You have 2,000 characters to bring your LinkedIn profile to life using your summary.  This is one of the more intimidating components of your LinkedIn profile because you have the most flexibility and visual real estate – scary thought!

There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to writing your LinkedIn summary.  There are no perfect answers.   However, there are some strategies you can use to develop a new summary or enhance your current one. The following is a quick formula that I’ve developed and used effectively with a number of financial professionals.   First, I’ll mention a few rules to consider while you develop the actual text.  

The Guidelines

·      Write each section in first person.  I prefer to read profiles written in first person because they come across more genuine.  First person language gives your profile a “voice” that can easily be overlooked when writing in third person.

·      Try and avoid too much industry jargon.  This can give your profile a more biased and artificial feel.  Also, prospects can easily get lost in financial jargon.

·      Distribute keywords in a natural manner throughout your summary.  Brazenly littering your profile with keywords not only annoys the reader, but it makes you look salesy.  For example, avoid using “401K” twenty times.

The Formula

Keeping those guidelines in mind, the following are five potential short paragraphs for your profile.  I’ve also included a few questions to consider for each section. 

1.     Your Value Proposition:  Start by explaining what you do and how you add value to your clients.  What problems do you solve? What results do you get?

2.     Why You Do What You Do:  Why do you get up every morning to drive to work?  What motivates you?  What do you want to achieve for your clients?

3.     Your Specialties:  Do you work with a particular niche?  Do you solve a specific problem?  With whom do you enjoy working?

4.     Something Personal:  What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?  What are you passionate about? Family?  Organizations? Charities?

5.     Reasons to Connect: Conclude your profile (or begin it) with reasons that it may be appropriate for someone to request to connect with you.  What situations are your clients in when they need you most?  What professionals would benefit from partnering with you?  Tip: You may want to include an email address associated with your account in this section in case they need it to send you a connection request.

For this formula to work, you have to make it personal.  Give your profile a voice and personality.  This is not a section that should sound like a resume.  Instead, it should reflect your unique professional persona.  

Kevin Nichols is a thought-leader with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry.  Follow him on twitter @KevinANichols | www.Oechsli.com