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
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:
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.
Are you 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.
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.
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.
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.
In no more than a paragraph, 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.
It should be free of cheesy words like "guru" and "master," checked for typos and grammatical errors, and should close with a call-to-action, such as how to contact you, or what type of work you can do.
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.
If you need some inspiration, good news. These seven LinkedIn summary examples will help you find the right words.
LinkedIn Summary Examples for Salespeople
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. 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."
3. 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.
4. 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.")
5. 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.)"
6. 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.
7. 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.
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:
I'm a seasoned [Career] with [#] years' experience [What you do] in the [Name of industry]. I'm passionate about [What results you achieve] for [Companies, partners, or clients], and I've spent the last [#] years helping growing [Company's] [KPI] by [% growth] through dedicated efforts [Skill], [Another Skill], and [Skill]. I've been [Published, recognized, or awarded] by [Outlet or organization] for my [Research, work, achievements]. I'm currently seeking [Opportunities you're pursuing on LinkedIn], so if you'd like to work together, contact me by [Method of contact].
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.