When you’re job hunting, there’s a pile of materials to keep straight: your resume, your cover letter, your reference list, your portfolio, and – of course – your LinkedIn profile.
But have you wondered if one of these is more important than the rest?
What Goes in the Experience Section of Your LinkedIn Profile?
Just like there are things that go in a cover letter that don’t go in a resume, the experience you list on your LinkedIn profile should look different than it does on your resume.
Think of your LinkedIn experience as a cross between your resume and cover letter.
For example, on your resume you might list your job title as ‘Accounting Assistant’ followed by a list of your job duties as bullet points.
Which might look like this:
Processed Accounts Payable and Receivable, Assisted CPA with quarterly internal audits, Managed backend payroll for HR.
It’s material meant to be quickly scanned. So you’re not using full sentences and you’re not giving explanations.
In a cover letter, you would expand certain elements of your resume experience and connect them to the position you’re applying to.
For example, “In my two years as an accountant, I enjoyed working with the CPA we had on retainer for our quarterly internal audits. I learned a lot about tax process from her, and it made me excited to move to this field. I even read some books on tax preparation just out of interest. That’s actually why I’m so excited to apply for this position!”
In a LinkedIn profile, the tone is going to be a little bit more like a cover letter. You’ll use full sentences. You won’t just say what you did (for example, “I assisted the CPA with internal audits”) but describe the experience (for example, “I joined [Company] as they were recovering from the aftermath of an unexpected audit. As a result, I had the opportunity to help them implement practices for quarterly internal audits, and to conduct and review these audits with the retained CPA.”)
The purpose of your profile, however, is more like that of a resume. Like a resume, your LinkedIn profile isn’t directed toward a particular company or position.
As you can see, your LinkedIn profile experience can become the most dynamic part of your profile, but it needs some unique handling! We have some tips and tricks to help you get started:
Remember, the tone of your profile is personal. So you’re going to be using “I” statements to describe what you did in the past at each job. For example, I worked; I managed; I maintained; I coordinated.
You may already know how important it is to use quantifiable results whenever possible. For example, “I set up a practice for internal audits” versus “By setting up internal audits, I kept the company from losing approximately $2 million in legal fees, penalties, and overtime two years later when they were audited by the IRS.”
You can estimate how many people you’ve helped, how much you made the company, how much material you’ve written, how much work you’ve saved someone else, or how much more efficient you made a process. If you’re having doubts about your estimated impact, it’s wise to connect with your former boss (if possible) for feedback. This is especially important if your former boss is your reference. Imagine your boss vetoing the claims you make on your profile!
Keep It Short
Two to three short paragraphs describing your duties, successes, and experiences at each job will suffice. While the employer going through LinkedIn profiles typically has a bit more time than the HR manager shuffling through hundreds of resumes each hour, your profile still needs to be reader-friendly.
Hopefully you’re starting your LinkedIn profile with a solid resume. If so, you already have the basic content down; it just needs to be rephrased and expanded a bit. You have work to do, but the path is clear.
Want someone to fix your LinkedIn for you? TopResume offers LinkedIn services along with a resume refresh. Whether you’re starting from scratch, need an update, or want a “done for you” option, we recommend working with the extremely affordable and quality resume writers at TopResume or finding an industry-tested template at Resume.io.