Complete Guide to the LinkedIn Experience Section
Expert tips and mistakes to avoid to maximize your experience on LinkedIn
Elevate your LinkedIn profile with this expert guide to the experience section. Our team of professional profile writers, career coaches, and recruiters share the best practices for completing this important part of your LinkedIn profile. We also included mistakes to avoid and a few examples. Scroll down to read more!
If you're on the job hunt, you know that LinkedIn is an essential platform to be on. But are you making the most of your experience section? This section is vital in showcasing your skills and accomplishments throughout your career. It's not just a list of job titles and dates - it's an opportunity to show potential employers what you've achieved in each role. In this blog post, we'll cover all the important aspects of mastering the experience section on LinkedIn regardless of your experience level. Let's get started!
The Importance of LinkedIn for Job Search
First, it is important to understand why LinkedIn is important. In fact, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for job seekers, including business owners, and employers alike. Most people know it is important, but may not really understand why or just how important the platform can be. Here is what you really need to know about why LinkedIn is important for your career and any job searches.
LinkedIn for Recruiters
Recruiters leverage LinkedIn as a powerful social media tool to source and evaluate potential candidates for job openings. Most recruiters use the platform as a resume database to find candidates who may not be able to be public about their job searches. These people use the LinkedIn Recruiter module to find, filter, and connect with people based on the information on their profiles. The LinkedIn Recruiter tool analyzes the details on your profile to determine whether you fit the recruiter's search. If you don't have the information on your profile or you have it in the wrong places, you won't show up in these searches for recruiters who are looking for someone like you.
Recruiters also use LinkedIn to filter and connect with talent for open job postings. In LinkedIn Jobs, the recruiters are also receiving analytics and insights about your fit for the job based on your profile. They can also designate minimum requirements for years of experience with a skill or experience. And, if you don't have this information on your profile, you will be automatically rejected. So, LinkedIn matters a lot to people looking for and applying for jobs if they want to land an interview.
Networking for Your Job Search
LinkedIn is also an important tool for a professional network for your job search. Building a robust professional network makes it easier for you to use the full reach of the platform. By building meaningful relationships with industry professionals, you increase your chances of discovering new job opportunities. This process is easier if you complete your profile because the system will be able to see where you worked and can identify people that you may want to connect with. These are easier connections and conversations for you to start, but you won't be able to do that if your LinkedIn profile is incomplete. Don't miss out on leveraging this powerful tool to expand your professional network and land your dream job. You can discover LinkedIn groups in different ways. You can search for LinkedIn groups in the search bar.
Why Does the Experience Section Matter on LinkedIn?
The experience section on LinkedIn is one of the most important parts of your profile. This is because it is the timeline of your work experience with the details of what, where, and when you did things. This is also the place where you can give a great example of what you have accomplished and tell your story. The profile page is strongest when you write it in the first person. Doing this helps you to stand out and connect with the people who will skim your profile section. This profile section also connects to the skills section now and LinkedIn Jobs or LinkedIn Recruiter will evaluate the years of experience with a skill based on where it shows up in your experience. Thus, building a strong, effective LinkedIn profile starts with a strong experience section. Adding work experience to the profile leads to 8 times more profile views, 5 times more connection requests, and 10 times more messages.
Mastering the Experience Section on LinkedIn
Now that you know why the experience section matters so much on LinkedIn, let's dive into the steps to maximize this section on your profile page.
Separate Entries for Each Job Title
Each title that you have held over your career should be kept as a separate entry on your LinkedIn profile. This can feel tedious for more experienced professionals, but it does show the progression of your career. This will also enable you to complete the fields and to tell your story with the additional fields on your experience.
By clearly labeling each entry with the job title and company name, you make it easier for recruiters to understand your career timeline and the progression of your experience. Including specific dates for each position showcases your years of experience in the field and demonstrates your professional growth. You will also need to describe how you functioned differently in each title, who you worked with, and what you did during those times. This way, you can present a professional and informative LinkedIn profile that appeals to hiring managers and stands out from other job candidates. Adding your new role to your profile is essential to keep it up-to-date with your latest achievements and responsibilities.
Complete Your Timeline: Explain Career Breaks
People have breaks in their careers for lots of reasons - layoffs, graduations, etc. LinkedIn now has the ability to add career breaks to your experience section. You can select the type, the timeframe, and even describe what you did during that period. This is important to explain what you did and to acknowledge the gaps. Doing so enables you to proactively address the questions that people will have. This demonstrates your resilience and commitment to personal and professional development. By providing a clear and comprehensive timeline, you are giving potential employers a better understanding of your journey and the value you can bring to their organization.
All the Fields Matter
Remember that every field on your LinkedIn profile can also serve as a search or filter by a recruiter, hiring manager, or client. So, you need to complete all of the fields properly to make the most of your profile. People can't find you on the system unless you give them the tools to do so. This means that you need to complete every single box in each entry in the experience section of your LinkedIn profile. This section should also be completed with consistency and accuracy. Use the drop-downs whenever they appear to make the most of the system.
Use the Description Field to Explain Your Role
The description section of each entry in your experience is key. This is where you get 2,600 characters to explain what you did, where you were in the organization, who you worked with, and the results that you accomplished. This is a big opportunity to tell your story to people before you actually meet with them. So, make the most of it.
This starts with fully utilizing the first few lines of the entry. These first couple of lines in the description of each entry on your LinkedIn profile are visible to everyone who scrolls down. The rest of the content you include in the description field will require someone to click the words "See More" to reveal it. Most people won't. This means that you need to pack a big punch in the first few lines so that people want to click on the rest of the content under the description of your job.
When using the description field on your LinkedIn profile, it is important to provide a clear and concise overview of your current position. This should be consistent with what you would communicate in a job interview or at a networking event. The information that you add here is visible to everyone who views your profile (not just your connections). So, make sure that you are including appropriate information in the description that is relevant to your audience.
You can do this by providing an explanation of what you did in the role, including your responsibilities, achievements, and certifications. This content will be similar to that on your resume. But, it will be written in first person and narrative format - like you are talking to the person reading it. But, you should also include bullets in this section and use the whitespace strategically to make it easy for someone to skim the content.
Include Achievements in Each Role
You should also include relevant accomplishments and contributions in each role in the experience section of your LinkedIn profile. This could be bullets or statements about your achievements. You can highlight specific projects, initiatives, or goals that you achieved, using quantifiable metrics to demonstrate their impact.
By highlighting your achievements, you can show how they align with the company's goals and make a strong impression on hiring managers. This will help you stand out from other job candidates and attract the attention of prospective employers. Remember, if your profile is public, google and others search engines will index it. So, you will need to make sure that you are only including information that should be out there for everyone to see.
Keywords: Making Your Profile More Discoverable
Keywords are key to maximizing the visibility of your LinkedIn profile. You need the keywords to show up in the search results, but you also need a writing style that people can understand when they look at your profile. So, think about keywords for your LinkedIn profile as things that add detail to your experience.
You can think about keywords in a couple of different ways and should think about them in the context of your different audiences. If you are trying to connect with other industry experts, they will want to see industry-specific keywords on your LinkedIn profile. However, a recruiter looking to fill a job with someone like you will not know those keywords. Instead, that recruiter will be looking for skills keywords including substantive and soft skills. Thus, you will want a combination of keywords throughout your profile to connect with all of the people that will view it. However, be cautious not to overuse keywords, as it can compromise the natural flow of your writing. Instead, strategically place them to boost your profile's visibility in LinkedIn search results.
Attach Media to Provide Visual Context of Your Experience
Enhance your experience section by attaching media files to provide visual context for your accomplishments and skills. You can include links to relevant articles, presentations, or projects that showcase your work. Upload images, videos, or documents that capture the attention of potential employers with multimedia content. This is a great way to make a first impression and stand out on LinkedIn. By adding visual elements to your profile, you can effectively communicate your value proposition to hiring managers and the wider LinkedIn network.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in the Experience Section on LinkedIn
When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, the experience section is crucial. It's your chance to make a great first impression on hiring managers and showcase your value proposition. However, many job candidates make common mistakes that can hinder their chances of standing out. Avoid these mistakes to ensure your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool in your job search.
Not Completing Your Information
The biggest mistake that you can make in the experience section on your LinkedIn profile is to fail to complete it fully. Leaving out jobs or lumping jobs together only serves to hurt you. This is because the system and the people who will use it cannot know the details unless you put the data on the platform. If you want to get past the algorithms and show up as qualified, then you need to take the time to include the details on your profile in the right way. By completing all the fields and showcasing your value proposition, you increase your chances of attracting the right attention from your target audience.
Failing to Use ALL of the Fields
One common mistake when it comes to LinkedIn profile writing is failing to use all of the fields in the experience section. It's important to fill out all relevant fields to create a comprehensive profile that showcases your professional journey. Make sure to include job titles, company names, dates, and descriptions for each role. Leaving fields blank may raise questions about your experience or result in you simply not showing up in searches by recruiters, employers, or potential clients. Utilizing all available sections not only gives a clear picture of your skills and expertise but also helps optimize your profile for a LinkedIn search.
Neglecting or underestimating keywords on your LinkedIn profile will result in you missing out on opportunities. The algorithms are built around these phrases and they are even built into some of the fields for you. This means that the platform and its users will be looking for them. So, people who forget or use the wrong keywords on their profile will not achieve their goals or they will have to work harder for them. Stay proactive and make use of relevant terms to enhance your chances of standing out in the competitive job market.
Blank Description of the Experience
As explained above, the description field for each entry in your experience section is critical to the visibility and effectiveness of your profile. This is the meat of your professional career and will include the explanation of what you did, where, with whom, and the results that you achieved. Leaving a blank description not only leaves potential employers with no insight into your role but also fails to showcase your skills and accomplishments. Avoid this common mistake and add the context to each of your job titles to make the most of your LinkedIn profile.
Leaving Unexplained Breaks in Your Timeline
Another common mistake is not using the career breaks functionality on LinkedIn. Leaving unexplained breaks in your timeline is often the result of having a profile for a while and not knowing about the newer functionality. Or, it could be that you don't want to explain it. But, if you don't, then people will ask. Regardless of why you took the break, the best strategy is to take the offense and explain it. That means avoiding this common mistake and taking the time to go through your profile to add the career breaks in any gaps on your timeline to ensure that people know what you were doing during that time.
Not Sharing Your Achievements
Achievements are key to your resume and to the description of your experience on LinkedIn. People often make the mistake of underestimating the importance of including the results on their LinkedIn profile. Sharing quantifiable results and key achievements demonstrates your expertise and catches the attention of the people skimming your profile like hiring managers and prospective employers. Keep your achievements concise, specific, and relevant to the role you are targeting. By doing so, you effectively communicate your qualifications and make a strong first impression. Remember, your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to market yourself effectively and stand out from other job candidates.
Sharing Too Much in the Description
Not all of the details of your jobs can be shared publicly. A mistake that many people make in their LinkedIn experience section is sharing the details of results or projects that they shouldn't (or can't) put out there. An easy workaround this mistake is to not disclose actual numbers - but to use percentages instead. If the details you can't share are the names of people or clients, then use categories like Fortune 500 retailers or other descriptive terms rather than super-specific information. This will likely add keywords to your profile and improve the engagement of your audience.
Overlooking the Visuals
Enhancing your experience section on LinkedIn involves utilizing visuals strategically. This means attaching the media to each entry in your experience section of the featured section (right under your profile summary). Consider adding images or videos that showcase your work or projects, as they provide a visual representation of your skills and expertise. These visuals not only make your profile visually appealing but also help tell your professional story in an engaging way. It is important to use high-quality visuals that align with your personal brand and create a positive first impression on hiring managers, prospective employers, and your target audience.
Grammar & Spelling Errors
Forgetting to check the spelling or grammar on your LinkedIn profile is a big, and often unrealized mistake. People expect not to see such mistakes now and finding them on someone's profile will leave a bad impression. Avoid this all-too-common mistake by using any of the free tools out there to catch the spelling and grammar mistakes that happen. You can also use the drop-downs on LinkedIn to prevent spelling errors that will impact your visibility on the platform. So, take the time to review your writing and make sure it's error-free before sharing it on your LinkedIn profile.
Examples of Experience Descriptions on LinkedIn
Crafting impactful experience descriptions on LinkedIn is crucial to making a strong first impression. Take inspiration from these templates to tailor your descriptions and highlight your unique skills and achievements.
Example of a LinkedIn Experience Description - New Grad
Here is an example of an effective description for an entry in an experience section for a new grad:
While completing my bachelor's degree, I interned as a marketing manager with this technology start-up providing SaaS solutions to small businesses. I reported to the CEO and played a key role in the launch of the solutions to new verticals. I did this using a combination of marketing technology (MarTech) including Nielsen data, forecasting, and analytics to adjust the strategies.
I love telling the story of brands in a way that connects with their audiences. I think critically about the opportunities in the market and strive to deliver compelling stories that strategically incorporate the right CTA. I do this by learning quickly and immersing in the audience to understand their needs, pain points, and goals. From there, I partnered with the department leaders and filled in wherever needed to maximize the success of our campaigns.
My internship ended when I graduated. I'm now actively looking for my next challenge to build upon this experience.
Example of a LinkedIn Experience Description - Experienced Professional
Here is an example of an effective description for an entry in an experience section for an experienced professional:
I am a software engineer who builds enterprise-grade platforms for highly regulated industries. I serve on the DevOps team of one of Inc.'s Fast 50 to create innovative solutions that deliver industry-leading user experiences. My experience as a full-stack developer enables me to build end-to-end solutions while my business acumen enables me to connect with the larger goals of the organizations using the solutions.
Our end users include banks, financial services, manufacturers, and global organizations. I think about each type of user and their goals when designing and improving the functionality of the platforms. I also apply the feedback gained from the sales reps to find ways to build solutions that close more deals.
In this role, I use the following programming skills: Java, C++, Python, SQL, HTML. The tools that I use in this role include AWS, JIRA, Salesforce, object-oriented programming, and many other tools to build the cloud solutions for our end users.
What Can You Do When You Have Limited or No Experience?
Completing the experience section of your LinkedIn profile can be tricky if you have limited or zero experience. Here are some top tips to complete the section effectively on your LinkedIn profile when you have a limited work history.
Utilizing Internships and Volunteering
The experience section allows you to designate the nature of the role when you add it to your profile. So, you can include entries for your internships. This is a great way to show that you have experience in the field and to tell the story of that experience in your own words. When adding an internship, make sure to select a job title for the role other than that of "intern." This is because the title of intern does little to communicate what the job was. Instead, use the field for "job type" to designate the job as an internship.
There is a separate section for volunteering on LinkedIn. However, that will be outside of your experience section. People who have limited or no experience may consider including their volunteer roles in their experience section if they are relevant to what they want to do professionally. You can treat the volunteering like previous roles and use the description section to provide a summary of the "job description." Describe the impact you had on the organization or community to showcase your ability to make a difference. By emphasizing how these experiences have prepared you for future roles, you can effectively demonstrate your value proposition to hiring managers.
Highlighting Transferable Skills
You can also use the entries in your experience section or otherwise to focus on your transferable skills. People with limited experience may want to start in the summary section with an emphasis on the skills that they do have and how that is relevant to what they want to do. You will also want to include your key accomplishments in the summary section and in each entry in the experience section. This will help people to see how you use those transferable skills to achieve results. You can also include paragraphs in each section for a description of what you did to communicate the relevant details, keywords, and other skills. By following these tips, you can effectively highlight your transferable skills and make a strong impression on potential employers.
In conclusion, mastering the experience section on LinkedIn is crucial for maximizing your job search success. By following best practices such as providing separate entries for each job title, explaining career breaks, utilizing all fields, using keywords, and including achievements, you can make your profile more discoverable and compelling to potential employers. Avoid common mistakes like leaving information incomplete, neglecting keywords, sharing too much or too little in descriptions, and overlooking visuals. Remember, your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool for showcasing your professional experience and skills, so take the time to optimize it effectively.
Feel like a lot? It can be. Our team of professional LinkedIn profile writers would be happy to help make the most of your LinkedIn profile. Claim a free consult to find out how we may be able to assist.