You have 30 seconds to describe yourself. Can you do it?
With a LinkedIn summary, that’s all the time you have. No one wants to read your entire work history (a main reason why short personal stories are a game-changer on a cover letter).
The summary section requires brevity and critical thinking. You must boil down your essence to a tight few lines that people will remember.
So, let’s begin.
Step 1: Who are you, really?
In a nutshell, what are you known for? What’s your identity? Who are you?
That sentence is the root of your summary and its opening line. In a clear voice, tell LinkedIn users definitively what you’re all about. It’s a useful exercise to describe yourself in less than 10 seconds.
Here’s my opening line on LinkedIn:
I am a marketing professional who works with business owners and young professionals to improve their writing and communication skills.
At my professional core, that’s who I am.
Step 2: What do you do?
Now take the opening line a bit deeper, but remember the 30-second rule. This is no time to dive into three huge paragraphs on everything you’ve done. You have someone’s attention-great! Keep things rolling with specifics, such as:
- Your title and company
- Briefly what you do at the job
- How your job helps people (remember, being valuable to others is how you make your own luck)
As vice president of Rubin Communications Group, a full-service marketing and public relations firm in Virginia Beach, I help a wide range of clients make their voices heard in traditional and digital media. Simultaneously, I write the blog News To Live By (newstoliveby.net), which shows millennials the career and leadership lessons “hidden” in the day’s top stories.
The twin roles often coincide as I help PR clients and millennials craft messages with impact in today’s need-it-now culture.
Step 3: Bring ’em home
In the final step, put a stamp on your LinkedIn summary and make it memorable.
By now the reader knows who you are and what you do. Now, finish out with a strong “closer” sentence.
Similar to your opening line, what’s your mission as a young professional? What are you passionate about? What’s the kind of work that doesn’t feel like work because you enjoy doing it so much?
Reiterate that point at the end, add a period, and you’re done.
My closing line:
My mission is to teach people to say a lot with a little and abide by one simple credo: less is more.
Danny Rubin is a communications expert and author of the new book, “Wait, How Do I Write This Email?,” a collection of 100+ templates for networking, the job search and LinkedIn. For more of Danny’s insights and sample chapters from the book, visit his blog, News To Live By, which highlights the career advice in the latest headlines. Follow him on Twitter @DannyHRubin.
This article first appeared on Ragan.com in April 2015.