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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Simple 2-Step Formula To Help You Write A Professional LinkedIn Summary

By Mo Chanmugham, Esq.

"I'm so excited to write my LinkedIn summary", said no one ever. That's because most people find it hard to write about themselves. It's an awkward thing to do, especially if you don't know what to say or you don't want to sound like your bragging about yourself.

But the summary section is an important part of your profile that should not be ignored. When recruiters, employers, clients, and colleagues are using LinkedIn to learn more about you, the summary is your opportunity to tell them who you are and why you are someone they should want to get to know better. But with a blank or poorly written summary you run the risk of making a bad first impression and losing an opportunity to your competition.

Last week, I gave a talk at the Boston Bar Association about how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. To prepare, I reviewed the summaries of popular LinkedIn Influencers to see what they were doing right. I was surprised to learn that they were using a simple two-step structure to write their summaries in a way that was clear and impressive without sounding boring or obnoxious. My favorite example was from Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn.

Step 1. Current Snapshot

He begins his summary with a description of what he is doing now. He starts with his years of experience, his current role, and company.

"Internet executive with over 20 years of experience, including general management of mid to large size organizations, corporate development, product development, business operations, and strategy. Currently CEO at LinkedIn, the web's largest and most powerful network of professionals."

What does your current snapshot look like?

Are you a law student? Where do you go to school? What type of law do you want to practice? What do you hope to do after you graduate?

Are you an associate, in-house counsel, or solo practitioner? How long have you been practicing? Where do you work? What area of law do you focus on? What types of clients do you help?

Step 2. Past Experience and Highlights

Then he shares his past experiences at other companies, mainly focusing on the high-level roles and highlights.

"Prior to LinkedIn, was an Executive in Residence at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners. Primarily focused on advising the leadership teams of the firm's existing consumer technology portfolio companies while also working closely with the firm’s partners to evaluate new investment opportunities.

Previously served in key leadership roles at Yahoo! for over seven years, most recently as the Executive Vice President of Yahoo!'s Network Division managing Yahoo's consumer web product portfolio, including Yahoo's Front Page, Mail, Search, and Media products."

What does your past look like?

What did you do prior to law school? What other firms or companies have you worked for? What awards or honors have you received? What are some major professional accomplishments you have achieved?

BONUS: Add some personality to the mix

If you want to really impress the reader and stand out from the crowd, give them a sense of who you are beyond your resume by adding some personal information to your summary. Let them know why you do what you do or what you really care about when it comes to your work.

Jack Welch, the legendary CEO of GE tells us that he "has always been defined by his zealous love of teaching and commitment to building leaders."

Deepak Chopra MD is "committed to helping to create a more peaceful, just, sustainable, happier and healthy world."

Tony Robbins, speaker and author shares that his "passion has been helping people to BREAKTHROUGH and take their lives to another level - no matter how successful they already are - in the areas that matter most."

By following this simple structure you will have a well-written summary section that will leave any visitor with a great impression of who you are as a professional.

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