LinkedIn has become the preeminent professional networking site amassing nearly 260 million users in 200 countries—and accomplishing all of this in just under 11 years (for context, Google, founded in 1998, is older). Most people know by now how important a well-maintained LinkedIn profile can be to their career. Here are some thoughts on what kinds of things you should include when creating the work history section of your LinkedIn profile…
LinkedIn: What To Include In Your Work History
An important thing to keep in mind is that your LinkedIn profile isn’t really written for you. It should be written with the potential audience in mind (i.e. recruiters, hiring managers, and other professionals looking to do business with you).
Focus on making sure that the information that is most relevant to your audience is available, well organized, and close to the top of your profile. Making this information easy to find increases the odds that you’ll get the call for that job or that business opportunity you’ve always wanted. Consider including the following when filling out your LinkedIn work history section:
This is the most obvious suggestion, since this is what this section is primarily intended for. Be sure to include company names, dates, titles, locations, and also consider providing an update if a company name changes due to acquisition or merger. Include a brief description of your responsibilities along with a bulleted list of 3-4 accomplishments—just as you would on your resume.
LinkedIn now has a section devoted exclusively to volunteer information, but you can and may want to consider incorporating volunteer positions into your main profile, particularly those that showcase leadership skills (especially if you are in transition and actively engaged in a search).
Make sure to include internship positions, especially if you’re early in your career and they are relevant either to the field you’re in or the field you hope to enter.
Don’t overlook the value of including temporary or contract roles, particularly if you are an active job seeker. For one thing, they show recruiters and potential employers that you are active and keeping your skills sharp.
A best practice is to focus on the most recent 10-15 years of your career, since this is the information that is most relevant to who you are now in a professional sense, and also the information that employers will be most interested in. Because you’re not limited in length, however, you have a little more latitude to include a few details that you’ve dropped from your resume do to space concerns. The caveat is that these elements still have to add value.
Also, don’t overlook the value of keywords. You want to include the keywords that are relevant to your work history and career, but resist the temptation to ‘overstuff’ your profile with keywords—use them where they make sense. The most effective LinkedIn profiles do a good job of showcasing your traditional resume while also supplementing that with the most relevant additional content.