Kelly Donovan
Principal, Kelly Donovan & Associates
  • LinkedIn strategist & profile writer
  • Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
  • Certified Hidden Job Market Coach (CHJMC)
  • Outplacement provider
  • Speaker & trainer
  • Globally recognized work (TORI nominee)

I help execs leave jobs that aren't fun anymore and land their dream jobs!

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What Style is Best for a LinkedIn Summary?

If you spend some time looking around LinkedIn, you’ll find that many people use a summary that reads like a resume summary, some use content that reads like an executive bio, and others simply list some keywords related to their career. Then there are those who don’t have a summary at all.

Personally, I always go with a conversational and informal approach unless a client has a strong preference to use a “bio” type format or other approach. With LinkedIn being a social media platform, using a first person, conversational style helps the reader feel like they’re meeting you versus reading another impersonal resume-style summary of someone’s career.

I think this approach is especially critical for anyone in PR, marketing, sales, or other people-oriented fields.

 Most people don’t spend very much time and effort on their LinkedIn profile and don’t invest in professional help, so most of them use the summary from their resume or some other content that feels very impersonal. As a result, summaries written specifically for LinkedIn in a conversational tone will stand out. (Read 10 profiles all written in resume-speak with terms like “results-oriented” and then read one that feels like you’re talking to the person–it’ll be more memorable!)

That being said, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to LinkedIn. A recruiter who’s interested in a person’s qualifications will want to reach out regardless of the writing style of the summary. For networking contacts and hiring executives, I do think a more informal approach makes you seem more approachable, but it’s not going to be a deal killer of course. The most important things are (1) does it position you correctly for the type of positions you’re going for, and (2) is it professional (grammatically correct and spelled correctly, etc.).

For certain people, a third-person executive bio may be preferable, depending on the situation. For a current CEO of a company, it might make sense for it to mirror the bio used on the company website.

Don't hire a resume service until you read..."Questions to Ask a Resume Service"


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"I had four headhunters find me on LinkedIn and contact me, and my resume did a great job of showing what I can bring to a company. I'm very excited to be starting my new job. I highly recommend Kelly's services and will be referring friends to her." -Phil F., Director of Business Development, Los Angeles area (via LinkedIn)

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  • Recruiter Perspective
    We have an active executive recruiter for Fortune 500 companies who will review your resume before we finalize it
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    Kelly is more up to date than industry peers on how to get you noticed on LinkedIn, as well as resume trends
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