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Create a Compelling Headline and Succinct Summary

Your headline is the sentence that appears right below your name on LinkedIn.

Many people use their current job title, but this is an untapped opportunity to differentiate and brand yourself

Anytime you show up in someone’s feed, your headline comes with you.

A few pointers to keep in mind: your headline has to be 120 characters or fewer.

It should be attention-grabbing – think newsstand tabloid, but not trashy!

It should convey something meaningful while also encouraging people to click on your profile to learn more.

For example, mine is freelance content marketer, writer, and oxford comma enforcer.

I chose this because I think it’s more entertaining than just saying “editor” and it shows a little peek into my nerdy sense of humor and my editing style.

This is one of the things people comment on the most whenever they reach out to me on LinkedIn!

Here are a few other ideas: use an emoji in your headline to stand out more than text. If you’re currently taking on new clients, you can mention that. Use hashtags to call out keywords that define your work. You can surprise people with a humorous punchline – for example I just saw one that was “Ranked #1 tech recruiter in the world by my mum.” Remember – this is an opportunity to show your personality a little, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Here’s how you update yours: go to the LinkedIn website, find your photo on the top right corner and the word “Me.” Click on the drop-down menu. Then click on the “View profile” link. In the top right corner of your profile, you’ll see a little pencil icon. Click on this to edit the top section of your profile page. Add your copy to the “Headline” box, and click save. You’re done!

Your summary is another “prime piece of LinkedIn real estate.”

It gives you the chance to provide a bit more context than your headline and add a little more personality than in your “Experience Section.”

Think of the summary as the opportunity to tell your story – how do your various experiences and interests weave together? What opportunities are you looking for? Who do you hope to connect with?

I recommend writing your summary in the first person (e.g. I, me, my). This will keep it conversational and compelling. 

Keep in mind that it’s okay to talk a little bit about your outside interests – it doesn’t have to be all business.

Note that the maximum character count is 2000. 

Here’s mine: I'm a creative professional who's slightly obsessed with the written word (I'll happily expound on apostrophes and em dashes if given the chance). I have educational qualifications in copywriting, editing, and proofreading, and my work experience includes content marketing, social media management, journalism, and curriculum development. I spent a significant portion of my career in Tokyo and am always happy to chat in Japanese (or about Japanese topics in English).

As a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer, I love to help people and companies tell their stories in clear, compelling, and creative ways. I tend to focus on the intersection of people and work, and the majority of my clients are B2B HR tech companies. But even if that doesn't sound like you, feel free to get in touch if you like my style and we can see if working together would be a good fit.

LinkedIn did some of the heavy liftings for you already. They’ve created a list of tips for what to say and how to say it. Here are a few highlights: describe what makes you tick, what do you love, share what motivates and excites you about your work.

Explain your present role. What are you working on at the moment? Talk about some of your recent projects or accomplishments.

Reveal your character. Describe who you are beyond what you do for a living. Think of some of the traits that define you. Ask your friends or family members for help if you get stuck!

Write how you speak. Once you have a draft written, try reading it out loud to see how it sounds.

Tell stories. Stories provide context and make your profile more memorable.

Here’s how you update yours (screencast or slides): go to the LinkedIn website, find your photo on the top right corner and the word “Me.” Click on the drop-down menu. Then click on the “View profile” link. In the “About” section, click on the pencil icon on the top right. Make any changes you’d like. Then hit “Save” and you’re done!

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Written by

Melissa Suzuno