Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most valuable profiles you have online. It is the business you. The one profile that focuses on the professional side and is devoid of the the embarrassing college photo with big hair and barrage of birthday wishes and games that makes us wonder. LinkedIn has grown from the job posting billboard to a platform that allows us to be business. The business side is not only essential to how we survive financially, it is  how we grow within our industry. We grow professionally from our connections and how we are able to build our personal brand.

Packing A Powerful Punch With Your LinkedIn Summary

Your LinkedIn summary is indexed for certain key words. Not necessarily the same way we think of the search engines ranking keywords (the space in key words was intentional). When a LinkedIn member performs a search for an industry recognized term the results are limited to LinkedIn users who have a profile, created headlines as well as summaries that incorporate the core industry words that garner results. We know that profiles are skimmed and a stop gap exists when a summary is one that compels them to want to connect and learn more. How do we create that stop gap?

Tip: Write in the first person. It is you and the expectation is that we are getting to know you and not a third person.

1. Opening Paragraph. Your first is what is skimmed first. Make it powerful. Your first paragraph needs to tell why you are there. Are you seeking employment? Are you a  consultant who can help small businesses or are you there just to network and learn from others? Say that.

Ex: I am seeking a full time position in advertising, specifically as an Account Executive or Project Manager with a small to mid-sized company who is looking to build their department and client experience with an experienced marketer.

There is no question as to why you are active on LinkedIn. Connections and Employers will have a clear understanding what you are looking for and how they can help you.

2.  Middle Paragraph(s).The middle paragraphs are where you delve into what your experience is currently, in the past and other positions that you held that relate to your current skills and the positions you are may be seeking. Think about what is relevant. Is your education relevant or an industry you worked in 8 years ago relevant that is not contained in the LinkedIn blue box?

If you are a consultant you have an opportunity to discuss the consulting that you provide (tip: keep it to the one thing that you do great). Think of how you solve problems for them through the one thing. One message gets the attention, the connection allows for the additional services.  Be precise and to the point and avoid long paragraphs. Break them up into smaller more inviting paragraphs.

Ex: As (position – president, consultant, etc) for (company name), my role is to build and execute strategies for companies seeking to engage their community via the social web. I focus primarily on four core areas: listening, content marketing, community management, and outreach.

I have worked in both the advertising and marketing industry for the past 12 years. During this time I worked closely with clients in various industries affording me the opportunity to learn about management, fostering successful client relationships, professionalism and team work. Through my experience I have learned that I am especially skilled at creating a winning strategy that attains goals by identifying objectives and creating strategies and tactics.

3. Closing Paragraph. This is the where you have to really differentiate yourself. Your 3rd paragraph is all about the showcasing why you should be hired … that evil self promotion. When you are writing it, instead of thinking it should be me,. think why not me? Give the potential employer or a client reason to pick up the phone.

Ex:I want to make the Marketing Communications industry with emphasis on driving user interaction and education my career. As a fast learner, I can grow beyond my current entry level experience quickly, offering your company a great asset as an employee. I thrive in both independent and team-oriented work environments and can effectively represent the company in professional settings.

4. Specialties. Again, the one thing that makes you stand above the crowd. What are you sensational at? What do you want people to associate with you being great at? Who are the people that promote you more than you do? What are they saying? Does this convert to terminology that you can incorporate into your summary?  The closer you match to search terms, the more your profile will appear in search queries.

5. Contact. This is one place where we see people leaving blank. If you are a job seeker how do you think the potential employer will get in touch with you? Send you a request to connect so that they can send you an email? Seriously? Be sure to have at least a direct email and/or phone number so that it is easy to contact you.

Have you  ready to give your LinkedIn profile a facelift? Do  you see the business side and giving you a chance to grow professionally?