How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Summary

 

LinkedIn summary makeoverThe hardest part of the LinkedIn profile for most people to write is their summary. This makes sense because there are no subsections or text boxes to fill in – just 2000 characters’ worth of space to fill and millions of profiles to use an examples. Where do you begin?

With your UVP, or Unique Value Proposition, of course. In other words, begin with Brand You™. What makes you stand out in your profession? Why should an employer hire you over another equally experienced candidate? What kinds of results have you achieved throughout your career to date? When you examine your background for evidence of your brand, you’re bound to discover brand assets – those nuggets of experience, pedigree, credentials, skills, and achievements that when strung together like a string of pearls help prove your UVP.

Once you’ve done that, though, how do you showcase your brand assets in your summary? There are endless ways to do so, but here are a few summary mini-templates to consider in your own quest for a stronger LinkedIn profile:

  • Write a letter to your target market. If your job search is highly focused, consider structuring it in letter form so you can speak directly to your target employers or industries. Write in the first person while showcasing your brand. This approach can easily be combined with almost any other summary structure, as well.

Mini-Template:

    • Choose a specific group, type of company, or industry to address your letter to.
    • Introduce yourself and your career through a career overview statement that weaves together a brief description of your career personality with a snapshot of your career to date. For example, “As a Senior Operations Manager and natural “fixer,” I have led 3 organizational transformations and 4 post-acquisition integrations throughout my tenure with Xerox, Dell, and Microsoft, which have enabled me to carve out a total of more than $450M in savings and catalyze $5.5B in revenue gains.
    • Note 3-4 ways you can positively impact the typical problems your target market faces. Keep it brief and powerful and use industry-specific key words wherever possible.
    • Close with a list of your strongest and most relevant skills.
  • Present a career and achievement overview. Achievements create evidence for your brand by proving the impact you have had on your employers to date. Taking this approach to your LinkedIn summary will heighten attention on your career brand.

Mini- Template:

    • Identify your single most critical achievement in each of the roles you have held over the last 10 years. If you’ve held the same role for most or all of that time, identify your top 3-4 achievements in that position.
    • Combine apples with apples – that is, blend or add up similar achievements. If you consistently saved money in multiple roles, add those up to create a grand total for your career to date. Make sure you’re capturing the impacts your achievements have had on the company. So, if you saved $150M that’s awesome, but if in doing so you improved cash flow enough to help position the company for a sale that netted 4X its value, that’s even more awesome and more important to point out.
    • Break out additional components of your background that substantiate your brand, such as your credentials, any honors or awards, or your career pedigree.
    • Close with a list of your strongest and most relevant skills.
  • Craft a CAR story. I hope you’ve already heard of CAR stories, also known as SARs, PARs, and STARs, to name but a few acronyms for these success stories. Challenge | Actions | Results stories share your achievements in a succinct format that highlights the challenges, situations, or problems you faced, the tasks or actions you took to resolve them, and the results of your efforts. You should already have numerous CARs in your resume, so adding some to your LinkedIn profile makes good sense.

Mini- Template:

    • Select 1 to 3 CARs to share in your summary. Make sure each one you select has unequivocally strong numerical results to share.
    • Briefly outline the challenge you faced and the context within which the challenge occurred. If sales were declining, for example, and you were challenged to turn them around, make it clear how much they were declining, how long the decline had been occurring, and whether it pre-dated your tenure in the role.
    • Next delineate the actions you took to resolve the problem. Keep these short, impactful, and focused on the strategic leadership you provided. You want macro details here, not minute action steps.
    • Now detail the specific, measurable results you achieved in numerical form. Did you boost profits? If so, how much? Did you turn a key project around? If so, how much money did you save in doing so or how much ahead of schedule did you close out the initiative?
    • Lastly, link your results to the larger impact you had on the company. If you turned around sales, say, how did this help the company in the bigger picture?
    • Develop a brief intro and closing for your summary based on any elements noted above or below.
    • Close the summary with a list of your strongest and most relevant industry-specific key words.
  • Showcase your thought leadership. If you’ve led external trainings, published books, blogs, or articles, been interviewed as an expert, are recognized as a subject matter expert in your field, or been selected to speak at conferences or make presentations, then you are a current or emerging thought leader. As such, you really should showcase this status in your LinkedIn profile. Here are some things you might want to consider including in your profile summary.

Mini-Template:

    • Introduce yourself with one of the approaches noted above or below.
    • Categorize the elements of your thought leadership you need to detail and list each one separately for easy reading. For example:

–        Speaking Engagements:

–        Published Articles:

–        Industry Conference Presentations:

–        Guest Blog Posts:

–        Expert Interviews:

    • Lastly, make sure you point out the impact your thought leadership and experience have had on your employers to date. Include 2 to 3 quantified achievements which resulted from your expertise.
    • Close the summary with a list of your strongest and most relevant industry-specific key words.

If you’re currently employed but still want your profile to help invite fresh career opportunities, you might want to consider this approach:

  • Structure an About the Company/About Me profile. When you’re in a job and don’t want to advertise the fact that you’re open to new opportunities, the trick is to design your profile to attract recruiters and employers without raising your colleague’s or company’s awareness of what you’re doing. This approach strikes a nice balance of positioning your brand without making your profile sound too “me” focused.

Mini-Template:

    • Break your summary into 2 subsections. Title one “About X Company” (the name of your current employer) and the other “About Me” (meaning you).
    • Use the About X Company subsection to describe your employer in 1 to 2 sentences.
    • Use the About Me section to briefly describe your current role, your tenure with the company, and your relevant past work history, credentials, and brand.
    • Close the summary with a list of your strongest and most relevant industry-specific key words.

Of course you have many more options for your LinkedIn summary, but I hope these mini templates will get your LinkedIn makeover started on the right foot.

Trackbacks

  1. […] If your claim to fame is generating sales, then your LinkedIn profile needs to prove your abilities to do so. Use your summary to deliver that proof through mini achievement statements or by structuring your whole summary as one or more CAR stories (Challenge – Actions – Results). Utilize personality adjectives, quotes, awards, career credentials/pedigree, or thought leadership to make your case. You might want to check out these summary mini-templates for more help in this area. […]