In today’s job market, LinkedIn is an important tool for job seekers and recruiters. It’s likely the first place hiring managers and recruiters search when evaluating a candidate. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it will appear in a Google search, often in the top results. LinkedIn gives people a snapshot of who you are as a professional.
In addition to listing your work history, you should include a summary. It serves as a recruiter’s first impression of you. Writing a summary may seem daunting, but if you break the process into steps, it will be easier to write. Here are some tips for writing a LinkedIn summary that can set you apart from other candidates with similar qualifications.
- Write a Compelling Headline: Your LinkedIn headline is separate from your summary, but it is also one of the first things people read about you. It has a 120-character limit. Use your headline to entice recruiters to click on your name. Write it in a way that explains how you will benefit your potential employers. If you were a loss prevention professional for example, you might write “As a Loss Prevention Manager, I create a world-class shopping experience for customers while minimizing store loss.”
- Make Your Summary Conversational: Since you’re writing your own summary, write it in the first person. This increases your likeability and creates a conversation with the reader. As you’re writing, imagine yourself speaking with a recruiter and what you’d say. Writing as you might actually say something will bring your personality to the screen.
- Use Short Paragraphs: It’s easier for people to read short paragraphs. Keep paragraphs to a few sentences or use bullet points which make your summary scannable.
- Lead with a Compelling Introduction: Since hiring managers are likely looking at several LinkedIn profiles, use the first two sentences to tell them what they need to know about you. Additionally, when a person first clicks on your profile, about 200 to 250 characters of your summary is displayed, and even less show in a mobile search. So, your first two sentences really need to entice hiring managers to click to read more about you.
- Include Your Career Trajectory: Show how the different positions you’ve held will help your future employers. Here is an example for a marketing communications director: “I began my career as a marketing assistant. As I gained experience in developing high-impact communications across multiple channels and excelled in content creation, I was promoted to positions of greater responsibility. Now as a marketing communications director, I create the communications strategy for my organization and see that it is successfully implemented while mentoring and leading my team.”
- Put in Your Accomplishments: Your achievements help set you apart. Be sure they’re written in a way that shows how you’d bring value to a company. If you’re an account manager, for example, you may write something like this: “As an account manager, I increased sales by 30% for my accounts over last year.”
- List What Makes You Unique: Tell readers what motivates you, your values, and what you can do for them. Explain what you do really well and why you love the work you do. A nurse might write, “As a nurse, I enjoy connecting with my patients. I like to help make them more comfortable while bringing them quality care. I always ask my patients what I can do to help make their stay at the hospital a little easier.
- End with a Call to Action: Use the final sentence of your summary to ask the reader to contact you. This is a proven strategy often used in sales to prompt a response. The goal of your summary is to convince the recruiter or hiring manager to contact you. You can ask them to email you, connect with you on LinkedIn, or send you a direct message.
- Include Keywords: Putting keywords in your LinkedIn summary helps recruiters find you. You may use alternative words for your job title. Different organizations use different titles. For instance, an organization may use “sales manager,” and another company might use “account manager” for a similar role. Be sure to also write about your specializations, especially if you want to work in a certain field such as software, insurance, or restaurants.
- Proofread Your LinkedIn Summary: Put your best professional foot forward and proofread your LinkedIn summary. Typos and grammatical errors can turn off recruiters. Ask someone you trust to read it. Before posting your LinkedIn summary, give it a final proofread.
Writing a good LinkedIn summary will help recruiters find you. It will also differentiate you from other people applying for the same job. If you need some help, register for our LinkedIn workshop or call MassHire Cape and Islands Career Center at 508-771-JOBS (5627).