First impressions count and your Linkedin summary is often the first opportunity a potential employer has to find out who you are beyond a photo and a job title. So, make the most those precious moments. Follow these essential tips to impress employers.
TIP #1: Never leave the Summary section blank!! A blank Summary means that the first thing an employer sees is your experience section. An employer is evaluating whether to make the effort to attempt to contact you – your summary is your opportunity to grasp their attention.
TIP #2: Use all 2,000 characters. If you do not take advantage of this opportunity to write 2,000 characters about yourself, you are missing out on essential keyword optimization. Although the MOST important spots for keywords are your Headline, Specialties and Job Titles, your Summary section counts too. Load it up with keywords that the next recruiter or hiring manager will be searching for! Using all 2,000 characters will also give you an opportunity to implement TIPS #3, 4 and 5 below.
TIP #3: Tell stories. Share your accomplishments. Everyone likes a good story. If you can grab some attention with something about yourself that we wouldn’t know from your resume bullets, you’re heading in the right direction. Jason Alba in particular suggests writing PAR (Problem – Action – Result) stories in your summary statement. I would recommend including at least one, and also including up to three bullets with your top accomplishments. Can you “wow” a recruiter or hiring manager with one of your experiences or achievements? Why hope that they’ll make it far enough in your Experience section to read about what you’ve done? The Summary is your first chance. Grab it.
TIP #4: Break it up (with Headers, Sub-Headers and Graphics)! Don’t expect anyone to read a big block of text with no graphic interest. Make it visually easy to read. Also, think of some good headlines and taglines that you can use within your Summary. Here are some examples of headers:
PROCUREMENT AND TREASURY SPECIALIST:
INCREASING THE BOTTOM LINE ON GLOBAL ACCOUNTS
CREATIVE, STRATEGIC MARKETER | OUT-OF-THE-BOX CORPORATE IDENTITY DESIGNER
BUSINESS-SAVVY CORPORATE COUNSEL: MANAGING LEGAL ISSUES TO ADVANCE CORPORATE GOALS
And here are suggestions of subheaders, some of them general and some more specific:
BUILDING TRUST | ENGINEERING WINNING TEAMS
AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE | SURPASSING TARGETED GOALS
These sub-headers are an opportunity to brand yourself. Do you know what your strengths are? Put them in your summary. Using sub-headers to do it works wonders.
Note: Each of those lines across the page that you see above takes up 42 characters. If you need those 42 characters for something else, you might use other graphic elements like stars and bullets. Here are some that work: ◙❖■★►
Using these symbols, along with headers and sub-headers to break up text, will engage your readers and make your Summary a lot more catchy and interesting to read!
TIP #5: Include your contact information. Make it easy for people to find you. If you’re comfortable, include your phone number and e-mail. Or just include your email, or perhaps a special e-mail you use just for LinkedIn, so if you get spammed you can easily close the account.