One of the biggest problems on LinkedIn is how people utilize the Job Descriptions feature for each position. The job description is what you add as job relevant information in your work experience in your LinkedIn Profile. This problem is often not just a problem on LinkedIn, but also an issue with how people have built their own resumes. A weak resume can often translate into an even weaker LinkedIn profile.
First things first – do NOT use the option to simply import your resume into LinkedIn to populate your work experience section. The automated tool can ultimately create a mess and you will not be doing yourself a favor by using it.
Depending on where you start with your LinkedIn profile, you want to provide fairly detailed job descriptions for your current and your last job. I would consider this to be the minimum effort you need to come up with. If you have been with your existing employer for many years, it might make sense to split the work experience based on the positions you have held (if you held multiple positions with your existing employer). If you have been with a company for 20 years or more, you have probably held several positions with the company. List each individual position as a separate work experience item. The closer you get to your current position increases the amount of information you include – especially when it is highly relevant to what you do right now.
Here is an example of a weak job description:
Use bullet points to make for easier reading of your job description. Be as specific as possible with what information you provide through a bullet point list. Below is an example that uses bullet points. While it is definitely better than the former example of a job description, it still leaves a gap. While this user takes advantage of bullet points, it would be more helpful to reduce the number of bullet points and provide a bit more detail on the remaining bullets.
A better use of the bullet points would be something like this:
- Virtualization: Design and architecture of virtual infrastructure. Created cost savings of $2 million dollars over an 18-month period using VMware vSphere.
- Data Center Consolidation: Consolidated 6 data center locations into 2 data centersgeographically spread out for disaster recovery purposes. Created immediate cost savings of over $100,000 per month.
Hopefully you get a better idea of how to use bullet points to be more specific with certain pieces of information. In this case, it is about quality of the information and not how much information you can squeeze into the job description field. A hiring manager will be much more impressed by 4 or 5 bullet points that provide useful information compared to a list of 10 high level items that leave room for guessing.
The next example, while not perfect is making much better use of bullet points. It is definitely a step into the right direction and I think you can tell what looks better and might work better by simply comparing these examples.
Please note that you might not only want to make these changes to your LinkedIn profile, but that these changes can translate over into your resume as well. It is always a good idea to make these changes in parallel, so that your LinkedIn profile and resume are in sync.