If you are like most LinkedIn members, your LinkedIn summary isn’t very clear or compelling.
It’s time to change that. Here are six secrets to create a powerful LinkedIn summary:
1. Start smart.
Before you write your LinkedIn summary, you need to be clear on why you are using LinkedIn.
Are you seeking a job in a new field? Happily employed, but want to build up your personal brand? Looking to strengthen your professional network? Hoping to land new customers for your business?
You probably have several goals. However, most LinkedIn users haven’t given much thought to who they are trying to impress or why they are using the site, which is why most summaries are not clear or compelling.
As the late Stephen Covey would say, “Begin with the end in mind.”
2. Highlight the problems you solve.
No matter why you use LinkedIn, your summary should expand on your headline by telling the reader which problems you can solve. In other words, discuss who you help and how you help them.
3. Provide evidence for your credibility.
Assume people reading your profile will be skeptical. Anyone can claim they are a “visionary” or that they have “superior communication skills.” Highlight three to five of your most relevant, impressive achievements as evidence of your value.
4. Tell a story.
The best LinkedIn profiles have a human element and elicit emotion in readers. Potential connections, employers and customers want to know why you do the work you do (or why you want to work in a certain field, if you don’t work in it yet).
When you have a compelling reason/story behind your chosen career path, you appear even more interesting and credible. It’s even better if you can highlight some obstacles you overcame in your life/career in conjunction with your story.
5. Be accessible.
Include your contact information. At the minimum, everyone on LinkedIn should include their email addresses in their summaries. For those who disagree, why do you use the site if you’re not open to connecting with new people?
The minimal risk of being spammed far outweighs the potential reward in being accessible to anyone who wants to connect with you. This is especially true if you are looking for a new job or working in any sort of sales capacity.
6. Do not write in first person.
Summaries written in first person sound very pretentious—especially when you discuss your achievements. Use bullet points or write your summary in third person.
You can check out my LinkedIn summary here.
Pete Leibman is the founder of Dream Job Academy and the author of “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You: 7 Steps to Creating Your Ideal Career After College.” His work has been featured on Fox, CBS and CNN. A version of this article originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog.