in Language & Culture

We’re all familiar with the elevator pitch: a sales spiel about yourself, about your profession, about your product, or your business that only takes as long as the average elevator ride. But in the 21st century, there’s a new elevator pitch in town: your LinkedIn summary (if you don’t have a profile yet, make one now). That’s the area just below your picture and it’s quite possibly the most important yet most often neglected real estate on the page. Today we’re going to explore how best to leverage the LinkedIn summary’s 2000-character limit to draw readers in and make them want to learn more.

Elevator Pitch

Tell a Story – Fast. When you begin crafting your 21st century elevator pitch, try to imagine that you’ve only got 15 floors (about 60 seconds) to get somebody interested. That means you need to impress, entertain, and hook them in under a minute. The best way to do that is with a story that shows off a career highlight or specialized skill of which you’re proud. Tell it as quickly as you can.

Be Yourself. Write like you’re speaking with someone you’ve just met for the first time and want to impress. That doesn’t mean boast; it means be relaxed yet confident. Write in the first person and don’t be afraid to be yourself – be funny if you’re funny or serious if you’re serious. Let the reader know you.

It’s Not About You – It’s About the Reader. With the story you craft and the side of yourself that you show, every word should be geared to your intended audience. Address their fears and their hopes. Use your summary to tell them how you’ll help them fulfill their hopes and conquer their fears.

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Tell Them What They Can Do. This is usually called the “Call to Action” and should come around the end of your summary. It’s nothing so dramatic as “give me a job” or even “give me a call,” but should invite them to view the rest of your profile or your blog and to contact you with any questions or comments they may have. If your story and summary have thus far kept their attention, chances are they’ll follow up and you’ll be that much closer to your goal, whatever it may be.

In today’s data-driven world, it’s important to embrace your creativity and individualism, and it’s always stories to which we respond most strongly. The readers of your summary are no different. Tell them a tale that lets them see who you are. We like to do business with people we like, know, and trust; your 21st century elevator pitch is a chance to show that you’re that sort of person.


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