The Importance of a LinkedIn Summary (and How to Write One That Reaches Prospects)

Jul 10, 2019 8:00:00 AM

By Cathy Cain-Blank

By now you probably have a profile on LinkedIn, and hopefully it’s comprehensive. But does it include a LinkedIn Summary? The personal summary section on LinkedIn has become one of the most significant parts of a LinkedIn profile yet it’s also one of the most overlooked. LinkedIn has more than a half a billion users, so if you plan to use the platform to connect with potential clients -- as well as referral sources and resources -- you need a search-optimized profile with a meaningful summary.

Here’s what you need to know about how to get the most out of your LinkedIn Summary to make it a lead generation magnet.  

Your LinkedIn Summary Needs A Compelling Headline

Even though it’s a separate element of your LinkedIn profile, the first step in writing your summary is to rewrite your headline. A strong profile headline will reveal what you can do for potential clients, and that will help you capture the attention of potential prospects.

Your assignment: Craft an engaging and compelling statement that relates to the needs of your audience. Your actual title at your organization – whether it’s president, owner, sales manager or marketing director – doesn’t tell the story of what you do for your clients.  

Here are a few headlines I wrote for clients:

Funding Specialist for Startup, Established, and Middle Market Companies

Financial Strategist | Investment Advisor | Life, Disability and Long-term Care Insurance Provider

Area Sales Manager specializing in manufacturing, warehouse and administrative staffing

Brand/Business Development Specialist for Industrial, Commercial and Retail Brands and Products

See how much more you can reveal in your headline than your job title? Also, it’s fine to be creative – just don’t get so playful that your headline isn’t helpful or comes across as arrogant. While writing this post, I searched on LinkedIn for "Creative Guru" and the 261 results included social media managers, a video editor, a footwear line field rep, a PPC Specialist, an Arabic Copywriter in Saudi Arabia and a Senior Web Engineer with React experience. (React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces and, yes, I had to look it up.)

Your LinkedIn Summary Needs To Be Client-Focused

One of the reasons your LinkedIn Summary is so important is because it’s front and center, directly below your head shot, name, headline, region, number of connections, link to your contact information and highlights. That section is called the About section, and the Summary is usually the first thing a person reads in a profile.

CCB LinkedIn imageYour experience, qualifications, and skills are important, but only in terms of how your history relates to your current role. If your primary goal of using LinkedIn is to attract prospective buyers and helpful contacts, the last thing you want to focus on is your employment history. 

Remember the acronym WIIFM -- “What’s in it for me?” Answer that question in your Summary and you’ll be well on your way to a potentially meaningful exchange with your prospects.

Here are a few suggestions to help you write your Summary:

  • Treat your summary like a conversation. Use first person and speak directly to your target audience. Make it clear that they made the right choice by visiting your profile – that you and your company are equipped to help them address their challenges.
  • Use focused keywords that your potential prospects are using in their searches
  • Take advantage of the 2,000 characters of space LinkedIn allows for your Summary. This should be more than sufficient to showcase your company and the value you can deliver.

What To Include in Your LinkedIn Summary

Consider starting with a question or two to try to engage your audience. Or a short tale that demonstrates your understanding of the issues your ideal clients face along with your ability to resolve them. And while too much of anything can be a bad thing, it’s okay to weave in your best wins, awards and successes. Name clients if you can, or refer readers to the Recommendations section of your profile. No matter what, be genuine: neither you nor your company is perfect and bragging is a turn off.

Finally, end with a clear and concise call to action. Whether you want readers to reach out to you on LinkedIn, call you, email you, or sign up for your company’s email list, make it clear and easy to get in touch. Compel them to take action and follow up as soon as you can. According to InsideSales, if you follow up with a lead within five minutes, you’re 9X more likely to convert them!

If you need help developing an inviting, engaging LinkedIn Summary, we can help. Contact us today!