Writing a LinkedIn summary is incredibly difficult — for everyone, but especially for salespeople. You're not targeting recruiters and hiring managers; you're appealing to buyers.
That means on top of finding an interesting and genuine way to describe your professional background, you must also come across as a subject matter expert.
In this blog post, we'll dig into what to include in your LinkedIn summary to make it stand out, as well as some examples to give you inspiration.
How to Write a LinkedIn Summary
- Follow a clear structure.
- Start with a strong opener.
- State your mission.
- Speak to your industry expertise.
- Call out specialties and skills.
- Provide data to back up your results.
- Mention if your team is currently hiring.
- Highlight professional interests.
- Include contact information.
- Break up large blocks of text.
Think of your LinkedIn summary as the objective section of your resume: In just a few sentences, it should give the reader a clear idea of who you are, what sets you apart, and what you're looking for from the viewer.
LinkedIn differs from a resume because resumes are usually shared in job applications or interviews, but someone can review your LinkedIn profile at any time, so there are a few different sentiments you might want your LinkedIn summary to portray:
1. Follow a clear structure.
While your LinkedIn profile isn't an academic essay, you should still outline the things you want to say and the order with which you want to say them.
The last thing your audience needs is long, rambling paragraphs with no clear progression from sentence to sentence.
Sticking to a pre-determined structure will help you communicate clearly and concisely.
Consider following a format similar to this:
- Expertise and skills
- Proof of those
- Call to action
2. Start with a strong opener.
The goal of the first sentence of your LinkedIn summary is to get your audience to continue reading. That's why it's important to pique their interest early and compel them to keep reading.
This tactic is called a hook.
You can hook readers with your LinkedIn summary by opening a loop that can only be closed with further explanation or making a claim so outlandish that it needs further justification.
For example, "It took me more than X sales demos to learn the secret about Y, but since then, something unexpected has happened."
3. State your mission.
People connect with stories and values more than the straight-forward "what you do.'' While the "what" is important, consider also including the "why."
Understand why your profession makes your heart sing and what your mission is in your role. These will make your LinkedIn profile more emotionally resonant.
"I grew up on the Mississippi River and watched it get clearer over time as manufacturing standards improved. Since then, I knew I wanted to spread the word about sustainability in business environments."
4. Speak to your industry expertise.
Are you a salesperson using LinkedIn to connect with prospects? Your summary should speak to your expertise in your industry, and your interest in helping people achieve results.
Maybe you're a customer success manager using LinkedIn to connect with customers. Your summary should speak to your expertise in your industry and your availability for consulting.
Describe your background and qualifications in two-to-three sentences. For example, "I have 7+ years of sales experience in both SDR and account manager roles."
5. Call out specialties and skills.
There are many types of sales jobs out there in a vast number of industries with an infinite number of buyer personas and markets. Whether your goal is to appeal to employers or prospects, call out the things you do well to attract the opportunities best aligned with your goals.
"Mid-market sales executive with experience in direct sales and SAAS product demonstrations."
6. Provide data to back up your results.
No need to give prospective employers a laundry list of your accomplishments in the summary — that's the section below is for — but it can be impactful to weave a few of your most impressive data points into your summary paragraph.
For example, you might say, "Over the past five years, I've made it into the President's Club three times and my closed won business has seen less than 10% churn during the first 12 months."
7. Mention if your team is currently hiring.
Are you a team manager using LinkedIn to recruit for job openings? Your summary should speak to the fact that you have openings, the type of work you do, and why a candidate would want to work at your company.
This can serve as an excellent recruiting tool. For example, "We're currently hiring an account manager for our Pacific Northwest territory. The ideal candidate has 5+ years of sales experience and a demonstrated familiarity with the region. We're a fast-growing team with no cap on commission. Click here to learn more and apply."
8. Highlight professional interests.
Are you a job seeker starting your search on LinkedIn? Your summary should speak to your skills, experience, and professional interest — think of it as your digital elevator pitch.
For example, your personal elevator pitch might be,
"I'm a sales rep dedicated to helping local Oklahoma City services businesses grow their customer base and decrease customer churn.
I have six years of experience in local sales and I've consistently met and exceeded my quota throughout my career. Within the last year, I've topped our leaderboard six out of 10 months. On average, I close business 10% faster than my peers."
9. Include contact information.
Are you a freelance or contract worker hoping to find more work on LinkedIn? Your summary should state the kind of work you do, how to get in contact with you, and where you've worked before.
"I'm a sales coach specializing in assisting small teams (five-10 people) optimize their time and workflows so businesses can grow without adding more headcount and reps can advance their careers.
Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book time on my calendar here: [Calendar link]. Previous clients include, [Your most impressive client], [Your second most impressive client], [Your third most impressive client]."
10. Break up large blocks of text.
If you find your summary is on the longer side (which isn’t a problem as long as it’s compelling) try breaking up large blocks of text to make it easier to read. When initially viewing a profile, many people are scanning for high-level context. If you are posting long paragraphs, some of your notable highlights can get lost.
Try keeping your text blocks to two or three sentences max, making your summary easier to read and digest.
Free LinkedIn Summary Templates
Access 80+ Professional Bio Templates and Examples for LinkedIn, Speaker Bios, and More.
What to Put in a LinkedIn Summary
Depending on the goal of your LinkedIn profile, your LinkedIn summary should include 3-5 sentences that describe: your years of experience in your industry, your area of expertise, the types of organizations you've worked with, your skills, and what you're most known for professionally. Think of your LinkedIn summary as your digital elevator pitch to tell people the most important things they need to know about your career in under 30 seconds.
Your LinkedIn summary should sum up your biggest value propositions for the outcome you're hoping to achieve. The summary is one of the first things people read when they land on your profile, so write a paragraph that succinctly and convincingly tells the reader why they should keep scrolling. Additionally, close your summary with a call-to-action, such as how to contact you.
Now, let's discuss what to avoid when crafting your LinkedIn summary.
What (Not) to Put in a LinkedIn Summary
Cheesy or Cliché Terminology
Your profile should be free of terms such as "guru" or "master." These terms are highly subjective, and don’t speak to your actual skills or abilities. Instead of trying to be a self-proclaimed “guru” share a tangible piece of work you’ve done that demonstrates your expertise or describe a specific initiative where your work drove business results.
Avoid copying and pasting points from your resume to your LinkedIn summary. Not only is it redundant because your work history should be up-to-date on your profile, but recruiters and potential connections are looking for a brief introduction to who you are, not a regurgitation of your resume.
Spelling or Grammatical Errors
We’re all human, and spelling mistakes happen. Before publishing your profile, make sure you review it a few times to catch any misspellings or grammatical errors. Having typos on your profile can challenge your credibility, and can be a distraction from your positive attributes.
Your Full Life Story
LinkedIn summaries are not the place to publish your autobiography (though I’m sure your autobiography is lovely). If users are scanning your profile looking for relevant information pertaining to a role or opportunity, you want those points to be front and center.
When you update your LinkedIn summary, aim to include information that’s relevant to the jobs and opportunities you’re open to and keep things clear and concise.
LinkedIn Summary Examples for Salespeople
If you need some inspiration, good news. These LinkedIn summary examples will help you find the right words.
1. Demonstrate your passion.
Adam Buchbinder, a salesperson at Listenwise, draws potential customers in by describing his enthusiasm for "improving listening skills and narrowing educational disparities" — two goals they probably care highly about, too.
His next line tells prospects he's interested in learning their needs, not just selling them. Then Buchbinder establishes his expertise.
Try it yourself: Describe the most rewarding aspect of your job, whether that's helping small businesses go mobile or making corporations more efficient. Next, highlight why you're qualified. How many people or companies have you worked with? What are their average results? Which high-level problems are you well-equipped to solve?
2. Speak to your prospect's pain.
When actively connecting with prospects on LinkedIn, speak directly to them with your Linkedin profile but do so in a way that says you understand their struggles.
In essence, position yourself as a solution provider rather than a product seller.
Digital marketing and sales expert Darrell Evans does this well for his marketing agency by calling out the problem ("SMB is not growing as fast as it should") along with three potential reasons.
He does this before introducing himself or his solution.
Try it yourself: Write a whole introductory paragraph appealing to your customer's pains and emotions without mentioning yourself. You can offer a piece of advice or ask a question.
3. Show some personality.
HubSpot inbound marketing specialist Dan Sally shows his personality in his summary. The detail about his previous life as a standup comedian is intriguing, and the line about "realizing his children didn't like starving" is funny and relatable.
Sally gets more serious in the second section, highlighting his impressive track record at HubSpot.
Try it yourself: Begin your summary with an unexpected, interesting fact about yourself. In your next paragraph, tie it into your sales career.
For example, you might write, "I was the third runner-up of the National Spelling Bee in 1997. (You better believe the spelling of ‘euonym' is now etched into my memory.) These days, I use my innate desire to learn to help customers."
4. Indicate they're in the right place.
By calling out the audience you're targeting, you can get them to self-identify with your message. Specifying who you're talking to indicates to the audience that they're in the right place.
Sales consultant and career coach Joyce Guan West does this in her first sentence when she says, "[I] love being an early stage employee at fast growing and innovative companies where I can make an impact."
Try it yourself: Identify your buyer persona and then include a description of them in your summary.
5. Make yourself seem approachable.
Although it might be a bit untraditional to mention your personal hobbies on your LinkedIn profile, it's a good way to make yourself more human off the bat. A prospect reading Wistia solutions associate Fernando Silva's summary might think, "Oh, I also love to be outdoors." They'll immediately feel more connected to him.
Try it yourself: List a few of the things you like to do in your free time (steering clear of anything controversial, of course). Then explain why you chose your current role and how your customers derive value.
6. Tell a story.
It's worth re-mentioning that stories resonate with people. While your LinkedIn profile includes where you've worked and the skills you have, your summary is prime real estate for revealing the real you behind your job history.
Nikki Ivey, a leader in the B2B sales and marketing space, does this by quoting her mother — "So when are you gonna get out of sales and pick a professional career?" — along with her own competing opinion.
Being told this short story about a real conversation, we get to know her mission and values as a professional.
Try it yourself: Isolate a single moment that encapsulates you as a professional or embodies your values. Then briefly write it as if you were telling this story verbally.
7. Engage prospects.
Wistia account executive Jonah Silberg opens with his mission: Enabling businesses to use video in their marketing strategy. His next two sentences help you get to know him on a personal level.
The summary is short enough readers are guaranteed to finish it — but Silberg makes every line count. He makes you interested in learning more about him.
Try it yourself: In the simplest words possible, state how your company makes its customers' lives easier, better, more enjoyable, etc. Then reveal something about your background ("I was born in Spain and raised in Texas," "I've lived in Chicago my entire life," "My hometown boasts the largest Beanie Babies museum in the world") and end with "Always," "Constantly," or "Frequently" followed by your favorite thing to do ("Always reading," "Constantly cracking dad jokes," "Frequently juggling.")
8. Intrigue your readers.
Raphael Parker, head of outreach at Segment.com, uses the same formula as Silberg — but in reverse. He begins with three of his former jobs, which immediately tells you he's (already) had an interesting career. Parker next tells you what he's currently up to.
Try it yourself: List your former jobs. If you've always been in sales, get creative. Did you ever have a lemonade stand as a child? Were you a camp counselor as a teenager? What was your college gig?
For example, you might write "Ex-lemonade stand CEO, CMO, and COO; ex-juggler; ex-college tour guide. Currently helping prospective homeowners in Arizona find their next dream place to live. (And still juggling when asked nicely.)"
9. Give a 360-View of you, your role, and your company.
Head of The Muse's South and Midwest sales Michah Day's LinkedIn summary showcases her passion and enthusiasm for the role. She highlights her main responsibilities and values, tells the reader why she's proud to work at The Muse and what sets the business apart, and lists some fun facts about herself.
Try it yourself: Explain why you're so fired up about coming into work each day. What excites you? Why do you love your company? What makes your product, culture, and/or team different from your competitors? Conclude with four or five personal tidbits about yourself.
10. Win immediate credibility.
Allison Zia, a sales and operations specialist at McMaster-Carr and grad student at University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, earns instant credibility with her LinkedIn summary.
She starts with a bold statement: "I like to solve problems." Zia proves it with multiple examples from her career, then spotlights her specialties. Finally, she describes a few of her interests.
Try it yourself: Use a short, impactful one-liner to highlight why you're successful or what you're best at. Give two to four examples of how this skill or desire has manifested itself throughout your life. Discuss your areas of expertise, then wrap it up with your favorite topics of discussion.
11. Share your passion.
Abbey Louie is a Boise-based consultant and business owner who’s LinkedIn summary displays her sources of expertise. She concisely shares what inspired her work, and gives potential clients a preview of what benefits they can expect from working with her.
Try it yourself: Do you have an origin story related to your career path? Share a brief description of what has inspired your work, and what makes you want to do the work you do.
12. Speak directly to who you want to serve.
For consultants, business owners, and sales reps, speaking directly to who you want to serve in your LinkedIn summary is a smart approach to take. Career strategist and author Cynthia Pong does this masterfully in the first few sentences of her LinkedIn summary. By immediately calling in who she aims to serve, she can hook the right readers immediately increasing her chances of connecting with the right people.
Try it yourself: In the first few sentences of your summary, try writing a hook that would appeal to your ideal customer or client and keep their attention.
13. Highlight your wins.
Have you received any notable awards, or had exciting features highlighting your work? Include them in your summary to build credibility. Senior Business Development Manager Kimberly Hill shares relevant awards and accolades in her LinkedIn summary to provide valuable context around her skills and abilities.
Try it yourself: Highlight accolades and wins specifically related to roles you would like to be considered for.
LinkedIn Summary Template
Below is a basic template you can use to customize with your own details for a succinct and effective LinkedIn summary. Make sure to add personal details to make it memorable for readers:
With these LinkedIn summaries to draw on, you should have plenty of ideas and inspiration for your own description. Make it personal, unique, and engaging — and prospects will feel like they know you already.
Find out how to craft an InMail that gets results with this helpful guide.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Jan 28, 2021 4:00:00 PM, updated April 09 2021
Topics:Social Selling on LinkedIn