Have you been wondering what to write in the Summary section of your LinkedIn profile?
You’re not alone.
According to LinkedIn’s official career expert Nicole Williams, your summary should look similar to that of an objective statement on a résumé — a brief bio explaining who you are and your intentions.
“Are you looking for a new job? Do you want to meet investors? Maybe you’d like to find a mentor,” Williams says. “This is the place to express that.”
But she says it should never be dry and dull. After all, this will likely be the first impression you make on anyone visiting your LinkedIn profile, like an employer or a potential investor.
“The summary statement offers an opportunity to project some personality,” Williams explains. “This a great place to reflect your professional brand — explaining why you got into the industry, what you love about it, and what kind of professional you are.”
The level of formality you employ may depend on your industry or intent — “but either way, remember this is a place to infuse personality.” Williams also suggests writing the summary in the first person, regardless of how formal you want to be.
She says the biggest mistake you can make is not writing anything at all. “I’ve also seen plenty of people only list specialties or write in high-level industry jargon,” she says. “You should also avoid getting too personal. You can add that you like to hike, travel, or run marathons — but don’t let your personal accomplishments and interests overshadow your professional ones.”
One more tip: A summary of 40 words or more makes you more likely to turn up in a future employee’s search, Williams says.
Here are three examples of excellent LinkedIn summary statements:
“Growing up watching my mum hate her job, it didn’t take long for me to make the connection between the job we do and the quality of life we live. Afraid of my mum’s fate, I asked anyone willing to answer what they did for a living, where they went to school, what skills they needed to succeed, and (long before it was appropriate), how much money they made. I recorded everything I learned in my “Career Journal” and have pretty much loved the world of work and career — and helping other women achieve their dreams — ever since.
After working both as a Career Counselor for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (learning the technical skill of career development) and as a Sr. Business Consultant with Service Growth Consultants (where I got a handle on the needs of businesses), I founded WORKS in 2006 with the help of Michael Loeb, cofounder of Priceline and the Synapse Group. I had a vision of building a business that not only helps young women create the careers of their dreams but also supports the companies attempting to recruit and retain them as employees, as well as the businesses that are interested in providing them products and services aimed at enriching their lives.
Today, under the WORKS banner, and with an incredible team, I’ve authored three bestselling books: “Wildly Sophisticated: A Bold New Attitude for Career Success,” “Earn What You’re Worth,” and “Girl on Top.” I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies including Ford Motor Company, Banana Republic, The Limited, and Proctor & Gamble on hiring, retention & marketing programs. I’ve had my career advice covered in national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Marie Claire, TODAY, Good Morning America & CNN. For the last three years I’ve been the official spokesperson for LinkedIn. Oh, and I still have my career journal.”
Jill Jacinto, AOL Jobs contributor and associate director of editorial and communications at WORKS by Nicole Williams:
“I’m curious by nature. I always ask a lot of questions and often have my nose buried in a newspaper, book or blog. I’m always the first person to say, ‘Let’s Google it.’ My curiosity led me to become a journalism major and from there an on-air reporter. I currently work for WORKS by Nicole Williams which is a brand that helps young professional women with their career success. I’ve also worked very closely with LinkedIn for 3+ years as Nicole Williams is their official career expert.
Helping young women discover their career dreams via writing, mentoring & profile makeovers is a passion of mine. Uncovering their desired careers and helping them succeed is very rewarding. My advice has been featured in Business Insider, Men’s Health, Refinery29, Fox Business, Reuters, & Yahoo! Finance. You can view the full list at JillJacinto.com.
At WORKS, I wear many hats including pitching Nicole Williams and LinkedIn for media outlets like the Today Show, Wall Street Journal, and Marie Claire. I help develop career related segments and story ideas. I also work on Business Development looking for new and exciting brands to partner with and corporations for Nicole to speak at. Additionally, I single-handedly manage NicoleWilliams.com and write content for the site and outside articles. I also plan exciting events for the brand.”
Catherine Fisher, director of corporate communications at LinkedIn:
“I learned early on in my career that what motivates me is promoting brands that I truly love. I can’t be an authentic storyteller if I don’t actually believe what I am talking about! I have more than 16 years’ experience in corporate communications and I have had a fulfilling career because I have chosen to work for brands that I find inspiring. I work for LinkedIn and I love the brand. Why? Because I can share my professional accomplishments, stay in touch with former colleagues, celebrate the brands I love, and constantly learn.
Working at LinkedIn I get to spend my days doing what I enjoy most, coming up with creative campaigns that tell the LinkedIn story. One of the highlights of my career at LinkedIn was working on a campaign called, Bring In Your Parents. It was an idea we hatched up on the communications team because we all shared a similar experience in that our parents really had no clue what we do. So we set out to educate parents across the globe — and it worked. There is nothing more rewarding than coming up with an idea, having almost every major national outlet talk about it, and more importantly seeing the impact it made on employees.”
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