Andy Foote managed to pull off a great feat: he wrote a really engaging article about how to create an engaging summary in a LinkedIn profile. (My thanks for TechRepublic member Eric L. Gibson for pointing it out to me.)
Although I have maligned LinkedIn in the past, the fact remains that it is a frequently used tool for networking. The point of Foote's piece was how an endearing and well-written LinkedIn summary can leap off the page.
Here are Foote's tips (you can see examples of good summaries by clicking the first link in this article.)
- For your summary, don't just copy and paste information from your resume. It's a blank page with no date and place formatting where you can express who you really are. Write a narrative of who you really are.
- Use the first person. Third-person narratives are a little stuffy. They're also a little weird (my contention, not Foote's).
- "Banish the beige work speak. Lose the lemming language." In other words, strike from your vocabulary those overused words, like motivated, innovative, responsible for.... (Actually, you should also eliminate those from your resume. They're vocabulary pablum.
- Keep it short. Be considerate of the reader's time. In other words, to give the reader an idea of who you really are, you don't have to chronicle your hardscrabble beginnings as the 12th child of a blind chimney sweep to get your point across. Foote says not to use all 2,000 characters that are allowed: "If you knew I had 10 seconds to read your Summary, what would you write? If what you write is interesting, original or makes me ponder - you may have just bought yourself another 10 seconds."
- Reconsider the placement of the summary elements. He recommends you move your skills and expertise section (with all those rosy Endorsements) up and above the potentially boring Experience section.
- End with a CTA (call to action). At the end, add something like "If you'd like to see your inhouse projects run more smoothly, contact me at..."
These are great tips. Take a look at your current summary and decide if it really speaks to the real you. If you think you've got a winning summary, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll run it as an example.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.