Brand yourself in these 6 major LinkedIn sections

Mature Worker2

This article originally appeared in recruiter.com

Many articles talk about how important it is to create and maintain a strong personal brand. Doing this requires consistency across your written, verbal, and online communications.

In an Entrepreneur.com article, author Thomas Smale stresses the importance of having an online presence: “Do you have social media profiles? If so, are they fully fleshed out with all of your information? Do they present you in the best light possible, and make you look professional? Are you using high-quality professional photography? Are you interacting with others and sharing their content?”

As a professional, your LinkedIn profile is a critical component of your online personal brand. Let’s look at the major sections of your LinkedIn profile and how they can contribute to your brand.

Snapshot Area

I call this section the snapshot because that’s exactly what it is: a snapshot of who you are. The snapshot section of your LinkedIn profile includes your photo and your headline. Failure to impress viewers in these areas will hurt your branding.

A photo that is unprofessional is an immediate turnoff. Perhaps more damaging is a non-photo. It’s believed that a profile with a photo is 14 times more likely to be read than one without a photo.

Headlines that say things like “Seeking Employment” or “Project Manager at Company X” are ineffective, as they fail to show value.

Rather, your headline should be something like this: “Project Manager at Company X | Financial Planning and Analysis | Auditing | Saving Organizations Millions.” This headline shows your value and brands you. It also adds to your keyword count.

Furthermore, the Headline is ideal real estate for keywords. Next to one’s name, it is believed that keywords are weighed heavily here.

Summary

Support your brand with a powerful summary. This is where you tell your story, which can include the passion you have for your occupation, a statement about your expertise, or some talk about how you’re changing your career.

LaptopYou’ll want to use close to the 2,000 characters allowed in the summary in order to include the keywords you profile needs to boost your visibility. But your summary must also be compelling. It should mention accomplishments that will capture the reader’s attention.

You should write your summary in either first or third person point of view. Don’t simply repurpose the summary from your resume for this section. For a little guidance on what your summary should read, read “Put a Human Voice in Your Summary” by Liz Ryan of Human Workplace.

Experience

I’m often asked by job seekers how they should address the experience section of their profile. I tell them they have two options: They can either write a section that resembles the work history found on their resume, or they can use their experience section to highlight only their most important accomplishments.

I favor the latter approach, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so they believe showing all is the way to go. What’s most important in either case is listing accomplishments with quantified results.

Good: Increased productivity by implementing a customer relations management (CRM) system.

Better: Initiated and implemented – before deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system that increased productivity by 58 percent.

It’s a good idea to use bullets to highlight your accomplishments. One of my LinkedIn connections, Donna Serdula, has created a handy list of bullets and symbols you can copy and paste for use on your own profile.

Back to keywords. Your titles are another place on your profile that are weighed heavily, so instead of Project Manager at GE, something like, Project Manager at GE | Process Improvement | Business Development | Brand Marketing. 

Education

Many people neglect this section, choosing to simply list the institution they attended, the degree they received, and their date of graduation. This might be the norm for resumes, but LinkedIn give you the opportunity to further support your brand by telling the story of your education.

Take, for example, the hypothetical job seeker Mary, who completed her

Take Mary who completed her bachelor’s degree while working full-time – a major accomplishment in itself. If she wants to show off her work ethic and time management skills, she might write a description like this:

University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

EmailWhile working full time at Company A, I attended accelerated classes at night for six years (two years less than typically expected). I also participated as an instructor in an online tutoring program, helping first-year students with their engineering classes. I found this to be extremely rewarding.

Skills

A healthy skills section consisting of 30-50 skills is another way to strengthen your branding. The skills you decide to list should demonstrate your expertise. Do not list skills you are simply familiar with.

To further enhance your branding, the skills may be endorsed by your first-degree LinkedIn connections. If you’re unsure as to which skills to endorse, I have a previous article of mine that can help you.

Recommendations

This is a section I talk about in my LinkedIn workshops, and I always stress how valuable it is to receive recommendations from and write them for others.

By receiving recommendations, you show the value you bring to employers. Meanwhile, writing recommendations shows your authority and what you value in workers.


These are just some sections on your LinkedIn profile that contribute to supporting your strong personal brand. Next read, How to brand yourself when connecting on LinkedIn.

 

 

4 ways your LinkedIn photo is an impostor

 

Portrait, young business man

How my guilt over being an impostor forced me to change my photo.

Will the real John Smith stand up? You’ve probably seen it before. You see someone’s photo on LinkedIn, you meet him in public, and notice that he barely resembles his photo. A bit older. Somewhat heavier. He’s an impostor.

We’ve all been there. People look significantly different than they’re portrayed on their LinkedIn profile, almost to the point where we don’t recognize them in a crowd of people (one reason to have a photo is to be recognizable). You feel like you’ve been duped…hoodwinked.

An Impostor I met

I tell a story to my LinkedIn workshop attendees about a time when I met the real John Smith (not his real name). Weeks before meeting him I saw his photo on LinkedIn. I thought that the man portrayed on LinkedIn was young and muscular, but when I saw him in person he was older and thin.

Whether out of spite or because it just popped out of my mind, I said, “John, you don’t look anything like your LinkedIn profile.” Shortly after, I noticed that his photo changed to one that was more recent.

The Impostor I am

I experienced the other end of the Impostor Syndrome when I was leading an Advanced LinkedIn workshop. I showed them my profile pointing out that I have a photo, and one attendee told me I look older in person than I do in the photo. Ouch.

I passed off being an Impostor by telling the group I hadn’t had the time, nor resources to get a professional photo taken. It still stung when I was told I look younger in my photo. Maybe it’s because my current photo is at least four years old.

What makes one an Impostor?

Four possible thoughts cross my mind when I encounter an Impostor.

  • He is vain. This is the worst kind in my mind. Pride is listed as one of the 7 deadly sins. Vanity is a form of pride. As my father said, “We enter this world naked and we leave it naked.” As Popeye said, “I Yam What I Yam.” Why should we pretend to be someone different?
  • He doesn’t realize that eventually he’ll be outed (as in my story). I’ve entered many a room where someone says, “Hi Bob.” Not caring much about etiquette, I respond by asking who they are. I learn that they’ve seen me on LinkedIn. It’s flattering, while at the same time a little creepy. People do recognize you on social media, so you will be outed, if you don’t update your profile.
  • He doesn’t realize that honesty is the basis for networking. One point I make in my Advanced LinkedIn workshop is that those who don’t have a photo on their profile will not be trusted as those who do. To gain complete trust, don’t put up a photo of you in college when you’re 20 years beyond those golden years. What does this say about your trustworthiness?
  • He isn’t concerned about branding himself. Your photo is a way to brand yourself in a positive light. It can tell people about your personality; it really can. My photo, old and new, I’ve always felt it tells people that I’m caring and nurturing, and, hopefully, wise. Others can brand people as authoritative, creative, serious, intelligent, etc.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the Impostor Syndrome. You see, I have a photo that is at least four years old. Since getting it taken, I’ve added some wrinkles and gained white facial hair. Oh, I’ve also gained some weight (gulp).

I’m no longer an Impostor

I’d like to say that I haven’t gotten my photo retaking because of financial reasons, but who am I kidding? I haven’t gotten it retaking because I’m vain. I don’t like how I look and don’t want my ugly self being part of my branding—I mean everyone looks so great.

So recently I had a colleague take the photo of the real me. He took it with his own camera in plentiful lighting, and he even blurred the background. I appreciate his willingness to do this, as well as his encouragement, but I’m not too fond of my true image.

Here’s why: the faults I mentioned above show brilliantly clear. His camera is of great quality. He has a steady hand. Basically there’s no excuse for why I look like I do. I guess I’m vain. One of the seven deadly sins. I’m doomed.

So what do I do? Do I continue to go with the older me, or do I present the real me (the photo included)?

If you care to weigh in, I would appreciate it.

First Photo: Flickr, Kathy Tarochione

Photo: Tim O’Connor

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7 faux pas you may be committing on LinkedIn

irrelevant

confused

If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past three weeks, you probably know that I’m now on Facebook. I’ve written ad nauseam about this, to the point where I’m tired of writing about this insignificant factoid. Nonetheless, I’m glad I finally made the plunge; Facebook is drawing out my personal side, much to the chagrin of my family. (They think my posts are embarrassing.)

You may also have seen me share a record shattering 25 updates…today. Not really, but I think I came close to 10 updates. Again, I’m tired of sharing updates, fully aware that many of my connections have hidden me. Now it’s called “Unfollow Bob McIntosh.” So, oversharing is one thing that makes LinkedIn tricky. When do you stop and shut down your laptop?

Following are six other LinkedIn faux pas.

Posting Irrelevant Content

irrelevant

Some people confuse their updates, photos, political statements, or mathematics games with content that is relevant to members of LinkedIn, a purported professional networking platform. Lately there has been some outcry, including from yours truly, about this irrelevant content.

“Go to Facebook,” they say. This is a legitimate request. As I said earlier, I joined Facebook. I joined it because I want to know what I’m talking about when I compare LinkedIn with Facebook. What I’ve learned from my short stint on FB is that it’s a place to “let your hair down.”

A video of a parent’s first child’s birthday party is relevant on FB. A political statement is relevant on FB. But these examples are NOT relevant on LinkedIn. When there are “R U a Genius” games, photos of butterflies; LinkedIn’s purpose becomes diluted.

On the other hand, too much professional content on Facebook  dilutes its purpose, which is to give people the forum to know each other’s personal lives. When I posted articles I or others have written, I’m sure Facebookies were thinking, “This is boring.”

I posted photos of my family, a snow storm, chickadees eating out of my kids’ hands, my son at his basketball game, and various other personal matter. It felt refreshing. Again, nothing that belongs on LinkedIn.

Not Keeping Your Cool

angry person3

This continues to be a problem for some LinkedIn members, who take every opportunity to disparage, say, employers who they feel have done them wrong.  I wrote a popular post on this, Some advice for my angry LinkedIn connection. I don’t expect this behavior to cease immediately, but I’m hoping to cause some awareness.

In some cases the people of whom I describe demonstrate excellent writing ability; however, ruin their post for me with one sentence that shows their true nature. They’re not keeping their cool. The climax of their post is the one statement that bashes the entity of which they’re writing.

People like this remind me of children who are tempted by a cookie jar sitting on the counter, and while other children can refrain from taking a cookie, this person just can’t resist, so he grabs that cookie.

Damn, so close.

Not Following Etiquette

We’ve all read enough about how sending the default invite message to people with whom you’d like to connect is poor etiquette. Frustrated LinkedIn members have written about this over and over, yet the majority of default invite messages I receive, 19 out of 20, keep rolling in. Default messages do suck.

I’ll admit that one etiquette rule I break is the limit of updates one is “allowed” to update. The number of updates is purported to be four a day at most. I’m clearly an offender of this. I once tried to keep my update number down, but to no avail. I mention this in the second paragraph of the post but thought it warranted repeating.

On the flip side of overdoing it with updates, is not doing enough. I can’t tell you how many people who begin a strong LinkedIn campaign only to leave LI or resurface twice a month. They have, essentially disappeared. I wonder if Facebook as sucked them in…like LinkedIn in has sucked me in.

The last violation I will mention is what many people have been complaining of lately; spamming their newly acquired connections. No sooner does a person accept an invite when WHAM they’re hit with, “Will you buy my product or service now that we’re trusted connections?” This causes a violent reaction from some LinkedIn members.

Letting it Control Your Life

Writer's Block

Sometimes we learn best from our mistakes. Letting LinkedIn control my life is a reality I struggle with; I’m on the platform everyday at least half an hour or more each day. This, to me and others, seems twisted.

Think to yourself what is the purpose of my LinkedIn engagement? Is it to find a job and am I do it right? To generate leads? To disseminate information? Build brand awareness? A little bit of both? Do you have a plan? Are you using LinkedIn to fill time? Is LinkedIn a marathon?

I sometimes envy the people who have a balance between their LinkedIn involvement and daily life. They seem to have their priorities correct. I’ve also come to realize that the people who are on LinkedIn four times a week are also on Facebook a good amount of time. Is that any better?

LinkedIn does seem to me to be a marathon I haven’t stopped running since I joined it seven years ago. Despite all this, I’ve seen some of my connections maintain my insane schedule and even exceed it.

Loving LinkedIn and Leaving It

disappering (1)

The adverse to Letting LinkedIn control your life is leaving LinkedIn high and dry. I run across job seekers who admit that the only reason they’re in my workshop is to pick up where they left off.

Secretly I’m thinking these people are committed one of the most egregious faux pas of all time. They opened an account, set up a profile, and once they found work they abandoned LinkedIn. Dropped it like hot potato.

How could they do this to LinkedIn? Don’t they understand that LinkedIn is at its best when they’re working and have the leverage to build the network they need for the rest of their career.

So what’s worse, letting LinkedIn consume your life like it has mine, or treating it like a friend you use? I say it is the latter.

Thinking LinkedIn Alone Will Get You Your Next Job

LinkedIn AloneFor job seekers, I have this bit of advice for you: yes, you must put effort into your LinkedIn campaign, as well as utilize Facebook and Twitter; but it is not the elixir some believe it is. In other words, LinkedIn alone will not garner you a job.

A successful job search must combine personal with online networking, online networking to reach out to connections who then become personal connections. Personal networking is supplemented by LinkedIn and perhaps Facebook and Twitter. That said, you must put the effort into your LinkedIn campaign.

This belief that social media alone will land you a job can be tricky for those who fear personal networking like they fear a dark cellar, so they feel LinkedIn is the answer to easing their fear. As I’ve said before, LinkedIn won’t do it alone.

Final Thoughts

I’m thankful for LinkedIn, and other social media, as they have given me the opportunity to meet and learn about interesting people—both online and in person. It has allowed me to share information from me and other bloggers. And my engagement has resulted in side business in the form of LinkedIn profile writing and public speaking events.

While LinkedIn has been kind to me, there are still some problems that need to be fixed. But that’s half the fun, strategizing on how to collaborate with others to mend the negativity, and reminding others of proper etiquette and relevant content. For job seekers, I again stress that LinkedIn alone is not your answer to landing  your next job.

For my growth on social media, perhaps I need to grow at a slower more consistent manner. Instead of logging 45 minutes a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks out of the year…yes, even on vacation. There is a lot I need to learn about using social media.

I’m interested in hearing about some faux pas you’ve committed or have thought of. Please leave a comment. And as always, please share this post if you enjoyed it.

Photo: Flickr, Confused, Geo

Photo: Flickr, Irrelevant, Jordy

Photo: Flickr, Twinkle J

 

 

 

8 ways to keep the LinkedIn profile process from breaking down

picket fenceAnd how it’s like painting a fence.

This weekend I did something I hate. Painting. I hate painting for a number of reasons, but the major reason is the breakdown of process.

For example, I’m cruising along painting my picket fence, taking my time, no spills, not a drop on my person (I’m proud of this), hitting every spot; and then wham o….

Things start to hit the fan. All of the accomplishments I sustained for half an hour vanish, including not stepping on the top of the paint can and tracking white paint on the sidewalk.

That’s the breakdown of process.

If you ask some people who are starting their LinkedIn profile, they’ll express the same sentiment I have for painting–they just want to get it over with and have a profile that will help people find them. In other words, they don’t give it the attention it requires.

The process breaks down.

Do you relate to this sentiment? Here’s what you ought to do to prevent the breakdown of process.

1. Take your time. When I set out to paint my fence I said to myself, “Bob, you’re going to take your time and do this right. It’s only a fence.” LinkedIn is not a fence that needs painting, but there is ample opportunity for the process to break down. Following are some areas to pay attention to.

2. Get your photo done professionally. I had mine done by someone who sells one photo for $40.00. I’ve heard they come much more expensively than that. But JC Penny and Sears charge approximately $20.00 per photo. Having your photo done professionally is far better than having a relative take it with her Iphone.

I’m not saying you have to wear a three-piece suit to your photo shoot. Just make sure your photo is of quality. And no iPhone photos with you and your family on the beach or at a campground. Remember that a profile with a photo is 14x more like to be opened.

3. Think of a headline that brands you. Many people will settle for something like Marketing Professional which doesn’t do them  justice. Instead, Marketing Director | National Speaker | Author | Revenue Generator | Business Development will do a better job of branding you. Don’t rush and throw any ole Headline up there.

Ask others what they think of your Headline. Does it sell you, show your value to potential employers? This is what you need to consider. Your Headline is the second element of your profile that brands you; your photo is the first.

4. Write a Summary worth reading. What I’ve seen hundreds of times are LinkedIn Summaries that are a rehash of a person’s résumé Summary. Will this impress anyone? Certainly not.

Instead, take your time and write a Summary that tells a compelling story—your philosophy, areas of strength, accomplishments, future plans. This section of your profile is one of the most important ones. Without an impactful Summary, there’s a breakdown of process.

5. Your Experience section must lower the boom. Have you ever read a résumé that said, “So what? Who cares? Big deal”? Does your LinkedIn profile’s Experience section say the same? Is it a list full of duties and lacking accomplishments?

I suggest an Employment section that states accomplishments only, or strong duty statements and accomplishments. If you’re just starting your LinkedIn profile, copy and paste your résumés Experience section to your profile, but build it from there to be more personal.

6. Show off your writing. For more than a year LinkedIn has offered the Publish a post feature which allows you to publish a post on LinkedIn. If you enjoy writing and feel you’re a good writer, show off your expertise and writing style.

One of the posts I’m particularly proud of is 8 major job-search changes for older workers. I have published over 80 posts on LinkedIn. Obviously I enjoy writing. You can also be featured in Pulse, providing you receive enough “Likes” and views of your posts.

7. Have fun with Media. Make use of the Media feature—found in Summary, Experience, and Education—to show off PowerPoint presentations, links to your website or blog, example of your greatest photos of urban blight, or YouTube videos.

LinkedIn is making it easy to showcase your talent to make visitors want to stay on your profile. Take advantage of this. (Watch this video from one of my connections which he places in his Projects section.)

8. List your skills and amass endorsements. Like them or not, endorsements are here for a while; so you might as well list as many skills/expertise for people to click on. My feelings about endorsements are not all favorable. I believe they are more perceived value and a way for people to engage with each other. (Read why I think recommendations are getting a bum wrap.)

Your skills won’t endorse themselves, as my wife said about the unpainted fence, “It won’t pain itself, Bob”; but if you endorse your connections’ skills, you’ll get endorsements in return. (Read how to endorse skills properly.)

white paint

This is just the beginning. I hate to sound corny, but the line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Is hogwash. You can build the Taj Mahal of all profiles, but if you’re not active, no one will notice.

Being active on LinkedIn includes: connecting with people; and engaging with your connectionsincluding updating on a regular basis, joining groups, writing recommendations for others, endorsing your connections.

I’m happy to say my white picket fence is finished and looking great. The process of painting broke down, much to my chagrin, but I learned valuable lessons: take it slow and focus on quality. The words, “It won’t paint itself” is a good lesson for writing one’s profile and putting it into action. You are responsible for your LinkedIn process; you alone.

Photo, Flickr, David Alston

7 things to think about before including your LinkedIn profile URL on your job-search documents

LinkedIn puzzleI often get this question during a Résumé Advanced workshop or other workshops, “Should I include my LinkedIn address on my résumé?” My answer to this is, “Sure, as long as your profile will serve you well.” This is to say, your LinkedIn profile must impress prospective employers, not turn them away.

Here are 7 rules to adhere to if you’re going to list your LinkedIn public URL on your résumé, personal business cards, cover letter, or even your Twitter handle.

  1. Customize your URL. LinkedIn provides a default address that includes additional numbers and letters behind your name. In Edit Profile, click on Edit next to your default URL and remove all the additional numbers and letters by simply typing your whole name in the field provided. A public profile URL that is clean tells employers you’re LinkedIn savvy, not a babe in the woods.
  2. Your profile must be complete. You’ve probably read many articles about the importance of a complete profile. The bottom line is that a barren profile shows a lack of effort, at the very least, in 1) posting a professional photo; 2) presenting a creative, story-telling Summary; 3) including a full Employment section; and 4) utilizing LinkedIn’s added marketing tools.
  3. Think about your profile as a complement to your résumé. In other words, your profile is not your résumé; it is more dynamic. To make your profile more exciting, you can add additional sections to it, such as Skills and Expertise, Certificates, Projects, Languages, Media, and more. LinkedIn aficionados can spot when someone simply copy and pastes their résumé to the profile–not impressive.
  4. Be strategic with the layout. Some people don’t know that you’re able to move sections of your profile around. The common layout begins with your Summary, followed by your Experience, then Education. Add additional sections and move them around to indicate what you want employers to see first. Perhaps, like me, you want them to see your Skills and Expertise before Experience.
  5. Make it easy for people to find you. If you’re in the job search and prefer not to list your phone number on your profile, I might accept that as an employer. However, if you also don’t list your e-mail address, I’d be on to the next profile. Don’t play hard to get and make it hard for potential employers to find you.
  6. Participate. Participate in what? you may wonder. Show employers that you update on a regular basis and that your updates are related to the work you’re pursuing, not about how Big Kitty is doing well after his surgery.
  7. Show off. I’m not saying go overboard, but make use of the media section as your online portfolio. You can post PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio clips, your résumé, photos of your architectural work (one of my customers did this), and more. Make your profile truly dynamic by doing this.

If you haven’t followed the above suggestions, sending employers to your profile (via your résumé, business cards, and other written communication) will cause more harm than good.  One more thing, certain elements of your public profile will be absent from your full URL, such as Media, Recommendations, view of Endorsements, and list of connections. This is why you must provide access to your full profile.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it.

4 reasons why your LinkedIn profile needs a strong Media section

recruiters (1)This article marks the third of making your LinkedIn profile stronger. The previous two talked about your Summary and Experience sections.

Before you read any further, I’d like you to take a moment to read one of the most comprehensive articles on LinkedIn’s Media feature. It’s an article written by my colleague and valued LinkedIn connection, Sabrina Woods, in which she describes 18 different ways to use this feature. Eighteen different ways! Boy, did she do her homework.

With at least 18 ways to use LinkedIn’s Media section, this gives you plenty of options to show off your goods. So why not take advantage of it? You can use it in your Summary, each in your Employment section, and in your Education. Here are four major reasons why you should utilize Media on your LinkedIn profile.

It’s your online portfolio. This is what I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees when I describe Media. Similar to when you bring examples of your work to an interview, you have the opportunity to show the world your best work. As Sabrina writes, there are at least 18 ways to use this feature.

Everyone can find a reason to use it. And they should. For example, I lead workshops where I use PowerPoint presentations—please no heckling from the true presentation purists out there. I use Media to show off three of my PowerPoint presentations.

An engineer may use this feature to illustrate his work on wind turbines by using YouTube. One of my customers who’s a graphic artist highlights her graphics in Media. Neal Schaffer, an expert on social media for business and author of Maximize Your Social, uses YouTube to share with the world his interview by Kooger in London. Check it out.

It fits your communication style. Some people are visual communicators as opposed to written communicators. They have the knack for making people see the value in their graphic design or photos or architecture…but can’t express it as eloquently in words. One of my customers expressed it nicely when she said some people express their thoughts with words, while she expresses her thoughts through images.

The options are numerous. While you’re given the option of adding a link or downloading a file, the number of providers is mind boggling.

  • Image providers: 12, including Twitter and ow.ly
  • Video providers: Approximately 70, including ABC News, CBS News, YouTube
  • Audio providers: 13, including Mixcloud, Spotify
  • Presentation and document providers: 3, including PowerPoint and Prezi
  • Other: 4, including Behance and Kickstarter

Two of the more common documents displayed in Media are Word and PDF documents, which would be ideal for posting your résumé for employers to see, or a whitepaper you’re particularly proud of.

To see some of the media used by LinkedIn members go to Sabrina’s article where there are samples of various types of media. I think you’ll be impressed. I was.

4 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Summary

I still remain perplexed that some LinkedIn members put little effort into their Summary section, or don’t have one at all.

Would you go to an interview or business meeting without shoes? Of course not. So I wonder why people feel that a Summary statement on their LinkedIn profile is unnecessary. Having viewed hundreds profiles, I’ve seen many  that simply begin with the Experience section and have no Summary.

The absence of this section of your profile can greatly hurt your potential of capturing the attention of visitors, e.g., potential employers, networkers, and business associates.

I have three theories why people don’t include a Summary: 1) they don’t have the time or energy to write one; 2) they don’t know what to write; and 3) they follow advice of those who say, “Recruiters don’t read a Summary statement. You don’t need one.”

I can understand the first two reasons, although I don’t condone them, but the third one escapes me. Many pundits, recruiters included, say a Summary is necessary, as long as it adds value to the profile. So if you don’t have a Summary because you lack the energy or don’t know what to include, consider 4 reasons why the Summary is important:

It gives you a voice. You’re given more freedom of expression on LinkedIn than you have with your résumé; so use it! Be creative and make the employer want to read on. Your voice contributes to effective branding. It should be some of your best writing and can be written in first person voice or even third person.

Most pundits lean toward first person, as it expresses a more personal side of you. A Summary written in first person invites others into your life. Not many people pull off the third-person voice well; it can sound stilted. But if done right, it can also make a powerful branding impact. People who are established as leaders in their industry warrant a third-person Summary.

It tells a story. Perhaps you want people who would consider connecting with to know you on a more personal level. You have aspirations or philosophies to share; and it’s not about impressing people with your accomplishments in marketing in the nonprofit sector, for example, as much as the positive impact your work has had on the population you serve. You want people to connect because of a share common bond.

The Summary is also a clear example of how LinkedIn separates itself from the résumé. It’s a known fact that the majority of hiring authorities don’t enjoy reading a résumé, which is due, in part, because of its Summary. The Linked profile is more creative because it tells your story, your aspirations, and philosophies.

You can make an immediate impact. Stating accomplishment statements with quantified results are a real attention grabber. If a visitor is going to scan one section of your profile to determine if he’ll read on, make it be your Summary, and leave him with a positive image of you.

Here’s part of a Summary from Doug Caldwell, who calls himself a Facilitator Extraordinaire. (I told you I read a lot of profiles.)

MANUFACTURING COMPANY

✯ Improving unit output by 2,200% over a five-year period.
✯ Reduced manufacturing cycle time by 30%.
✯ Achieved cost saving in excess of $25,000 annually.

Read the rest of his Summary to feel it’s power and excitement.

It’s another place to include keywords. Keywords are the skills employers are looking for, and the more you have the closer you’ll be to the top of the first page. So don’t think “less is better.”  In this case, the more of the 2,000 characters you’re allotted, the more you should use. Please don’t use your Summary as a dumping ground for your keywords, though.

I tell my Advanced LinkedIn workshop attendees that excluding their profile Summary is like neglecting favorite pet. You shouldn’t do it. Find the energy to write one, figure out your story or unique selling proposition, and get to work writing an attention-grabbing Summary. By all means, don’t listen to naysayers who don’t believe in this very important part of your LinkedIn profile.

Coming up 3 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Experience section.