How To Improve Your LinkedIn Background Summary
Remember the days when you printed or typed (we’re looking at you Aunt Margaret) out your resume, only to fold it sharply into an envelope, add a stamp, and boogie to the nearest post office to see your transmission off into the world? While that may seem antiquated, it’s only been a short decade since snail mail was still an acceptable way to court, and be courted by, potential employers.
Modern job seekers have an entirely new set of tools at their disposal when it comes to getting their experience seen by companies. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are increasingly popular not just for making connections but also for recruiters looking to headhunt the best and brightest talent. Given the importance of your profile in the modern career world, it’s important that your LinkedIn page conveys the correct information and tone that will help attract the interest of the all-important hiring managers.
Your LinkedIn background summary is a short, introductory look into your professional strengths. How does your current profile read? Are you doing enough to help give you the best shot at lucrative and rewarding open jobs? If the answer is no, or I don’t know, never fear!
- Avoid Catchphrases
They may have worked for the Fonz, but when it comes to your professional catchphrases aren’t going to attract the “right” kind of attention. What exactly do we mean but catchphrases, you may ask? To help with this exercise in word exorcism, review your LinkedIn bio for sayings, phrases, or adjectives that may not mean a hill of beans without some context.
A self-motivated, team player, sure sounds like an impressive role, but without actual accomplishments or descriptions of your actions, your definition of being a go-getter could mean that no one has to tell you to refill the coffee pot. So, you work well under pressure, do you? So, does that lovely steam vacuum the maintenance men use to clean the carpet.
In short, stay away from common, overused sayings when describing your strong suits. Instead, focus on physical accomplishments such as the number of team members you’ve coached or increase in sales numbers. These will not only help communicate your strong suits, but it will also help you stand out from every other candidate who describes themselves as a “punctual go-getter”.
- Share Your Accomplishments
While talking yourself up to that cutie at the bar may come off as a bit pretentious, the same can not be said when it comes to touting your strengths on professional networking platforms. In order to attract the widest range of recruiters and hiring managers, be sure that your LinkedIn Background Summary isn’t just a rote list of prior positions.
Instead of serving as an alternative form resume, your LinkedIn summary is the place where you can speak to your individual goals and accomplishments. Consider developing a “unique selling proposition” to help communicate your individual strengths. A USP is a one to two sentence opening to your background summary that describes who you are, what you’re looking for and what you can do for the right employer.
To help your summary stand out, include a handful of your greatest achievements, sufficiently described so as to be understandable even by those not operating in your individual field. Share a list of current and previous responsibilities. Inserting plenty of relevant skills will help you appear in relevant searches for candidates in your chosen field.
- Use the Right Keywords
When you’re making your final edits on your LinkedIn Background Summary, don’t slack on that keyword research. A background summary is only as good as its ability to get seen. Keywords, in addition to your qualifications and achievements, can shoot you to the top of the list for those looking for quality candidates.
Not sure which keywords to include in your background summary? Here is where a little LinkedIn sleuthing will come in handy. Try out a few descriptors that you believe may apply to your field and see what types of profiles pop up on LinkedIn. Have a few professional colleagues in your specific area? Try checking in on their personal page to help identify what keywords they chose to include. When all is said and done, think of LinkedIn as another tool in your arsenal for building and maintaining a strong professional career. Keep your background summary up to date whether you’re looking for a new position or not. Opportunity favors the bold, as the old saying goes, so be sure you’re prepared to stand out when your next big chance comes knocking.