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[The following article was originally published for my Personal Branding Expert gig on Job-Hunt.org.]
Powering your LinkedIn Summary section with personal branding helps you differentiate the value you offer over your competitors.
It helps recruiters and hiring decision makers at the companies you’re targeting determine what makes you a good‑fit hiring choice for them.
The content in your LinkedIn Summary needs to capture attention and compel them to consider you as a viable candidate, and want to reach out to you and learn more about you. It should make them want to read your entire profile.
Once you’ve worked on personal branding, and created your targeted, branded resume that includes a strong initial summary with specific relevant contributions, you’ll have a good foundation from which to create your LinkedIn summary section.
Remember that a branded LinkedIn profile doesn’t replace your resume. It serves several purposes in conjunction with your resume, including:
→ Becomes a means of passive job search, to help you get found by recruiters and hiring decision makers through the relevant keywords you’ve strategically placed in the various sections of your profile.
→ Provides social proof to publicly back up the claims you’ve made in your resume. Those assessing you through your LinkedIn profile feel that you’re less likely to exaggerate in a public forum such as LinkedIn than you might in your resume document, which is only viewed by the select people you decide to send it to.
→ Presents a somewhat more general career marketing communication than your resume, so it can position you for more options. Resumes need to be customized to position you as the problem-solver for each employer’s specific needs.
Tips for Creating your LinkedIn Summary
→ As with your resume, the LinkedIn summary section is written in first-person voice. Typically resumes don’t include the word “I”. Instead, first-person is implied through the verbs. But it’s a good idea to speak from the first person in your LinkedIn summary, to personalize the content and better engage readers.
→ Make sure you include the relevant keywords you found when you did company and industry research to develop content for your branded resume. Weave these keywords into your value‑ and metrics‑driven statements. The more relevant keywords you include, the more potential traffic you’ll draw to your profile.
→ Include a stand-alone personal brand statement to make the content come alive, generate chemistry, and give a feel for your personality. Here’s an example of one for a Senior Project/Program Management Consultant:
Known as a decisive, intuitive leader with “get it done” smarts, I turn chaos into harmony by leveraging technology and data to improve functionality. You can presume a short ramp up time from me, clear and concise status updates, and execution beyond your expectations . . . even under less than ideal circumstances.
→ You’re allowed 2,000 characters in this section. Use as many as possible.
→ Create the content in a Word document, or run it through a Word document before posting it to your profile, so you can use Word’s Spell Check and character-count features.
→ Keep the content in short paragraphs (no more than 3-4 lines) to make it easier to read. Tightly packed content can be dizzying to readers and can keep them from absorbing all of it. Keep in mind that people may be viewing your LinkedIn profile on very small screens, with their hand-held devices.
→ One strategy is to start the Summary with a call to action, such as this example for the same Senior Project/Program Management Consultant as above:
Are you looking for a Six Sigma Black Belt business transformation expert who brings greater value to high-growth organizations through broad-based expertise in Process Design, Financial Analysis, IT/Data Systems, and Risk Exposure?
→ Use short bullet points to distinguish and draw attention to specific contributions with metrics, such as:
Increased efficiencies 425% managing delinquent loan tracking system with Agile methodology.
→ Don’t rely entirely on Word Spell Check. Proofread the content very carefully before posting it. Poor grammar and misspellings can sabotage your chances.
Although having a branded resume to work from gives you a good head start, you’ll need to spend some time re-tooling it for your LinkedIn Summary. They both service different purposes in your job search.
How to Use the New LinkedIn for Executive Personal Branding
Best Kept Secret to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Professional Headline SEO-Friendly
photo by Coletivo Mambembe
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