The summary and headline fields on LinkedIn have stumped more than a few of us. It can be hard to talk about yourself. So let’s talk about someone else instead. Like … Abraham Lincoln.
If I didn’t know who Lincoln was, what, as a hiring manager, would I want to know?
The Bullet Points
When defining your professional career, sometimes it’s easiest to start out with bullet points.
Lincoln might choose to point out these facts:
- He has a law background and significant political experience.
- He cares about freedom and the United States.
- He’s a persuasive speaker and writer.
And back them up with some specific accomplishments:
- He won a war.
- He abolished slavery.
- He wrote a bestseller (The Gettysburg Address).
His headline for his post-presidential career, were it not tragically cut short, might read: Calm, Unifying Leader Through Crisis, with Unique Experience in Leading Large, Bureaucratic Organizations.
Now I know something about his background, the results of his work, and his personal causes, so I have some key elements of a summary. There’s more to it than that, but that’s a good starting point.
But I’m Not America’s Favorite President
You don’t have to be one of the nation’s favorite presidents to create a an eye-catching profile. My headline says I’m a serial entrepreneur who knows product development. The trick is specificity — and not being afraid to choose a career direction.
Imagine if Lincoln described himself with those tired LinkedIn mainstays: “versatile executive” and “jack of all trades.” They might be true, but they’re not half as impressive as his talents at oratory, crisis management, and leadership.
The same is true for you. Show a hiring decision-maker just what makes you special — and make it stick.