How to be Seen in Search

I write frequently about the LinkedIn platform and how it can help boost and build your career.  Today I’m talking about the Experience section of your LinkedIn Profile.

linkedin-profile-experienceThe Experience section of your LinkedIn profile is where you describe your work history, listing all or as many jobs as you think necessary.  In this regard, it is the section most similar to a resume or CV.  When you get the Experience section right, your LinkedIn Profile will consistently appear in search results.

To better understand this section of the LinkedIn Profile and to help you craft yours appropriately, we need to do the numbers.  The Experience section has 9 components, 4 objectives, and 1 writing exercise.  Let’s look at those numbers one-by-one.

Components of the Experience Section

The 9 components of the Experience section define an individual position or job.   The information you provide displays when people view your profile.

To add an experience, first view your own profile, then scroll down to the Experience section and click the “plus” icon, like the image to the right.  Click the small pencil icon to edit an existing position. As you complete the Experience section, select answers from the provided menus if at all possible.  This will help your profile match search results.

As you complete the Experience section, select answers from the provided menus if at all possible.  This will help your profile match search results.

Here are the different components:

  1. Title  Select the job title from the popup.  If your exact title is not in the list, choose one from the list anyway.
  2. Company  Select a company name from the popup.  If this company does not appear in the popup, stop.  Before continuing, check the LinkedIn profiles of some of the other employees of this company to see what company name they used.  Maybe you are not typing or spelling it correctly.  If you are certain this company name, consider creating a LinkedIn company web page for this company.  That way the same name you choose can appear as a default entry for searchers.
  3. Location  Select one of the existing entries close to you.
  4. From (start date)  Select Month and Year from the menus.
  5. To (end date)  Select Month and Year from the menus.
  6. I Currently Work Here (toggle)  This tells LinkedIn that this is your current position.
  7. Update My Headline (checkbox). Check this if you have not customized your profile Headline.  But you really should customize your headline.  It is a very important part of the LinkedIn profile.
  8. Description  I’ll write more about this below.
  9. Media (optional link or upload)  Click “Upload” to attach media directly to this position.  If you have created something truly outstanding that might easily be useful to others, upload it here.  For example, if you check my profile you’ll see that for the “Mobi PCS” position I uploaded documents about Least Cost Routing and Cost Containment.  Click “Link” to create a link to media elsewhere on the Internet.
  10. Share profile changes (Toggle).  If this is toggled to “Yes” when you click Save, any changes will cause an update to the LinkedIn feed of all your connections.  I recommend toggling this to “No” until you are 100% done with your profile.  Otherwise, you might end up sharing every little edit and re-wording.

It should be pretty easy for you to complete most of your work history.  That’s how you get started.  I wrote above that I would say more about the Description component, and I will.  But first, let’s pause to consider the objectives.

Experience Objectives

There are 4 key objectives for the experience section:

  1. Demonstrate a specific experience or qualification
  2. Provide quantified detail of contributions and impacts
  3. Show a pattern of behavior from which others can infer your future performance
  4. Provide terms for matching relevant searches

You need to keep all these objectives in mind while you complete the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile.  That’s a tall order.  It means keeping a lot of plates spinning all at once.  You need an approach that makes this possible, without exactly making it easy.  Easier, then.

Take an Incremental Approach

I know that the 4 objectives are a lot to remember as you are completing the Description.  So here is a simpler way to approach this.  And yes, this is the writing exercise I promised you earlier.

First, I suggest that you begin revising your profile using Microsoft Word or some other offline word processor or editor rather than LinkedIn.  Do this first, before editing your actual LinkedIn Profile.  Feel free to go through several drafts.

Write down all your thoughts about each specific position.  Everything you can think of.  For this first pass, reject nothing. Just write it all down.  Then, give yourself some time to think about it. Try different wording, different phrasing, different order.  Look for ways to present yourself in the best possible light.  Maybe share what you have written with a friend or a mentor to get feedback.

Edit it at your leisure over several days.   Polish it before committing it to your LinkedIn profile.  So when you finally do post it to your LinkedIn Profile it will really stand out, and people will reach out to you more frequently.  That’s the goal of your profile!

Your Responsibilities

Describe briefly your responsibilities in this role.  What were the high-level expectations and obligations of the position?  You can review your current job description or a previous performance appraisal for ideas how to phrase your responsibilities.

For this initial pass, don’t worry about the phasing or the length.  For now, you only need to capture the essence of the position.  For many recruiters, hiring managers and others who view your profile, they might read only the Title for any position and then infer what your responsibilities wore.  That’s fine.  You should state your responsibilities anyway. It gives you a chance to enter more search terms for keyword matches.

When you are ready to polish this section and add it to your LinkedIn Profile, the responsibilities should be only a sentence or two.  I know, it might seem impossible to describe in only one or two sentences a job you worked at tirelessly, maybe for many years.  But trust me, the responsibilities of any position are much less important than the next part.  The hardest part about this is to state your responsibilities as succinctly as possible.

Your Accomplishments and Contributions

Next, list your major accomplishments in the role.  If you have trouble remembering those accomplishments and contributions, here are some ideas that might remind you:

  • big projects,
  • major milestones
  • significant cost savings
  • efficiency or quality improvements
  • a new product launch
  • anything you or your team was recognized for or for which you,
  • something that caused you to be recognized at a company meeting
  • anything that triggered an exceptional bonus or award

For you to claim any of these on your LinkedIn Profile you should have played a meaningful role in whatever it was.  At this point, you are only adding things to your Experience.  Don’t be concerned about how to properly word it.  Just get all your ideas together.  Add as many as you can think of.  It’s hard to have too many.  And if you worry it is too much you can delete some of them, keeping only the very best ones, the ones that make you look like a real catch.

Quantitative results are the best.  The contributions where you can assign a clear number to the impact will be appreciated by the most people.  Here are some made-up examples to seed your thinking.

Here are some made-up examples to seed your thinking.

  • Reduced by 10% the time required to service this equipment.
  • Completed a 5-month project 3 weeks ahead of schedule.
  • Speeded 10-week production cycle by 1.5 weeks
  • Average placement success 35% higher than my peers
  • Reduced average work time 23% by simplifying the instruction manual
  • Cut recurring monthly costs by 7%, saving USD42,000 in the first year.
  • Designed and developed a web application which reduced PrePaid churn by 10%.

Qualitative benefits are also useful. But you may need to better explain the positive impacts of your efforts.  More examples:

  • Created a suite of Excel workbooks which improved the timeliness and reduced the number of errors in monthly reporting.
  • Automated the annual Capital Budgeting process.
  • Created a Standard PowerPoint template which the whole company began using.  Provide several updates before handing responsibility to in-house IT.
  • Developed an Operating Expense planning tool that allowed more junior employees to contribute to the annual budgeting process, offloading the work from managers.

Together these quantified and qualified benefits should show you to be a consistent performer, one who can be expected to behave in a specific way.  This is the pattern of behavior you want to show.

Many people think exhibiting a consistent pattern of behavior is more important than job interviews.  If you think you do not interview well, then doing this could save your butt and get you that next job.

Your Specialities

Depending upon your seniority in business, you can list the specific hardware and software you’ve worked with.  These are intended to help your profile match searches.

  • Ericsson AXE11
  • Cisco 2600 and 5500
  • IBM 360
  • Salesforce 3.0
  • VMware VTSP 2016
  • Swift 3.0

You’ll have to make your own best guess what terms recruiters and companies might search for.  You can also scan through profiles of other technical people looking for.  You can also try doing searches yourself, to see what matches and what doesn’t.

You can also try doing searches yourself, using various terms, to see what matches and what doesn’t.  This might give you more and better ideas for what you can put in your own profile.

Add these specific instances as bullets or string them together as sentences.  You can also addI call this my “Specialties”.  Here is one example:

I call this my “Specialties”.  Here is one example:

Specialities: 3G, 4G, LTE, NFV, Virtualization, Interconnect, Transport, Backhaul, Fronthaul, RAN Moderization, EBITDA, Cost Containment, Project Management, Digital Transformation, Roaming, Budget, Contracts, Negotiation

You’ll enter in the terms specific to your field and your seniority.  The point of adding these extra terms is to increase the chance that your profile will appear in search results.  Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter looking to fill the job you want. Make yourself easy to find

Length

With a CV or resume you purposefully try to keep it short, 1 or at most 2 pages.  An overly long resume or CV is a turnoff because can only be “searched” by hand.  Because who was the time to read a 6-page resume?  Your LinkedIn Profile is different.  It can be very detailed and precise, as long as you want to make it.  Some people might read through it all the way.  That would be a bonus but is not really important.  The important thing is that the longer and more detailed it is, the better your chance to match in search results.

Polishing

After you have gone through all the steps above, you need to polish it for final presentation.  Re-read the 4 objectives before reviewing what you’ve written.  Here they are again:

  • Demonstrate a specific experience or qualification
  • Provide quantified detail of contributions and impacts
  • Show a pattern of behavior from which others will infer future performance
  • Provide terms for matching relevant searches

Now, re-read the Description you’ve written.  Have you ticked all these boxes?  Have you demonstrated a specific experience?  Provided quantified contributions?  Shown a pattern of positive behavior?  Used lots of relevant search keywords?

If the answer to any of those questions is “no”, continue editing until you can change that “no” to a “yes”.  When all the answers are “yes”, you a ready to

Media

The Media component allows you to upload files, workbook, images, even videos.  This is an advanced strategy that is worthy of its own dedicated blog post.  For now, you don’t need to use this capability. If you do, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Choose content that is primarily your own work.  Be certain to credit others appropriately.
  • Sanitize the content to avoid revealing any company proprietary information.
  • Provide sufficient information and “meta”-data so that the content is sensible to the widest possible audience.
  • Display your name and contact information prominently.
  • Embed your own name in the name of the media.

This will assure that your media causes no controversy and promotes your interests.

Conclusion

For more great tips to create a killer LinkedIn Profile and for building a satisfying and rewarding Telecoms career, subscribe to my Newsletter and get my free guide.

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