As a professional, it's important to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. This includes ensuring that your job history is accurate and up-to-date. But, when is the right time to delete old jobs from your profile? Should you leave all jobs on LinkedIn forever? Here is what you need to know about how the professional experience section works on LinkedIn and when it is ok to delete the older entries.
Why LinkedIn Matters In Your Job Search
LinkedIn is the number one website for professional networking, with over 500 million members. It's a great way to connect with old colleagues, learn more about companies you are interested in working for, and finding new opportunities. LinkedIn also has an important role to play when it comes time to find a job.
In fact, 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, and it's the first place most employers will go to learn more about you. So, if you're not actively using LinkedIn in your job search, you're missing out on a lot of potential opportunities.
Professional Experience Section of LinkedIn: The Basics
Now that you have decided to use LinkedIn to advance your career. It is important to make sure that you are using the professional experience section properly on your LinkedIn profile. This means you need to understand how it works before you can decide if each entry needs to stay on your profile.
The Professional Experience section is a chronological list of every job that you've listed on your profile. There are two main types of entries: current and former positions.
A Current Position is one that you're currently working, while a Former Position is one that you have left. You can list up to ten positions in this section (though most people will only have four or five).
Each position has the option to include the following information on your LinkedIn profile:
- Job Title
- Company Name
- Dates of Employment
- Location of Company
- Job Type (full-time, part-time, contract, internship, etc.)
The professional experience section is visible to anyone who views your profile, so it's important that you keep this information current. You should also make sure that the job title and company name are spelled correctly.
This is important so that you can pick the right options from the drop-downs in the LinkedIn system. You will want to use the drop-downs to make sure that you can leverage all of the information and capabilities it has to offer.
What To Do When You Leave A Job
When you leave a job, there are three main things that you can do with the entry on your LinkedIn profile:
- Change the Status to "Former"
- Remove the Entry Altogether
- Keep the Entry, but Change the Dates and/or Location
Changing the Status to "Former" is the simplest option. This is a good choice if you want to show that you've been with the company for a long time, but no longer work there. This is something that is automatically done by LinkedIn when you change the years in the entry.
For example: Let's say that you worked at Company X as an Accountant from 2005 to 2015, and then left the job. You could keep this entry on your profile and change the Status to "Former." This would show that you worked at Company X for ten years. However, there are times when you may want to update the entry or to remove it all together.
Do All Jobs Need a Separate Entry on LinkedIn?
If your title changes at work, it may not be clear if you should create a new entry on your LinkedIn profile. So, it may be tempting to not add a new entry for the new title. This is particularly common when you have been at the same company for a while or you have a longer career.
It may be tempting to simply group everything under one title. But, if you do that, it may not be perceived well. For example, if you have held the same job title for 15 years, that can look like you are stuck. This can be viewed negatively if you are looking externally for the first time in a while. This can also make it challenging to show how your job may have changed over that time.
In general, it is a good idea to list each job title with its corresponding company. This will help you to tell your story more effectively and show the progression of your career.
Make sure that you are picking the job title and company name from the drop-downs in LinkedIn. Doing so will keep your professional network as broad as possible. And, it will enable the LinkedIn system to connect multiple jobs at the same company to illustrate the progression. LinkedIn cannot show the progression if you accidentally enter the company name wrong or pick different entries for the same company.
When You Should Delete Jobs on Your LinkedIn Profile
There are some times when leaving an entry in the professional experience section of your LinkedIn profile may not be the best idea. First, if you were in a job for a short period of time, then it may be best to delete it. This would be advisable when the job was less than a year.
There are lots of reasons why you may not have been there for a while. But, the short duration without context can be viewed negatively if the context is not provided to the reader of your LinkedIn profile.
Second, if you were in the job but it was a long time ago and does not fit with where you are now or where you want to be in your career. If it is more than 20 years old, then delete it. The reason for this is that employers may view LinkedIn as a way of finding younger candidates. And, if you are older, then your age can be a barrier to getting hired.
The third reason for removing an old job from LinkedIn is that it does not fit with where you want to go next in your career and it does not create a gap in your timeline. In this case, it is ok to delete the entry because you are focusing your brand on where you are headed and doing so does not create more questions than leaving it on your profile would.
For example, you may have worked a part-time job to gain experience early in your career while working full-time. However, that full-time job may no longer be relevant to your search. In that case, you may decide to delete the full-time job so you can keep the focus on the part-time job during that time.
When Not to Delete Jobs on LinkedIn
There are some times when it is not advisable to delete an old job from your LinkedIn profile. The first reason for this is if you are still employed at the company. You should leave the entry on your profile until you leave the company. This will help to show continuity in your work history and may even prevent future employers from contacting your current employer.
The second reason for not deleting an old job is if you are still in the process of looking for a job. In this case, it is best to keep all of your entries on LinkedIn until you have accepted a new position. This will help to show that you are currently in the market and actively looking for a new opportunity.
The third reason for not deleting an old entry is that doing so creates a gap in your work history. If you delete an older job from LinkedIn and it leaves a gap in your timeline, then this can look bad to potential employers or recruiters. They may think that you were out of the market, unemployed, or had other issues during that time. It is always best to be as transparent as possible on your LinkedIn profile and explain any gaps in your timeline.
The fourth reason why you should not delete a job in your professional experience section is when you have less than 20 years of experience. This is important because recruiters will use the years of experience drop-down to find and filter candidates for the jobs they are trying to fill. The key thresholds of experience that many employers use are 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, and 20. You cannot show up in these searches if you consistently delete your professional experience. So, it is important to make sure that you are keeping entries on your LinkedIn profile as they can help you to level up.
How to Remove a Job from Your LinkedIn Profile
If you have decided that you want to delete an entry from your professional experience section, then it is very easy to do. Just follow these steps:
- Login to LinkedIn
- Click on the "Profile" tab
- Scroll down to the "Experience" section
- Find the job you want to delete and click on the pencil icon
- Scroll all the way down in the window that pops up
- Click "Delete" in the lower left corner
- Confirm that you want to delete the entry
The job will be removed from your profile immediately. Remember, you can always delete an entry but you cannot undo it. So, if you are not sure whether or not to delete a job, then it is best to leave it on your LinkedIn profile.
What to Do Instead of Deleting a Job on Your LinkedIn Profile
If the job should not be removed from your professional experience section on your LinkedIn, there are some things that you can do to better address the situation. First, you could opt to consolidate multiple entries into a single entry on your LinkedIn profile.
For example, if you were a consulting working through a staffing firm, then listing the employer as the staffing firm and including the explanation of all the different jobs in the description section of the entry will help to create a longer entry on your LinkedIn profile. This will also give context to your audience about what you were doing during that time.
Sometimes, jobs end badly and you may not want people to know that you worked somewhere or you may not be allowed to say that you worked at that organization. In that case, you can opt to remove the name of the company and pick something more generic in that entry. Pick something from the drop downs and make sure to include a description of what you did. The description can be more important than the name of the company anyway. So, including that information about what you did during the time, any results, and why you left can have a bigger impact on your career overall.
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