Don't manufacture These Mistakes With The Experience fraction Of Your LinkedIn Profile

Don’t manufacture These Mistakes With The Experience fraction Of Your LinkedIn Profile

Don’t Make These Mistakes With The Experience Section Of Your LinkedIn Profile

Don't Make These Mistakes With The Experience Section Of Your LinkedIn ProfileSince your resume is seen by only a hand-selected number of people, your LinkedIn profile is even more compelling to the 800 million-plus users on the platform. LinkedIn gives readers of your profile the ability to quickly scan your LinkedIn profile and interpret your career story. Thus, it’s imperative that your presence on LinkedIn be robust, powerful, and detailed.
As a certified LinkedIn profile expert, I’ve got a keen eye for noticing big mistakes others make on the platform. I’m on a constant quest to educate readers about how they can improve their LinkedIn profile, increase rankings in LinkedIn searches, and get seen and noticed by the right audience. That’s why in this week’s column, I’m turning to the LinkedIn experience section to show you what mistakes you might be making and what to do instead.
Discrepancies Between Job Titles And Dates Of Employment
First things first, make sure your LinkedIn experience section matches your resume in terms of the job title, company/firm name, and dates of employment. Many professionals overlook this portion of their LinkedIn profile, but it’s imperative to double-check that your dates of employment and job titles align with your resume. If they don’t, a reader may call into question your truthfulness and credibility.
Your job titles carry more weight in search results than the details of your experience section. If you were an associate attorney in the commercial litigation practice group of a firm, don’t just put “Associate Attorney” for your job title. Instead, write “Associate Attorney, Commercial Litigation” to frame your job title with important keywords that increase your rankings in search results.
Dumping Your Resume Into Your LinkedIn Experience Section
Do not, I repeat, do not insert your resume into your LinkedIn profile. It’s a bad idea and you may not even realize you’re making a huge mistake. Here’s why:
Your resume is going to be much more detailed than your LinkedIn profile, and with good reason. Your LinkedIn profile is geared to elicit quick attention from a reader about your career history, but not so much that the reader gets lost in the details. Your resume is going to give the results, achievements, special projects, and contributions as context beyond your job functions. That information is often much more proprietary in nature and should be kept for the resume and resume only.
Therefore, your LinkedIn profile should not contain any confidential or proprietary information. This means leaving off revenue numbers (unless public record), financial/growth percentages, or other information that can be construed as trade secrets.
If you merely dump your resume contents into your LinkedIn profile, you’re allowing over 800 million users on LinkedIn to have access to that proprietary info. I can’t tell you how many nonlawyers I consult with that include sales numbers, cost savings amounts, and other proprietary metrics in their LinkedIn experience section. My head turns like Linda Blair’s in “The Exorcist” when I see this, and I always advise them to remove the proprietary and confidential data from their profile.
When in doubt, save the exciting achievements and results for your resume, which will be read by that hand-curated audience. Don’t allow the best-kept work of yours to be reflected in a public-facing website for the world to see.
One other key problem with dumping your resume into your LinkedIn experience section: you’re also giving people unfettered access to plagiarize content from your resume for their own career or professional gain. Thus, you want your LinkedIn profile to be as narrowly tailored to frame your career experience without giving away the kitchen sink. You must carefully weigh what sounds like your voice versus what can easily be replicated (or stolen) by another LinkedIn user. I’ve had my published content stolen over the years, and LinkedIn profiles are no different.
Remember, if a legal recruiter, HR manager, or company executive wants your resume, they’ll ask for it.
If you’re concerned with updating your experience section and sending out notifications to your network, first check to make sure your notification alerts are turned off.
Leaving Your Experience Details Blank (Especially If You’re Unemployed)
While some may elect to leave the LinkedIn experience section details blank, if you’re unemployed, you most certainly want to put effort into the details of your experience section. Your LinkedIn profile enables you to share a snapshot of your career story with the outside world before someone has your resume in their hands. Thus, it’s imperative for you to connect the dots between your roles and advancement in your career so that a reader can easily see it.
For example, if you worked for a firm/company that merged with another firm/company, explain the connection between the two. If you left a firm/company because it dissolved, explain that connection.
All it takes is a short sentence explaining the story: “Left firm/company due to downsizing” or “XYZ purchased/acquired ABC. Transitioned into in-house role with XYZ.” This also helps explain gaps and shorter stints, building more context for a reader who is not yet in possession of your resume.
Your LinkedIn experience section gives you great opportunity to include high-value keywords that focus on your job functions and areas of expertise to increase understanding from targeted readers as well as visibility. Your LinkedIn experience section also gives you the chance to show a progression of different roles and added responsibilities, particularly if you had a long stint at the company or firm. Adding two to four sentences of details with highly searchable keywords to the LinkedIn experience section can help better frame your career experience.
Keep in mind that digital readers have short attention spans. They are looking to quickly digest content not feel exhausted by it. Just as resumes have short, concise, and punchy sentences, your LinkedIn profile will as well. Long blocks of text make it harder to digest the content. Also, the further back you go in your work history, the more remote things become, and less detail will be included.
At the end of the day, LinkedIn is a matter of first impression to recruiters, hiring executives, and all professionals who might be future clients, employers, or peers. Remember, the LinkedIn experience section is the back of the book jacket and table of contents, but it’s not the entire 200-page book.
Have a question about crafting your LinkedIn experience section? Send me an email or message on LinkedIn and ask away.
Wendi Weiner is an attorney, career expert, and founder of The Writing Guru, an award-winning executive resume writing services company. Wendi creates powerful career and personal brands for attorneys, executives, and C-suite/Board leaders for their job search and digital footprint. She also writes for major publications about alternative careers for lawyers, personal branding, LinkedIn storytelling, career strategy, and the job search process. You can reach her by email at, connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her on Twitter @thewritingguru.


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