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LinkedIn profile updates - how detailed?

linkedin profile tipsHow detailed should you be on your LinkedIn profile?  I've just finished updating my resume and plan on updating my LinkedIn profile this weekend.   I am currently on a job search (but still employed by my current company).  Not sure if you think it should be as detailed as my resume or less so?  What are your opinions on this.  Thank you

Answers

Ernie Humphrey CTP
Title: CEO & COO
Company: Treasury Careers
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO & COO, Treasury Careers) |

Your LinkedIn profile should be complete and contain as much relevant information as possible in conveying your professional value proposition.

A word of warning, if you all of a sudden make dramatic changes to your LinkedIn profile then someone at your current employer may notice. You need to be ready if asked about it with something like " I attended a webinar on networking and I realized that my LinkedIn profile needed some work."

Again, the more relevant information the better on your LinkedIn profile, and do not have your LinkedIn profile simply mimic your resume. Finally recommendations are powerful to have in your profile. One from a person you reported to, one on your same seniority level, and one from a direct report for each job send a very strong message.

Eugene Jeanne
Title: CFO; Enterprise Risk Manager
Company: Self Employed
(CFO; Enterprise Risk Manager, Self Employed) |

Ernie, this is a very interesting comment. I have worked in the banking industry which has certainly seen its share of ups and downs and company closures / absorption by larger firms. As a result of this, average job tenures for C- level persons in community banks have been around 2 years. To the average reader, this reads as someone who's a flake and unable to have a steady job:, i.e., someone whom one must pass over for job opportunities. So what's been recommended to me is to drop all chronological references in a LinkedIn profile and focus on skills. I'm not saying that's a better approach, though it's very definitely a different one and I continue working on my profile. Thoughts?

Dabney Wellford
Title: CFO
Company: Wellford Consulting
(CFO, Wellford Consulting) |

I would be very cautious - you never know who is looking in Linked-In, and you do not want your employer to find out. Some people use the tool as a hobby, which makes it dangerous to rely on. What if an HR person found you and reported you to your bossIn some companies, they are told to do that.) Many recruiters want you to tie them in so that they can increase their numbers - there is and should not be any expectation of privacy.

DO NOT use Linked-In as one of your primary job search tools, and do not let just anyone view your profile, especially a prospective employer.

Becky Doyle
Title: FP&A
Company: Ping Identity
(FP&A, Ping Identity) |

I would certainly turn off your activity broadcasts as you make those updates. (Settings>Privacy Controls>Turn on/off your activity broadcasts). At least then the fact that you're updating things won't appear in your connections' streams.

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Absolutely, Becky!

Topic Expert
Henry Schumann
Title: Manager FP&A
Company: Allscripts
(Manager FP&A, Allscripts) |

Personally, I try to keep my LinkedIn profile as professional and up to date as possible. I disagree with those that think making updates may be a tip off to HR that you are looking to leave. In this weak economy, one needs to put their best foot forward at all times to distinguish oneself from the crowded marketplace. I like my current position, but there is no guarantee that my employer won't "right size" our department at a moment's notice.

The only other suggestion I would have is to keep the comments or 'likes" to a minimum. The site is for professional networking not social networking.

Jason M. Jones LPA
Title: Deputy Treasurer - Staff Accountant
Company: Franklin County Treasurer
(Deputy Treasurer - Staff Accountant, Franklin County Treasurer) |

I disagree with keeping comments and "likes" to a minimum. "Like"s tell posters that they presented something that resonated with you, and comments serve to elaborate on the "likes"; feedback on LinkedIn is something that LinkedIn members need to do more of (I see way too many posts, especially those involving thought-provoking blogs and articles that don't get any feedback whatsoever. This needs to stop; people need to post feedback of some sort, even if it is a "like").

The key to networking is engagement; as it pertains to LinkedIn, "likes" and comments are tools essential to such engagement.

Topic Expert
Randy Miller
Title: Partner
Company: CFO Edge
(Partner, CFO Edge) |

I agree with Henry that you need to make your profile as up to date as possible. You should also join industry groups and any other groups you can find that are relevant to your position and skill set. You should also try to connect through Linked In to your business contacts from your current position.

I would not worry too much about HR, if they do question it, Linked In is a good way to stay in touch with your business connections and let them know of new opportunities for business with your company too.

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

If you are using your Linkedin profile to raise your visibility among companies and recruiters who might need someone like you, then it pays to have a complete AND compelling profile.

Create a compelling headline. There are 2,000 characters allowed for your summary - use as many as possible. Your experience section should give a) apples-to-apples comparison, and b) a measurable impact ... but should NOT be a regurgitation of your resume. Join groups as they raise your visibility among a smaller market. And get a few solid recommendations.

While Linkedin has morphed from a pure business networking platform into a networking platform that also can lead to new opportunities, for the most part it is really your web 2.0 version of the old corporate bio. Every ... EVERY ... executive and professional should be there.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

My LinkedIn profile compared to my Resume is like apples to oranges. My resume is limited (by convention to 1 - 3 pages). My LinkedIn is limitless.

My resume can list all or some of my publications, provide easy links to important websites etc, My resume can be mailed, but then again, so can my LinkedIn profile.

BTW, as Cindy stated, normally you put "recommendations on request" on your resume and hope they don't ask.... My LinkedIn has recommendations from almost every job I've held (sometimes multiples).

Is my LinkedIn profile good? Who knows, but it is very very complete...

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

- BTW, as Cindy stated, normally you put "recommendations on request" on your resume and hope they don't ask -

That is NOT something I have ever said, Wayne. Hopefully, you are speaking of another "Cindy."

Putting that statement on a resume is a joke, and a waste of space.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

I must have erred (and can't find any statement to that effect by anyone), apologies.

As an added note, I do agree, it is a joke, and I have concerns of giving names, and contact info willy nilly to start with.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

To add to LinkedIn concerns, if you apply for a position using the LinkedIn API be very very careful.

Many of these companies are also retrieving (by either hiding or assuming you are not reading carefully) all your contacts.

Jim Schwartz
Title: Corporate financial advisor
Company: Wabash Financial Strategies
(Corporate financial advisor, Wabash Financial Strategies) |

^^^Wayne commented...

"normally you put "recommendations on request" on your resume..."

Resume space is much too valuable to waste on this kind of meaningless, overused phrase. Similarly, avoid hobbies, marital status, GPA, college activities, etc. It's not relevant. The mark of an effective and professional resume or LinkedIn page is one that's well and regularly edited and that conveys your capabilities succinctly. LinkedIn offers more freedom in crafting your presentation but the tool still needs to be used wisely.

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I agree, Jim ... with one exception.

In today's world of "branding," hobbies / interests on your Linkedin profile can help give a prospective employer a better idea of your fit-for-culture by giving them a snapshot of your 360-persona.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Make your Linked-In profile as thorough as possible. Consider it an advertisement of your brand. When looking for a job, prospective employers can come from all directions. If your information is maintained on three sites, and all this information is different, it will be confusing. Your Brand message must be consistent.

Choose the resume you are most proud of and make every on-line presence match this format.

Every potential employer will "Google" you. Consistency is critical.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

I view Linked In similar to a resume. You need to put your best foot forward and ensure everything relevant about you is posted. Recruiters rely heavily on this site.

Michele Kastner
Title: Product Marketing Manager
Company: CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
(Product Marketing Manager, CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business) |

Because LinkedIn is an internet tool, you would want to make your profile searchable with keywords. In you area of expertise, what skills/experience would a future employer and/or a recruiter be looking for? What would be your differentiator(s) from other job seekers? We live globally, do you speak another language? - that is a differentiator.

It is true, recruiters want to build their connections (their book) - I wouldn't recommend connecting with any, until you have had an actual phone conversation and/or meeting with them about a potential career opportunity.

In today's world, the LinkedIn profile is what is seen first - then the resume. A few tips:

* have a professional photo
* no misspellings
* undergraduate degree, no need to put dates attended, or year graduated
* vanity plate your URL - every person is given a LinkedIn URL - you have the ability to edit it to your name - if you have a common name, you may have to use a variation.
* also I recommend including your LinkedIn vanity URL within your email signature - why? you never know what a future connection could lead to.

All the best to you in your future search!

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

I would concur with comments and add that as one progresses in career and depending your industry, speaking engagements, webinars, conferences, etc are a key part of your role and keeping the profile current and relevant for these PR/business development/marketing purposes is essential.

Cassandra Greenberg
Title: Accounting Analyst
Company: IBM
(Accounting Analyst, IBM) |

My thought on this is that if you are employed, a substantive LinkedIn profile only serves to better represent the company you're in. If one is in the job market (as I am) it is a no-brainer that you need to be on the radar here.

Dabney Wellford
Title: CFO
Company: Wellford Consulting
(CFO, Wellford Consulting) |

After I posted my 2 cents, I walked into a company to present a consulting proposal. (I thought that I had previously locked down my (partial) profile so that only my connections could see it.) Anyway, the guy that I was meeting with had my profile and asked me to apply for an opening that they had. I did not get the job, but I did put my full resume in LinkedIn as my profile. I had everything locked down, so I do not know how he saw the profile.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Maybe he knows someone that is a connection of yours, and that connection pulled it for him.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

I just finished interviewing for a Board position and the CEO's reaction to my detailed LinkedIn profile was that I jumped around a lot, but in essence, I've only been with three companies with short stints of consulting in between. Once I explained my background, I realized I needed to consolidate positions with the same firm and update the company names (assuming name changes, mergers, etc). Just some advice if you've showed a lot of movement within the firms you've worked at...better to show longevity on LinkedIn that a long list of position IMHO.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

The "jumped around a lot" concept is rather dated. I'm not sure I'd like to work for a firm where that was an acceptable measurement. I know I am not pleased that some execs at my current employer - ones with virtually no background in hiring - are prone to this concept.

Is the CEO willing to guarantee you employment for life as long as you meet some minimum standard of performance?

I didn't think so. :-)

We're all free agents. And, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Too many HR departments and hiring execs seem to want it both ways. "At will for us, lifetime commitment for you" so to speak.

Unions are starting to look good to me. And, that's scary. But, at least there's a binding contract and an understanding on the part of both parties as to what each is responsible for and under what circumstances either party can terminate the employment relationship.

The happiest professionals I meet on a regular basis have moved around frequently. By frequently, I'm thinking every 24 to 36 months.

Brian Kennedy
Title: President
Company: peerformation.com
(President, peerformation.com) |

Eugene. The risk with that strategy is that hiring managers and software are trained to spot the very thing one might try to gloss over - employment gaps, turnover, etc...

Brian Kennedy
Title: President
Company: peerformation.com
(President, peerformation.com) |

People are not required to "like" or "comment" on anything. Linkedin is a place for people to promote themselves and the company makes money selling services and ads against this.

Suzanne Booth
Title: Consultant
Company: n/a
(Consultant, n/a) |

And now a word from a contrarian:

LinkedIn is used by many people primarily to keep tabs on others with whom they lack routine contact or interaction, and this seems to have been the website's original purpose. As much as LinkedIn has subsequently shifted its business model to emphasize job search, the contact maintenance utility is probably its best use for professional class individuals.

Regardless, there is one little problem inherent in LinkedIn or any online "social networking" utility, and it is this: the very real risk of identity hacking. There are two kinds of people who troll LinkedIn: thieves and recruiters. By exercising excessive full disclosure of one's employment or personal background in a public venue, which is what LinkedIn is, one literally hands criminals a highly valuable cache of data from which to begin an assault on one's financial and even physical security. In my view, the risk of experiencing financial fraud far exceeds the possibility of realizing financial benefit by way of a recruiter.

So, if you insist on using LinkedIn as a means to seek attention from recruiters, consider describing former employers in general terms without disclosing their specific names (e.g., "major global financial institution" versus "JP Morgan"). Limit explicit name disclosure to your alma mater(s) in order to enable most of the people already acquainted with you to distinguish you from others with the same name while reducing the hacking risk.

Throwing a veil of discretion over your personal data might make candidate search a tad less convenient for recruiters. However, a recruiter too lazy to reach out to candidates exercising responsible risk management in such a way is probably a recruiter not worth one's time either as a candidate or as an employer. Recruiters are paid by employers to make real efforts to source legitimately relevant candidates, and this task should involve more effort and discrimination than collecting resumes on LinkedIn with the presumption that its members should do much of the work for them. As an employer, if I thought searching LinkedIn was sufficient to adequately staff my firm, it would be cheaper and more efficient to do it in-house than paying recruiters their not insubstantial fees.

Remember: once the identity theft genie is out of the bottle, it is almost impossible to put back in. Forewarned is forearmed.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Suzanne:

Couldn't agree more.

There are other nefarious uses of personal information gleaned from the online postings of overeager individuals.

Prior to the advent of the internet, I've seen my own, hard-copy mailed in resume end up being used as a sales lead...........at a fortune 50 company no less. The "come on" was a telephone call from a person that actually got one of the jobs I had applied for as a financial consultant, who was handed a list of "potential clients" with all of their employment & salary history details that they had provided on the applications for the job. The call started out as a "are you still interested in the job" and discussion of the details I had provided on my resume and in the job application and quickly devolved into a hard sell on engaging them as my financial advisor.

And, in hard times for my own employment many years ago, I ended up interfacing with a few of the "big name" financial recruitment firms and a couple of independent, recruiters. Over a period of a couple of years, and after forming a pretty close working relationship with one of the independent recruiters, I found out some dirty little secrets of that industry. This included their desire to advertise for temp/consulting opportunities that didn't exist but generated a lot of interest resulting in hundreds of resumes full of personal/professional information being sent to them and entered into their database. Then they could use that as a sales tool when they would tell potential clients (employers) about the "thousands of well qualified individuals" they have in said databases, available to come to work for them.

Now, take those two examples and imagine the extra oomph that can be applied so such shenanigans in the days of the internet.

It continues to surprise me how willing people are to give away so much personal information on internet websites - like LinkedIn - in the hopes of gaining something for nothing, without at least considering the motivations of those who provide these websites. If you believe that such websites (even the one I'm using here) are being hosted out of some altruistic motivation, I've got a bridge for sale.

I guess that shouldn't surprise me considering how many people play the various lotteries and are actually disappointed when they don't win. ;-(

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

- The key to networking is engagement; as it pertains to LinkedIn, "likes" and comments are tools essential to such engagement. -

I so agree, Jason! I think for the most part, finance executives - at least on Linkedin - are far behind the social media curve on engagement. Most seem to still be of the "receiving information" mindset (like reading a magazine or newspaper) rather than the "engagement" mindset.

The word "social" precedes "media" for a reason!

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