The inability to move LinkedIn profile sections around may cause consternation for some members. Although the new LinkedIn profile is condensed, slim, and uncluttered; members are prohibited from strategically rearranging sections to highlight what’s most important.
Did LinkedIn have its members’ best interest in mind when they made this decision? Will the profile revert to the former version when one could move sections about the better brand them? Below are reasons why LinkedIn members are hurt by the sections being anchored.
Education section first comes to mind
One night I volunteered to critique current students’ and recent grads’ LinkedIn profiles for my alumni association. One thing that’s become clear from critiquing their profiles is how the inability to rearrange the profile’s section is a disadvantage to them.
One recent grad, with whom I spoke, had virtually no work experience or internships to tout. She had focused on completing her double major in business management and mathematics. She did extremely well, earning above a 3.5/4.0. However, her dual major put a toll on her, making it virtually impossible for her to secure internships.
Because LinkedIn has arranged the profile in the following order: Summary, Experience, Education, and less significant sections; this woman could not highlight her greatest accomplishment, her education.
What about teachers? The anchored sections isn’t a problem for only the recent grad; it affects most notably teachers, who benefit from placing their Education section below the Summary, rather than below the Experience section of their profile.
Generally speaking, teachers must immediately show their teaching license, school transcript, and GPA. School systems would like to see this early on.
Even IT job candidates might want their Educations section near the top. Not only teachers place their education at the top of their profile. Information technology candidates have been known to do this.
When I asked one of my workshop attendees why he placed his education at the top of his profile, he said it was a major requirement for a job he last applied for. He was going to keep it near the top for future jobs.
Other sections could be moved to strengthen a profile
LinkedIn members who want to display their Volunteerism near the top of their profile will be frustrated. I had a private client who wanted to highlight his volunteer experience over his employment. With the old LinkedIn, this was an easy fix.
Some pundits believe volunteerism can be listed under Experience. I feel that if it is related to your work, or you perform extensive volunteerism (20 hours a week), go for it. Keep in mind that everything you write on your profile needs to brand you.
Featured Skills & Endorsements.
I had this section placed under my Summary (which was expanded in the old LinkedIn), because I was more interested in showing my outstanding skills than my experience.
As an added insult, this section has been truncated to show only the top three skills. If visitors want to see additional skills, they must click “View more.” I fear people will only endorse their connections’ top three skills, because they will not think to…view more.
The Recommendations section
This section was anchored at the bottom of the old LinkedIn profile, which caused consternation for some business owners, I’m sure. Recommendations are testimonials for members who rely on them to grow their business. To me this was a lack of respect for this section.
Now Recommendations are given the same amount of respect as Skills & Endorsements…well, almost. Let’s say they’re given more respect now, prompting me to request and write them more than before.
Note: recommendations are listed in order in which they’re written. AS well, the people who write your recommendations are not shown in the Experience or Education sections.
LinkedIn has done such a great job of truncating the profile that sections some would like to relocated are hidden from the common observer. Within the Accomplishments section are subsections that used to be separate and rearrange-able:
- Test Scores
I know a LinkedIn member who uses Projects for highlighting a mini documentary filmed by Aljazeera America. In the video he is depicted as a New York City photographer who films models and the homeless. He used to have this section at the top of his profile; now it’s buried in Accomplishments.
Patents might be another section members would like to rearrange. Maybe not closest to the top, but within the first three-quarters. Engineers, scientists, and inventors could see these as some of their greatest accomplishment, and therefore place them below their Summary.
Courses, Honors, Test Scores all might benefit college students or recent grads. Yet, like all the sections contained withing Accomplishments, they must be discovered and chosen in order to view.
The goal of your LinkedIn profile is to highlight the most important aspects of your career. If you can’t rearrange your sections to do this, what’s the solution?
Two ways to solve the anchored section’s conundrum
The fist solution would be making better use of your Branding Headline. Let’s return to Education. Begin by showing your value in the Branding Headline by stating that you’re a student from your university, include your major, and what you’ll offer employers.
Wrong: many college students will simply write in their Branding Headline, as an example, Student at the University of Connecticut. This uses 40 of the 120 characters you’re allowed in your Branding Headline.
Better, show your accomplishments and goals: High Honors Student at UConn | Major: Business Management | Minor: Mathematics | Aspiring Business Analyst
Despite the Summary section being condensed and showing only the first two lines, it’s more important than ever to tell your story. Moreover, it’s essential that you use those two lines to highlight your greatest accomplishment.
You might indicate within the two opening lines that you worked extremely hard completing a Chemistry major while also completing four internships.
While at Tufts, I majored in Biology and completed internships in all four semesters. As a testament to my time management skills and ability to stay focused, I maintained a 3.8/4.0 GPA.
This falls well within the characters allotted for the opening two lines of your Summary statement. You will continue to tell your outstanding story about your college years, including participating in extra curriculum activities.
While the anchored sections might be a deterrent to showing the skills and accomplishments you want to closest to the top of your profile, LinkedIn has done a fine job of streamlining the profile.
No longer do we have people abusing the ability to overload their profiles with pages upon pages of extraneous information. Touche for that, LinkedIn.
If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, visit this compilation of LinkedIn posts.