedIn headline
- Include keywords in your posts and use related hashtags
Avoid Talking About Yourself In The 3rd Person
Imagine that you are sitting down to an interview or a business meeting with a potential client. Only, as soon as you begin the conversation you do so in the 3rd person. People would think you’re crazy! Your LinkedIn summary should feel as though you are talking directly to the reader.
Using terms like “I”, “We” and “Us” makes your summary personable and makes readers feel as though they are listening to your voice instead of reading a biography written by someone else. This simple strategy helps your personal brand to be memorable and makes a much stronger first impression of first time profile visitors.
Know Your Buyer’s Persona & Target Audience
When writing your LinkedIn summary, it’s important to remember that you’re not just writing to anybody. Tailor the message of your summary to who your your ideal audience and what’s important to them. For example, if you’re a B2B SaaS marketer but used to be a life coach, it might not be relevant to include old life coaching certifications you’ve held in the past.
While writing your summary ask yourself questions, especially questions you think your customers would be asking, such as:
- “What value does this person hold to me and my business?”
- “What about this person can I relate to on a personal level?”
- “Why should I reach out and connect with this person further?”
- “What makes this person credible and trustworthy?”
- “What results has this person produced for other people?”
Have A Clear Call To Action
You can do an excellent job telling your story and fueling people’s interest but without a clear call to action, your summary lacks direction. When you build trust and cultivate interest in what you do, make it simple for people to know how to reach out to you and what you want them to do.
This is also a great time to get creative. Many people just drop a website link and their phone number but that’s generic and you’re looking to differentiate. Use some humor and invite people to a video call or if they are located nearby make it clear that you are open to a cup of coffee. Leave people thinking “I wouldn’t mind having lunch with this person.”
Showcase Your Accomplishments And Specialties
What do you do and why do you do it? Your summary should answer this question. Further, it should also touch on things that validate you such as testimonials, media mentions and awards. Now, it’s important to note that you should not overdo this. Your summary should be at least 30% personal.
Don’t shy away from including your interests, aspirations and quirky personality traits that make you who you are. The old stuffy corporate approach is a bit cold and if there is one thing that people are looking for in this world it’s reliability. If you’re approachable and give people a reason to want to build a relationship with you, you’re in a much better position to drive meaningful results for your business than someone who just lists out a 3rd person biography and a list of certifications.
Structure Your Summary To Be Digestible
Break up the information features in your LinkedIn summary into digestible blocks of content and separate each block of text with a descriptive header. If your summary is one giant block of text with no white space to breathe, it’s unlikely people will read it and your message could get overlooked.
Instead, write a rough draft of your summary and plan out each section, what you want to say and in what cadence you want to deliver the content.
Don’t Make Your Entire Summary A Sales Pitch
Your summary is your handshake to the world, not a space to sell people your offerings. That’s not to say you should not include a brief value proposition to impact your LinkedIn lead generation efforts but it most certainly should not be the center piece here.
The rough reality here is that your products and services aren’t that cool. But, you are! Before people buy from you, they want to know who you are and if they can trust you. Your summary is a great place to build that trust and start your relationship with people off to a warm start, and show them the unique, beautiful person that you are.
Have Your Headline & Recommendations Compliment Your Summary
If you mention a particular specialty, skill, or service in your summary, utilize the recommendations section of your profile to bring credibility to your claims. Nothing quite impacts your online reputation like having other people willing to put their reputation on the line for you.
Differentiation should always remain top of mind when it comes to your LinkedIn profile and you’d be surprised at how many people have no recommendations to back up the services they offer and the skills they have. Use this as an opportunity to set yourself apart from your competition. It’s doesn’t matter whether you’re an entrepreneur, a job seeker or a hiring manager, social proof is a great way to show other people that you are trustworthy and credible.
So, what about your LinkedIn headline? This is another area of your profile that’s prime real estate for drawing people in. It’s also a great area to lead into what people will see in your summary. Keep it short, sweet and powerful. Also, include the keywords that are most important for you to rank for, as this area of your profile also impacts how you will show up in search results.
Avoid Jargon And Hyperbole
Don’t speak in theory and include language that’s not impactful. Moreover, try to avoid using industry terminology that some people might not understand. It might deter some members of your audience.
Another thing to avoid is over exaggerating your points or experience. Transparency and authenticity go a long way. Many people get so caught up trying to impress others and “getting people to take them seriously” that they forget that they are more than good enough just the way they are.
Add Multi Media To Your Summary
Having creative appeal is absolutely paramount to a successful LinkedIn summary. Include videos, pictures and documents that support your overall story, value proposition and brand message.
Ideas For Adding Rich Media To Your Profile
- Video of keynote speeches you’ve done or presentations you’ve given
- Case studies that bring validity to your products and services
- Documents featuring projects you’ve worked on
- eBooks you’ve written that are relevant to your audience on LinkedIn
- Pictures of you at an event, conference or of your family
- Videos of training or workshops that you’ve delivered
Answer The Right People’s Questions
What does your target market, audience and buyers want to know about you? What’s important to your potential clients and what resonates with them? These are questions that can only be answered by data and truly knowing who your customers are.
You can collect this by monitoring how people behave on your website, how they consume your content, analyzing their online behaviors and leveraging third party data. Moreover, your summary should be seasoned with answers to key questions that profile visitors will likely have. Remember, their curiosity is a major opportunity for you. After all, they’re spending time on your LinkedIn profile for a reason.
So, how can you position your summary to be not only educational but also engaging and actionable? Consider stepping out of your mind for a moment and putting yourself in your clients shoes.
Consider asking the following questions from the customer’s perspective:
- What does this person do and what do other people say about their work?
- How is this person relevant to my goals, business and life?
- Is this person trustworthy and credible?
- Are they the solution to some of my current business challenges?
- Why should I spend more time exploring this person’s profile?
Check For Grammatical Correctness & Proofread Your Summary
Nothing puts a ding in your message like poor sentence structure and misspellings. At the end of the day, we’re all human and of course we make mistakes but that’s what we have tools like Grammarly and spell checker for. In order for your message to be professional and your summary to be interpreted properly you’ve got to invest the time to ensure your message is articulated well and your good grammar is successfully utilized.
Share Your Summary With Others And Ask For Feedback
Sometimes you’ve got to admit your baby is ugly. Through your eyes, your summary might be the image of perfection. To the contrary, another might see many opportunities to improve it. This is why it’s important to ask others how they perceive your summary.
However, don’t ask a crowd of yes men or just a few family members. Ensure you ask a few friends, a few colleagues, a few customers and maybe even a few prospective customers. Who knows, a prospective customer might just be flattered that you asked for their feedback, then read your summary and become motivated to explore your product or service offering further.
To help open up dialogue and get the most meaningful feedback, have a list of succinct question to ask.
- How did my LinkedIn summary make you feel when you read it?
- Was my summary easy to digest and did it captivate you quickly?
- Did you feel compelled to learn more about me and my brand?
- How well did my summary do in terms of building initial trust?
- Were you motivated to take my call to action?
- What would you change about my summary?
Your LinkedIn summary can either be a beautiful opportunity to establish trust and build interest or it can be an empty block of hyperbole and fluff with no clear message. Further, it has been proven that complete profiles are forty times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Your summary is a key part in having a complete profile that engages your audience and gives people real reasons to want to connect with you and explore who you are, what you do and what you offer.
What are some summaries that stand out to you? Has your summary resulted in a valuable business relationship? Share your story in the comments!