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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