Fifth in a series: spring cleaning your #LinkedIn Summary

My article on inc.com has been enthusiastically received so I think more detailed discussion than what I outlined, on each of the 8 ideas, is in order. 

inccomarticletopgraphicsConstruct your Summary section as just that: a high-level snapshot of where you learned your skills, who you are today and your coming goals, expressed in your own voice. Think of it as your one shot at a short self-introduction, like an elevator speech, spanning the reading time it takes to travel only a few floors to a somewhat distracted audience. Add pertinent short videos, podcasts, links, PDFs, or slide decks as additional material to complement what you said.

As I said earlier, your LinkedIn profile Headline is well worth the time and effort to perfect. It makes the reader want to know more to determine if the profiled person suits the need. It sets the tone and stage for the rest of your profile.

Your job is to nudge the reader to continue reading down, down to the end of the profile, or as far as you can manage the reader to go. You started the curiosity at the profile Headline, now urge the reader to learn more about your overall persona, in more words yet every bit as enticing as the Headline, in your Summary.

summaryUsing the same newsstand metaphor as in the Headline chapter, the Summary is you delivering a readable elevator pitch. It’s a short ride; attention is highest early on, so optimize this brief opportunity. It’s you speaking to the reader: “Here’s what I want you to know, why I do what I do, all rolled up into a short precis of my life’s work, past, present and future.”

 

No, don’t not belabor the reader here with details of various jobs (save that for the Experience section). The reader has not “bought” into you quite yet.

The Summary is where you can go further to pique that interest that started in the Headline. There are overriding themes in your career, and valuable skills you possess, all of which are refined, and adaptable to the need at the time. This is the chance to tell about your overall values and character, as you continue to whet the reader’s appetite.

There is more you want you to tell to the character and breadth of what you do, and how you do it. {Profile reader: keep reading as I expand my narrative and you see my virtues.}

Then clearly lay out in sentences the unique credentials, skills and characteristics you layer into your business practice, what you bring to the proverbial table as you describe yourself in your Summary.  “Why you?” is just not the beginning of WYDWYD; it allows you to expand beyond that simple question to expand on that by describing the activities (the DWYD) that comprise your business self.

  • What experiences and knowledge did you gain, that you bring to the conversation, to win the confidence of the person reading your profile?
  • How do your core beliefs and personality further add to your achievements, to your attractiveness as a business partner, advisor, confidante, trustee, representative?
  • Use the opinions of others here to tell more deeply about yourself to include powerful, confident statements: “I see unusual opportunities that others do not…I am uniquely experienced in…I am complimented for my…My clients appreciate my…”
  • Yes, there is a fine line between self-branding and boasting. Beware language that makes you sound self-absorbed; invest in well-constructed narrative that resonates as self-reliant and relied-upon.
  • Get over the inner resistance to self-express your unique value proposition, while being professional and insightful.
  • Once again, the right keywords interspersed throughout the Summary help your search results on LinkedIn.

As I say in my “live” sessions: get out of your own way and talk about yourself, BOTH in the written word in your LinkedIn Summary, reinforcing your points on video. Summaries with video will be opened, read and best of all, recalled.

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About connect2collaborate

LinkedIn coach and evangelist, having a great time pursuing my passion of connecting professionals so they can collaborate more!
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