(Primarily for job search, networking and – let’s face it – snooping on our old colleagues and class mates).
Having a captivating LinkedIn summary is essential if you’re serious about using LinkedIn to its fullest potential.
A crisp and highly engaging summary of your LinkedIn profile is the online equivalent of a firm handshake, a powerful elevator pitch and a sharp suit – all rolled into one.
Having said that, the thought of writing a LinkedIn summary still fills us with dread. Where do you start? What should you say?
In order to help you make your LinkedIn profile summary ultra click-worthy, I’ve put together these 7 rules to help you get started on the right track.
(By the way, if you want to have an even better LinkedIn profile while saving yourself a great deal of time, consider using my LinkedIn profile writing service).
1. Show And Tell.
Here’s a secret most recruiters won’t tell you: if your LinkedIn summary describes you as a ‘highly motivated leader with extensive experience and a passionate, results-driven approach,’ you’re pretty much asking for an eye-roll.
I find that going somewhere quiet and meditative really helps. This is my favourite “secret spot” to introspect and get clarity, by the way – the lovely Centennial Park in Sydney, a 10-minute walk from my home:
Which is why I’m always so confounded by (the vast majority of) LinkedIn profile summaries that are beige, vanilla, and boring.
In my experience, people get so caught up in sounding professional, they shoot themselves in the foot by making themselves indistinguishable from everyone else. Not exactly a positive quality in a highly competitive job market.
So how do you set yourself apart as likeable, competent and professional without also inducing a strong urge for an afternoon nap?
The key is to weave a story throughout your LinkedIn summary.
I want to know if my client has wanted to work in marketing since she was 12, if he became an accountant because he finds the innate precision of numbers satisfying, or what makes her leap out of bed in the morning.
Those are the personality gems I weave throughout profiles: stories from someone’s life and experience that offer insight into who they are and what they’re like to work with.
5. Adopt A Smart-Casual Tone.
We’re in the online world here. It’s the land of millennials, of Google and Twitter. Here, talking in a formal tone is a bit like rocking up to a casual lunch in a tuxedo.
Yes, your grammar must be spot on, but you can certainly become more fluid in your approach to language.
This isn’t a business brief, letter or your professional resume, and as such, you have a degree of creative latitude. You want to engage, and most importantly, you want people to be able to relate to you.
6. Say Your LinkedIn Summary Out Loud.
To get this “voice” right, read your draft out loud. You’ve got it right when you can say it to your partner / flatmate / cat / mirror without tripping up over your words.
If your sentences are too long, too formal, or you wouldn’t say something about yourself to a room of people, cross it out and start again.
7. Be Visual.
Blocks of text are boring. Your content might be outstanding, but no one will read it if looks too long.
Break it up with subtitles, bullets or lines between paragraphs to keep the eyes moving and to highlight the really important parts of your text.
Don’t forget to keep it brief – LinkedIn has a limit of 2000 characters (including spaces), so you don’t have much time to get your point across.
Lastly, be authentic. Don’t copy parts of your company website, or paste your existing resume profile. Resist the use of overused words like “dynamic”, “creative” and “extensive”, and try to keep industry-specific corporate jargon to a minimum.
Your LinkedIn Profile Is A Living Document.
It’s an extension of your professional life and a mouthpiece of your professional identity. Even if it’s pretty it will be mostly useless if it’s disconnected from the world.
Get into a habit of reaching out to people and making useful connections.
I remember a few years ago the newspaper Australian Financial Review ran a clever – and very successful – advertising campaign in which it positioned itself as “a daily habit of successful people”.
Those of you who were in Australia at the time will remember this:
I believe that the times have changed and LinkedIn now legitimately holds that title.
The question is – what was the last time you logged in and made a mutually beneficial connection with a like-minded professional?