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Michelle Palasek has 20 years in the staffing industry working in sales and marketing operations. She currently serves as a Sr. Marketing Communications Specialist at SGA.

Writing a Great LinkedIn Summary in Today’s Job Market

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It wasn’t that long ago that a job seeker had to rely solely on a résumé to get a foot in the door. These days, the online arena offers far more opportunities to wow prospective employers, and they’re definitely looking.

Statistics show that 70% of employers research job candidates on social media and 54% report that they have rejected applicants based on what they see there. In other words, you should always be mindful of what you post to public accounts.

Perhaps more importantly, 91% of recruiters and hiring managers turn to LinkedIn to find and approach suitable candidates. So whether you’re actively looking for jobs on LinkedIn or just want to create a profile that recruiters find attractive, your efforts should start with crafting a stellar summary.

What is a LinkedIn summary? How can you create one that grabs the attention of potential employers and helps you get the best job?

What Is a LinkedIn Summary?

The summary, or About section, on your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to express yourself and give employers an idea of who you are and what you’re looking for. You might compare it to the Objectives section on a résumé.

Because it’s the first thing people will see below your photo when they find your profile, it’s important to have a strong and effective LinkedIn summary.

The rest of your profile will detail your education and years of experience, so your summary should provide unique and compelling information. You have 2,000 characters max, which amounts to roughly 300 to 500 words or about a single typed page. This is a fair amount of space to summarize what makes you desirable to employers.

What does a good LinkedIn summary include?

Achievements and Goals

Your summary isn’t the place to list qualifications like degrees and job experience. There are other spaces for that, and you want to avoid redundancy. Instead, consider taking this opportunity to enumerate the achievements you’re most proud of, both professional and personal.

You can opt for easy-to-read bullet points or take a more poetic approach, telling a story about a particular achievement and relating how it contributed to making you confident, capable, compassionate, or otherwise suited for the type of position you’re interested in. This could lead to a discussion of your goals and aspirations moving forward.

Experiences That Set You Apart

You’re more than just a sum of the schools you attended and past job titles. Aside from your professional qualifications, your unique life experiences inform the person that you are and the value you bring to any workplace.

Try a “show” instead of “tell” approach. Don’t just list places you’ve visited; discuss their impact on you and how these experiences helped you grow as a person and view the world in a new light.

Unique Skills and Qualities

While résumé items like degrees and specifics of your work experience might help you get past search results and screening software, you want to show that there’s more to you.

Soft skills like communication, collaboration, innovation, leadership, time management, creative problem-solving, and emotional intelligence are becoming more sought after, so you want to make sure hiring managers and recruiters looking to help clients fill positions are aware of your broad range of talents.

A Glimpse of Your Personality

Your skills and experiences will help you stand out from the competition, but your LinkedIn summary provides a unique opportunity to show your personality through the details you include, the personal anecdotes you use to highlight your skills or motivations, and the words and phrases you choose.

It’s always important to remain positive and professional, but your summary is a chance to adopt a slightly more casual and even fun tone that lets your personality shine through.

What to Avoid in a LinkedIn Summary

While showing your personality and finding clever ways to promote yourself are encouraged when writing your LinkedIn summary, you don’t want to take it too far and alienate recruiters. Avoid overuse of fluff, jargon, and platitudes. You have up to 2,000 characters, but you don’t have to use them all — and sometimes less is more.

It’s also wise to carefully refine the tone of your summary. It’s okay to adopt an efficient, no-nonsense approach to your work, but you should draw the line at open criticism or complaints that could read as aggressive, confrontational, or arrogant.

Make Your LinkedIn Summary Your Own

Ultimately, writing a LinkedIn summary is a chance to tell recruiters something about you that they won’t discover by looking at your résumé. When you impart achievements, goals, unusual skills, desirable qualities, and a glimmer of your wonderful and unique personality, you can stand out from the pack and gain an edge in the hiring process.