LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 500 million users in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. When you’re looking for work, your LinkedIn profile is a 24/7 information resource for all who are seeking talent. Your summary is the first thing talent seekers will see, so giving it some love is essential, but LinkedIn gives you just 2,000 characters (including spaces) to summarize your unique professional brand.
When I’m helping a client craft their LinkedIn summary, I encourage them to keep three things in mind.
#1 KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Don’t confuse the summary on your resume with your summary on LinkedIn. When you submit a resume, the intended audience is another person – the person responsible for screening candidates for a particular job that you are interested in. The summary on your resume should therefore be tailored to that position.
Recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to search for talent matching their needs, so when it comes your LinkedIn summary, the goal is to capture attention via a search. Sprinkling your summary with keywords and their variations is therefore of the utmost importance.
#2 WRITE FOR THE JOB YOU WANT, NOT THE ONE YOU HAVE
While it’s important to tell talent seekers what you’ve done, it’s even more important to tell them what you want to do next and why you are qualified to do it. This is especially important if you are looking to change fields or step into a more senior role.
#3 BE AUTHENTIC
Don’t be afraid to communicate something personal about yourself. While a recent Forbes article claims that, “as more companies strive for diversity and inclusion, the term ‘culture fit’ is falling out of favor,” companies are still ultimately seeking to identify talent with traits that align with their core values. The only way to demonstrate that fit is to share authentic stories that exemplify your experiences and beliefs.
To see how these points ‘play out in real life’, let’s look at the before and after of a summary I recently worked on. When I met Matt, I learned that he was a seasoned supply chain expert. He had lots of hands-on experience with a wide range of popular technology. He was passionate about implementing new solutions, versus maintaining systems, and was ready to make a move from a company that was shrinking to one that was growing. In his words, he wasn’t afraid of “hard work and big ugly projects” and “was tired of politics and teams that didn’t play well together.” I was ready to hire him myself, but instead I set out to help him craft a profile that summarized everything I heard him say!
BEFORE: Here’s what he started with:
Global IT Manager, Distribution and Logistics Systems
Accomplished IT leader with over 15 years of experience successfully delivering global Supply Chain systems and large-scale implementation projects. Reporting into the Chief Information Officer with a strong dotted line to the Senior Vice President of Distribution and Logistics, currently provide leadership, vision, and direction to implement, support, and improve the company’s suite of distribution and logistics solutions from leading industry vendors including Manhattan Associates, GT Nexus/Tradecard, and SAP. A proven hands-on professional responsible for partnering with the global Supply Chain leadership to deliver against IT needs and objectives
AFTER: Here’s what he ended with:
I’m a Global IT Leader with 15+ years of strategic and operational experience delivering and supporting mission critical Supply Chain systems. My expertise includes selecting, architecting, configuring, implementing and integrating Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), Global Trade Management solutions and Transportation Management Systems (TMS).
I’ve lived and worked on both sides of the pond, and I’m especially passionate about helping high-growth companies implement technology practices that add value to the bottom-line. I’ve never met a company in the Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Third-Party Logistics (3PL), or Direct to Consumer industry that I couldn’t help out of a jam because I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves, get my hands dirty, and leave things better than I found them.
I’ve worn many hats throughout my career and worked for many supply chain leaders, including Manhattan Associates, JDA, Ernst & Young, and M&M Mars. My experience has taught me that my professional value boils down to the following:
- I love making the impossible possible. Big scary projects with tight timelines don’t scare me. I have an ownership attitude, and I am willing to gather the resources required, put the time in, and get the job done.
- I don’t care who gets the credit – I just want to make things better for my company and our customers.
- I’m the calm one.
- I don’t play politics – I enjoy working with a team of passionate professionals who have one another’s back.
- I’m the one you call in the middle of the night – because you know I’ll answer and do whatever I can do to put out the fire.
I love talking shop. Reach out if you want to know how some of today’s largest companies are managing their supply chains.
The difference is obvious, but a few things to note are all the keywords and searchable terms he layered in, the way he clearly defined what he was looking to do next, and how he demonstrated his values and beliefs about hard work and teamwork.
Matt found a new opportunity quickly upon posting his new summary (a recruiter found him on LinkedIn). He told me recently that he continues to get contacted about interesting positions weekly. While he’s not currently seeking a new job, he’s happy to know his LinkedIn summary continues to work for him. He’s confident that in the event his dream job comes available, it will find its way to him!