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How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Summary

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LinkedIn Tattoo On Forehead

Photo: A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive |

What’s above your fold? No, that wasn’t meant to be suggestive.

As a journalist, I’m trained to produce and consume information in the most efficient way possible. That includes saying what you want to in the shortest amount of words possible and including information above the “page fold.” Traditionally, that refers to everything above the crease on a newspaper, but in our digital world, that refers to everything on the page before you have to scroll down to see more.

Think of your LinkedIn profile as a breaking news story. Your name and title is the headline and byline, and your summary is the lead of the story; your story to be exact.

People want two things when they’re reading your summary: briefness and authenticity.

Yes, your LinkedIn summary will allow up to 2,000 characters, but that doesn’t mean you should use them all. Some people may tell you to utilize all the characters that you can to optimize your page, but I think that’s just silly. In this case, less is definitely more.

Think of your LinkedIn summary as an elevator pitch. At the last minute you squeeze through the elevator doors to catch the attention of your company’s CEO. She’s a busy woman and you have only a minute or two at most to tell her who you are and how you can benefit the company, deserve that promotion, etc. Make it count!

Second, be sincere. Use first person and your own voice to tell your story. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that when you write in third person you sound conceited and stuffy. Imagine that arrogant jock who speaks in the third person.  We all know someone like that and can all agree that those people are annoying.

Now that we’ve established a voice, here are some buzz words and phrases to avoid: creative, organizational, effective, motivated, extensive experience, track record, innovative, responsible, analytical, problem solving, blah, blah, blah. Anyone can say that he/she is creative or responsible. Who cares? What you want to do is show how you are creative or responsible.

List one to three accomplishments that you’re really proud of. LinkedIn is not the place to be modest. If you launched an advertising campaign that won tons of awards and received national notoriety, say so! If you’ve never missed a day of work in 10 years, brag about it! Some other highlights to include are any trade qualifications, certifications, or apprenticeships that you may have under your belt.

Lastly, include a call to action. Invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn. Encourage them to email you to learn more about what you do. Direct them to your company website. Whatever your end goal is, make sure you tell people what to do next.

Some other things to consider when writing your LinkedIn summary:

  • Begin with the end in mind. Why are you on LinkedIn? Is it to expand your professional network, or find more leads?
  • Who do you help and how?
  • Include your specialties.
  • If you’re a business owner, keep your personal identity separate from your business’ brand.
  • Move your Skills & Expertise up on your profile page so it sits below your summary and before anything else. Reality is that people want to know what you’re good at before they learn about your job at McDonalds when you were 16 or where you graduated from college.
  • Tell your story! You don’t have to begin with your birth day, just begin somewhere.

Still confused about how to use LinkedIn? Contact us for a training/informational session! Email

Author: Sheng Riechers

Candeo Creative Communication Director

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