The LinkedIn Summary is an important LinkedIn profile part for both SEO and professional branding purposes. It is one of those profile parts that can result in valuable networking connections as well as attract hiring manager interest. Yet it is the one profile part where people struggle to optimize to the fullest. In this blog post we’ll share why the LinkedIn Summary is critical for your job search, and how you can make the most of this key profile part in your professional branding.
Why Writing Your LinkedIn Summary Can Be a Daunting Task
The LinkedIn Summary (or About section) is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile. Yet it’s the one profile part that is the most overlooked. I see this in the majority of LinkedIn profiles I critique – so don’t feel bad if you fall into this category. You’re not alone! In my opinion, the LinkedIn Summary is the most overlooked profile part because it requires the most amount of effort. Most people struggle to write a compelling elevator pitch so it’s no wonder they shy away from the LinkedIn Summary as well. The LinkedIn Summary allows 2,000 characters for strategic branding. This requires writing skills, branding skills, and a hint of self-praise. Talk about an intimidating writing assignment!
Why You Need to Have a Great LinkedIn Summary
There are those who question the value of LinkedIn for their job search. And there are those who avoid it altogether. However the fact remains: LinkedIn has the power to transform your career and attract incredible life-changing opportunities. Therefore you need to spend time getting it right. Otherwise you will be missing out. If you slapped together a few sentences or worse yet, completely skipped setting up your LinkedIn Summary section altogether, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. The LinkedIn Summary can pay off big time so roll up your sleeves and give it some attention. Here are several reasons why the Summary is so critical:
The LinkedIn Summary Contributes to Your Search Ranking
Think about your last Google search. Did you end up looking through all 20 pages for your desired search result or did you only click on the top two or three links and then try a new search? Your LinkedIn profile follows the same principle. It is based on SEO ranking. And believe me when I say: No hiring manager or recruiter is going to spend time digging through all 20 pages to find you. A beefed up summary is necessary if you want to end up anywhere close to page one. You have to leverage LinkedIn SEO strategy if you are to be found by your target companies and contacts. The way to leverage this is by using strategic keywords that are focused on your target career path or job.
Because the LinkedIn Summary allows for 2,000 characters, this means you have 2,000 keyword opportunities. Make every word count and whatever you do, don’t quit early. Make a point to max out the 2,000 characters as much as possible in order to gain keyword SEO power for your profile searchability.
The LinkedIn Summary Contains Your Most Compelling Content
The summary is the meat of what people are stopping on your profile to read so make it count. Your professional summary copy/pasted from your resume is not compelling – so don’t include it. Readers are hoping to get a glimpse into what makes you special as a professional and a person. Hiring managers and recruiters want to see your biggest accomplishments and learn about your greatest passions. If you lined up next to 200 other professionals with your same job title, what would make YOU stand out from the crowd? This is the information you want to include. Keep it interesting, honest, strategic and above all authentic! Weave a mix of personal and professional information so the reader can really get a good sense of who you are and why you’re so darn hirable!
Think about your summary as a script for a networking event. If you entered a networking room and someone said, “Tell me about yourself.” How would you respond. A blend of casual, approachable, and professional tone is what you want to achieve in your summary.
Your LinkedIn Summary Sells You More Than Your Resume
This is where people are going when they want to know more about you. If you get this wrong, you’re losing valuable traffic & networking opportunities. Since your LinkedIn profile is likely what people will see before they ever get to your resume – in fact your LinkedIn profile is actually what will compel them to ask for your resume – you must sell yourself throughout your profile. The most important sales script? You guessed it – your summary.
“This is the best investment I have made in a long time. My accomplishments were presented in a clear and compelling way. The work was completed quickly and was so much better than I could have accomplished on my own even though I am a highly educated person. There is a certain skill set required for a quality LinkedIn profile that is not taught in school. If you’re on the fence about whether to go it alone or purchase this service, I encourage you to invest in yourself by moving forward with NG Career Strategy!” – Scott, LinkedIn Makeover Client and Executive
The LinkedIn Summary is Essential for Career Changes and Pivots
If there’s one thing LinkedIn is GREAT for, it’s career changer branding. This is where the summary can really make a difference. Most career changers are quite limited when it comes to how much creativity they can apply to their resumes. Resumes much like the LinkedIn Experience section, are limited to actual job experience. However, the LinkedIn Summary section is a great opportunity for expanding on your reason for wanting a change at this time, as well as the great transferable skills that will make the change possible. Use the Summary to tell your story. Hiring managers want to know, “why the change and why now?” This is your space to share that.
Your LinkedIn Summary is a “Free Space” for Keywords & SEO Strategy
If your LinkedIn profile were a bingo card, the summary would be your “free space.” Anyone in the job search knows the importance of keywords. The LinkedIn summary section allows for up to 2,000 characters, so make very strategic use of your keywords as they will be part of determining the search results in which you will appear.
Your LinkedIn Summary is a Huge Eye-Catcher Opportunity
In the world of online platforms, it’s all about user experience. Since your professional profile is being viewed online, it’s important you are giving other users (hiring managers, recruiters, etc.) the experience they expect. Since your readers will scan your profile from the top down, (similar to a resume) you’ll want to give them a place to pause their scroll. If you don’t catch them here there’s no way your experience section will stop them in their tracks.
Your LinkedIn Summary is Where You Really Shine
If there’s one concept that’s critical to lifelong career success it’s this: people hire, buy from, and are influenced by other people. People work with people they like so showcasing a bit of personality in addition to professional flare is key. Your LinkedIn summary is where this happens (along with your LinkedIn photo which is equally important). Spend some time getting your Linkedin profile right. You’ll be glad you did.