How to Add Your Summary to LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn profile Summary section, which appears in the top third of your profile, should give any reader a quick idea of who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and most importantly, what you’re looking for on LinkedIn. Some people think of their summary as their elevator pitch, or their 30-second introduction of themselves that they tell to any new contact. Other people think of their summary as simply their resume summary, which gives a high-level overview of their experience and job goals. Each summary is as individual as the person writing it, but there are right ways and wrong ways to prepare and update your summary.
LinkedIn divides the Summary section into two distinct parts:
*Your professional experience and goals: This is typically a one-paragraph summary of your current and past accomplishments and future goals..
*Your specialties in your industry of expertise: This is a list of your specific skills and talents. This is separate from your professional experience in that this section allows you to list specific job skills (for example, contract negotiation or writing HTML software code) as opposed to the daily responsibilities or accomplishments from your job that you would list in the professional experience and goals paragraph.
Other core elements of your LinkedIn profile are stored in the Basic Information section. Be sure to polish these elements so they reflect well on you:
Your name: Because people will be searching for you in order to connect to you, it’s important that LinkedIn knows any sort of variations, nicknames, maiden names, or former names that you may have held, so be sure you correctly fill in your First, Last, and Former/Maiden name fields. Also, LinkedIn allows you to choose a display name of your first name and last initial, in case you want to keep your name private from the larger LinkedIn community outside of your connections.
*Your professional headline: Think of this as your job title. This is displayed underneath your name on LinkedIn, in search results, in connections lists, and on your profile. Therefore, you want a headline that grabs people’s attention. Some people put their job titles; other people add some colorful adjectives and include two or three different professions.
*Your primary location and industry of experience: As location becomes a more important element when networking online, LinkedIn wants to know your main location (in other words, where you hang your hat . . . if you wear a hat) so it can help identify connections close to you. Then, LinkedIn provides a list of industries you can choose from to indicate your main industry affiliation.
Before you plan to update your summary on LinkedIn, write it using a program like Microsoft Word so that you can easily copy and paste it. This allows you to organize your thoughts, decide the right order of your statements, and pick and choose the most important statements to put in your summary.
Of course, the goals of your summary should be the same as your goals for using LinkedIn. After all, your summary is the starting point for most people when they read your profile. As you write your summary, keep these points in mind:
Pick three to five of your most important accomplishments.
Depending on your goals for LinkedIn, the accomplishments you put in your summary might not be your biggest accomplishments overall. For example, if you’re trying to use LinkedIn to get a new job, your summary should include accomplishments that matter most to an employer in your desired field.
Organize your summary in a Who, What, Goals format.
Use the right keywords in your summary.
Be honest with your specialties, but don’t be shy.
If you need help coming up with your various summary sections, click the See Examples link below each section header to see LinkedIn examples.