Just like the other sections of your LinkedIn profile, the information is about you but not for you. Meaning that while you might want to talk about your achievements and write similar to a CV, it’s really best not to.
Instead what we need to do is talk about your previous positions in context of the expertise and support you now provide. Everything we write needs to back up why you are an expert and how you came to develop your point of view and unique insight.
It is understandable that you might have some concern in this area, especially since you may actually be looking for a new job or considering that one day you’d like to move on. But the truth is you’ll be setting yourself up for far more success in the future because you’ll be creating your very own Personal Brand. Something that will distinguish you in the future and provide you far more options than if you just copy/pasted your CV.
Added to that you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at succeeding in this job, and therefore succeeding in the future.
To build your authority and exhibit your expertise we want to structure each entry as follows:
- Company Overview
- Your role and responsibility
- Achievements, results
- How you evolved into your next role (where relevant)
Developing Your Content
Before you start writing, take the time to consider the answer to these questions:
What did the company do?
Visit the company website and identify a short snippet that defines what the company does and sets context.
For example, if you’re currently selling project management software and in this role (the one we’re writing about) you were a project manager, tell us how big the team was, the types of projects you managed and the challenges you witnessed that are now solvable with this solution you’re selling. You may or may not wish to make a direct reference to the product. This is your personal choice and one you have to be happy with. However, what we want to do is establish you as someone who knows and understand the challenges of your prospect.
What was your role and responsibility?
Help set context by telling us what you were responsible for. Avoid listing tasks and outlining your job function. There is plenty of opportunity for that on your CV. Here we are about building personality and your brand.
What did you achieve?
Take the time to really think about what you achieved during this role and the results. If your prospects know your accomplishments, they’ll regard you as an expert and trust your advice. We just need to avoid our ego when writing and be relatable.
What was going on during this time?
Without context your results might not carry the gravity they deserve. During the time that you achieved this, what was the economic climate? Was the product new to market and disruptive? Did any legislation come into play that made your work more challenging?
Why did you move on?
This won’t always be relevant, especially if it was a normal promotion or change of job. However, if you changed career or changed industry for a particular reason that reveals your passion or motivation, tell your prospect.
For example, after 12-years designing marketing campaigns for Thomas Cook, Stacey needed a challenge. Flying around the world with an unlimited budget making brochures for holiday resorts had its benefits, but Stacey was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the money spent and the lack of challenge it provided her.
Eventually she left the role and went to work for the NHS creating important campaigns designed to change people’s behaviour, such as washing hands after touching patients etc.
After 5 years Stacey decided she wanted to branch out on her own and start a communications agency. Her passion was still in medical communications and she always did a great job.
By outlining this transition and her motivation for moving from one organisation to the next, her prospect now has the chance to understand her better and therefore trust her motivation to do a great job for them. This is because, not only has she experience in this area, but also because she is concerned about budgets and achieving real results. Something customers want to know about their supplier.
We told this story through out her Experience section explaining how her career evolved and why she made to make the choice to move on.
Our step-by-step guide
To add a new entry to your LinkedIn Experience Section click on the + sign to the right of the section title.
To edit an existing entry, click on the pencil to the right of the entry.
Add the company logo by navigating to ‘Company Name*’ and typing your employer/company name. If a company page exists, you will see it appear in the drop-down menu. Select and click save once you’ve completed the section.
Delete any Rich Content Media (logos, pdfs, videos etc) that will distract from what you do now.
Link roles within the same company by making sure you’ve selected the same Company Name (see point 3). To unlink, adjust the company name of previous roles, so they don’t appear the same. You may want to do this if you have one role you want to feature (show all the text without the need for ‘read more’) or if you want to adjust the date sequence and the grouping won’t allow it.
Map out your profile in a word document first (download your own template here)
Unless announcing your latest position switch off ‘Share with network’ to avoid gaining attention for the wrong activity
Ensure all dates are correct or as close as they can be
You do not need to include all work experience and should avoid adding entries that deflect from the story/brand message you are looking to achieve. CVs still play a role in recruitment, and your LinkedIn Profile doesn’t have to say it all.
Add in the appropriate dates for your position. Click ‘I currently work here’ for the date to remain ‘Date – Present’
To learn how to add a company logo for your entry click here
Avoid using Rich Content Media on previous positions that detract from your current message and where you want to lead your prospect to. Make sure to remove any out of date items in your Featured Content relating to previous roles or companies.
You can only re-organise open experience entries i.e. Date – Present. If you don’t see the option after adding or adjusting entries, refresh the page. A blue box with three lines will appear next to the entry. Click and hold the mouse on this button and drag to the correct position.
Always establish context by introducing the company and the services it provided.
Visit your past employers website to find phrases and paragraphs that will define what they do and set context.
Outline the results you achieved in context to what is important to your prospect and what they need to know in order to trust you as their advisor.
Speak about your results in tangible terms, using real language and situational problems that your audience will understand.
When presenting figures aim to use percentages.
If your results were achieved during difficult an economic climate, or extenuating circumstances, explain this to give more gravitas to your results.
If during this time period you develop distinctive knowledge or unique insights that has contributed to how you do things now and the expertise you promote, tell the story of what you learned and how.
Explain how you evolved from this role to the next, especially where a career change has taken place
Where you have multiple roles within one company, consider making them one entry adding dates and top titles as section headings if you don’t have a lot to say about each role or the detail would be ‘overload’.
Never write anything negative (or with a negative slant) that could reflect badly on you, your previous employer or ex-colleagues
Add a company logo even for past entries as it will bring more colour to your profile. If a past employer is now a direct competitor, you may consider taking the logo off. See instructions above.