January 7, 2014
If you are a job seeker and are not using LinkedIn properly, you are missing out. More than ever recruiters rely on LinkedIn to find job candidates who might be interested in a new opportunity. However, if your profile isn’t complete and keyword optimized, employers will have a harder time finding you.
One section of LinkedIn profiles that is often neglected is the Summary.
The Summary gives you the opportunity to write 2,000 characters about yourself, and grab an employer’s attention. It’s a place to highlight your specific achievements, additional trade qualifications, and internships or apprenticeships relevant to your career.
Your LinkedIn Summary is the first opportunity for a potential employer to find out a bit more about you and get some insight into the person beyond your job title and a photo. It’s important not to leave this section blank – otherwise the first section employer will see is your Experience section.
Here’s some advice on how to improve the summary so your profile attracts more attention.
1. Avoid mundane and over-used phrases
There are certain dry and mundane phrases that I’d recommend you don’t ever use on your LinkedIn profile.
These include “self-motivated team player,” ”‘accomplished professional” and “exceptional communicator.” These phrases do absolutely NOTHING to make you stand out from others, and you are only wasting valuable space which you could use to showcase your achievements instead.
Have a look at an example of a poor LinkedIn Summary:
- I am an ambitious individual who is looking to broaden my career path. I enjoy contributing new ideas, I am self-motivated and an excellent team player. I work well under pressure and understand the importance of time management.
2. Create your USP/share your accomplishments
Your Unique Selling Proposition is a one sentence/paragraph explanation that gives the potential employer a quick overview of who you are, what you are looking for, and most importantly, what you can do for them.
You want your Summary to stand out – this means you should include some achievements and quantify them as much as possible. If you are a salesperson who’s achieved 120% of your target for the last 3 years, mention it. But even if you don’t have quantifiable achievements, you do need to communicate a clear reason people would want to engage with you.
You can share a list of your responsibilities and accomplishments in current and previous positions. Mention what you specialize in, what sort of clients you’ve been working with or what technologies you’ve been using. I’d suggest writing iPAR (identify Problem – Action – Result) stories in your Summary and including up to three bullets with your top accomplishments.
Make sure that you flesh out as much information as you can for each relevant position that you’ve had. For example:
An experienced Marketing Director with a proven track record of success within top-tier companies.
Has led significant marketing programs that have delivered tangible benefits to companies.
- The development of Company X’s global brand strategy, positioning, and identity.
- Taking a leading role in driving Company X’s brand preference ranking globally from 6th to 2nd in 3 years.
3. Use the right keywords
Include the keywords within your profile Summary that are used in job descriptions of positions you are interested in. Try to include the keywords you think recruiters will be searching for. If a keyword appears is more job descriptions than another keyword, opt for the more often used keyword. But don’t stuff your Summary with keywords. Use effective keywords and phrases where they fit so list your areas of expertise using descriptive keywords.
Remember, writing a good LinkedIn profile summary gets you noticed and will attract the right people to your profile. You get more connections and ultimately, more opportunities to advance your career.
Margaret Buj is an Interview Coach who’s helped hundreds of professionals across Europe and the US to get the jobs and promotions they really wanted. Margaret also has 9 years of experience recruiting, primarily in technology and e-commerce sectors.