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So, it’s been quite a few posts about LinkedIn now and I’m sure anyone who is reading this is wondering when the heck I’m going to get to “the important part” – experience.  Resume.  The “job description”.  Well, the time has come.  But it is the same as the other sections – it’s about your story.  What you did.  How you did it.  How it turned out.  This isn’t an old school resume where you pull out your job description and start listing the responsibilities that went with the title.  Booooring!

There are really only two things to remember in doing this – action and outcome.  What did you DO and how did it work out?  Use numbers.  Use dynamic, active words.  Use real words.  “Responsible for thought leadership and strategy within global organization building synergy across regional divisions.”  Huh?  Do what?  Here’s what that statement means – nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Now, try this – “Changed global focus from products to services resulting in 23% increase in sales worldwide, 41% increase in customer satisfaction and 12% decrease in employee turnover.”  Now you have my attention!

“Project manager for RadWidget 4000 rollout.”  Erm… OK?  Led multidivisional project team in global product development and implementation resulting in $400,000 savings over first two years.  Project completed on time and 18% under budget.”  Who cares what the product name was (unless it is well known such as an ERP or CRM type project or everyone in your current or future field will recognize it)?  It’s not the details here, it is the results.  The actions.  The outcomes.

“Identified and closed organizational knowledge gap, establishing ongoing program to maintain employee skills.”  No clue what you mean there, really.  I’m assuming you sent folks to some classes?  Established division-wide training program in support of [corporate initiative], certifying 100% of staff and reducing the implementation timeline by 40% over 3 years.  Presented successful business case to create internal training staff, instructional materials and program for use across global organization.”  Wow.  You take employee development seriously!  You engage people!

And now a few additional tips:

  • Update your profile experience on your current position as you go once you have the core in place.  Add projects, courses, awards, achievements, etc. while the numbers and people and outcomes are fresh in your mind.  This will also show up on the feed, which is all good.
  • Build out your most recent and most relevant experience.  Trim down (and eventually eliminate) older and irrelevant experience and positions.  If you are going for a new type of position requiring a specific skillset, reorganize and update to support that skillset.
  • Use meaningful titles that say what you did.  Corporate bands may not indicate the depth or breadth (or even level) of the position – I was listed as a Sr. Application Systems Programmer “officially” since that was the correct salary band even though nothing about my position involved any programming at all.  Include the official title parenthetically so someone doing a background check will have it when they contact HR.
  • Avoid buzzwords.  They get stale fast.
  • Use action words.  Don’t be “Responsible for” when you can drive, develop or create.  Don’t tell, show.  Use numbers.
  • Show growth across your experience.
  • Move volunteer positions and organizations to that section unless they fill employment gaps.  The experience will still be visible on your profile but it will be cleaner.
  • DON’T lie.  DON’T exaggerate.  DON’T inflate.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  The damage you will do to your credibility will be huge when you are caught – and you will be.

Step back and look at your experience from an employer’s perspective.  Have others who are responsible for hiring do the same.  If you know a great recruiter ask them for their thoughts and then implement them.  Make sure your experience tells a story and leads up to where you are and, more importantly, indicates you are ready to move forward to where you want to go.

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