Oddly, your summary comes nearly at the beginning of your profile, just after your picture, current information and updates. Since that is the case, instead of summarizing information that already exists, you want to use this to draw people into reading the rest of your experience and information. Only only two rules here – don’t repeat information that already exists (and waste valuable real estate) and don’t be boring. This is your opportunity to tell a story, pique interest in you and inspire them to read further.
Just like with the other areas of your profile, start by reading other people’s summaries. Do you care to read on? Do they seem like someone with whom you wish to be connected? Do you get a feel for the person in the picture? Some folks use this as an opportunity to list accomplishments, but since there are ample opportunities to do that later, don’t be sucked in by this – UNLESS it is an interesting (brief) story about how that came about.
Don’t use buzzwords or clichéd phrases – nothing puts people to sleep like yet another “experienced transformational leader driving innovation and change”. Zzzzzzz…. How about “Once upon a time, I was driving through town and noticed a large pothole had developed, requiring me to swerve to miss it. Looking over at my cellphone, I wondered why no one had developed an app to quickly report road hazards. So we did.” NOW I’m interested. NOW I want to know more about you. How did it work out?
Don’t list honors or certifications or degrees – again, you have a space for those, you just need to get people to read through to them. Instead of “accomplished team player certified in blah blah blah” try “While every award is an achievement and I am proud to have been a member of many accomplished teams, the award that sits in the place of honor is the relay medal from [charity race]. Not because we won (we didn’t) but because I learned the importance of each individual’s contributions to the whole.”
What’s important to you? Who are you as a person? Why should someone want to hire you, work with you, connect with you? What do you bring to the table that is unique? Favorite quote – with why it inspires you? How did a person, place or event change you? How did you start on your path and how has it diverged along the way? What do you find more important – mentoring or being mentored? This is probably the most difficult part of your profile but the one that will set the tone for meeting your connections, customers, recruiters – it gives them a taste of who you are.
Finally, don’t be long winded – it’s a summary, a snippet, a hint of what’s to come as they continue reading your profile. If you are passionate about something, don’t say you are passionate – tell a story of your passion, enthusiasm, drive. Write it out, condense it down, make it grab the reader. (And be sure to ask those trusted friends to read it once you are done.)