Writing a LinkedIn summary is incredibly difficult — especially without examples to look at.

What should you put on your LinkedIn summary? A recounting of your prior roles? A list of your accomplishments? Should you write it in first person? Or in third?

Or should you forge ahead using the cookie-cutter bio LinkedIn wrote for you? (The answer to that question is no, but not to worry: You’ll soon have a LinkedIn summary you’ll be proud to publish.)

In this blog post, we’ll dig into what to include in your LinkedIn about section to make it stand out, as well as some examples to give you inspiration. Let’s get started.

Writing LinkedIn summaries is especially hard for salespeople, marketers, and other professionals whose work relies on networking. You’re not targeting recruiters and hiring managers; you’re appealing to potential buyers and clients.

Plus, on top of finding an interesting and genuine way to describe your professional background, you must also come across as a subject matter expert.

Writing a LinkedIn summary may feel like an unnecessary step — especially if you keep your profile up to date. You might also see it as unnecessary if you don’t spend a lot of time on the platform or aren’t looking for a job.

Let’s go over the reasons you should most definitely write a LinkedIn summary.

While your prior roles may be notable, they’re not the only things people should know about you. A LinkedIn summary will allow you to make a personable first impression and highlight your accomplishments and expertise in a succinct way. 

Add a little flair and humor, or keep it super professional. Either way, your LinkedIn summary will give recruiters and other users a taste of what they can expect if they reach out to you. It can also help recruiters gauge culture fit and help prospects and potential clients get a sense of whether they’d like to work with you.

Ready to get started writing your LinkedIn summary?

While your LinkedIn profile isn’t an academic essay, you should still outline the things you want to say and the order in which you want to say them.

The last thing your audience needs is long, rambling paragraphs with no clear progression from sentence to sentence.

Sticking to a predetermined structure will help you communicate clearly and concisely.

Consider following a format similar to this:

If you’re not sure how to get started, use our free professional bio templates, which you can use to write your LinkedIn bio.

The goal of the first sentence of your LinkedIn summary is to get your audience to continue reading. That’s why it’s important to pique their interest early and compel them to keep reading.

This tactic is called a hook.

You can hook readers with your LinkedIn summary by opening a loop that can only be closed with further explanation or making a claim so outlandish that it needs further justification.

“It took me more than X sales demos to learn the secret about Y, but since then, something unexpected has happened.”

People connect with stories and values more than the straightforward “what you do.” While the “what” is important, consider also including the “why.”

Understand what has attracted you to your profession and what your mission is in your role. These will make your LinkedIn profile more emotionally resonant.

“I grew up on the Mississippi River and watched it get clearer over time as manufacturing standards improved. Since then, I knew I wanted to spread the word about sustainability in business environments.”

Next, it’s time to bolster your mission with your industry expertise. Describe your background and qualifications in two-to-three sentences.

For example, 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. Maybe you’re 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.

“I have 7+ years of sales experience in both SDR and account manager roles.”

After highlighting your expertise, tell us what you focus on in 1-2 sentences. For instance, if you’re a digital marketer, do you focus on SEO or social media?

If you recently graduated from college, did you study something specifically within your field?

Calling out your specialties is especially critical in sales. There are many types of sales jobs out there in a vast number of industries with an infinite number of buyer personas and markets. Whether your goal is to appeal to employers or prospects, be sure to call out the things you do well to attract the opportunities best aligned with your goals.

“I’m a mid-market sales executive with experience in direct sales and SAAS product demonstrations.”

It’s time to prove that you’re actually an expert by sharing important data points. No need to give prospective employers a laundry list of your accomplishments — that’s what the section below is for — but it can be impactful to weave a few of your most impressive data points into your summary paragraph.

“Over the past five years, I’ve made it into the President’s Club three times and my closed-won business has seen less than 10% churn during the first 12 months.”

This is optional, but it will serve you in several ways. First, it will show that you’re a team player, and second, it will show that you’re committed to both your professional growth and your current company’s growth.

It’s a must-have if you’re in the business of recruiting, as this can serve as an excellent recruiting tool. For example, 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.

“We’re currently hiring account managers for our Pacific Northwest territory. The ideal candidate has 5+ years of sales experience and a demonstrated familiarity with the region. We’re a fast-growing team with no cap on commission. Click here to learn more and apply.”

Next, it’s time to highlight your professional interests. What do you help others do? What’s your goal in doing so? This is different from your skills in that it’s not necessarily as quantifiable or fact-driven. Because these are your interests, you don’t have to provide data to prove them.

Show that you’re committed to pursuing them and be sure to sound passionate about them.

“I’m a sales coach that’s interested in assisting small teams (five-10 people) optimize their time and workflows so businesses can grow without adding more headcount and reps can advance their careers.”

Last but certainly not least, include a call-to-action and potentially share your contact information. Are you a freelance or contract worker hoping to find more work on LinkedIn? Your summary should end with how to get in contact with you. If you want to seal the deal, include a list of your most impressive clients.

“Reach me at email@address.com or book time on my calendar here: [Calendar link]. Previous clients include [Your most impressive client], [Your second most impressive client], and [Your third most impressive client].”

If you’re not looking for more work, you can also simply end with, “Feel free to message me — I’d love to chat.”

If you find your summary is on the longer side (which isn’t a problem as long as it’s compelling), try breaking up large blocks of text to make it easier to read. When initially viewing a profile, many people are scanning for high-level context. If you are posting long paragraphs, some of your notable highlights can get lost.

Try keeping your text blocks to two or three sentences max, making your summary easier to read and digest.

Think of your LinkedIn summary as your digital elevator pitch: 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.

Here’s an example:

“I’m a sales rep dedicated to helping local Oklahoma City services businesses grow their customer base and decrease customer churn. I have 6 years of experience in local sales and I’ve consistently met and exceeded my quota throughout my career. Within the last year, I’ve topped our leaderboard six out of 10 months. On average, I close business 10% faster than my peers.”

Now, let’s discuss what to avoid when crafting your LinkedIn summary.

Your profile should be free of terms such as “guru” or “master.” These terms are highly subjective, and don’t speak to your actual skills or abilities. Instead of trying to be a self-proclaimed “guru,” share a tangible piece of work you’ve done that demonstrates your expertise, or describe a specific initiative where your work drove business results.

Avoid copying and pasting points from your resume to your LinkedIn summary. Not only is it redundant because your work history should be up-to-date on your profile, but recruiters and potential connections are looking for a brief introduction to who you are, not a regurgitation of your resume.

We’re all human, and spelling mistakes happen. Before publishing your profile, make sure you review it a few times to catch any misspellings or grammatical errors. Having typos on your profile can challenge your credibility, and can be a distraction from your positive attributes.

LinkedIn summaries are not the place to publish your autobiography (though I’m sure your autobiography is lovely). If users are scanning your profile looking for relevant information pertaining to a role or opportunity, you want those points to be front and center.

When you update your LinkedIn summary, aim to include information that’s relevant to the jobs and opportunities you’re open to, and keep things clear and concise.

If you need some inspiration, good news. These LinkedIn summary examples will help you find the right words.

This sales professional draws potential customers in by describing his enthusiasm for “building thriving organizations in the education ecosystem” — a goal he clearly cares highly about, too.

His next line tells prospects he’s interested in learning their needs, not just selling them. Then he establishes his expertise.

This LinkedIn user effectively but succinctly cites a personal experience to show his reasons for supporting others who are going through the challenges he’s gone through. He also shows the breadth of his expertise and research by building upon why his product is needed in the industry.

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?

When actively connecting with prospects on LinkedIn, speak directly to them with your LinkedIn profile, but do so in a way that says you understand their struggles.

In essence, position yourself as a solution provider rather than a product seller.

This digital marketing and sales expert does this well for his marketing agency by calling out the problem. He does this before introducing himself or his solution.

This summary effectively hooks readers, walks them through whom the LinkedIn profile owner is, and shows them how they can benefit from reaching out to the bio owner. The writer effectively shows the ROI of working with his firm while showcasing his copywriting skills.

Write a whole introductory paragraph appealing to your customer’s pains and emotions without mentioning yourself. You can offer a piece of advice or ask a question.

This HubSpot inbound marketing specialist 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.

This short but hilarious summary showcases the writer’s personality and top accomplishments without winding on for a long while. It exemplifies what a LinkedIn bio should achieve and how to do it using the minimum amount of words.

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.”

By calling out the audience you’re targeting, you can get them to self-identify with your message. Specifying who you’re talking to indicates to the audience that they’re in the right place.

This sales consultant and career coach does this in her first sentence when she says, “[I] love being an early stage employee at fast growing and innovative companies where I can make an impact.” If readers relate, they’re bound to keep reading all the way to her call-to-action at the end.

This summary takes us through the various roles the consultant has taken on, all the way to her career coaching role now. Most notably, she ends with a prompt to book time on her calendar and includes a link right then and there.

Identify your buyer persona and then include a description of them in your summary. Don’t be afraid of expressing the types of roles you could play at a company, and be clear with what you want readers to do once they reach the end of the bio.

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 this summary might think, “Oh, I also love to travel.” They’ll immediately feel more connected to you.

This LinkedIn summary keeps it short while incorporating the key parts of a bio: the writer’s personality, professional experience, and most desirable attributes.

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.

It’s worth re-mentioning that stories resonate with people. While your LinkedIn profile includes where you’ve worked and the skills you have, your summary is prime real estate for revealing the real you behind your job history.

This leader in the B2B sales and marketing space does this by sharing her difficulty being a Black woman in sales. Being told this short story about her, we get to know her mission and values as a professional.

The writer opens with one of the challenges she faces while working in sales, setting the stage for why she does what she does, then takes us all the way down to her mission. She closes with a call-to-action that’s impactful and welcoming.

Be vulnerable. Isolate a single moment that encapsulates you as a professional or embodies your values. Then briefly write it as if you were telling this story verbally.

This LinkedIn bio opens with his mission: Enabling businesses to become more personable using video. His next two sentences help you get to know him on a personal level.

The summary is short enough that readers are guaranteed to finish it — but he makes every line count. He makes you interested in learning more about him.

It’s brief, personable, and professional — all while showing the LinkedIn user’s personality. Plus, the mention of his parents is a unique touch, showing his background without much elaboration or fanfare.

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.”).

This LinkedIn user uses the same formula as the previous — but in reverse. He begins with his former jobs, which immediately tells you he’s (already) had an interesting career. He then tells you what he’s currently up to.

This LinkedIn bio flips expectations and delights with its one-line run-through of the author’s work history. The variety of the roles demonstrates that he can thrive at any employer if he were to ever come out of retirement. We love that he ends with his current status.

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.)”

This LinkedIn summary showcases the user’s 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.

This LinkedIn bio provides an in-depth look at the author’s current professional endeavors and her reasons for loving what she does. It ends on a personal note by describing her hobbies and her personality.

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.

This user earns instant credibility with her LinkedIn summary.

She starts with a bold statement: “I like to solve problems.” She proves it with multiple examples from her career, then spotlights her specialties. Finally, she describes a few of her interests.

We love the bulleted list of specialties, but especially love how the author demonstrates how she’s using those skills now at her startup. She also remains personable by closing with her hobbies and an invitation to reach out to her.

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.

This Boise-based consultant and business owner displays her sources of expertise. She concisely shares what inspired her work, and gives potential clients a preview of the benefits they can expect from working with her.

The summary is connected to the author’s mission from top to bottom — you never feel like her points are disjointed or disconnected. She then leads into her current work as a founder and instructor, and ends with a list of specialties for readers to scan.

Do you have an origin story related to your career path? Share a brief description of what has inspired your work, and what makes you want to do the work you do.

For consultants, business owners, and sales reps, speaking directly to who you want to serve in your LinkedIn summary is a smart approach to take. This career strategist and author does this masterfully in the first few sentences of her LinkedIn summary. By immediately calling in who she aims to serve, she can hook the right readers, increasing her chances of connecting with the right people.

The author opens with an effective and visionary hook, then describes her mission and how she works to fulfill that mission every day. She then describes what organizations and clients stand to gain from working with her.

In the first few sentences of your summary, try writing a hook that would appeal to your ideal customer or client and keep their attention.

Have you received any notable awards, or had exciting features highlighting your work? Include them in your summary to build credibility. This Senior Business Development Manager shares relevant awards and accolades in her LinkedIn summary to provide valuable context around her skills and abilities.

Your LinkedIn bio isn’t the space to be shy — and this summary exemplifies that down to the last sentence. It showcases the author’s key accomplishments without sounding arrogant, and mentions her non-profit work at length.

Highlight accolades and wins specifically related to roles you would like to be considered for.

You don’t have to be rigid and cold in your LinkedIn summary, and this bio is proof. It’s professional, succinct, and well-written — not to mention friendly, which is a breath of fresh air on a platform like LinkedIn. She effectively shares her expertise and invites users to engage with an attention-grabbing call-to-action.

This LinkedIn bio effectively subverts expectations, engages readers, and describes the author’s specialties in content creation. The bio remains professional while still communicating a high level of openness and friendliness.

Strike a different sort of tone in your LinkedIn bio that shows the fun side of your personality, while still communicating your value proposition and what you can offer potential employers and clients.

For more formal fields such as healthcare, using third-person may be warranted, and this family physician takes advantage of that opportunity. She first describes her education, which is critical in medical fields, and then ends with her key mission. Still, she shows her personality by sharing her passion for her alma mater and her nickname (“The Community Doctor”).

This formal LinkedIn bio front-loads the author’s educational background, which is key in industries such as healthcare, and adds a personal touch by emphasizing the importance of her work in the community.

Play with the structure of your LinkedIn bio, depending on your industry. If you’re an entrepreneur, you might start with your most recent startup; if you’re a lawyer, you might begin with your most important practice areas and your case record.

This bio is far from cold or stuffy. The writer adds warmth by presenting personal tales that explain her journey to present day. Further, the same theme echos throughout the entire story (the importance of communication).

Weave a  common thread through your academic and professional experiences (if one exists). Leverage the power of storytelling to bring your bio to life and add a touch of warmth.

Katie does a great job underscoring her knowledge of Cape Cod with a compelling story about her community. She positions herself as the “go to” person for recommendations in the area, from oysters to suits. It’s her passion and enthusiasm that lets real estate buyers and sellers know she’s deeply connected to the local area.

Let’s face it: it’s hard to write about yourself and your accomplishments. The author hits the right note by folding her local expertise and know-how into a delightful story about her community in Cape Cod.

If you’re in real estate, it’s important to flex your knowledge about the area. After all, real estate is a local game. Make sure to identify yourself as an expert and enthusiastic fan of where you live and work.

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:

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 and potential employers will feel like they know you already.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.