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How to Tell Your Career Story in Your LinkedIn Profile Summary

The summary is one of the most underutilized sections of the LinkedIn profile. Situated “above the fold” and directly underneath your name, headline and other vital information, the LinkedIn profile summary is your best opportunity to take control of your career story while networking or job searching.
LinkedIn profile summary
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Writing a great LinkedIn headline creates a powerful snapshot of what you have to offer. Being thorough with your work experience shows profile visitors where you’ve been. The LinkedIn profile summary allows you to contextualize it all within your own personal story. This includes sharing what makes you tick and specific examples of what you’ve accomplished.

Questions to Answer in Your LinkedIn Profile Summary

It can be difficult to talk about yourself on your LinkedIn profile, but showing that you are thoughtful and driven will help you get the most out of it. Here are some prompts to get you started:

What are your goals and ambitions? Describe how your career trajectory has brought you closer to solving a problem, hitting a milestone or earning your dream job.

What are your guiding principles? Share any adages or maxims you lean on when things get tough. Discuss your determining factors when tasked with making a big decision.

Why are you passionate about your current job or industry? We want to connect with people who love what they do. Find something in your work that gets you going and brings you satisfaction.

Were there any specific pieces of wisdom that you took away from past jobs? Provide proof that you learn from both positive and negative experiences. This is key to becoming a trusted member of your industry.

Is there any unique knowledge or perspective that you’ve brought into your industry from other life experiences or career divergences? Illustrate why the path you’ve walked sets you apart from your peers. Describe how your unconventional experience has elevated your work.

The summary is your chance to show that you’re not just mindlessly floating from one opportunity to a next. Instead, you’re constantly learning, improving and progressing on the way to fulfilling your particular vision.

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Using Measurable Results to Tell Your Story

Measurable results and accomplishments should be part of your story. Recruiters and other LinkedIn users can only tell so much from a list of skills and proficiencies. Those skills need real-world context. “Bullet points are good,” a technical recruiter for a Fortune 25 company told us, “but knowing what you really did and accomplished is even better.”

Measurable results should be scattered throughout your LinkedIn work experience sections, but the profile summary is a great opportunity to craft a narrative by grouping together your most impressive accomplishments from various parts of your career or life.

For example, a marketer might compile the following list of progressive measurable results in their profile summary:

  • State University, 2009 – Took over marketing and outreach efforts for a student stand-up comedy show, increasing regular attendance by over 300% and reaching capacity 11 weeks in a row.
  • ABC Company, 2012 – Implemented new social media marketing initiatives on Facebook and Twitter, gaining 19,000 followers and $4,000 in trackable sales in 8 months.
  • XYZ Nonprofit, 2014 – Volunteered to create marketing materials and head community outreach for fundraising project that raised $15,000 for a local animal shelter.
  • Acme Corp, 2017 – Managed 4-person marketing team (strategist, graphic designer, content creator, social media manager) that increased user base by 140% in one year.

These accomplishments are impressive on their own but don’t tell a story when they’re spread out on a LinkedIn profile by education, work and volunteer experience. Combining them in the summary shows a trajectory of growth, success and responsibility.

Making the most of every section of your LinkedIn profile is a great first step toward creating a fully optimized LinkedIn profile that attracts recruiters and connections that will advance your career. Using the LinkedIn profile summary to take control of your career story will distinguish you among 500 million other LinkedIn profiles and uncover connections that want to help you take the next step in your journey.

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Jon Shields
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