Five Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Your LinkedIn Summary

For most freelancing and creative marketers, figuring out how to get the most out of LinkedIn is one of those painful things they put off for as long as possible – like shopping for the holidays or going to the dentist.

Nevertheless, it is an absolute must if you’re serious about your career and are hoping to advance it – since LinkedIn is the largest professional network with over 675 million members globally. While many users opt for the basic route treating it as an online resume, others prefer to maximize its potential and use it as a networking platform.

It’s crucial not to let your summary fade into the background because it’s a fantastic opportunity to shape your story and how people see you. Moreover, in the maximum allotted space of 2,600 characters, what you write truly matters. Therefore understanding how to convey the story of your career in a concise, punchy, power-packed paragraph is essential – after all, you know your career better than anyone else. What’s more, it never hurts to have a little help, and that’s why we’re here. So here are five things to avoid when composing your LinkedIn summary.

Resume Recitation

After college, I worked at Pinkberry for two years before joining Chase Bank for three more… I then moved into the insurance industry, working for Progressive, Geico, and now State Farm, where I sell auto and life insurance – interested?

Most likely, not.

You shouldn’t simply list your accomplishments on LinkedIn without explaining how they have helped shape who you are today. LinkedIn has an entire section dedicated to work experience, so save your breath here and expand your achievements there.

Put your best foot forward by providing a 360-degree, comprehensive snapshot of who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what makes you tick. Incorporate your previous work experience contextually. It’s not the place to list things they will see if they scroll down. However, as luck would have it, they probably won’t, as you tried to put it all right here.

Copy-Pasting From Resume

What’s an even worse move to make on LinkedIn? Copy-pasting your resume directly into the summary section.

We understand that when you’re short on time and have little to say, simply reusing pre-composed bits from your resume may seem like the best move. Yet, it’s always far from ideal.

Your LinkedIn summary and resume are two different things, and they need to complement one another.

So try and integrate your achievements into a compelling narrative instead. For example, what do you love about being a customer service representative? Does it have to do with your outgoing personality? Or the fact that you thrive on human interaction? If you include some emotion, it’ll make your accomplishments seem more personal.

Confusing LinkedIn Summary With Biography

 Originally from a poor section of the Bronx, I came from a family of six. So from the time I was born, I was a bottle baby, underweight, underfed, and underwhelming. I was born with a minor congenital disability – a mole above my right eye which screamed ‘everyone, please keep away!’ I have now resorted to writing endless LinkedIn summaries to handle that task.

We think you get our point.

Writing about your career should be contextually relevant.

This pretty inconsequential summary accomplishes the following:

  • In the first 300 characters, it wastes space talking about something that won’t land you a job, mildly puts people off and mentions little or nothing about your work experience, expertise, or career.
  • Additionally, it indicates that you are not truly knowledgeable about the platform, which can work against you in many ways.

If you’re a novelist or stand-up comic, your chance-taker style might appeal to a specific audience, but most likely, your reader will nod off, click away, and wonder what your mole has to do with being a programmer.

With the “About” section, you can substantiate why you’re the right fit for the job, any job, with current jargon and relevant information about your career path. Make the most of the little time and space you have.

Using the fewest words possible, tell the best story you can.

Both LinkedIn and life are all about that.

Referring To Yourself In The Third Person

Charles Becker is a meticulous groundskeeper at Pines Country Club who seems dedicated to maintaining the greens and building lasting relationships with his clients. Not only does he specialize in the art of intimate portrayals, but in his spare time, he also prevents gophers from disrupting golf games.

Most people use this method when writing their bios to sound more professional. The problem is: everyone knows you wrote your LinkedIn summary.

Regardless of whether you hire a professional, it should appear that you wrote it yourself. Hence, don’t cause any confusion by referring to yourself as a third party. Besides sounding strange, it’s egotistical and goes against what you’re trying to achieve in your summary section: Making a meaningful, lasting connection with people.

Overusing Keywords

As a technology professional, I can lead business development, software design, and contract management initiatives. With experience in enterprise data management solutions, the cloud (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), and product management, I’m also a customer success-driven sales executive. Engineering, security, analytics, and putting people to sleep are my other specialties.

It’s wonderful that you can do all of these things. You will find them all very useful when you land that dream job (or client) of yours. However, don’t use your summary section as a place to list them out. Especially not right at the top.

If you can get people to read further, put it in the skills section. By reciting all your incredible qualities in one breath, the last thing you want to do is kill interest. Essentially, it kills the mood. Moreover, you’re not distinguishing yourself from hundreds of others who do similar things in your market. Do not be lazy; focus on how you present yourself – a creative way to express yourself, not just a list-based method.

Create materials that appeal to humans as well as AI. Whenever you just repeat the keywords, you only write to the AI. It’s obnoxious and turns people off when you just try to game the system – you need to find the right balance.

Telling your story with substance, style, and a few keywords is the most powerful way to do this. Trying to cram everything you think will catch an algorithm’s eye is not the way to go.

A LinkedIn summary is only one of many pieces that make up your profile (along with your headline, skills, recommendations, and activity). However, it’s still a critical element; a way to share your message with originality, substance, and authenticity; as you let people know who you are.

People are most likely to find your LinkedIn profile when they conduct a name search online because it is one of the first results they see. You have the opportunity to influence how they view your profile, so use it to your best advantage.

Want help writing an impactful LinkedIn summary? Drop a message at or write an email to