UPDATED DECEMBER 21, 2017: Original article published on June 16, 2016.
Is it time to start thinking about your career and how you're going to attack the job market? According to a Jobvite Survey, 94% of recruiters and hiring managers are active on LinkedIn, but only 36% of job seekers are!
For some reason, LinkedIn seems to attract an older crowd; but this needs to change! LinkedIn is a great way to learn more about a company, connect with its employees, find and apply for job openings, and spread the word about your skills and abilities with minimum time spent.
This series outlines the best LinkedIn profile tips for recent graduates. In this chapter, you'll learn how to write a job-winning Summary section that introduces you and tells your unique story.
How To Write A LinkedIn Summary
Your Career Summary should be the first thing LinkedIn user reads on your profile, not your Experience section. This is such an important section on your LinkedIn profile, and it is too often forgotten! This section is your chance to introduce yourself, your strengths, and your career goals.
There are several effective strategies to writing a job-winning Summary on LinkedIn.
Tell Your Story
If your experience is lacking or you're leaving college to join the workforce for the first time, you may not have measurable achievements or career highlights to show off. You do, however, have a story. You have solved problems, made positive changes, and been recognized for strengths that can easily be translated into a Branding Statement and Career Summary.
Need help telling your story? Start by answering these questions:
- What events, both personal or professional, have inspired your career goals?
- What problems have you solved, and what were the results of your efforts?
- How have you already applied your skills to situations?
Describe Your Passions and Values
Your LinkedIn Summary is a great place to express what your career goals are, who you want to work for, what values are important to you, and what values the company should also have to be a great match for you. Are you passionate about helping people? You'd likely be happier working for a customer-centric employer rather than an employer who's more concerned about sales.
Answering these questions will help you identify and describe your passions and values:
- What drives you to pursue your career goals?
- Why did you pick your major?
- What do you NOT want in an employer or career?
Showcase Your Verve
At some point in the hiring process, you are likely asked, "What makes you stand out from the other candidates?" Do not say "experience" or "education." Here's a hard lesson to learn, so you best learn it quick: Almost every other eligible candidate will have the same skills and very similar (lack of) experience. Think outside of the box!
Use your LinkedIn Summary to describe who you are and what makes you stand out from other candidates. For this strategy, it's more important to focus on your personal traits than your professional strengths.
Consider these questions when trying this LinkedIn Summary strategy:
- What differentiates you from others?
- What are your marketable traits?
- How do your personal traits relate to your career goals?
Describing your personal traits and how they relate to your career goals will help employers see the value you offer compared to another candidate. Struggling to think of some personal traits that are marketable to employers? Here are 15 personal traits you could start with:
Or you can sign up for a free sneak peek at the LinkedIn WORKS! Coaching Program!
Developing Your Summary
Once you have identified your career goals, your passions and values, and your top personal traits, you have a lot of great information to work with when writing a great LinkedIn Summary!
Start by introducing yourself (I'll use my Summary as an example)...
I'm a Certified Professional Resume Writer and LinkedIn Profile Specialist who has personally helped hundreds of clients accelerate their job searches since 2014. I specialize in targeted resume writing and presenting the unique value each client offers.
Then tell your story...
For years, I had very little direction for my own career. My problem was never in landing a job but in landing the job that leveraged my strengths and gave me purpose. The modern job search is frustrating, time-consuming, and often discouraging. I’ve been there. I’ve transitioned through the hiring process only to work for horrible bosses and for companies that just don’t care about their employees, then started the job search all over again with minimal guidance. And guidance would have been welcomed!
Briefly describe your passions, values, and what differentiates you from others.
I discovered that I could turn my lifelong passion for writing into an advantageous service and launched Off The Clock Resumes. By offering targeted resume writing and social media optimization services, my goal is to lead the next generation of resume writing and empower job seekers to conquer the modern job search.
Most importantly, include a call-to-action. This is how you invite LinkedIn users to connect with you, email you job opportunities that you may be interested in, download your resume, or call you for more details about your background and career goals.
I will not guarantee interviews or job placement, and I’m happy to explain why. I value transparency in every aspect of what I do, so I’m happy to answer questions regarding my strategies, my process, and the advantages I believe my clients gain when they work with me. Send a Connection Request my way (Personalized Invites only, please!), and let’s talk about your career goals.
Before wrapping up your LinkedIn Summary, remember that LinkedIn has AMAZING search engine optimization perks. You'll want to make sure your Career Summary has major keywords that employers are looking for. If you can't add them naturally and seamlessly in the above paragraphs, add a Specialties section.
SPECIALTIES: Targeted Resumes, Applicant Tracking Software, Cover Letters, Graphic Resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, Social Media, Job Search Strategy, Personal Branding
Another thing to consider is whether your name could be easily misspelled in a Google search. If you have another name, such as a maiden name or nickname, you should list these in a short section as well.
AKA/COMMON MISSPELLINGS: Stephanie Cartwright, Steph Kruger, Stephanie Kruger, Steph Krueger, Stephanie Krueger
Add and write a job-winning Summary section on your LinkedIn profile to tell your unique story.