The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

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How to Write the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Summary

Ever been quoted in the newspaper? Pretty cool feeling, right?

Well, the next time your name appears in an article, your LinkedIn contacts could receive an email about it.

LinkedIn recently acquired Newsle, a start-up that scans articles and blogs for mentions of specific people. LinkedIn wants to use the technology to share your “name drop” across your network. The extra attention could lead to more eyeballs on your LinkedIn profile, which means you better spruce up your summary.

You have 30 seconds to describe yourself. Can you do it?

With a LinkedIn summary, that’s all the time you have. No one wants to read your entire work history (a main reason why short personal stories are a game-changer on a cover letter).

The summary section requires brevity and critical thinking. You must boil down your essence to a tight few lines people will remember.

So, let’s begin.

Step 1: Who are you?

Let’s keep it basic. In a nutshell, what are you known for? What’s your identity? Who are you?

That sentence (or two sentences) is the root of your summary and its opening line. In a clear voice, tell LinkedIn users what you’re all about as it pertains to others. It’s a useful exercise to describe yourself in less than ten seconds.

[Also see: How to Improve Everything You Write in Three Minutes or Less]

Here’s my opening line on LinkedIn:

I am a public relations specialist who helps business owners and young professionals improve communication skills and understand how to deliver their message. My new book, “Wait, How Do I Write This Email?”, a collection of 100+ templates for networking, the job search and LinkedIn, is available now on Amazon:

At my professional core, that’s who I am.

Step 2: What do you do?

Now take the opening line a bit deeper, but remember the 30-second rule. This is no time to dive into three huge paragraphs on everything you’ve done. You have someone’s attention — great! Keep things rolling with specific details and skills/specialties. Include:

– Your title and company

BRIEFLY what you do at the job

– How your job helps people (remember, being valuable to others is how you make your own luck)


As vice president of Rubin Communications Group, a full-service marketing and public relations firm in Virginia Beach, I help a wide range of clients with media coverage, social media, video production and reputation management. I also write the blog News To Live By (, which shows millennials the communication skills “hidden” in the day’s top stories.

cheat sheet

Step 3: How does your passion help others?

In the final step, put a stamp on your LinkedIn summary and make it memorable.

At this point, the reader knows who you are and what you do. Now, finish out with a strong “closer” sentence.

Similar to your opening line, what’s your mission as a young professional? What are you passionate about? And how does your passion help your clients?

Reiterate that point at the end, add a period and you’re done.

My closing line:

When my clients understand the power of “less is more” and learn to tell their own stories, that’s the ultimate victory.

Now? Go get quoted in an article so LinkedIn contacts read about you. I subscribe to HARO to see all the journalists who need interview subjects. Great resource.

Then let the world gaze at your LinkedIn profile and “perfect” summary.


Do you have other LinkedIn profile questions?

Ask them in the comments or email me!


Featured photo: Nan Palmero (Flickr)


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