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How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Summary

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Ever been quoted in the newspaper? Pretty cool feeling, right?

Well, the next time your name appears in an article, your LinkedIn contacts could receive an email about it.

LinkedIn recently acquired Newsle, a start-up that scans articles and blogs for mentions of specific people. LinkedIn wants to use the technology to share your “name drop” across your network. The extra attention could lead to more eyeballs on your LinkedIn profile, which means you better spruce up your summary.

You have 30 seconds to describe yourself. Can you do it?

With a LinkedIn summary, that’s all the time you have. No one wants to read your entire work history (a main reason why short personal stories are a game-changer on a cover letter).

The summary section requires brevity and critical thinking. You must boil down your essence to a tight few lines people will remember.

So, let’s begin.

Step 1: Who are you, really?

Let’s keep it basic. In a nutshell, what are you known for? What’s your identity? Who are you?

That sentence is the root of your summary and its opening line. In a clear voice, tell LinkedIn users definitively what you’re all about. It’s a useful exercise to describe yourself in less than ten seconds.

Here’s my opening line on LinkedIn:

I am a communications professional with an eye on the future of public relations and how my generation, Millennials, engages with the news.

At my professional core, that’s who I am.

Step 2: What do you do?

Now take the opening line a bit deeper, but remember the 30-second rule. This is no time to dive into three huge paragraphs on everything you’ve done. You have someone’s attention — great! Keep things rolling with specific details, like:

  • Your title and company
  • BRIEFLY what you do at the job
  • How your job helps people (remember, being valuable to others is how you make your own luck)

Mine:

As vice president of Rubin Communications Group, a full-service marketing and PR firm in Virginia Beach, I work with a wide range of clients to make their voices heard in traditional and digital media. Simultaneously, I write the blog News To Live By (newstoliveby.net), which shows Millennials the career and leadership lessons “hidden” in the day’s top stories.

The twin roles often coincide as I help PR clients and young professionals craft messages with impact in today’s need-it-now culture.

Step 3: Bring ‘em home

In the final step, put a stamp on your LinkedIn summary and make it memorable.

By now the reader knows who you are and what you do. Now, finish out with a strong “closer” sentence.

Similar to your opening line, what’s your mission as a young professional? What are you passionate about? What’s the kind of work that doesn’t feel like work because you enjoy doing it so much?

Reiterate that point at the end, add a period and you’re done.

My closing line:

My mission is to teach people to say a lot with a little and abide by one simple credo: less is more.

Now? Go get quoted in an article so LinkedIn contacts read about you. I subscribe to HARO to see all the journalists who need interview subjects. Great resource.

Then let the world gaze at your LinkedIn profile and “perfect” summary.

Do you have other LinkedIn profile questions? Ask them in the comments or email me!

(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.