No, the About section and the summary on LinkedIn are not exactly the same. While they both allow you to provide an overview of your professional background, there are some key differences between the two sections:
The About section is designed to provide a high-level overview of your career history, skills, accomplishments, education, and other credentials. It’s usually one of the first sections hiring managers and recruiters look at when evaluating your profile.
The summary, on the other hand, is meant to provide a snapshot of your professional capabilities. It highlights your most relevant skills, experience, and achievements as they pertain to your career goals and the types of roles you’re interested in.
The About section can be much longer than the summary, allowing you to provide more detailed information about your work history and qualifications. There is no strict character limit for the About section.
The summary has a limit of 2,000 characters, requiring you to be more concise and selective about the details you include.
In the About section, you can provide an overview of your:
- Current and past work experience
- Education and academic credentials
- Hard and soft skills
- Industry knowledge and areas of expertise
- Major projects, achievements, and awards
- Professional affiliations and volunteer work
The summary should highlight:
- Your most relevant hard skills and capabilities
- Industries, functions, or roles you target
- Notable achievements and projects
- Professional strengths and qualifications
So the About section takes a comprehensive approach, while the summary is more selective and targeted.
Guidelines for an Effective About Section
Here are some tips for making your About section stand out:
Lead with a strong headline
Your headline appears right below your name and photo. It’s valuable real estate, so use it wisely. Include your current job title and organization or your professional specialty.
Tailor it to the reader
Focus on information that would interest hiring managers and recruiters, rather than providing your whole life story.
Use numbers and metrics
Quantify your achievements and impact whenever possible. For example, highlight budget size managed, percentage of quota attained, number of projects completed, etc.
Emphasize transferable skills
Focus on versatile skills like leadership, communication, strategic planning and analysis. These translate across roles.
Showcase range and depth
Balance highlighting your breadth of competencies with demonstrating specialized expertise.
Use concise, scannable paragraphs
Avoid large blocks of text. Use bullet points, numbers, and spacing to make it easy to scan.
Tailor keywords for discoverability
Incorporate keywords recruiters may use to find profiles like yours. But avoid awkward repetition.
Double check for typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistent formatting.
Best Practices for an Impactful LinkedIn Summary
Follow these best practices for writing a compelling, effective summary:
Lead with a professional headline
Briefly summarize your current role, experience level, and specialty. Include keywords recruiters search for.
Spotlight relevant skills and achievements
Highlight capabilities and accomplishments that align with roles you want. Get specific – which skills, tools, systems, and results?
Communicate your value proposition
Explain how your skills, experience, and expertise provide value to employers. Focus on their needs.
Use keywords strategically
Incorporate keywords and phrases recruiters search for, but avoid awkward repetition. Vary your phrasing.
Quantify and provide examples
Use numbers, percentages, time frames, and examples to demonstrate impact. But stay concise.
Align with your brand
Ensure your professional strengths and value proposition align with your personal brand identity.
Close with a call to action
End by inviting readers to learn more about you. You can guide them to your website, portfolio, or contact info.
Double check for spelling and grammar errors. Read it aloud to catch awkward phrasing.
Key Differences Between the Two Sections
To recap, here are the main differences between the About section and the summary:
|Provides an overview of your background and credentials
|Highlights your most relevant capabilities
|No character limit
|Restricted to 2,000 characters
|Includes work history, education, skills, achievements, affiliations
|Focuses on top skills, experience, and value proposition
|Comprehensive profile of qualifications
|Concise snapshot tailored to target roles
So in summary, the About section takes a broad approach while the summary is more strategic and targeted. Use the About section to provide an overview of your background and the summary to make a specific value proposition.
Examples of Strong LinkedIn About Sections and Summaries
Here are examples of compelling About sections and summaries:
About Section Example
Senior Product Marketing Manager with 5+ years experience driving growth for SaaS companies. Core competencies include:
– Product launch strategy: Led launches for 3 major products by building positioning, messaging, and go-to-market plans. Increased trial signups by 200%+ post-launch.
– Content strategy: Created targeted content that generated over 100,000 visits to the blog. Improved lead conversion rate by 30%.
– Market research: Conducted research and buyer interviews to deeply understand customer pain points. Identified 2 new target customer segments.
– Analytics: Leverage data to inform positioning and messaging. Improved campaign ROI by 40% in 2 quarters.
Passionate about understanding customers, building products they love, and telling compelling brand stories. Excited to drive growth for mission-driven SaaS companies.
Product marketing leader with 5+ years of experience driving go-to-market strategy and positioning for B2B SaaS companies. Skilled at launching products and orchestrating campaigns to accelerate growth.PASSIONATE ABOUT understanding customers, building products they love, and telling compelling brand stories. Excited to drive growth for mission-driven SaaS companies. Seeking a senior product marketing role.
Tips for Updating Your About and Summary
Here are some tips for keeping your About section and summary updated:
- Review them quarterly – Set calendar reminders to revisit them regularly.
- Update when you take on new projects or roles – Don’t let them become outdated.
- Tailor them when applying for specific roles – Customize keywords and achievements.
- Get feedback from colleagues – Ask associates if your skills and value proposition come through.
- A/B test variations – Try different versions and analyze the results.
- Check your analytics – See which sections visitors engage with most.
- Follow company pages – Stay up-to-date on new products, services, and initiatives to highlight.
Keeping your About and summary current, compelling, and tailored will ensure you make a strong first impression on LinkedIn.
While your About section and summary both showcase your capabilities, they serve different purposes. The About provides comprehensive overview of your background, while the summary strategically highlights your most relevant skills and achievements.
Keep your About section up-to-date, but tailored to your target audience. Use your summary to make a specific value proposition aligned with the roles you want. Optimizing these two sections will showcase you as a qualified, compelling candidate.