What is a LinkedIn summary and why should you have one? You need to ensure you include a summary on your profile because it is one of the three key components that make your first impression on LinkedIn. Your summary, along with your name and headline appear in quite a few places, such as:

  • Search Results
  • Connection Invitations
  • Employee Listings
  • Company Pages
  • Messages

Now that we’ve got that squared away, think about this: your summary isn’t really about you. Sure, you’re the topic, but your summary is really about the reader.

A stellar LinkedIn summary tells your story. This story should make your target audience want to learn more about you. A reader should describe your summary as “engaging” and “interesting.”

A stellar LinkedIn summary is tailored to its target audience. The style of your summary will vary depending on the audience. The summary of an elementary school teacher should be drastically different from the summary of an accountant. You might write in the first person, with a conversational tone, or you might write it in the third person, like your resume.

A stellar LinkedIn summary makes you findable. Include keywords in your summary, but don’t fill it with industry buzzwords and jargon. Remember that you’re also telling a story.

A stellar LinkedIn summary is long enough. Opinions vary on the appropriate length for your LinkedIn summary. You can find support for virtually any length, so this aspect of your summary is particularly subjective. LinkedIn suggests about 3-4 sentences. Your summary needs to be however long it takes to make your target audience compelled to read more of your LinkedIn profile. (But do not exceed the 2,000 character limit.)

A stellar LinkedIn summary includes a call to action. A stellar summary leaves the reader wanting more and encourages the reader to connect with you.

Want to see some great summaries? Check out the examples in Step 2: Need a great profile? Make your “LinkedIn summary” unforgettable and 3 Brilliant LinkedIn Summaries That Will Inspire You to Update Yours Right Now.

Want some more tips on writing a great summary? View Lynda.com’s video tutorial Write a compelling summary, and read Want A Better LinkedIn Profile Summary? Paint it Red., How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Summary, 4 Key Elements of a Killer LinkedIn Summary, and 5 Templates That’ll Make Writing the Perfect LinkedIn Summary a Breeze.

Still searching for more in-depth assistance regarding your transition, education, or job search? Contact your installation’s Transition Readiness and Family Member Employment Assistance staff and ask the Marine For Life Network on LinkedIn.