When you land on a stranger's LinkedIn profile, where's the first place you look?
If you're anything like me, your eyes immediately shift toward the photo. It's a networking site, so you undoubtedly want to know what someone looks like.
But, after I've taken a quick glance at that professional headshot? You can bet I scroll straight toward the summary section.
That's right -- I skip over those perfectly quantified bullet points describing your education and previous positions and instead direct all of my attention to the summary.
There's only one problem: When most people sit down to pull together their LinkedIn profiles, this is a section that's pretty frequently overlooked. Either it's left totally blank or it winds up being a complete regurgitation of a resume or dry professional biography.
You don't want to fall into this trap. When the rest of your profile requires you to be so categorized and concise, your summary section is the place where you can really share your story and sell yourself -- so use it!
Make these quick tweaks to the summary section of your LinkedIn profile, and you're sure to give your professional reputation a boost.
1. Show your personality.
Let's face it -- it can be pretty tough for people to get a true sense of who you are with just a few short bullet points and standard keywords. And, while the 2,000 character limit of the summary section isn't enough space to spell out your entire career history, it's still adequate for giving people a decent idea of who you are and what you do.
So, do away with those stiff third-person bios, and instead incorporate touches of your personality throughout. Share a story of how you discovered your passion for sales while operating your childhood lemonade stand, or explain how your triathlon training translates into a career full of dedication and perseverance.
This doesn't need to be anything complicated. Just focus on letting people see the bigger picture of who you are -- rather than just the small snapshots portrayed in your traditional resume.
2. Highlight key accomplishments.
While you do want to inject some personality into your profile, it's still important to remember that this is a professional networking site. So, you want to portray yourself in the best light possible that demonstrates what a qualified and accomplished professional you are.
Do this by pulling some of your major successes and accomplishments directly into your summary. Did you receive a prestigious award? Were you featured in a well-known industry publication?
Make sure to tie those into your summary section. They'll draw more attention there.
3. Use key words.
Search engine optimization likely isn't the first thing that pops into your mind when you're crafting your LinkedIn profile. However, it's an important element that needs to be considered -- particularly if you want to make it easy for interested parties to find you.
Your headline and specific job titles are more important for SEO. However, you should still plan to use some keywords in your summary. Look at a few different job descriptions for what you do now (or what you want to do), and pull out words that you see cropping up over and over again.
They could be specifically related to your position, like "Data Analyst," or even soft skills, like "solid communicator." Sprinkle those throughout your summary, and you're sure to kick your profile up a notch.
4. End with a call to action.
Finally, it's important to remember that your LinkedIn profile is a tool that's supposed to help you. You shouldn't plan on sinking tons of time into it only to have it sit there collecting cobwebs.
So, what's one of the best ways to put your profile to work for you? End your summary with a call to action.
It's up to you what you want this to end up looking like. It could simply be a note encouraging people to connect with you. You could list your contact information for people to reach out to you directly.
Or, you could include a link to your company website so that visitors can get a better grasp on what exactly you do. The important part is to drive people to take action, rather than simply exiting your profile and moving on.
The summary section of your LinkedIn profile is important. But, unfortunately, most of us avoid giving it the attention it deserves. Make these four quick tweaks to your own summary, and you're sure to leave people with a positive impression.