Please don’t upload your executive resume on LinkedIn

Your new executive resume is done, and it’s a masterpiece. I can understand wanting to unleash the power of this resume, but please do yourself a favor and don’t upload it to your LinkedIn profile.

To be clear: what I’m talking about has nothing to do with your LinkedIn profile writing (job descriptions, About section, etc.). You should absolutely have your profile complete and filled with compelling information.

What I advise against is uploading a PDF of your resume. After all, if the profile has good content, why would you need the resume on there?

Here are the biggest problems with uploading your resume.

Sensitive information

Your resume might contain information that was never intended to be publicized in such a public venue.

For example, if a confidential number was $12.3M, on the resume we might say “in excess of $10M” or “8-figure” to convey scope without giving away too much. On LinkedIn, that much might be revealing too much, so it might be better to say “multi-million-dollar” or not even quantify it. If you upload your resume, the cat is out of the bag!

If your LinkedIn content has been carefully “sanitized” to omit information from the resume that might be too sensitive for LinkedIn, why would you then upload the resume and negate those efforts to sanitize it?

Once I’ve written an executive resume, my next step is to write the content for the LinkedIn profile (I’m also a LinkedIn profile writer and do this for 99% of my clients). Usually this involves job descriptions that are more condensed and sanitized than the resume content.

Not knowing how it will be used

If you’re on a boat and pour a drop of your drink into the ocean, can you get it back? Of course not!

Putting a document on the Internet can best be compared to that drop of liquid going into the ocean. Good luck stopping it from going wherever the current takes it.

First of all, understand that documents on your profile can be viewed by anyone who can view your profile, which might as well be everyone on the planet.  Now, consider the following:

  • What if an unscrupulous recruiter submits it for a job without even contacting you? That could stymie your job search; if you subsequently apply for a job at that company, the company might choose not to even interview you because they know you were first presented by a recruiter and therefore would need to pay the commission. (And you’d never even know this happened–the employer isn’t going to send you a rejection letter with this as the reason.)
  • What if someone else in your industry plagiarizes your resume content? This could lead to an employer thinking YOU were the plagiarist!
  • What if an an executive you know or someone who heard about you was considering you for an opportunity and then rules you out after seeing the resume? You have no opportunity to tailor it for the opportunity in question when you don’t even know you’re being considered.
How it looks

Think for a minute what conclusions people might draw when they see that your resume is on there.

  • If you’re employed and don’t want your boss and co-workers to know you’re job-hunting, don’t you think it will look suspicious?
  • Do you want everyone who sees the profile to know you’re in an active job search?

Just wait…

Resist the temptation. Wait until someone asks for the resume. Your LinkedIn profile in all its glory should be compelling enough to pique someone’s interest, and should cast a wide enough net to catch any fish you might want. Once you’ve got them in the net, at some point they’ll ask for your resume. And THEN you can go for it!


This advice doesn’t have anything to do with a new LinkedIn feature that allows you to store your resume within your account privately so that you have it handy when applying for jobs through LinkedIn. If nobody can see it except employers you’re applying with, that’s fine.

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5 ways to network remotely

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Job search networking by phone (businessman talking on phone)

In the era of social distancing, it’s more important than ever to understand that building relationships does NOT have to take place in person.

This is a common misconception when people hear the word “networking.” I often hesitate to use that word, but often fall back on it out of laziness and habit.

I once mentioned networking to a prospective client I was speaking to. He sounded surprised. “Do you really think it would be worth my while to attend mixers after work?” he asked. I was blown away–I hadn’t said anything about attending any type of event! But, he had a preconceived notion about what “networking” means.

In my mind, “networking” is simply a synonym for leveraging business relationships: establishing relationships, building relationships, nurturing relationships, rekindling relationships, and ultimately leveraging them to achieve your career goals.

Looking at it from that standpoint, there are a lot of ways you can leverage relationships (aka “network”) without being face-to-face with people. Here are what I consider the top five.

  1. Arrange phone calls with new and existing contacts. Come up with a reason for the call–such as setting up a short call to gather information or catch up. If you can specify “5-10 minutes” or “10-15 minutes” (depending on how well you know them), that will make it easier for someone to say “yes” to a call since it doesn’t seem like it will be a big disruption.
  2. Exchange email and LinkedIn messages with new and existing contacts. This can be a great way to stay in touch after a phone call or to rekindle an existing relationship rather than asking for a phone call out of the blue.
  3. Post and comment on social media. Maintain an active presence on LinkedIn; “like” and comment on the things your connections post (be sure to keep it professional!). You can also leverage Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. A comment on LinkedIn isn’t going to land you a job, but similar to #2, this can be a way to stay in touch.
  4. Ask for introductions. The adage “who you know is more important than what you know” should really be “who you know and who your contacts know.” Your existing network might not be enough to land that dream job. Use LinkedIn to find out how you’re connected with companies of interest and ask your contacts for introductions to the people they know at those companies.
  5. Attend virtual events. There have already been virtual events for years, but now there are more than ever. This can include webinars, conference calls, Zoom meetings, and virtual conferences. Find out what the professional associations in your industry are doing to help people learn and stay connected.

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How to list job promotions on LinkedIn

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About one-third of my clients come to me with LinkedIn profiles and resumes that don’t list all the job titles they’ve held at a particular company.

For example: John was hired as Sr. Director – Supply Chain Management at a $5B multi-national company. After only 4 months, he was promoted to VP – Supply Chain Management.

In the example above, I’ve discovered that A LOT of people will simply list VP – Supply Chain Management on their resume and LinkedIn rather than listing both titles. Or they have both on the resume, but only VP on LinkedIn.

Sometimes the inclination to do this is simplicity–not wanting to clutter things up. Sometimes it’s a concern about perception–not wanting anything to mar your status as an exec.

Whatever the rationale, not including the original title poses a problem when a prospective employer goes through the vetting process. Employers have become much more vigilant about employment verification and background checks in recent years.

Any discrepancy between the title on your documents and what they get from HR (and any other sources) could be disqualifying. It’s seen as dishonest. Likewise, any discrepancy between the resume and LinkedIn is a deal-killer for some companies and recruiters.

What I recommend

If the first job was a short duration and then you were promoted, and the two jobs have substantially similar duties, it makes sense to combine them into a single description–but the initial job title must be acknowledged.

On LinkedIn you would put:

Job title field: Vice President – Supply Chain Management

Job description: (Promoted from Sr. Director after first 4 months.) And then your description of the job goes right here…

On your resume you have a couple options:

Acme Company
Vice President – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Present)
Sr. Director – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Month 20XX)

And then your description of the job goes right here…

Acme Company
Vice President – Supply Chain Management (Month 20XX to Present)

(Promoted from Sr. Director after first 4 months.) And then your description of the job goes right here…

Either of the above examples would be acceptable to most decision-makers and gatekeepers. The second example is more ATS-friendly if you’re applying online.

Covid-19 career scare? Do these 3 things now.

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If you’re like millions of Americans, you might be out of a job or anticipating a possible layoff.

I know it’s an especially scary time to be in this situation–rather than financial woes being limited to your employer, much of the job market is affected.

It’s 100% OK to feel anxiety and fear in uncertain circumstances. The good news is there are at least some things YOU have control over.

While none of these guarantee any particular outcome, and some are small, these are best practices that help many of my clients, including some that have landed executive roles in the Covid-19 era. These are also modern twists on best practices that helped many of my clients during the last recession (I started the company in 2007 and left my last job in 2008!).

I would say these are things to do whether you’re unemployed already or simply concerned that you might lose your job; if you’re unemployed you’ll simply need to tackle these with much greater intensity and urgency.

  1. Ramp up your LinkedIn presence.
    >> If you’re employed: you can use LinkedIn to promote your company if you want to give the impression you’re on there for company marketing rather than your own benefit. That gives you the perfect cover to improve your profile. Be sure to check your privacy settings to make sure co-workers don’t get updated every time you update your profile. They will, however, see your posts–and that’s what I’d recommend (the rationale for that can be a whole blog post of its own!).
    >> If you’re unemployed: Go all out. Update your profile with the latest accomplishments from your last job (without revealing any confidential data), upload a relevant background image that ties in with your personal brand, and have your spouse take a good head shot of you if covid restrictions make it impossible to hire a pro. Also write a catchy LinkedIn headline for yourself (tip: it should NOT say that you’re unemployed or looking for work, and should NOT reference your old employer!).
  2. Network from your home.
    >> There are so many ways you can network. What if you started inviting people to one-on-one coffee meetings via the Zoom videoconferencing platform for free? This is equivalent to asking someone to grab coffee–in the Covid-19 era. Practice using Zoom with a close friend or family member first if you haven’t used it before, and familiarize yourself with the settings.
  3. Stay hopeful, yet realistic.
    >> Being overly optimistic can lead to underestimating the severity of your situation. “No luck this month, I’ll find a job next month” is a great attitude in terms of the resiliency and positivity, but make sure you’re not in denial. Are you sufficiently focused? Are you differentiating yourself well? Are your resume and LinkedIn profile good enough? Do your coffee meetings result in the other person knowing how he or she can help you?

If I were a betting woman, I’d say the job market will be competitive across most positions for the foreseeable future. But with the right preparation, you can face this challenging environment knowing you’ve boosted your chance of a successful outcome. The most important thing is to take action–within the boundaries of what’s possible depending on how much family obligations or other Covid-related concerns have disrupted your life.

Stay healthy and safe, my friends!

3 reasons to join more groups on LinkedIn

If you’re like most of my clients, you might be a member of a half dozen or dozen LinkedIn groups.

I’d argue that you should join more than that, even if you don’t plan to participate in discussions in the groups.

Now that LinkedIn allows users to join up to 100 groups, why not join 20, 30, or 40 groups? Or more?

Here are the top 3 reasons you should consider doing this:

  1. The more groups you’re in the more visibility you’ll have on the platform. Not sure what I mean? Well, have you ever seen someone on LinkedIn where it just said “LinkedIn Member” and didn’t have the person’s name or photo? That happens when someone is out of your network (not a first, second, or third degree connection). And guess what? When they see you on LinkedIn, they’re seeing the same thing on their end. You’ve been reduced to a mere “LinkedIn Member” undeserving of a name. But, if you’re both members of a group, you’ll be able to see each other. This means you’ll show up properly in search results.
  2. As a group member, you have access to information, resources, and discussions related to your industry. If co-workers or your boss are suspicious about your LinkedIn activity, thinking you’re job-hunting, you’ve got an excuse! You can mention some of the things you’ve learned about from your LinkedIn groups, or simply weave into conversation that you’re doing a number of things to research trends, including reading trade pubs, attending industry events, and following LinkedIn group discussions.
  3. And finally, groups do have some intrinsic value…sometimes. While some are a waste of time, some of the discussions can be interesting and helpful. Just make sure your comments are professional; even if you think you’re in a closed, private group, that can change (and the past conversations can then come up in Google search results…such as when someone searches for your name on Google).

If any of that resonated, you might be wondering: which groups are the best to join?

LinkedIn groups I recommend joining include:

  • Groups related to your industry or profession. Don’t nit-pick; if you’re in procurement and you spot a logistics and supply chain group, I’d say that’s close enough. After all, some of the executives that could be your future boss might be in that group!
  • Alumni groups. Please bear in mind that this is different from simply following your alma mater on LinkedIn, which happens automatically when you list a degree from a university on your profile. That gives you the university’s updates, but not the benefit of being “connected” (in a sense) to all those other alumni.
  • Large general interest groups. These are good simply for the sheer volume of people in them. A good example is Harvard Business Review, which I joined many years ago (but I think their group might be full now).
  • Local groups for your local market or markets of interest. If you’re in Southern California, for example, there are LinkedIn groups for Orange County, Los Angeles, etc. Some of them also do off-line events where you can go and network with other group members in person.

Just keep in mind that you can adjust your email preferences for group emails so your inbox doesn’t get clogged with emails from LinkedIn groups as you start to join more of them.

Almost every client I work with is missing opportunities by not belonging to as many LinkedIn groups as they could. Remember: group membership is free, except in the rare cases where the group is created by a group that exists in the offline world and charges membership dues—in which case the membership might be restricted to their paying members. So take advantage of this (almost-always) free resource!

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LinkedIn redesign: the #1 mistake I see people making

LinkedIn’s major overhaul of the site took place in 2017, yet many users seem oblivious to the impact this is having on their profiles.

One of the biggest changes was minimizing the amount of text that displays for each of your jobs as well as the About section (formerly known as the Summary section).

  • Only the first three lines of the summary section display
  • Only the first eight lines of your current job display
  • Only the first four lines of each previous job display

After the lines that display, there’s a link that says “see more” that people can click if they want to read the rest.

The problem: why should I, the reader, bother to make the effort to click “see more” if those first three, four, or eight lines weren’t sufficiently interesting?


One more reason your resume and LinkedIn MUST be different

A common resume tactic is to include a short description of each company you’ve worked for. I do this on most resumes I write, and it’s especially important if you’ve worked for companies that aren’t well known–or if you’re changing industries and the readers might not be as familiar with your past employers.

On a resume, the description of a company is often two lines long–sometimes even three if a lot of explanation is needed (mentioning a merger, for example). This works fine; I usually use italic font that is .5 pt smaller than the rest of the body font. This helps to convey that the information in question is distinct from the other text and being provided for context only.

However, starting a job with a company description will NOT be a good approach on LinkedIn. If it’s a past job where only four lines will display before the “see more” link, that would mean that the first two or three lines are describing the company and then there would only be one or two lines visible describing your work and accomplishments there!

That’s not very much room to “sell” your value. We need to get someone interested in clicking “see more” to read the rest, and company descriptions aren’t terribly exciting. They’re included on the resume to provide context, not to get the reader excited.

You can still weave in a very brief description of the company (eg., “Fortune 1000 manufacturer”) into those first few lines. Rather than this being the very first thing, you can gracefully incorporate it into the first sentence describing your work at the company.

Bear in mind that on LinkedIn, the company name is a clickable link to the company page if the company has one. (If the logo is coming through, they do!) The company page has information about the company, including how many employees are on LinkedIn. So if they do want to know more about the company they can easily get it right away.

Only three visible lines “About” you

The About section is the first thing a reader sees on your profile after the headline, head shot, and header graphic at the top. Now that only the first three lines display, it’s important to think about what the most critical things are for readers to know in case they don’t click “see more.” What would you want to be someone’s biggest takeaway? The top three takeaways?

You can also think about how to draw your reader in. Some might advocate a creative storytelling approach to intrigue people. The potential downside is that if someone doesn’t read the rest, they might not grasp those key things you’d like them to know. Of course it’s best to address those key things in the Experience section, too…but reinforcement is how you get people to remember something!

So I like to strike a balance: get some key things in there that reinforce the messages and points we want to make, and do it in a way that’s informal, first-person, and conversational. That way it immediately shows that reader that you did NOT just copy and paste a boring resume summary filled with cliches. Unlike so many of the profiles on LinkedIn, you’re actually talking like a normal human being!

That being said, no two people are alike, and out of every 50 LinkedIn profiles I may do something a little different, like a very creative About section–depending on the client, career story, and goals.

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5 reasons to use only one LinkedIn Profile, not two

From time to time, folks tell me they want to have two LinkedIn accounts.

Some of the reasons include:

  • “I don’t want my boss to know I’m job hunting, so I’ll have a separate account for job hunting!”
  • “I have a day job and a side hustle, so I need separate accounts for each.”
  • “I’m targeting jobs in marketing as well as jobs in HR, and have two separate resumes–so I need two LinkedIn profiles, too!”

Regardless of the situation, I always advise clients to use only one LinkedIn account.

Here are the top five reasons why I see two accounts as being problematic:

  1. If you’re going to get recommendations on both accounts, you’re potentially splitting that up, so rather than benefiting from four recommendations on your account, you might have two on Account #1 and the other two on Account #2. Or maybe four on Account #1 and zero on Account #2. Recommendations boost your credibility as well as the search optimization of your profile. You’ll get more bang for your buck with all of them on one profile.
  2. Someone searching LinkedIn for your name will probably see both accounts in search results, and it’ll be confusing. It might even make you seem shady.
  3. If you’re trying to hide something from someone, they’re still going to be able to see it. Sometimes people have the mistaken impression that if they don’t connect with their boss, their boss won’t be able to view their LinkedIn account–so they assume that they can have one account where they connect with their boss, and a separate account that their boss will never see (NOT true; if it’s on LinkedIn, assume that ANYONE can see it).
  4. You’ll be limiting how many connections you’ll have in each account–instead of 600 connections in one account, you might have 400 in Account #1 and 200 in Account #2, which means that neither profile will be as search-optimized as a single account with 600 connections. More connections means more visibility–with 600 connections, you’ll come up in search results more often than someone with 200 connections.
  5. It’s against LinkedIn’s user agreement to maintain more than one profile. It’s never a good idea to break the rules and risk being penalized! Similar to a driver’s license, a social media account is a privilege that can be revoked if they find you breaking the rules.

How to get by with one account

Hopefully you’re convinced to stick with one account; so now you might be wondering how to make one account work for you!

Keeping your job search secret

There are plenty of ways you can keep your job search private. Turn off the notifications that automatically go out when you update your profile. Don’t say anything on your profile that would imply that you’re job hunting.

You can also include some wording on your profile that promotes your current employer’s mission or goals, which can help imply that you’re actually on LinkedIn to help them out rather than look for a job!

Remember that there are plenty of reasons to be on LinkedIn other than job hunting, including keeping up on industry news and “buzz” through membership in industry groups on LinkedIn. Join these groups, follow news on the site, research potential clients, and be ready to share with your boss and co-workers the business value you’re getting from LinkedIn.

Highlighting your multiple interests or different “hats”

If you have two different job targets, it’ll be best if you identify one of them to focus your profile on, or find a way to highlight both of them in a cohesive manner. This is just one more reason it’s best to try being as focused as possible in your job search. The less job targets, the better.

It’s fine to keep your LinkedIn profile more broad if you have two similar versions of your resume for different job targets. Just make sure it’s not too “all over the place.”

If you have a day job and a side hustle, you can include both on your profile, and decide which will be your priority for LinkedIn. Ask yourself: is LinkedIn important for your day job? Is it a primary way you expect to gain customers for your side hustle? Remember that LinkedIn is geared toward businesspeople.

If your day job is enterprise software sales and your side hustle is selling kids’ T-shirts online, then platforms like Instagram or Pinterest might be more helpful for the T-shirt business, while LinkedIn would be more helpful for the enterprise software sales.

With a little effort, you can make a single LinkedIn profile work for you!

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After you apply for a job, do this


OK, so you’ve applied for that shiny new job opening… now what? Sit and wait?

What has worked well for other clients of mine is a short, targeted followup, usually via LinkedIn or email. This is assuming that you don’t know someone at the company who’s going to help you out, which is the ideal situation.

Who should you contact?

If it’s a big company with in-house recruiters, I’d go that route and look for the most appropriate recruiter to contact (hint: if the job was posted on LinkedIn, look to see who posted the job on there!).

If it’s a smaller or mid-market company, I’d probably try to figure out who the likely hiring manager (eg., your potential future boss) is. If you’re applying to be the VP of Candlestick Making for North America, is there perhaps a COO you can find on LinkedIn? Or the SVP of Global Candlestick Making?

This does involve guesswork; you’ll have to be comfortable with this being an inexact science. Yes, you might send it to someone who isn’t the actual decision maker; he or she might pass it along to the decision maker, or ignore it.

However, the risk of not reaching out in the first place is that you will be ignored anyway, since research shows you have only ~3% chance of getting an interview by applying online (unless you listed one of their employees as a referral source when you applied or have someone you know at the company advocating for you).

Example of a LinkedIn note to your potential future boss or an internal recruiter:

Hello John,

I just applied for the VP of Candlestick Making position on your website, and just wanted to reach out personally to convey my excitement about the opportunity. I’ve slashed candlestick making costs by 15-22%, streamlined manufacturing processes, and pioneered new candle scents like the best-selling “Rustic Garage.” I would love to talk with you about the value I could bring to Acme Company; I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,
Jane Doe
[email protected]

Notice how short and concise it is. We’re in the era of short attention spans, so don’t go longer. If you’re sending it on LinkedIn, the recipient can simply click through to your profile to read more about your qualifications. And if their interest is piqued, they’ll go fish out your application from the 150+ other applications in the system.

There’s no guarantee of getting an interview, but at least you’re not just sitting around waiting.

P.S.: If sending by LinkedIn, be sure to include your email address and phone number below your name so they have that handy.

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Fired because of LinkedIn?!

(From the archives – updated in 2019)

The Internet has been buzzing with news about a UK executive who is suing his former employer over a dispute involving his LinkedIn profile–news that may be alarming to many who use LinkedIn.

Based on the article about it on MailOnline, the gist is that BG Group dismissed John Flexman after viewing his LinkedIn profile and having concerns with it.

While this was an unfortunate situation, you can absolutely be active on LinkedIn without rubbing your employer the wrong way.

Here are some pointers (as always, consult with an attorney on legal issues pertaining to your particular situation).

1. Find out if your employer has a social media policy.

Many employers have adopted social media policies in recent years to manage the numerous issues that can arise from employees using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Check to see if your employer has a social media policy or other rules that would pertain (hint: look at your employee manual). Be sure to read and understand all these policies and make sure you’re in compliance.

2. Don’t make it obvious you’re job hunting.

According to MailOnline, one of the company’s complaints was that Flexman was in breach of a new conflict-of-interest policy that bans employees from checking a check box on LinkedIn that indicates an interest in career opportunities.

That checkbox is a thing of the past, and nowadays (in 2019) LinkedIn has its feature to “let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities.” This, fortunately, is a bit more private–although it’s still possible your boss could find out if he talks to external recruiters.

At the very least you can avoid wording on your profile that makes it very obvious you’re looking for a job. Keep in mind that recruiters and employers LOVE so-called passive candidates, so appearing like you’re not job hunting shouldn’t hurt you.

3. Don’t include sensitive information pertaining to your employer.

Negative information

According to MailOnline, Flexman’s former employer was upset that he had included negative information about the company. This is a dilemma that sometimes arises in resume and LinkedIn profile writing–the need to show how much you improved a department, project, or company without sounding like you’re trashing the company.

You’ll impress employers by saying that you led a turnaround, but if you go into too much detail on all the problems that necessitated the turnaround, that could upset a lot of people at your company if they see that on LinkedIn.

Another issue is information that isn’t necessarily negative, but could damage customer relationships. For example, would the company want customers to see on an employee’s profile that he’d increased profits 25% by reducing costs on a product while simultaneously increasing the product’s price? This might be acceptable on a resume distributed selectively, but it’s not fit for the world to see, so it needs to stay off LinkedIn.

Proprietary information

As with the issue of negative information, the issue of proprietary information comes up all the time in resume and LinkedIn profile writing. We want to demonstrate accomplishments and the level of your responsibility, so including dollar amounts can be impressive. But it’s important to do that without revealing information your employer needs to keep confidential.

So, for example, instead of saying that you “managed a $16 million territory…” you might indicate that you “managed an eight-figure territory” to give a general idea of the scope without revealing proprietary data that competitors shouldn’t know.

When creating a LinkedIn profile for a client, I like to create a more concise and “sanitized” version of resume content since the LinkedIn profile will be visible to a broader audience.

Just remember that prospective employers could be turned off if they think you’re the type of employee or executive who can’t be trusted with confidential information.

The bottom line

There are always risks when it comes to employment, but I know that having an active LinkedIn presence would be a risk I would take as an employed job seeker. Just exercise caution in how you present yourself on the platform.


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What style is best for the LinkedIn “About” section?

The LinkedIn section previously called the Summary is now called the About section, but that hasn’t changed one of the most common points of confusion for users: what style is best for writing this section?

If you spend some time looking around LinkedIn, you’ll find that many executives and professionals use wording in the About section that reads like a resume summary, while some use content that reads like an executive bio, and others simply list some keywords related to their career. Then there are those who haven’t bothered to even put this section on their profiles.

My approach (and best practice): conversational and informal

Personally, I always go with a conversational and informal approach unless a client has a strong preference to use a “bio” type format or other approach. With LinkedIn being a social media platform, using a first person, conversational style helps the reader feel like they’re meeting you versus reading another impersonal resume-style summary of someone’s career.

I’m certainly not the only advocate of this; in fact, this approach is also recommended by authors of popular books about LinkedIn, as well as leading LinkedIn profile writers, executive resume writers, and career coaches who stay on the cutting edge. It has become a best practice.

Why be conversational?

Coming across as engaging and approachable is especially critical for anyone in sales, business development, PR, and other people-oriented fields. Even for those in the C-suite, coming across as a personable leader will help position you as someone who can earn the buy-in of rank-and-file employees.

Should you follow the pack?

Your natural instinct may be to look at peers in your field for examples of what to do on your LinkedIn About section. But remember: just because several peers have handled it a certain way doesn’t mean that approach is necessarily the best or most compelling approach.

The reality is that most LinkedIn users don’t know what the best practices are! Most people don’t spend very much time and effort on their LinkedIn profile and don’t invest in professional help, so many of them use the cliche-filled summary from their resume.

Draw in your readers

If you write your About section in a conversational tone in first person rather than third person, it will stand out. Read 10 profiles all written with terms like “results-oriented” and then read one that feels like the person is talking to you–it’ll be more memorable!

Additionally, after LinkedIn’s 2017 redesign, only the first 2-3 lines of the About section are displayed; to read the rest, a reader has to click “see more.” If those first couple sentences are too dry, your readers might not be motivated to read the rest. Attention spans have never been shorter than they are today.

“You do you”

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to LinkedIn. If you want something more formal written in third person, you can certainly do that.  A recruiter who’s interested in a person’s qualifications will want to reach out regardless of the writing style of the About section. The most important questions to consider are: Does it position me correctly? Is it well-written? Have I checked it for errors by reading it out loud?

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