One thing that’s evident on LinkedIn is that the work history, simply called “Experience,” is formatted in reverse chronology, identical to the chronological résumé. Jobseekers may choose to list their duties and accomplishments extensively in the Experience section, or they may just touch upon them.
This is fine if: 1) you can show progression at the places for which you worked, 2) you have a steady work history, 3) you’re staying in the same occupation and/or industry.
But what if you are planning to change your career? You’ve been in public relations in technology for seven years but want to change to job placement for people with disabilities. This may seem like a great leap to some, but with your strong transferable skills, e.g., outreach, relationship building, communications, leadership, etc, you have a great chance of making this happen.
A chronological format won’t work in this scenario, not on your LinkedIn profile and, particularly, your résumé. I can hear the recruiters saying, “Functional résumés are crap. You can’t trust them. I don’t know when she had these accomplishments and where.” But presenting a chronological résumé would require the employer to search for your transferable skills, like a needle in a haystack.
So the functional format is inevitable. How do you manage this with LinkedIn? The answer is quite simple; you list your functional piece in the Summary section, simply called “Summary.” And you treat the Experience section as you would on your résumé.
To see how plausible this is, I took one of my functional résumés—yes I used one, and it worked—and knocked off 1,500 characters from my unique skills area. (LinkedIn only grants you 2,000 characters for the Summary section.) After cutting down on sentences and extraneous text, the end result was 75% of my accomplishments fitting in my LinkedIn Summary section.
For the Experience section, you would simply list your titles, company names, the industries in which you worked, and the dates. You might provide a brief description of your duties to give readers a sense of what you did at the companies, but don’t elaborate. The meat of your work is in the Functional Summary section.
To enhance your Functional LinkedIn profile, you could utilize the applications feature to post your extensive accomplishment list on Box.net. You may be blogging, so why not point out examples of how you’ve utilized the all important transferable skills that will make the transition that more easy.
With a little imagination, you can avoid a chronological LinkedIn profile that won’t do the job with your job transition.