Your LinkedIn Summary is Your Personal Brand (Are you Generic or Top-Shelf?)

Your LinkedIn Summary is Your Personal Brand

(Are you Generic or Top-Shelf?)


We talked about the difference between a resume summary and the LinkedIn summary in a previous blog, (LinkedIn Summaries Vs. Resume Summaries). What might be even more useful is to illustrate the difference between the status quo LinkedIn summary and what a great summary reads like. It's easy to blend in the crowd on LinkedIn with 380 million users. A great profile summary can make the difference in a lot of ways: 

1.     It helps you stand out in a positive manner. It puts your work history into context and lets the reader know where you've been, where you're going, and where you’d like to be.

2.     It also explains why you do what you do. This, I believe, is the most important part to setting yourself out from the crowd and can sway a recruiter to give you a chance when maybe you didn't have all the items on the checklist they were seeking.

LinkedIn has become a hotbed for great jobs, professional conversation, and networking. It is a massive tool in your job-search arsenal especially considering there are three million active jobs posted on the site and 48% of recruiters post jobs on LinkedIn instead of any other social media. The company has a mobile job search app now, as well as premium services. It's never been more important to be on LinkedIn.

It truly baffles me when I hear someone say that they're not on it in 2015. It makes me wonder what else they're not doing that they should be for their career!

Based on the interactions with my clients, most people still don't understand the point of the LinkedIn summary. This misunderstanding is why you get a regurgitation of their resume profile. It's meant to be approachable, conversational, and this is where it's okay to use ‘I’. Now I'm not giving you carte blanche to make this a personal essay or to say things that you wouldn't in a professional setting. This is still a professional representation of you. It's just your professional persona in a broader context.

This is your chance to let others understand who you are as a professional and relatable as a human being. This human aspect is really what's left out of the resume. The resume is you professionally in a nutshell; your work history and what you did. While it does include some soft skills in the summary, it really doesn't tell the reader more than what you accomplished professionally over the last decade or so. Knowing why you pursue your career, what your real natural strengths are, and why you continue to stay in your field, can really help you in your professional journey.

It will also help you network more successfully as it makes you more relatable to others on the site and in your field. Don't you find it more compelling when you find out someone has the same background as you, the same feelings about their career as you, or they got into it for the same reasons you did? This builds rapport and creates conversation starters for you and others on the network as well as you and recruiters.

Even if I explain all my best tips and how this profile is different, a clear example is always more compelling. Seeing an actual real-life example will illustrate the concept better than anything else I can offer. That's my intention here today.

I chose a random profile on LinkedIn, someone's actual profile summary written by a real LinkedIn user. I had planned to change details to protect their identity, but the summary was so generic it could be about anyone. This is the hallmark of a summary that serves no real purpose.

Here is the user summary in its entirety:

“Highly professional and seasoned Customer Service & Call Center Director, whose current role is the complete oversight of a two-site, multi-national, multi-channel Customer Contact Operation. Strong organizational, communication, and problem-solving skills, with an emphasis on leading through major business changes.”


It provides no real specifics, except for the most recent role. I don’t learn anything new about the user I couldn’t get from their work history, and it utilizes the typical buzzwords for someone in Customer Service. Just another basic profile.

Now compare that profile to this one. I've rewritten it, adding in some details I would most likely get from the client after our exchanges, to make it stronger and show you the difference between a fair profile and a great one.

“I love people and providing service to them is what drove me to a career in Customer Service.
I have over 17 years of directing multi-level call centers under my belt and this experience has helped me develop a vast understanding of what makes people tick, how to help and manage their concerns and de-escalate situations in a way that the client feels valued and understood.
Understanding people also makes me great at motivating and organizing diverse teams. I have implemented numerous employee incentive and recognition programs which have led to improved performance ratings, lower turnover, and a positive work environment.
People management is only a piece of the puzzle. I also bring an expertise of how to maximize operations and streamline processes. I am experienced in using real-time call analytics and tools and developing training programs to keep staff at the top of their game.
As a Director, I know I set the tone for my team and elevating those that I interact with, clients or staff, is the reward of my career.”

Which person would you want to hire? Who would you want to network with? Which one is more compelling to you just as a reader? While we learn about what drives this person and why they chose their career path, we also know how they have implemented it to make a strong career. It is distinctively about them. This is what a great LinkedIn profile should sound like and is what the network is intending when they ask you to fill out this information.

This is your chance to sell yourself as a complete professional, not just the sum of your work history. Make the most of every opportunity to set you apart.

If you're struggling to do this for yourself please check out our Services section as we do provide LinkedIn profile development. Invest in yourself!