Last week, I completed the gruelling task of updating my entire website and LinkedIn profile to reflect my new and refined business offerings.
As I was making amendments to LinkedIn, I was reminded of one of the biggest mistakes I see people make on their LinkedIn profile — not having an effective Summary section.
So, why does this matter?
Most professionals and business owners see LinkedIn as a vital tool for building their personal brand and business. The Summary section at the top of your LinkedIn profile is particularly crucial. It’s where you highlight your point of difference, attract the right clients, communicate your value and why you can help them.
Yet, many fail to maximise this important area. Their LinkedIn Summary is either written like a CV or contains very little information. Recently, I reviewed a client’s LinkedIn profile and their Summary section was completely non-existent!
Struggling to create your Summary section or know it could be better?
Read on to discover the common mistakes people make and how to fix them. You’ll learn practical tips to create an effective LinkedIn Summary that helps you stand out and attract more clients.
WHY YOUR SUMMARY IS IMPORTANT
The goal of your LinkedIn Summary is to tell your story and emphasise what makes you unique. You want to be clear about what you do, so the right clients click on your profile to find out more.
Common errors include having a short (or no) Summary and regurgitating the content of your resume.
There are two problems with this.
Number one, failing to have a Summary section or populate all the space provided restricts your ability to be visible to potential clients. You have a 2000 character limit in your LinkedIn Summary. The entire word count should be utilised and the section optimised with relevant key words that are searchable by customers looking for your services.
Number two, your LinkedIn summary should not repeat the information on your resume. Relevant career highlights belong in the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile, where you list past positions. However, your Summary should never be written like the ‘Professional Summary’ section on your CV.
HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE LINKEDIN SUMMARY
Creating your LinkedIn profile can be tough. And writing an effective Summary has a number of unique requirements. Here are the practical tips I’ve used, that I recommend to all my clients.
#1 – CREATE A COMPELLING OPENING
Only the first couple of lines of text in your Summary section are visible when someone first clicks on your LinkedIn profile. The person will need to click ‘see more’ to view the rest. For this reason, it’s essential to use compelling copy to ensure your potential client reads on.
Make the first 1-2 sentences of the Summary section and your profile headline stand out. Clearly communicate what you do and who your target clients are. And include keywords where possible.
#2 – WHO DO YOU HELP & HOW?
Your LinkedIn Summary should define exactly who your customer is, what you do and how you add value to them.
However, always make it about your client, not you. Speak directly to the pain points that your ideal client is experiencing and the solutions that your services provide.
If in doubt, ask yourself – why does this matter to my client? Then, adjust your language and present your experience in a way that addresses your customer’s problems, fears and desired results.
#3 – BUILD TRUST & CREDIBILITY
Demonstrate your expertise and highlight anything that gives you credibility or makes you stand out. Include your relevant qualifications or certifications, years of experience, customer results, awards or media features.
Where possible, use specific facts and figures to create trust and make the results more tangible.
#4 – HIGHLIGHT YOUR POINT OF DIFFERENCE
Rather than being an account of your professional experience, your LinkedIn Summary should highlight your story and what makes you unique.
Be sure to summarise your strengths and emphasise your point of difference by including who you are and why you do what you do.
#5 – FINISH WITH A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION
In the final line of your Summary section, include a clear call to action. If a potential client wants to work with you, they need to know how to contact you. Make this as easy as possible for them by telling them exactly what you want them to do next – email, phone or visit your website.
Always give them just one call to action and make the relevant contact information visible at the bottom of your Summary.
#6 – USE KEY WORDS
Key words are important because they are the way people find you on LinkedIn. Think about what your ideal client is searching for when looking for your services on LinkedIn. Make a note of at least 3-5 key words and include them throughout your Summary section.
A great way to do this is to include a ‘Specialties’ or ‘Expertise’ section at the bottom of your Summary and either list out or bullet point the key words your clients are searching for.
Finally, be sure to use the entire 2000 character limit and space in your Summary to capitalise on key words and make your profile more searchable.
#7 – MAKE IT EASY TO READ
Make sure your Summary section is pleasing to the eye and simple to read.
Use short paragraphs, no longer than 2-3 sentences or bullet points to break up the text. Make it easy to navigate so people keep reading on.
Writing your LinkedIn profile – and your Summary section in particular – can be incredibly challenging. However, when done correctly, a powerful and complete LinkedIn summary will effectively communicate your expertise, improve visibility and attract more clients.
These tips have helped my clients and I develop a Summary section that converts. I hope they assist you too.
Dream of starting a business – but not sure if it’s financially viable or how to get started? Click here to book a free Strategy Consult and find out how coaching with me can help you!
Stacey Back is a professional coach to existing and aspiring consultants and the Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achieving professionals go from feeling trapped in their corporate careers to developing the confidence and strategy to transition into their own consulting businesses.
Stacey also supports existing consultants who are stuck in a business model they hate, working longer hours than ever or struggling to find clients or make money. She helps them set the foundations for their business to find more time, attract the right clients and grow the consulting businesses they desire. Stacey works virtually with individuals based across Australia and internationally.