Don’t underestimate the importance of your LinkedIn summary

Man on megaphone - importance of your LinkedIn Summary

This is the first thing of note people will read about you on LinkedIn and will dictate to them whether to keep reading. This is your opportunity to tease the reader by encapsulating your key experience in one place. So set out to impress and even amuse the reader whilst wowing them with your written communication.

So where do I start?

As always, by considering your audience - who is going to be reading it and what impression do you want to leave them with? Are you an artist who wants to appear creative or a salesperson that smashes all targets? Across either of these - are you wanting to look business-like or approachable? Or as a speaker are you hoping to appear engaging and entertaining or serious and moving? As with all things - start with the end in mind and consider "after reading this, I want the reader to feel/think..." Then put fingers to keys and draft, with the expectation to come back and re-write several versions.

Once you know the flavour of your summary, consider in unison your genuinely unique selling proposition. This is going to be only one and possibly two things, unless you're Elon Musk or Jesus. You make this cornerstone statement at the start of your summary. For example,
“I’m a retail executive with deep e-commerce and organisational re-design experience” OR
“I’m a business analyst who specialises in creating beautiful product development specifications”. And so on.

So what's mine you're wondering?

Try imagining yourself speed dating and consider the ONE sentence that you would use to describe yourself professionally. OR how about the capability that others who know you well would say about you instantly. It's what you probably lean into most often in your work, and you can hand-on-heart say you're better than anyone else at (Other than Elon, because he probably is better at it). This USP and opening sentence is critical to get right, as everything else you write will build upon this sentence. And what you state below will hopefully validate this sentence….

Now reflect on your recognition and validation from others. This is things like internal and external awards; employee of the month, every month for a year? Salesperson of the quarter? Most respected colleague at the Annual Awards. Whatever it is, put it down – but make it the big ones, not the gold stars you got from Kindy...

Once your personal statement is crafted, be sure to include a HEADLINE from each role:

  • Key achievements – numbers, numbers, numbers.
  • Dollars made or saved
  • Projects delivered, teams built and so on...

Think of the hard and measurable specifics and only things that can be backed up by others at reference stage. I want 3-5 here over your whole career - think big annual numbers, save the quarterly achievements for the body
of each role.

All of this should be achieved within 150-250 words. As Mark Twain says “I would have written a shorter letter but I didn’t have time” – do the work here so your reader doesn't have too. Then sit back and watch the headhunt calls and emails flow in!