Linkedin can be a platform for any number of professional functions, from seeking a job to marketing your business to closing sales with new prospects. But all of these functions require you to spend time fleshing out your Linkedin profile—including your Linkedin summary.
But if you’re like many professionals, writing a Linkedin summary about yourself can be intimidating. How do you make sure you include all the important details? How can you ensure you sound professional?
In this guide, I’ll give you everything you need to write a great Linkedin summary for yourself—including five long-form Linkedin summary examples you can use as inspiration to write your own.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Linkedin Summary and How Do I Edit It?
- Why Is Your Linkedin Summary Important?
- Key Features of Effective Linkedin Summaries
- Examples of Linkedin Summaries
- The Case for Shorter Linkedin Summaries
- Drafting and Rewriting Your Linkedin Summary
What Is a Linkedin Summary and How Do I Edit It?
Okay, let’s start with the basics. Your Linkedin summary is a block of text found at the top of your Linkedin Profile. You can find yours right below your profile photo. Here’s mine:
You’ll have 2,000 characters here to provide a brief overview of your professional life—however you choose to define it. You can edit it by clicking on the pencil icon above the section labeled “About.”
Why Is Your Linkedin Summary Important?
Why is the Linkedin summary so important in the first place? The most important feature to consider here is its prominence; when people view your profile, they’ll see your face, your name, a couple of details about you, and then your summary.
It’s basically the first opportunity you’ll have to make a great impression on people. And whether you’re on Linkedin to find a job, close new sales, or just expand your professional network, that impression is going to matter.
Assuming you make a good first impression, this is also a chance to let people know what you’re looking for. Are you in the market for a new job? Make sure you explain that, or a potential recruiter might pass on you. Are you open to making connections with new people? State that.
Key Features of Effective Linkedin Summaries
It’s hard to precisely define what makes a Linkedin summary successful, since your definition of success will likely vary from someone else’s. However, these features tend to be common within the most effective Linkedin summaries:
- Concise. Conciseness is a good feature of any form of communication. Try to state the most important details in the smallest space possible. If you go on a three-paragraph tangent about your fondness for cooking, even the most patient recruiter is going to lose interest. Make sure every sentence has a specific purpose, whether it’s showcasing your skills, recounting an accomplishment, or just displaying your personality.
- Unique. People who read Linkedin summaries have read hundreds, or even thousands of summaries. If yours sounds “basic,” or if it’s too similar to profiles that have come before, it’s going to be forgotten. Try to make your summary unique, highlighting accomplishments, skills, or traits that make you actually stand out.
- Strong to start. Your summary should also offer a strong start—a hook to draw your readers in. This could be a bold opinion, a unique perspective, or even an inspirational quote. By contrast, starting your summary with a cold, boring, or common statement is a surefire way to lose your audience.
- Keyword rich. Make your summary “keyword rich,” especially if you’re trying to find a job. In case you aren’t familiar, Linkedin’s search engine functions like other search engines; when a person conducts a search, it scavenges for profiles that contain keywords matching or similar to the query. In other words, if someone searches for “accountants,” it’s going to prioritize profiles that feature the word “accountant” along with similar phrases. Think of the keywords and phrases that are relevant to you and your position, and try to optimize your profile to include as many of them as possible.
- Elements of past, present, and future. Good Linkedin profiles also cover elements of your past, present, and future career. What have you done before your current position? What are you doing now? What do you hope to be doing in the next few years?
- Examples of accomplishments. Remember the classic advice for writing a resume; it’s better to list specific accomplishments than to list various skills and proficiencies. Try to include a few accomplishments in your Linkedin summary, like awards you’ve won, goals you’ve met, or other things that have made you proud of your work. You can also use a resume website instead of your Linkedin page to list your accomplishments, which enables you to add formatting, flair, and personality.
- Easily scannable. It would be nice if you could count on every individual who discovers your profile to read your summary in full, but it’s not going to happen. Instead, people tend to “scan” or “skim” the summary, looking for standout details and trying to interpret the core content as quickly as possible. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to make your summary scannable, with bulleted lists, numbered lists, short, spaced out paragraphs, and other types of formatting meant to make content easier on the eyes.
- Error-free. No matter what, your Linkedin summary should be entirely error-free. A simple spelling error or punctuation mistake may not seem like a big deal, but it can make a bad first impression. Spend some extra time proofreading your work to make sure there are no errors, and collaborate with someone else to get a second set of eyes on it.
Examples of Linkedin Summaries
Below, I’ve listed a handful of Linkedin summary examples you can use as inspiration to write your own Linkedin summary.
1. The CMO
As CMO of MarketCorp, Inc., I’m responsible for overseeing all our marketing and advertising campaigns. It’s a big responsibility, and one I take seriously, but I also like having fun with my team.
The way I see it, successful marketing is a byproduct of two factors: understanding your customers and efficiently executing a strategy to appeal to them. Here, I see my job unfolding in both those directions. It’s my job to better understand our markets, and make sure we’re delivering the right messages to them in the right ways.
I came here after selling a marketing agency I started from the ground up in 2015, and before that, I had a long history of different jobs in advertising, from graphic designer to creative director.
I also spend most of my free time volunteering for a number of organizations. I’m on the Board of Directors for the Young Entrepreneurs Program, and participate in various economic development initiatives within the city. When I’m not volunteering, I’m with my family.
2. The project manager
Here are 5 things you need to know about me:
- I’m a project manager, and always have been at heart. While I’ve bounced around different places as a salesperson and as a copywriter, I’ve always been much better at managing big-picture projects and teams of individuals. Today, I’m managing a portfolio of web development projects for ProjectCorp, Inc., and I’m finally realizing my true potential.
- I believe organized communication can solve every problem. I’m a big believer in structured communication, and try to incorporate it into both my personal and professional life. Can you tell?
- I hate wasting time. I’m always trying to trim down time requirements, hence why I’m keeping these points short.
- I’m constantly learning new skills. For better or worse, this also includes skills outside my career as a project manager. I learn tricks in Excel, new leadership tactics, and better methods for communication, but I’m also learning how to code in my spare time, and am also learning to play piano despite no musical background whatsoever.
- I want to eventually start my own business. While I love my career, and can’t imagine leaving my team for the foreseeable future, eventually I want to start my own business from the ground up. I see it as the ultimate project to oversee.
3. The recruiter
I love to meet awesome people and find them the perfect job.
I see recruiting as a kind of matchmaking service. Through ongoing, mutual communication, I can learn about a candidate’s guiding principles, ambitions, and long-term goals. From there, I can work to see if they’re truly a good fit for our organization, and if so, the conversation can continue.
I’ve worked for a wide variety of organizations, including small nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies, and now work as a Senior Recruiter at JobCorp, Inc. Currently, I’m focusing on finding candidates for careers in marketing and advertising, sales, and software development. I also have skills in data analytics, project management, and several other HR functions. I’m working to improve my data analytics skills, and may eventually transition to executive recruiting.
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In my downtime, I enjoy backyard barbecues, woodworking, and the greatest of all sports—hockey.
4. The software engineer
I’m living the dream.
I’ve always been a great problem solver, an independent introvert, and a technophile obsessed with the latest devices. Today, I’m working from home as a software engineer for CodeCorp, Inc., and I get to show off all these elements of who I am.
I started learning to code when I was a teenager, though it was always more of a hobby than a career focus. After a college education in Psychology, and continuing to pursue that hobby, I realized software engineering was the right field for me.
Since then, I’ve worked on countless freelance projects and have been involved with a handful of notable startups. Today, I’m working as a junior developer with the amazing team at CodeCorp, Inc., and am getting into machine learning on my own time.
5. The salesperson
I like to talk, but I like listening even more. That’s what makes me an effective salesperson—or at least, what I think makes me an effective salesperson.
As for whether I’m effective, the numbers speak for themselves:
- Responsible for $450k in new sales, 2019.
- Consistently hitting 135 percent of sales goals.
- Leading the top team in SalesCorp, Inc., 3 years running.
I’m constantly looking for opportunities to meet new people, sharpen my skills, and humble myself before the brilliant professionals of this city—who never cease to amaze me.
Want to know more about me? Just looking to get coffee? Reach out to me via email: [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Case for Shorter Linkedin Summaries
Most of the above Linkedin summary examples are somewhat lengthy; they have multiple paragraphs of information, or extended lists to flesh them out. This is the most common and potentially most effective format, since it gives you the opportunity to include all points of relevant information on your career and plenty of room to show off your personality.
However, there’s also a case to be made for shorter Linkedin summaries. They take less time to write and to read. If you’re trying to put together a Linkedin summary on short notice, or if Linkedin isn’t going to be a primary communication channel for you, this is the way to go.
Here, your goal should be highlighting the most important information about you and your career in one or two sentences. Something like:
This covers the basics, and provides readers with a kind of call to action. Inevitably, you’ll miss out on showing off your personality and including some important details.
Drafting and Rewriting Your Linkedin Summary
The best Linkedin summaries aren’t stagnant; they change and evolve. Attentive Linkedin members take note when they learn a new skill, set a new goal, or change jobs, and they update their summaries accordingly.
They also tweak their wording and formatting over time to gradually optimize it for their target readership. As you read other summary examples on Linkedin and learn more about yourself, you’ll get closer to a “perfect” version.
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Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.