An African man writing his LinkedIn summary

African man sitting on a chair writing his LinkedIn summary

How do you write an effective LinkedIn summary and headline so that no recruiters would forget?

A recruiter once said:

“If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you don’t exist” That’s how important your LinkedIn profile and presence is.

Your headline is the key element that makes recruiters and professionals decide how relevant your connection would be to them.

In this article, let’s help you to write yours perfectly.

 

The headline should tell people who you are.

It has a 120-character limit, including spaces. The headline comes immediately after your profile photo.

The default headline, which you should revise, is always your current or last job.

Your headline can comprise of your

  • Areas of interests or influence
  • Career accomplishment highlights
  • Outstanding credentials, qualifications or awards
  • Personal past-time, for example, ‘Photographer’…to humanise your profile if it sounds too academic.
  • Significant areas of expertise
  • Your ‘personal brand’ ─ the unique value people know you for

For freshers or new professionals

  • One of the best approaches is to include the job title you’re aspiring to or already in or list your hottest or most in-demand job skills.

An equally good option (for most entrepreneurs and service providers) is to use a client-facing headline style. See below:

 

LinkedIn headline and summary 

LinkedIn Headline Examples:

1. Role | Specific Achievement

LinkedIn Headline Examples:

B2B Inside Sales Rep | £1.9M generated in 2019

Digital Ads Manager | 7 Years’ Experience Managing 7-figure ad budgets

2. Role | Years of Experience in Industry | Fun Fact

LinkedIn Headline Examples:

Human Resources Manager | 10+ Years of People Experience | Disneyland Annual Passholder

Senior Manufacturing Engineer | 5+ Years in GMP Manufacturing | Dog fanatic

3. Role | Industry/Expertise | Unique Value

LinkedIn Headline Examples:

Director of HR at Microsoft | Software Technology | Certified HR Trainer

R&D Scientist at Pfizer | Oncology Research | Science Blogger

4. LinkedIn Headline 4:

Role | Helping ___ (the type of company) do ___ (result)

LinkedIn Headline Example:

Social Media Manager | Helping software start-ups manage and grow their social media to drive more sales

5.  LinkedIn Headline 5:

I help ___ (the type of company) do ___ (result)

Example for Freelancers:

I help coaches and consultants generate an additional £9,000-20,000 per month via video ads

6.  LinkedIn Headline 6:

Description of what you do or how you meet someone’s pain point | Keyword 1 | Keyword 2 | Keyword 3

Example Headline:

I help manufacturers become more efficient through process engineering | GMP-Certified | Project Manager | CQE

7.  LinkedIn Headline 7:

<Role> specialising in _____, _____ and _____.

Example:

Content Marketing Strategist specializing in press releases, blog content, and social media

8.  LinkedIn Headline Formulas 8 & 9: (We don’t recommend this, however, if you insist on saying “Actively Seeking…”)

<Role> seeking a ___ opportunity

OR

<Role> looking for opportunities in ___ (specific area)

Examples:

“Certified Public Accountant (CPA) seeking a management opportunity”

“Software Engineer looking for opportunities in the private sector”

9. LinkedIn Headline #10 (For Recent Grads with NO Experience):

Recent ___ graduate with a focus in ___, ___ and ___.

Example Headline for a Recent Graduate:

Recent Finance graduate with a focus in financial analysis, reporting, and auditing

[Adapted from Biron Clark’s ‘The 10 Best LinkedIn Headlines For Job Seekers (Examples)’]

OTHER STYLES ARE:

10. Social Science Data Analyst | Stata | SAS | Qualtrics | Tableau | R | SPSS | LaTeX

11. Cheeky Scientist Founder & CEO | PhD Career Strategist | Job Search Professional| Bestselling Author | Entrepreneur | INTJ

12. Aspiring Process/Automation Engineer

13. Science Communicator | Medical Affairs | AI | Oncology | Immuno-Oncology | Drug Discovery | Endocrinology | Photography

14. Business Development Executive / Revenue Growth Driver Lifting Technology Firms to the Foremost Position in Emerging Markets

15. IT Project Manager | Programme Manager | Head of Strategy and Implementation

16. Senior Recruiter at Spacy Limited. I spark joy in recruiting and enable candidates to succeed.

17. Lead Software Developer at Insurance Technologies, Inc | Python | JavaScript | TypeScript | HTML | CSS |C# | SQL | jQuery

18. Software Engineer in Test at Google | C | C++ | Java | Objective-C

19. Chief Product Officer at XXX, Inc. | Product Development | Product Management | User Experience (UX) Design | Product Analytics

20. The Happiest Person in Real Estate | Internet Marketing

21. Senior Software Engineer at Badel Ltd | CSS | HTML | Git | GitLab | SQL | PostgreSQL | TDD

22. “Done For You” LinkedIn Lead Generation for Business Coaches, Consultants & Small Business Owners

23. Chief Strategy Officer – I assist clients in overcoming operational & regulatory challenges by applying automation

24. Founder & CEO | Mastermind Groups + Coaching + Team Building + Online Courses | Author – “How To Dominate Your Market”

25.  Attention PhD, MSc, MBA, BSc Professionals: Underemployed? Unemployed? Still in School and Need to Be Job-Ready? I Can Help!

26. Global Merchandising Executive *Bringing expertise, passion, and savoir-faire to the international fashion market

27. Senior Technology Architect / Project manager >> Innovating, designing and managing business-critical technology solutions

 

Writing Your Perfect LinkedIn Profile Summary

A perfect LinkedIn summary should stand on two pillars:

  1. Great substance (i.e., “what to say”)
  2. Great style (i.e., “how to say it”)

Substance comes from the topics you cover.

Style comes from the tone and format of your words.

There’s no one right way to tackle either, but the examples highlighted herein reveal some best practices.

Guidelines for writing LinkedIn summary

14 Guidelines for Writing Your Perfect LinkedIn Profile Summary

 

Guidelines 1–7 (What to Say)

Excellent LinkedIn summaries cover seven common topics. If you can incorporate three or four of these tips into your summary, it will have enough substance. Let’s dive in!

1. Talk About What Makes You Tick

The best summaries exude passion. Talking about what you love to do adds context to your career.

Say what excites you most professionally—what drives you aside from your monthly salary? [For examples, see TEMP1, TEMP7, TEMP11].

If you are a new graduate or a young professional with less work experience to boost about, then showing your passion becomes even more important.

Meanwhile, here are 15 great examples.

2. Describe Your Present Role

Merely listing your job title isn’t enough (for example, saying that you’re a digital marketer).

Rather, you need to talk about what you do precisely in your day-to-day work (for example, say, ‘I use remarketing and retargeting to advertise our company’s services on Google and Facebook’).

Talk about the problems you solve [For examples, see TEMP2, TEMP3, TEMP4, TEMP6]. Who do you solve them for, and how do you do that?

Talking about your job in this way will paint a clearer picture of your work and show your skills, practical knowledge, and work style better.

3. Reinterpret Your Past Experiences If Need Be

You can reflect on your career thus far and highlight what you think are the essential lessons you’ve learned and what aspects you believe have made you what you are presently.

If there’s any part that hasn’t been that good, talk about it as well. If you changed career or held obviously unrelated jobs, connect the dots and make sense of it for people to learn from your experience.

Present this unconventional career path as good and not bad for your future roles, perhaps because it has given you a broader perspective.

4. Pinpoint Where You Have Succeeded Exceptionally

Mention the significant takeaways from your experience section. Look across roles and combine achievements if you can.

This is especially applicable if you’re at a mid- to late-stage in your career.

successful

Gold Champion. The Successful!

5. Show Your Personality

Tell stories and use words that show the other sides of your life, not only the professional angle. Show your personal traits, such as gratefulness, loyalty, humility, and humour.

Show that you are authentic. Be honest with yourself. Talk about that one trait that people know you for [For examples, see TEMP5, TEMP7, TEMP10, TEMP12].

6. Share What You Do When Not at Work

What are your hobbies, interests, or supported charitable works?

Remember to connect how these interests help to define who you are at work.

If you share a personal story, be sure it serves to reinforce your professional strengths [For examples, see TEMP6, TEMP13].

7. Add Relevant Media

Occasionally, you can say more with an image, video, or an article—as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Don’t be afraid to add media to your profile and point to where people can access these in your summary [For example, see TEMP2].

 

Guidelines 8–14 (How to Say It)

The ideas you talk about in your summary are important, and so are the format and tone.

Once you have your core contents ready, the following tips will help exponentially.

8. Your First Sentence Must Be Gold

[For example, see TEMP8, TEMP12]

Although every word must fight for and justify its place in your summary, your first words must blaze the trail. Your first sentence should be designed to hook the audience right away; if not, you could lose them.

Therefore, keep empty phrases such as ‘Hi, I’m Benny Hawkins. I’m pleased you visited my profile’, ‘Thanks for visiting!’ or ‘Welcome to my profile’ away from your summary.

Remember, you only have a limited amount of space, so avoid wasting these precious characters on filler words. Cut straight to the good stuff to rope in your audience to read your summary.

Golden summary for your LinkedIn

9. Keywords Are a Sure Bet for Beating the Job Robot

Including relevant industry keywords from your sector will help improve your search ranking on LinkedIn and Google. Your keywords should highlight your top skills.

Including a subsection toward the end of your summary such as ‘Specialties’, ‘Core Competencies’, or ‘Skills & Interests’, among others, is one sure way to pack these words in.

To know what words to include as keywords, do the following:

  1. Search for three or four job descriptions of your target role.
  2. Copy the targeted job description, as well as the personal specifications.
  3. Visit www.wordclouds.com, click Word List, click Paste/Type Text, and then paste the job description and personal specifications. [However, my best word clouds is https://worditout.com/]
  4. Click Apply.

Then, click on Word List You’ll see the most common words and phrases.

Typically, you won’t include the filler words (‘so’, ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘it’, ‘and’, ‘by’, etc.), and there you go!

You will see a list of the most relevant keywords that you must add to your summary to increase your chances of being visible on the LinkedIn algorithm.

10. Cut the Jargon

There is no need to waste your scarce space on these 14 overused words that have lost all meaning:

  • Creative
  • Driven
  • energetic
  • Experienced
  • Expert
  • Innovative
  • Leader
  • Motivated
  • Passionate
  • Skilled
  • Specialised
  • Strategic
  • Successful
  • Trustworthy

Instead, use a thesaurus to find alternatives or, better yet, show you have those traits with an example or a quick story. Show don’t tell!

11. Mirror How You Speak

Imagine you are at a seminar and met a person for the first time. How would you speak to her? Write that way! When you finish writing, read your summary out loud.

That way, you can check your voice. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, then don’t write it. One more thing: use the first-person pronoun ‘I’, not ‘Rob Bowen has 11 years’ experience in marketing’.

Also, lay off the special characters and emojis.

Mirror how your speak

Modern Living Room. Mirroring How You Speak.

12. Tell Stories that Resonate

People will remember you by the stories you tell.

If you start by saying, ‘When I was seven years old’ or ‘My supervisor sat me down one Friday” to reveal the reason you love sales, your summary will have more punch than just stating, ‘I’m zealous about sales’.

13. Allow Some White Space to Relax the Readers’ Eyes

We are in the age of skimming. Breaking up your long sentences and paragraphs into two or three short lines of text will make your summary easily readable.

Steer clear of long paragraphs. Opt for short syllable words, such as ‘use’, over longer syllable words, such as ‘utilise’.

Make bullet points or numbered lists your friend, but ensure they flow—lists aren’t an excuse for sloppy thinking!

14. Ask For What You Want

When you write, think about the actions you want your audience to take after reading your summary. Is it for them to connect with you? An invitation to connect would be a great way to end it.

Do you want them to book a call for your services? A call to action such as, ‘Book a Call’ would be great at the end.

Depending on your goal, you may ask for something else.

If you’re explicit, you’re more likely to get what you want.

Whatever field you’re in, write something engaging in your summary section. It’s a strategic piece of content that can endear you to your profile visitors, so make it work that magic for you.

WRITE YOURS NOW!

For more pro-tips on the LinkedIn summary, headline and networking in general, read here.

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