I’ve written before about how to write great LinkedIn headlines and how to create awesome summaries. Now it’s time to talk about job descriptions, because these are a key part of how you present yourself on LinkedIn and most people get them wrong.
1. Don’t cut and paste from your resume
LinkedIn is not your resume. Your profile should be less formal than your resume, because web communication in general is informal. That doesn’t mean unprofessional – but it does mean that you should write your LinkedIn job descriptions in the first person (“I”) and write as though you were speaking.
2. Don’t just write a job description
By this I mean, don’t just describe your duties. Instead, include the challenges you faced and a few of the best results you achieved. For example, here is one of my LinkedIn job descriptions:
Public Company; 501-1000 employees; AKLM; Computer Games industry
1999 – 2003 (4 years)
I was accountable for developing and executing HR strategy for this international video game developer, and led a team of HR reps in the US and UK. I worked closely with the Co-founders, CFO and the Board’s Compensation Committee.
I joined Acclaim in a difficult period for the company and faced many challenges due to financial difficulties and frequent management changes.
Successes included reducing employee turnover by 25%, cutting cost-per-hire by 77% by implementing a leading-edge recruitment system, overhauling compensation systems, and managing 4 challenging international downsizing initiatives.
3. Be concise
Write no more than 3 short paragraphs as recruiters will want you to cut to the chase. This means it’s important to pick the most salient information and the most impressive accomplishments. If you can say what you need to say in less than 3 paragraphs, do it, but don’t omit valuable details that might help to attract recruiters.
4. Choose quantifiable results if possible
If you can, choose results that you can quantify as I did in the example above. The more specific you can be about your achievements, the more believable and impressive they will sound to recruiters.
However, when including numbers, be sure you’re not revealing confidential information that your employer wouldn’t be comfortable with you sharing. (This is particularly true of publicly traded companies). While you can usually get away with doing this on a resume, LinkedIn is obviously much more public and you’ll need to very careful about what you reveal. If you can’t use the actual numbers, you may be able to say things like ‘double figures’ or ‘a sizeable increase.’ If you do this, explain why by adding (exact numbers confidential) after your statement.
By following these four guidelines for every one of your LinkedIn job descriptions, you’ll create a compelling story of success throughout your profile, giving recruiters a great reason to get in touch. Best of luck!
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