If LinkedIn is your professional shop window then your profile summary is your shop window’s shop window. If your role includes sales or business development then it’s probably the most important single part of your profile.
What is the point of the summary?
Your summary is your opportunity to grab the attention of your target audience. Forget everyone else. It is written to be consumed by your ideal customer. Your aim is to show them you would be a good person to do business with, that you know your stuff and that you can be trusted.
Adding a summary
You have to add a summary it is not there by default. To add a summary click on the edit pencil just to the right of your profile photo. This will bring up the “Edit intro” screen as below, simply scroll down to enter text in the summary section.
Fig 1: A summary can be added from the “Edit Intro” screen
In total, you have 2,000 characters available for your summary including spaces – but since the desktop redesign earlier this year only the first 230 characters or two lines are visible on LinkedIn desktop and only 60 characters on mobile. Think very carefully therefore about how you use these first two lines.
Fig 2: Only first 60 or 230 characters of summary line show on mobile or desktop
Put the Viewer in the picture
Someone is reading your summary because he or she is interested in you. So put them in the picture, tell them
- What exactly your business does
- What types of businesses you work with (examples are helpful)
- Where you operate, whether you sell nationally or globally or locally
- What is YOUR specific role and expertise?
- What benefits you can bring to their business
- What evidence there is that you are trustworthy
- How can they get further information
I can’t tell you how many LinkedIn summaries I read and still have no clue what a business is about or what the individual does when I have finished. Just getting these basics right will give you an edge.
Knowing and pressing your reader’s hot buttons
Remember you are writing the summary to be read by your ideal customer or prospect, with that in mind, describe some of the problems or issues they grappling with and how your product or expertise can offer a solution. No need to go overboard here into a sales pitch, you just need to let the reader know that you feel their pain.
The aim is when a prospective customer reads you summary they consciously or subconsciously recognise that they match your customer profile.
Stand out from the crowd
The average viewer will spend just a few seconds looking at a profile. Therefore the formatting of the summary MUST be easy to read. This means using white space, bullet points, and paragraphs with block capital headings [Tip: you can copy and paste a bullet point list and certain special characters from Word to your LinkedIn summary].
The majority of people just use text in their summary section but there are over 400 media format that you can add to your summary to grab your viewers attention including photos, blog links, pdf, and video. Here is a full list of supported media.
Making your summary super search friendly
You can’t fail to have noticed that if you Google people or businesses, invariably their LinkedIn entries come up on page one. Google loves LinkedIn, And don’t forget LinkedIn’s own search engine known as “Galene”. LinkedIn no longer releases stats on member searches, however, Daniel Tunkelang former Director of Engineering at LinkedIn estimates there are roughly 1 billion LinkedIn profile searches per month.
To make your summary ultra visible to search engines you must add the keywords that you want to be found for, ideally more than once. The most elegant way to do this in my opinion, rather than littering them throughout the body of the text is simply to gather up the relevant keywords and put them in a paragraph at the bottom of your summary under the heading “Specialties”.
So my keyword paragraph would read like this:
Specialities:LinkedIn training|LinkedIn Trainer|LinkedIn strategy|Lead generation|LinkedIn Coaching|LinkedIn Profile Optimisation|LinkedIn Search|LinkedIn Blog|LinkedIn Tips|LinkedIn In-house Training|Online training|LinkedIn for business|LinkedIn marketing|LinkedIn training courses|LinkedIn profile tips|How to use LinkedIn|LinkedIn company page|LinkedIn Sales Navigator|LinkedIn Expert
Use your secret sales force
The most powerful salesperson for your business is your customer, including a testimonial from a customer in your summary, is a great way to build credibility and trust, especially if that company is known to your target audience. I use a testimonial from the regional Chamber of Commerce since my business focuses on South West England and Wales and the Chamber has wide recognition in that area conveying instant credibility for me.
Tap into the wisdom of the world’s best LinkedIn profile judge
There is no single right way to write your summary. Each person has their own style. The ultimate test of success is whether after reading your profile and your summary in particular people go on to do business with you.
But there is something you can do to check you are ringing the right bells with the right people. Ask a handful of your best customers to read your summary and if they recognise your description of what you do as being an accurate and authentic representation and secondly ask them based on your summary if they came across you for the first time, would they be motivated to find out more. Finally, ask them what they would add or change.
If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, I would really appreciate if you would like and/or share it so others can too.