In the new world of work, where people meet you online before they connect with you in person, your digital profile has become essential to career success: Making your virtual world brand match your real-world brand is critical.

If you had to choose one digital branding profile to work on, focus on your LinkedIn profile. Why? Because, in business, it's often the first place people go when they want to check you out.

And even if someone starts with a Google search, they'll likely end up at your LinkedIn profile because it's usually in the top 3 results Google displays. Therefore, having a stellar LinkedIn profile is not a nice-to-have; it's an essential personal branding tool.

And for marketers the bar is set high. People viewing your profile assume that if you can market a product you should be able to market yourself and that you are an expert in social media.

After people see your headshot and read your headline, viewers of your LinkedIn profile check out your summary. Your summary is what should pique their interest and make them want to learn more about you.

Here's the three-step process for creating an authentic, differentiated, and compelling summary.

Step 1: Create context

Before writing your summary...

  • Know your target audience—whom you are writing it for—and how you want them to feel after reading it.
  • Determine what you want readers to do once they have read it.
  • Finally, figure out what you want the summary to say.

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image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda