In today’s digital age, creating a strong LinkedIn profile is crucial. And while that certainly involves uploading a stunning professional headshot and writing up a captivating headline, the truth is, without a strong career summary, the chances of a hiring manager reading any further are slim to none.
So how do you write a summary that will entice job recruiters to pick up the phone to call you in for an interview? We spoke with branding expert and founder of LinkedIn-Makeover.com, Donna Serdula to find out:
Don’t be boring
Rather than spitting out resume jargon like ‘results-driven, goal oriented professional commanding over 15 years of progressive leadership success,’ which is incredibly boring, Serdula suggests thinking of your summary as a chance to tell your professional story. “An easy way to get started is to imagine you are explaining what you do for a living to a small child,” says the LinkedIn professional. That means shortening your role down to a few core concepts, eliminating words like ‘contextualize,’ and ‘paradigm’ and instead focusing on who you are.
Ask yourself: “What drew you to this industry?” “What are you most passionate about accomplishing?” and “What quotes or concepts guide you through your career?” and then incorporate those answers into an authentic first person narrative, she explains. “Hiring managers are going through profile after boring profile — if you put a little bit of effort into this, and let the summary act as the human voice of your story, you’ll be surprised that the phone will start to ring.”
Use strong keywords
Job recruiters view LinkedIn as a database of potential candidates, says Serdula. In other words, they’re constantly typing in keywords with the hopes of finding a candidate who is “the perfect match.” To make sure that your profile pops up on their screen use strong keywords in your summary.
And that doesn’t mean simply plugging in terms like “motivated,” “professional” and “problem- solver.” Use targeted descriptions that align closely with the job you’re looking for. If you’re hoping to find a position as an IT specialist, incorporate terms like “database administration,” and “content development,” — essentially, words that clearly outline your skills in the field.
Her advice for coming up with these targeted keywords: Look up a job description for a position you want, and include some of the phrases listed under “requirements” in your summary. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. “Five to ten words is ideal,” says Serdula. “You want to weave them organically into your narrative. By simply listing them ad nauseam, you’re just going to turn people off.”
Break it up
Hiring managers are going through hundreds of profiles each day — the last thing they want to do is have to read through your long-winded dissertation. To make their jobs easier, break up your summary into digestible chunks, says the branding expert. “After every second or third sentence, hit enter so you have some blank space. It’ll make it easier to read and far less intimidating.”
You can even copy and paste a few symbols to spotlight specific career accomplishments. At the end of the day, you want whoevers viewing your profile to read your summary from start to finish.