Building Your LinkedIn Profile? Don’t Forget Your Headline & Summary!

LinkedIn profiles, on the surface, seem quite similar to a resume. Your profile should list education and degrees earned, your professional experiences (from research positions to internships), and your skills. It sounds a lot like the basic structure of a one-page resume, and often times I suggest students begin filling out their profiles with elements of their resumes before they begin engaging more deeply with LinkedIn.
But, what about the headline and summary sections? These serve as two of the most crucial components of any compelling LinkedIn profile; they are “above the fold,” meaning they appear on the page before one would scroll down. LinkedIn is a connecting tool; the goal of building a LinkedIn profile is to connect with others. We aim to attract recruiters, potential internship sites or employers, and colleagues to engage them in our career stories.
Yet, so many of us hang on to the default headline and neglect our summaries. These two sections can be challenging to write! They are personal, a bit vulnerable, and ambiguous. Here are a few tips to help you approach your summary and headline with intention.
  1. No matter what you choose to share in your headline and summary, be mindful of the message that your LinkedIn profile is sending and what impression a visitor, who doesn’t know you, might have of your career goals and path. Ask yourself, “what are a few things – passions, skills, goals – that I would want a new connection to know about me?”
  2. When deciding on a headline, go beyond the default! You don’t have to reinvent your headline completely, but could you add more detail? For example, “Student at University of Denver” tells me a little bit about you, but what if you added a bit more detail and added “Geography Student,” or “Master’s Candidate in Higher Education”? Your name, photo, and headline appear in so many places. Make the most of the character count you have!
  3. Your summary section serves as a wonderful opportunity to begin sharing your story. While an elevator pitch or personal introduction is a nice place to begin, how might you go beyond that? Could you tell me about your career goals and how you’ve arrived at them? Or, why you chose your major? How do you aim to impact the world?
Two excellent resources on the summary and headline can be found below:
  1. What Your LinkedIn Headline Reveals About Your Self-Confidence at Work (Kathy Caprino, Forbes)
  2. 7 LinkedIn Profile Summaries that We Love (Kate Reilly, LinkedIn)
Still working on your LinkedIn profile? We are here to help! Be sure to join us for two exciting workshops on all things LinkedIn in April:
Create a Professional & Compelling LinkedIn Profile
Monday, April 9 | 6:00-7:00pm | Lindsay Auditorium, Sturm Hall | RSVP via Pioneer Careers
The Power of Networks: Leveraging Social Media and LinkedIn Profile Reviews
Wednesday, April 25 | 6:00-7:00pm; Profile Reviews from 7:00-8:00pm | Lindsay Auditorium, Sturm Hall | RSVP via Pioneer Careers
We hope to see you there!