My article on inc.com has been enthusiastically received so I think more detailed discussion than what I outlined, on each of the 8 ideas, is in order.
Be sure your Experience section reflects the breadth of what you bring daily to the proverbial table. Describe what key values you learned in each position and how you cultivated your skills. Talk about successes as this section should complement the other sections. Resist acronyms or industry jargon, since readers outside your field may be reading. Add graphics and video to the specific position at the time here as well as you did in the Summary section.
No matter how long ago, if you started to hone your craft and skills in say, 1979, show how you developed throughout your career to who you are today. Your past dictates your present and your present indicates your future career moves.
This is not the copy-paste from your resume. That resume (past tense oriented) is designed to speak to a different audience: an employer. Your LinkedIn profile is projected to the professional community of colleagues and connections as you proceed through your life’s journey: both when and then when you’re not looking for a job.
Describe your past professional positions in terms of what you learned there or perfected in your career and what you bring with you today. Then a comment on how you can use it in the future.
A well-developed LinkedIn profile allows you to express why you do what you do today, based on the skills and character you have developed in your past, and aim for the rosy optimism of what the future will bring you.
Use search engine keywords here too like you did in the Summary and Headline.
Slow down for a few minutes, or as long as it takes, and re-read your profile out loud: does it tell us why you do what you do and how you do it?
No? Are you behind in telling your own story?
Better get busy, before someone interprets it for you. It’ll never be as good as what you can tell yourself…
Yes, you can rewrite history. Well, just your LinkedIn profile Experience.
LinkedIn recognizes that not everyone has a linear career path. Sometimes it makes perfect sense to place a certain experience position from your past at the top of the historic list and call attention to it.
Perhaps you are re-entering the work world after a 20 year hiatus raising kids. Now you want to lead with that prior work experience skill set as the attention-deficit reader scans your profile yet bridge the 20 years’ time away.
Or you are returning to a certain industry after a risky (and perhaps not rewarding) jog away from it and want to revisit it.
In other words, you want to call attention to something that is not the most recent position.
Working backwards, write a narrative using “I” and power verbs again and again for each meaningful job you have held. Complete for all your positions.
There are any of a number of reasons for reordering your experience positions, so how do you reorder, chronologically, the positions you held, despite the passage of linear time?
To rearrange current positions:
- Edit Profile.
- Move your cursor over the position you’d like to rearrange, and look for the gray bar to the left.
- Left click and hold the gray bar to drag it into the desired position.
Note also that you can reorder your Education and Publications sections similarly.
Is your career trajectory non-linear? A patchwork of great experience and achievement? Multi-industry, different roles without an immediately obvious “classical” progression?
How do you explain gaps in years between positions? Are you an encore careerist? Recovering lawyer, new professional practitioner after a career spent in another industry? I can provide some guidance to explain your out-of-the-ordinary, yet very valid reasons for your career path and still tell your unique story:
- Emphasize the new skills, activities and accolades from that period, being confident and upbeat
- “At-Home Parent” is a valid Experience entry with its own narrative of what it meant to you and what you learned
- Show the part time positons(s) you held in that period that helped you develop new skills
- You can accumulate several short positions into a larger functional one with a brief description.
- If a part-time position became a full time position, tells. It reflects well on you.
Just stay confident in the past, present and future of expressing WYDWYD.
Be sure the style and style are consistent with the ones above and beneath it and that you are clearly stating WYDWYD in each section. Attach the company and its logo to the narrative for each job you held there. Logos are highly memorable, at a glance. Be mindful that some people read the Experience section bottom-up and others top-down. In each case you want to tell that personal story using past, present, future and how and why.