How do I write a personal summary for my LinkedIn profile?

The About section on LinkedIn is an important, yet often overlooked, part of a personal profile. This is your opportunity to let people know a bit about you, who you are as a professional, and how your skills can help them.

What should a summary be?

Your LinkedIn summary is just short description of who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

It should give people a bit of insight into your motivation, your areas of expertise, and what it’s like working with you. These are the things people want to know when they’re looking for new business connections, associates, and employees.

What should be included?

Your inspiration, skills, experience, personality written up in 250 – 500 words.

1. Your why


What’s that thing that gets you out of bed every morning? It’s probably not the excitement of employee benefits policy fine print. What we’re looking for is the reason behind what you do, your why.

The key is to let people know what inspires you about your work but do it in a way that is short and concise.

Example:

Strong, healthy businesses can do a lot of good in the world, but an unhealthy business can only focus on survival. I help organizations maximize their potential through better healthcare management and increased employee wellbeing.

2. Your skills and experience

Your LinkedIn summary is not the place to recap your resume. Your LinkedIn profile should already include a detailed work history.

Pick two or three things that define your strengths, and add some information about the kinds of experiences you’ve had and how these things have come together to make you the knowledgeable, capable person you are today.

In two or three quick sentences, summarize your strengths and how past work has made you better at what you do now.

Example:

My experiences as a business owner, non-profit board member, and youth mentor have given me great insight into the challenges of providing employee benefits— and the challenges associated with having inadequate healthcare access and coverage. As a big-picture thinker and strategist, I understand the critical relationship between health and productivity. I love creating effective, affordable solutions that enable everyone to perform at their best.

3. Your personality

Your summary section should look, sound, and feel like you. If it doesn’t, you’re just setting everyone up for disappointment.

Think about the sample LinkedIn snippets above. Did you feel like you knew some of these people? Like you wanted to hear more? Like they might make good connections or coworkers? 

If you want to attract people who are interested in connecting with you, make sure they can see who you are. Inject a healthy dose of personality into your summary to make this possible.

A checklist for review

Here's a quick cheat sheet to get you through the process:

  • Your summary is between 250 and 500 words
  • You have included your personal motivation/why
  • You called out one or two skills that set you apart
  • You showed how your past experiences have made you better at your work
  • Your LinkedIn summary sounds like you wrote it. It showcases who you are and is consistent with your personal brand

The last step is to have a trusted friend or colleague look over your summary and provide feedback. This will help you find the typos and point out any areas that could use a little extra polish.