This is a guest post for the Knowledge Matters blog written by Danny Rubin, an award-winning author and speaker on business communication skills. If you’d like to write a guest post on a topic of interest to high school students studying business, marketing or personal finance, email us.
You have 30 seconds to describe yourself. Can you do it?
With a LinkedIn summary, that’s all the time you have. People in the business world are always in a hurry, and they only need the highlights on who you are.
That’s why the LinkedIn profile summary section requires brevity and critical thinking. You should explain what you like to do and perhaps what impact you hope to make on the world after high school and/or college.
Below, I lay out the three-step template for a LinkedIn profile summary for either a high school or college student. Follow each step closely, and think about how you can apply the lessons to your own LinkedIn profile.
Step 1: Who are you, really?
Keep it basic. In a nutshell, what are you known for? What’s your identity? And how do you hope to help other people upon graduation?
It’s a useful exercise to describe yourself in less than ten seconds. Plus, it’s important to think hard about the value you’d like to add to the market.
Here’s an example for a young man we’ll call “Lamar.”
Step 1: Who are you, really?
College example: I’m a junior at Big State University who majors in computer science and minors in mathematics.
High school example: I’m a junior at Acme High School who hopes to study computer science in college.
Step 2: What do you do?
Now take the opening line a bit deeper, but remember the 30-second rule. This is no time to go into three huge paragraphs on everything you’ve done. Keep it rolling with specific details, like:
Clubs you’re involved in Hobbies and interests Leadership positions or activities
College or high School example: You might say I’m a “tech geek” because I spend a lot time in the school’s computer lab. That’s where we learn to deconstruct laptops and build them back together. I’m vice president of the Campus Computer Club (CCC) and love to pick apart a motherboard or hard drive and help people with their computer challenges.
Note how Lamar includes how he likes to “help people with their computer challenges.” How do you like to give back? See if you can include that piece of detail in your own profile.
Step 3: Bring ’em home
By now the reader knows who you are and what you do. Ask yourself: what are you passionate about? And how might you want to use that passion to help other people?
College example: When I graduate, I hope to find a job that uses computers and the latest technology to make the world a smarter place.
High school example: In college, I hope to gain computer skills that help me make the world a smarter place.
Lamar tells us he’s passionate about computers, demonstrates his commitment (vice president of computer club) and discusses how he wants to use his tech skills to improve the world.
It’s short and sweet – and will leave a lasting impression!
Danny Rubin is an award-winning author and speaker on business communication skills whose work is supported by the Association for Career and Technical Education. Check out his two books, Wait, How Do I Write This Email? and Wait, How Do I Promote My Business?, collections of 100+ writing guides for the job search and growing a business, respectively. Follow him on Twitter at @DannyHRubin.