By Meg Guiseppi
Over the years, I've reviewed the LinkedIn profiles of many job seekers. A great percentage of those profiles have non-existent or severely anemic Summary sections, even though plenty of evidence supports the importance of a solid LinkedIn Summary.
These job seekers are neglecting a golden opportunity to tell their personal brand story.
Maybe they're not actively job seeking, or just beginning a search. No matter, most anyone with a career or doing business in any way needs a complete LinkedIn profile.
No job is permanent these days. Those who are easily found online because their LinkedIn profiles are fully populated with keyword-rich content are way ahead of the game... should they suddenly be out of a job.
LinkedIn provides various sections – Professional Headline, Experience, Skills and Endorsements, Education, etc. – which you’ll use to showcase and describe your many "hard" skills, strengths and achievements.
Think of the Summary section similarly. But, don't stop there.
For my clients, I go beyond just the hard skills and weave in "soft" skills too, treating this section like a biography.
This approach affords the opportunity for "storytelling."
By storytelling, I do not mean creating fiction. For job search, storytelling means sharing examples of real situations in your career.
Through storytelling, I am able to highlight the qualities and personal attributes that make the person a good fit for the companies and organizations they're targeting... that is, I showcase the "personal" part of their personal brand.
[To define your personal brand, read My 10-Step Personal Branding Worksheet.]
The Summary section is where you tell your personal brand story, differentiating the value you offer over your competitors.
Storytelling allows you to make a more vibrant connection with people than the dry resume-speak too often used here. Try to get across what you’re like to work with and how you get things done. Generate some chemistry!
Keep in mind that you need to include both your hard skills (or relevant keywords) to boost your visibility and personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) . . . AND your softer skills, or personal brand attributes.
LinkedIn allows 2,000 characters and spaces in this section. You may be surprised by how much you can do with that.
As you’re compiling and writing this content, remember to pack in plenty of your relevant keywords and phrases, which you uncovered in researching your target employers.
Give yourself permission to be bold and authentic in this content. You’re not boasting. Think of it this way – you’re educating people about what makes you a good-fit candidate for the employers you’re targeting.
[More about being authentic in The Secret of Personal Branding Success -- Authenticity.]
Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt's Personal Branding Expert and 20+ year careers industry veteran, has earned 10 certifications, including Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Reach Social Branding Analyst – LinkedIn Profile Strategist, and Certified Executive Resume Master.Meg is the author of "23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land." Connect with Meg at ExecutiveCareerBrand.com for c-suite personal branding and executive job search help and on Google+ and Twitter (@MegGuiseppi).