When becoming familiar with the world of LinkedIn and digital portfolios overall, it is really tricky to not get overwhelmingly excited about the prospect of putting your entire professional life out there for future employers to see. This is particularly true for systems such as LinkedIn that make it easy and convenient to add your experience without any prior knowledge of digital media. And, generally speaking, it is a great thing to go into depth about your professional experience. Why not brag about yourself? However, more is not necessarily always better. You want to use your LinkedIn profile to tell a narrative about your professional experience instead of simply listing things. You want to show your peers and employers that you have grown consistently over time. This will make you more appealing, as it will demonstrate your ability to improve and not stay in one place. With this objective in mind, it is hard to know what to include and what not to worry about. More simply put, how do we know how much is too much? Well, ultimately, you are the best judge of that. However, asking yourself a few questions along the way can be helpful in deciding what to keep and what to omit.
- Does this information tell the narrative I want it to?
Work experience is important to a potential employer for many reasons, but primarily it serves to tell your success story. And believe it or not, you already have a success story. If you have managed to land a job, you have already succeeded, and you should own it. Don’t worry about how ‘prestigious’ your work experience is. Restaurant experience is just as valuable as CEO experience. Choosing what to put in your LinkedIn profile is not about prestige and more about showing your growth. Tell us where you started out and then focus on where it has gone from here. If you began as an intern in a field and then progressed overtime, demonstrate that by placing those two jobs closer together. However, if you had multiple internships in that field with similar levels of prestige, it might be a good idea to pick the one you are proudest of – maybe you did an independent project in one that you were excited about or maybe you were able to work more directly with the team a way you did not get to at the other internship. Either way, pick experiences that show an upward motion in your career.
- Does this information tell the viewer anything they wouldn’t already know?
Redundancy is another thing you really want to look out for in your LinkedIn page. When a potential employer looks through your profile, they most likely have a limited amount of time to gather as much information about you as they can. Make that information accessible by not cluttering the profile. For instance, smaller roles such as internships or customer service oriented roles are wonderful to list. They show valuable skills such as professionalism and maturity. However, if that is not the area that you wish to go into, you might want to limit yourself to listing just one or two experiences. Pick what you are proudest of – what demonstrates your skills best – and focus on making sure the potential employer pays attention to that.
- Would I use this information in an in-person setting?
Sometimes it is best to simplify the choosing process to what you would want your potential employer to know if you just had an hour or their time. If there is something you feel like you would leave out for the sake of redundancy or time crunch, then maybe it isn’t incredibly important on your LinkedIn profile. Let your gut guide you. Pretend that you are at a job interview giving someone the most important details of your work experience. You’d likely want to choose a few experiences that best embody your professional growth and elaborate on them. This is often the best way to go, regardless of whether or not you are doing this over LinkedIn or through a job interview. Try this exercise out before deciding what to include in your LinkedIn profile. It is really very eye opening in regards to what you truly believe is important for people to know about you.
Asking yourself questions before getting started is always the best way to go when it comes to starting projects such as a new LinkedIn profile. They give you insight into what you truly believe is important and make it much easier to jump into the next part of the process. Remember, sometimes less is more. Don’t get caught up in populating your profile for the sake of taking up space. Think carefully about what information truly gives the viewer insight into who you are.