Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first things that comes up when someone Googles you. Here’s how to separate yourself from the clamoring masses in your LinkedIn summary.
When it comes to catching the attention of the person hiring for your dream job, there are a million things to think about: Is my resume packing that perfect one-page punch? Does my cover letter sound like a human being with human emotions wrote it? Or does it sound like a literal robot? Should I take down all those Burning Man Instagram pics I don’t remember taking? And while I’m at it, should I scrub all evidence of me ever being at Burning Man from the internet?
We get it. It can feel like a lot. But you’ve gotta start somewhere. Paying some extra attention to your LinkedIn is a step in the right direction of refining your online identity. And one of the first substantial sections on your profile is your LinkedIn summary. It’s where you show people that you are an interesting person, possessing of skills.
“The LinkedIn summary is a like a mini-bio,” career coach, Angela Copeland explains. “Use it to give a brief personal narrative of your background. Don’t hesitate to restate important facts that can be found later in your profile. The reader may not make it all the way down your profile.”
In other words: This is kinda the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. It will determine whether they keep scrolling down to see all your accomplishments that follow. And, while LinkedIn’s utilitarian design inevitably nudges things towards dryness, there’s much advantage to be gained by “adding a little color,” as your high-school English teacher once put it.
Here are the elements that make for a LinkedIn summary that is the opposite of a buzzkill:
It has human-like qualities
Even if you’re applying for a job that involves, say, robotics, you’re not doing yourself any favors by alsocoming across like a robot. Don’t be afraid to keep it casual and conversational here. “You can write the summary in either first or third person,” says Copeland, “but first person typically sounds better and more casual.”
A quick mention of your hobbies and what you like to do in your free time can also go a long way. Paint a picture of you as a fully-formed human.
It is not a tome
While you want to provide some context of who you are as an individual, this isn’t the time to bust out your Proustian memories of what made you want to pursue a career in digital marketing.
“Think of your summary as your elevator pitch,” says Blair Decembrele, LinkedIn Career Expert. “How would you spark interest in just a few moments? Identify what you’re in it for—what motivates you to get up and go to work every day—and use your summary as an opportunity to spotlight these passions, motivations and goals.”
Copeland also cautions against letting things get unwieldily and being too much of an open book: “Don’t share too much. If you’re currently working, don’tinclude the fact that you’re looking for a job. You wouldn’t want your current boss to find out your secret on LinkedIn.”
It shines a spotlight on your skills (but also your big heart)
As Copeland mentioned, even if your achievements, education, and skills are fleshed out more fully in the rest of your profile, bring the most important bits to the foreground here. Use this as an opportunity to showcase any experiences or skills that may not feel directly related. Paint a more holistic picture of what’s important to you.
“Don’t forget to highlight your volunteer experience and passion projects to round out your professional identity,” says Decembrele. “Over 40 percent of recruiters consider this equally as valuable as paid experience. Make sure you’re shedding light on the ways you’re making an impact for others.”
It utilizes these words (like a human would)
Earlier this month, LinkedIn compiled a list of the 10 most popular buzzwords being used in LinkedIn profiles, which are: specialized, experienced, leadership, skilled, passionate, expert, motivated, creative, strategic and successful.
This perhaps goes without saying, but simply stringing words together in a bunch of nonsensical sentences isn’t going to unlock doors. But consider how any of these words apply to your skillset. Alternately, it might also be worthwhile to consider that becausethese are the most commonly used words, there’s probably a fresher way to get at your point. Because as we all know, once jargon reaches critical mass, it gets obnoxious quickly.
This story was originally published on March 16, 2018. It has been updated (and will continue to be updated) to include new tips, advice, and guidance, to ensure we are always giving you the best, most valuable resources.