Learning LinkedIn: Personal Summaries

The summary of your LinkedIn profile is one of the first things that visitors see. It’s your first (and possibly only) chance to make a good impression on potential recruiters and connections.

I’ve always found this to be the most difficult part of my profile to write. Just like when I have to write cover letters, I struggle with how to sell myself without coming off as conceited or over-confident. After some research, I’ve gathered up some tips I believe will help you write your personal summary:

Allow your personality to shine.
Recruiters are reading tons of summaries, so you want yours to be unique and show who you are, not just what kind of work you’ve done. Don’t write out a repetition of what your profile says. Give this section some personality so that you stand out.

Keep it concise.
You want to give enough detail to draw a reader’s attention, but there’s no need to write a novel. Let’s be honest, no one is going to read an overly long summary. Get the important stuff in there but cut out the unnecessary extras, especially if they’re repeated elsewhere in your profile.

Write in first person.
It’s just awkward to read a profile that says something like “Miss Smith is an experienced…” or “She has worked on a variety of projects…”. This is your profile, so you should be writing about yourself.

Be well-rounded.
This section is an opportunity to give a brief explanation of yourself, your experience, your interests and your goals. Don’t write solely about one aspect of your life. Tie it all together to show that you’re a multi-dimensional person.

Here are some great articles on how to write a standout LinkedIn summary, as well as other profile tips:

Good luck with writing your summary – I know I’ll be working on mine this weekend!


Learning LinkedIn: Picture This

Time for a long overdue addition to my Learning LinkedIn series!

LinkedIn is a great free networking tool for people of all ages. But tools only work when you use them properly. One vital, yet often overlooked, feature of LinkedIn is the profile picture. Why is this so important? And how do you decide which picture to use?


Profile pictures are an easy way for your connections to recognize you, which is one reason it’s important to have one. But beyond that, if you are in the market for a new job, recruiters will be looking at your page and your picture can sway them one way or another. Seeing a photo of someone who is professional and approachable may cause a recruiter to be more likely to call you back.

Here are my tips for a strong LinkedIn profile picture:

1. Choose a professional-looking photo. This means no pictures of you from social events or wearing a crazy outfit/makeup/hairstyle.

2. Quality is key. Whether you use a professional photographer for your picture is totally up to you. I think you should consider what stage you are in career-wise and whether it would be a worthwhile investment if you are seriously looking for a career change. Regardless, you want to make sure you upload a clear (not grainy or pixelated) photo, so choose a high-quality format.

3. Keep it current. Make sure to use a recent photo! The last thing you would want is for a potential employer or connection to not recognize you..

4. Close up. The profile picture icon is very small on LinkedIn. As such, a headshot fits best for your profile. If you choose a longer shot, it will be difficult for others to make out your face.

5. Choose a neutral background. You want your photo to be the focal point, so choose one with a plain and non-distracting background. One tip: you often have to get a photo taken for an office job, so consider using that.

As I said, a photo might seem like a minor detail, but it can really have an impact on how others view your profile, so be sure to upload one if you haven’t already!

Do you have any LinkedIn profile picture tips to share? Where is your photo from?

Learning LinkedIn: Get Connected



Like any other social media site, a prominent factor of LinkedIn is your interactions with other users. Unlike other sites, however, you only want to include people you truly know as connections. Because LinkedIn is primarily a career networking site, your connections do make a difference. For example, if a recruiter that knows you sees you are connected to a potential candidate of theirs, they might reach out to you and ask you about them.

So, don’t go around inviting random people to connect. But do connect with everyone you do know. Coworkers, professors, classmates, family, friends, etc. You never know who might have the connection you need to land your dream job! LinkedIn is set up in a way that it promotes interactions, job opportunities and more on your newsfeed based on who you are linked to. Your classmate’s cousin could be the lead recruiter at a company you’d really like to work for, and LinkedIn gives you the ability to see the connection between the two that you might have been unaware of otherwise. Now you can talk to your classmate and ask them to introduce you!

Connecting with managers or more senior coworkers is an important factor to LinkedIn, as they have the most ability to help you move  further in your career. One thing to keep in mind: a major pet peeve of many senior executives, professors, and recruiters if receiving the standard  “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” when someone requests to connect with them. Not bothering to edit the message makes it seem like you’re not really interested in connecting with them. Instead, personalize the message. Similar to a thank you note you’d write after a job interview, specifically mention how you know them, making sure that you stand out among the dozens of other requests they’re getting weekly.

One cool thing about LinkedIn connections is that you can map them using LinkedIn Labs. This tool shows you your different groups of connections so you can see where you might be lacking connections. Try it out – it’s pretty cool!

There’s no time like the present to get connected – so log on and invite as many people you can think of to connect. The more connections you have, the bigger your network is and the more opportunities you’ll have available!

LinkedIn: 10 Steps to a Basic Profile

LinkedIn is an excellent career networking tool, but it can only be a truly helpful tool if you take the time to make your profile stand out, and maintain it over time.

Setting up your profile is pretty easy to do, as LinkedIn has a tool that allows you to see how complete your profile is. Ideally, you want your profile to be considered 100% complete. The tool will tell you what you’re missing and guide you in updating that section.


There are 10 key components to getting your profile to 100%. I’ve listed them out below, along with a brief description, but stay tuned for future for a more in depth discussion on some important topics!

1. Your current job title, company and brief description

2. Two previous (or concurrent) jobs

3. Your education background, most importantly your most recent/current degree

4. Five relevant work skills, such as Microsoft programs, market research, graphic design, etc.

5. 50+ “connections”

6. A career-appropriate profile picture

7. Your current industry & zip code

8. Work (or school) samples/projects

9. A personal summary

10. Volunteer experience

Completing this information for your profile will help you get your LinkedIn profile off the ground and put you in a good position to really start using your account to help you achieve your career goals.

Check out these articles for some more information on creating a basic LinkedIn profile!




Stay tuned for future Learning LinkedIn posts for more information on making the most of this great career networking tool!

Learning LinkedIn

Considering that it didn’t exist even ten years ago, social media is a force to be reckoned with. It has completely redefined how we interact with others, including friends, family and even mere acquaintances. Given it’s ever-growing presence, it was only a matter of time before social media extended beyond our personal lives and entered into our careers as well.

LinkedIn has been around for just over ten years, but it is just now becoming a premier tool for the working world. With over 200 million users, the site offers an incredible opportunity to build your network and connect with others in your field(s) of interest.

Most of my fellow college graduates have at least created a LinkedIn profile, but many have admitted to being unsure of what to do beyond that. While I’m no expert user, I have greatly improved my LinkedIn knowledge over the past year or so and thought I’d share what I’ve learned. This I’ve created a LinkedIn Learning Series, in which I’ll post tips and tricks that I’ve picked up. Stay tuned for more detailed posts!