Whether you're actively job searching or simply want to maintain your personal brand, you've probably heard that you need a LinkedIn profile.
Think of it as a mix between a social networking site and a digital resume—a place where you can promote your own skills and achievements while simultaneously connecting with colleagues and industry peers, mentors, and even recruiters.
As you work on creating (or updating) your LinkedIn profile, some of the sections seem straightforward enough. Things like your education, work experience and skills can easily be lifted directly from your resume. Not so bad, right?
Then you get to the "about" section, which you might also hear referred to as your LinkedIn summary. This daunting, empty box leaves things completely open-ended for you to share whatever you want about yourself.
And honestly? You're stumped. Fortunately, you can stop staring at that blinking text cursor and scratching your head wondering how to write a LinkedIn summary. We have plenty of tips and examples for you right here.
Your LinkedIn summary or "about" section (yes, they're the same thing) appears near the top of your profile. Its main goal is to serve as your introduction to anybody who checks you out on the platform.
It's one of the most flexible spaces on your LinkedIn page. In the instructions for filling in that section, LinkedIn itself states that, "You can write about your years of experience, industry, or skills. People also talk about their achievements or previous job experiences."
Honestly, there aren't many rules here beyond needing to stick with a 2,600 character limit. You could put almost anything in this space (although, we don't necessarily recommend that).
In general, it's best to think of your LinkedIn summary as your elevator pitch. It's where you'll call attention to skills, attributes, and experiences you most want people to know about you—even if they don't scroll through anything else on your profile.
Here's the truth: You don't absolutely have to fill out your LinkedIn summary. Plenty of people skip them altogether and instead let their work experience, education, and skills sections do the talking for them.
However, there are a number of advantages to investing some time and elbow grease into completing this section:
Plus, a thoughtful summary makes your entire profile seem more complete and shows that you've taken the time to put your best foot forward.
Here's the short answer: No. Your LinkedIn headline is the title or short line of text that appears directly under your name at the very top of your profile. It's significantly shorter than your summary, with a limit of only 220 characters.
To put it simply, if you were shaking hands at an in-person networking event, here's how you'd think of your headline and your summary:
Adding or updating your LinkedIn summary is easy. Here's how to do it:
…and that's it. Your summary will be saved to your LinkedIn profile and ready to impress anybody who checks it out.
There isn't one "right" way to write a LinkedIn summary. Some people use humor and levity. Some people fill theirs with emojis. Some people write in the third person and treat it like a formal introduction.
Again, it's a highly-flexible space, and exactly how you write your own summary will depend on a couple of different factors, such as:
Take some time to think those things through before putting pen to paper (or, you know, your fingers to the keyboard).
If you need some inspiration to get your own wheels turning, we've pulled together five different LinkedIn summary examples from people who work right here at Teal—and we're explaining exactly how these summaries demonstrate a specific best practice.
Who this summary is from: David Fano, Founder and CEO of Teal
Why it works: David does a great job of talking about all of his career experiences and accomplishments—from his background as an architect to his passion for career growth—in a particularly compelling way.
Another thing that David does particularly well with regard to highlighting his achievements? He quantifies them. It's common advice when writing a resume, but it's effective on LinkedIn too. David incorporated plenty of digits in his summary, including:
Those numbers go beyond generalities and prove that David is able to generate real and impressive results.
Your next steps: Sit down and jot down the experiences and achievements you think are most integral to your own career story—and then quantify whatever you can. Those can be incorporated into your LinkedIn summary.
Who this summary is from: Lia Zneimer, Head of Brand & Content Marketing at Teal
Why it works: Lia's summary is concise and effectively uses a lot of the other best practices we've already mentioned—like touting her skills and incorporating keywords.
But, there's another aspect of Lia's summary that deserves attention: The last line about the newsletter and online community she runs.
Your LinkedIn summary offers plenty of space for you to touch on other aspects of your interests and passions beyond your education and your "day job." Doing so gives people a far more well-rounded view of who you are not only as a professional, but as a person.
Aliyyah and Lauren do this too by touching on some of their hobbies or even detailing their results from various personality assessments.
Your next steps: The point is that your LinkedIn summary doesn't need to read entirely like a professional biography. Brainstorm some other interesting or impressive aspects of who you are and see if there's a way you can naturally weave them into your summary the way that Lia did.
Who this summary is from: Kat Boogaard, Freelance Writer at Teal
Why it works: While it feels a little strange to highlight my own summary here, it's a section of my profile that I put a lot of thought into.
As a professional writer, I'm known for my conversational and approachable tone—and that's something I wanted to incorporate into my own summary, along with some humor that pokes fun at the challenge I face in getting other people to understand my career.
I wanted to keep my summary friendly and lighthearted, but I also wanted it to pack a punch. So, I made sure to balance out the sarcasm with plenty of straightforward information about my experiences and accomplishments.
Your next steps: Humor might not be the right fit for your goals or industry. But, think about some ways that you can pepper some of your unique personality into your summary. That could mean a warm and encouraging tone or even a random fact to grab attention.
Tackling your LinkedIn summary can feel daunting. That makes it tempting to quickly jot something down, copy and paste your cover letter, or even leave it entirely blank.
But, your summary can be one of the most compelling and impressive parts of your LinkedIn profile—as long as you're willing to invest a little time and strategy.
Use the above tips and examples to guide you as you work on your own summary. It might take you a little bit to refine something you're happy with, but the good news is it's more than worth the effort.
Need help polishing up your LinkedIn profile? Get started with Teal's LinkedIn Review.