Have you ever had the chance to look at a terrible resume? I have! Sometimes they’re saddening, sometimes they’re amusing, and often they’re both.
The “Experience” section of your LinkedIn Profile is the timeline of your work history. This is why people call LinkedIn the “Online Resume.”
So what’s your goal with your Experience section?
I believe your goal should be to convey to the reader how your work experience thus far has contributed to who you are and what you’re capable of doing for them. How has your journey shaped you into the person the reader is looking at today, and WHY should they care?
NOTE: You need to remember who YOUR audience is. I was just looking at a sales rep’s profile today and it looked like he was a sales trainer….not a sales rep. His profile would have been great if his target customer group was other sales reps….but it’s not. He is looking for end user packaging customers. It wasn’t a difficult tweak to make at all, and he’s changing it to better fit his role. Just beware!
If you look at my profile, the message is directed to an audience of salespeople. My stated goal is to hire and develop an army of juggernaut salespeople. That makes sense. I am a recruiter and trainer so I know my audience. When I was a sales rep I had a completely different experience message.
Here’s how it read:
You’ll notice I said nothing about my sales ranking or my technical skills.
I didn’t need to…and neither do you.
So what do your customers expect to see in the Experience section of a worthy vendor/supplier?
A progression of your responsibilies.
An explanation of your ability to contribute.
Here are 3 major mistakes you might be making with your experience section:
1.) You might be using the experience section as a place to brag about skills no one cares about.
-Accomplished closer! (Probably not)
-Proficient in MS Office Suite! (Who isn’t?)
-Team player! (Seriously! People type this)
-Strong commitment to ethics! (Like anyone on Earth is going to put down “I’m a shady character” here.)
Lets face it. These are table stakes. Every single person worth ANYTHING possesses these same attributes and more. That means you are in a decent crowd…but you’re still in the crowd…which means you’re completely indistinguishable.
This is also a mistake frequently made in the summary section as well.
2.) You might be leaving past employers’ corporate boilerplate in there.
This looks terrible and it doesn’t serve you. It looks like you didn’t pay attention to the whole profile…which says you are a person that doesn’t pay attention…
If your previous company is:
“the nation’s premier supplier of fine paper and packing materials”
…then why did you leave?
A better strategy is to describe what you learned on the job with that company, how it helps you perform better today, and maybe a nod to why you left, if you can do it without badmouthing the previous employer.
3.) You may be listing off a bunch of sales statistics that are meaningless (or even intimidating) to 95% of the people that read your profile.
“I took a 2M annual sales territory and grew it by 200% in 2 years!”
“#1 out of 42 salespeople in my office 4 years in a row!”
“Elite President’s Circle Club Edge Foundation Cup Award Trophy Plaque Winner 5 years in a row”
Want to know a secret?
Half the people reading your profile DON’T WANT to talk to the type of high powered salesperson you are professing to be. You’re putting a damper on your prospects’ enthusiasm before you even have a chance to meet…and possibly disqualifying yourself altogether.
Unless you’re actively promoting yourself for a new sales job, this type of puffing does you no credit. In fact, it detracts from your credibility…even if you are the top dog you claim to be.
Margaret Thatcher once said: “Power is like being a lady…if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
So, don’t spend time detailing things that are meaningless to your audience. Show that you are something special by skillfully detailing the relevant, meaningful steps of your journey…and how they will benefit.
In some cases, your current company may have some stock copy they’d like you to put in your current position’s experience section. You may need to oblige them. My company’s stock copy is very good, and I’m a team player so I use it. (See what I did there?)
So please, I urge you, take some time to look at your profile. If necessary, rewrite it and tell your audience a compelling story about who you are, what you do, and how you would be of benefit to THEM.
Don’t use technical language they can’t understand. Tell a good story using real words.
Show them how you can contribute to the things they care about: THEMSELVES and their company…then maybe it will help you earn a meeting with them.
Do you need to upgrade the message of your LinkedIn Profile? Do you need help?
Good selling my friends!