Most hiring authorities (recruiters, hiring managers, and HR) who read many LinkedIn profiles at a sitting will tell you that the Experience section is where they will go first when reading a LinkedIn profile. Not the About or Education sections.
Amazon recruiter Amy Miller states this in her recent YouTube video, How Do Recruiters Look at LinkedIn Profiles? Amy’s not the only recruiter who’s made the claim that hiring authorities prefer reading Experience first. Eighty-two percent (82%)* of hiring authorities I asked also agreed that they go to Experience first.
Bernadette Pawlik explains how she reads a LinkedIn profile: “Titles all the way down, Experience, then About. With LinkedIn profiles and with resumes, I quickly scan down the left hand side. A recruiter isn’t going to excavate your profile for your qualifications.
“So, think of the LinkedIn profile as the menu and your resume as the entree. Titles should reflect your roles, Experience should very briefly outline context, responsibilities, and one or two accomplishments.“
Marie Zimenoff, of CareerThoughLeaders.com, adds: “Although the About section may be first in a profile, there are a few reasons a recruiter or hiring manager will likely start with the Experience section when reading a profile.
“First, hiring managers want to see if a candidate is qualified for the role before they take time to read an introduction like a cover letter or About section. Second, the Experience section titles are big, bold, and easy to skim – especially on mobile.“
Invest more in your Experience section: 5 ways to do it
Given that Experience is preferred over About, it makes sense that you put your all into making it stronger. It’s been my experience that most job seekers don’t put as much effort into creating a strong Experience section as they do their About.
Is this because they’re encouraged by career coaches to beef up their About? I advise my clients to write a strong About section, telling their “story.” However, I also tell them they can also tell their story in Experience; that they can use first-person point of view even. Here is how Experience should be written.
1. Experience needs to tell a better story. Don’t have verbiage for your Experience section? A quick fix of copying the content of your resume to your profile is the first step; however, you’re not done yet.
You still have to modify Experience to make it more personal, more of a networking piece of your document. This means your point of view should be first-person and, of course, include quantified results.
Start with a job scope to craft your story. For example: “As the Director of Marketing Communications, ABC Company, I planned, developed, and executed multi-channel marketing programs and performance-driven campaigns, using digital marketing principles and techniques to meet project and organization goals.”
Use first person point of view for your accomplishments to tell a story. Take, for example, an accomplishment statement from a resume might read: “Volunteered to train Sales Team on Salesforce, increasing the team’s output by 75%.“
Better: I extended my training expertise by volunteering to train Sales Team on Salesforce. All members of the team were more productive as a result of my patient training style, increasing the team’s output by 75%.
2. Utilize SEO by expanding your title. Did you know that the titles of your positions are weighed heavily in terms of keywords?
Ed Han is a recruiter who talks about the importance of titles in Experience: “There are several places where keywords are weighted more heavily than other parts of your profile. One area where they are weighted pretty heavily is in the Experience section.”
According to Ed, this would be wrong: CEO at ABC Company.
This would be better: CEO at ABC Company ~ New Business Development | Global Strategic Relationships | Increasing Market Share 74% 2020-2021
3. Expand the description of your role, no matter who you are. You’re a VP, director, or CEO; so you think that says it all. Wrong! At the very least, your leadership as a director of an organization plays an essential role in its success.
- What is the scope of your authority?
- How have you helped the organization grow?
- Have you contributed to the community or charities?
- Have you turned around failing companies and made them more profitable?
Remember, you’re representing the organization. Your overall responsibilities and highlights will catch the eyes of hiring authorities. Here’s an example from one of my former clients of his job scope followed by a few accomplishment statements:
In this position, I was one of only four executives/staff retained in acquisition of Company ABC to remotely direct global sales, marketing, and product management. I created competitive analysis, technology roadmap, and product marketing for business unit success.
◆ Increased gross profit 9% year-over-year through BU cost reduction, improving product procurement process, negotiating vendor contracts, and owning product pricing structure.
◆ Generated revenue growth of 76% by improving forecast accuracy, lead generation, engaging with key marketing influencers, and conducting technical workshops,
◆ Expanded global sales by 20% through improved lead and opportunity management, technical training, identifying new markets, and improving channel partner experience.
Note: In this case, my client didn’t write his accomplishments in first-person point of view.
4. Stick with the accomplishments, ditch the mundane duties. There are two ways you can look at your position descriptions; you can stick with only the accomplishments, or you can mimic your resume.
I’m in the opinion that your accomplishments alone would impress hiring authorities more than all your duties and a few accomplishments.
You’re probably proud of those duties and don’t want to let them go. Here’s the thing, accomplishments speak much louder than duties. Unless you can turn those duties into accomplishments with quantified results (or perhaps qualify them), I suggest you ditch them.
After reading your flashy, personal LinkedIn profile Experience section, hiring authorities can turn to your resume to get the whole picture. Don’t disappoint them by presenting duplicate versions of the two documents.
Add some zing to your Experience. Few people know that you can bold text on the LinkedIn profile. I’m going to let you in on how to do it. Go to: LingoJam.
Copy what you want to bold and paste it into the field on the left. Your bolded text will appear in the box on the left. Here’s an example from my profile:
❍ 𝗜 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝟮𝟬𝟭𝟵 𝗠𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗛𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗜𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗻𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱 for my part in delivering webinars on various job-search topics for MassHire Lowell Career Center. 🏆
What this? There’s an award trophy at the end of the sentence. Yes, you can also use emojis on your profile. One of my favorite sites for emojis is Susan Joyce‘s article on Job-Hunt.org. Susan makes it easy to copy and paste the emojis, which she calls eye candy. There are other sites that provide “eye candy.”
What do LinkedIn’s new changes to About and Experience sections tell us? Kevin Turner, Jeff Young, and Gillian Whitney collaborated on a project that boiled down to some minor changes to About and Experience. About displays four lines opposed to three, and Experience displays only two lines.
LinkedIn’s efforts to emphasize About and de-emphasize Experience won’t change hiring authorities’ opinion on which section they’ll go to first. For the majority of them it will be Experience.
*A current poll reveals recruiters and others prefer Experience by only 61%.
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