What is a LinkedIn Summary and why is it important?
Don’t answer that. Answer this:
Would you go on a date with a person whose profile you don’t like?
Social selling is all about building relationships — just like in real life. You don’t want to sound needy, inappropriate, and tasteless.
Unfortunately, that’s just what many people do despite having undisputable expertise in their fields.
In this article, we will go through the main reasons for this misfortune. We will get you in on what makes a good LinkedIn Summary and how to create one.
Let’s start with some obvious yet important things.
LinkedIn Profile Summary — A Place Where Everyone Gets To Know You
Why should you care about your LinkedIn summary anyway?
Because it’s the only place where your prospects can get a good idea of who you are.
The first impression is born here. It’s always “yes” or “no” — at one glance.
Your LinkedIn Summary encompasses your vibe. It either creates a spark between you and your prospects or not. And you only have words and Figma/Illustrator to design that vibe.
It all works together: your photo, a background image, and of course, words you say about yourself and the manner in which you refer to your future customers.
Putting simply, your LinkedIn summary is basically a landing page — a CTA section to be exact. And it’s definitely a part of your market positioning.
What role does LinkedIn Summary play in relationship building?
Imagine that someone sends you a message you like: it’s relevant to you and you admire the tone. The person is appealing to you, so you don’t mind replying…
The next thing you do?
Go check their profiles!
More often than not, it takes a few seconds to decide how your relationships will evolve.
If you like what you see, you go back to a message and start chatting with a person.
Remember: people are very distrustful of strangers. To melt their hearts, you have to go the extra mile and make your summary:
- Laser-focused on their interests
It’s not something that can be done in a few hours.
Now, I would like to emphasize this part because many problems with LinkedIn prospecting comes from ignorance of some basic marketing concepts.
A good LinkedIn summary is a part of your brand image. Even if your brand is just you, there is a point in going through each step of a brand differentiation development. It’s a lot of work to do.
I suggest you start with “Positioning. A battle for your mind” by Jack Trout. It’s a must-have book if you’re serious about marketing — it clarifies how to stand out in an overcrowded field (and it’s not by just being good at what you do.)
When you finish with figuring out what would be a highly relevant image of your brand, you can start implementing your positioning strategy, notably through filling out info about yourself on your social media profiles.
Let’s pretend that Nazar from Closely sent you a message.
Looks like a real person. That’s good for a start.
Wow, how nice! The colors totally match 😁 Nazar took a picture of himself in the brand’s colors. 10 points.
You can see it all filled out: education, position, the name of a company, a branded background image.
A-ha, here is what you came for. Time to ‘hear’ Nazar’s voice. See what the guy has to say.
The summary is concise, clear and not overwhelming. You can get everything you need from just five paragraphs. The summary contains bullet points that address your interests in advance (so you’ve got an impression that the guy is ready to roll his sleeves and get to work).
After reading the summary you know that:
- A real person sent you this message. Deciding whether to reply is not the point right now, but at least you’re not repelled by the feeling of “bot invasion.”
- His summary sounds professional — it doesn’t go around the bush and saves your time dealing with “fluff” (irrelevant information). The tone of voice is friendly and easy-going but not in a childish way.
- It contains unique selling points and is not just about the guy — you can see what’s “in there for you” in the text.
- It only has one emoji that totally matches the background picture (details do matter!)
Now, the opposite situation.
- First of all, count the number of times she used “I” in the text.
Ok, don’t do that, it’s 17. 17 times in 8 paragraphs! It’s all about her — nothing is in there for prospects.
- Now, this barrage of emojis… Of course, this stuff is very subjective, but there is generally accepted good etiquette of using emojis in your text. The best way to approach this is through the ‘salt test’. Use emojis as you would salt on your food — just to add a little bit extra flavor, not flushing the taste out of a dish.
Another not so good example:
- Very long
- A third-person narrative comes across as distant, fake and like someone else wrote it.
This leads us to a question.
What Makes A Nice LinkedIn Profile Summary?
First thing you should remember: your LinkedIn summary is not a CV summary. Its purpose is not to impress HR managers, not bragging about yourself but to open up to your audience and clarify “what is in there for them.”
As we already pointed out, you should think of your LinkedIn summary as a CTA section of a landing page.
Therefore, things you should include in your LinkedIn summary are the following:
- Your skills and achievements
- Personal observations, insights
- Unique selling point
- Your brand’s tone of voice
- Humour (if it correlates with your tone of voice and if it’s appropriate)
- Contact information/CTA
- Consistency in the finer points of style, tone, tenses and punctuation
- Keywords for SEO
Things you should omit in LinkedIn summary:
- Turning it into a fiction
- Presenting it in third person
- Too many emojis especially diverse/bitty ones
- Details only you care about
- Data points and confusing language
- Too many CTAs
Let’s see some more examples.
LinkedIn Summary — Bad Examples
Have you read it? We neither.
That’s too short even for our bizdev, and he loves to shorten things.
No one cares about your medals, diplomas and how many push ups you do every morning.
People are egoistic. They want the world to spin around them.
In fact, the less you brag about yourself, the better. Especially if you don’t know how to share your accomplishments without alienating other people.
Here are some tips on how to tell about your achievements to inspire awe in others and not come off as a jerk.
There is a fine line between structuring your text and making it totally fragmented.
In this sample, there are too many CTAs, too many diverse emojis, no unique selling point and no general idea.
“We are all not afraid to take a risk” — is she talking about catching a train 2 minutes before it takes off? Or…pushing it to 145 mph on a wet road… ??
Or maybe thinking about going back to your ex?
Because that’s where I used to take risks.
What about you? … You can go on and on with this because the girl didn’t make it clear what she meant.
Being detailed is important, otherwise your LinkedIn summary turns into a very general description that sounds the opposite of professional.
LinkedIn Summary — Good Examples
#1 Straightforward & light-spirited
- Clear thought flow
- Has a perfect length (9 paragraphs)
- Logically sequenced
Such a summary provides enough information on the subject and has a clear meaning and flow so the readers can ideally follow thoughts. It’s like an enjoyable, stress-free journey that makes things clear, and doesn’t throw any nasty obstacles their way.
A bit about herself, a bit about her achievements, and a line that concludes the value prop. A perfect amount.
How do I write a good summary for LinkedIn?
Of course, there are no strict rules for writing a LinkedIn summary.
However, there are best practices that we recommend to stick to.
- Keep in under 1500 words, 10 paragraphs and add spaces between
- Use SEO keywords
Include relevant SEO keywords where appropriate to make your summary LinkedIn Search optimized.
SEO keywords go perfectly into specialties.
Remember though, the narrower your expertise is, the more chances of popping up in the top of LinkedIn search results.
Short sentences are ok. But if there are too many of them, they can cause friction. Just combine long sentences with short ones naturally.
Look at this. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
There are long sentences but they fit in pretty well. I guess, if your idea is clear, it will gain its form in whichever sentences you use. The idea is primary.
Now, let’s go through your future compelling summary point-by-point.
Start with a few sentences about yourself. Don’t boast about your achievements, keep it neat and professional. Two-three sentences are enough.
Focus on your unique selling point. The body of your summary should talk directly to your audience and describe how their pain points can be addressed.
Use bullet points to single out your unique selling points.
Wrap-Up + CTA
Finish your LinkedIn summary with a CTA — for example, leaving your email for enquiries or dropping a link to your website.
A good way to wrap up your summary is to add specialties. Specify fields you have expertise in by placing them neatly with bullet points.
Use emojis if it’s absolutely necessary. One-two will be more than enough.