Writing an effective LinkedIn summary

As more and more of us are joining LinkedIn (you’re planning to join, or have already, right??) I want to give a few examples of great LinkedIn summaries and share some sites with tips to help you create your own.

Before we get too far, it’s important to understand what the summary is and what it isn’t. It’s a place to define who you are, what you (want to) do, and why you’re unique, according to online identity expert Kirsten Dixson). It’s not a job title, list of specialties or a description of previous work experience. It’s also not something you should leave blank (especially if you’re trying to get a job via social networking).

Allison Massiello
and Sherrie Donecker (connect with them — they’re friendly and fellow seniors!) are two UNC seniors who I think have crafted great summaries, but for different reasons and purposes. (Thanks for letting me share your profiles, ladies!)

Both are journalism majors seeking employment, but their summaries convey different sets of information and expectations. Sherrie knows the type of position she’d like and her geographic preference (account management/media planning and NYC), while Allison has a set of skills she’d like to use (strategic communication and public speaking) but isn’t set on a position or location.

Allison’s summary: A creative and hardworking young professional focused on growing in the field of public relations. Led two 80+ student organizations while also studying as a full-time student. Strong written and oral communication skills with a passion for public speaking.

Sherrie’s summary: Enthusiastic and vibrant student graduating in May with in depth agency and industry experience and a focus in advertising and the arts, specifically dance and theatre. Interested in an entry-level position with an advertising agency in account management or media planning in New York City, though not limited to NYC. Currently preparing to move to the city post-graduation. Also open to positions in arts administration and marketing in New York as well.

Sherrie and Allison both explain who they are, what they want and what makes them unique. Notice that part of being unique is the value you bring to an organization from your past experiences. For Sherrie, it’s having agency experiences, and for Allison, it’s leading two large organizations. Most importantly, though, they present themselves eloquently and succinctly, while showing passion and excitement.

Here are some resources to help you do the same:

  • Are you making these mistakes on your LinkedIn profile? Scroll down to the Do’s and Don’ts. One of the most important: don’t refer to yourself in the third person! It sounds stuffy. Your summary should be semi-personal and reflect your personality.
  • Write your LinkedIn profile for your future Chris Brogan’s advice might seem like it’s for someone who’s been working for a while (and it is) but there are some tips that can help you make your profile stand out. Keep the general concept of writing for future positions (ones you might not be qualified for on paper) in mind.
  • Grow your brand: Get started on LinkedIn Check out #2, specifically the advice that your summary should contain the “keywords you want to own.” So if you want to go into psychology, include the word psychology!

Do you need help with your LinkedIn summary? Leave me a comment, or get in touch, and let’s brainstorm on the best way to tell your story!

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