LinkedIn started allowing their users to to rearrange the sections of their profile a few months back. I haven’t seen any statistics on this but I don’t think this has taken on at all. The reason for that could be that nobody knows why you should be rearranging the profile in the first place. As LinkedIn has shown the feature, I will try to give you the benefit.
Before we throw ourselves in the deep end of the rearranging pool, it’s important to be clear about why. Your LinkedIn profile is a billboard that markets you, or your personal brand if you will. I can think of three distinct reasons to do it, basically to highlight different parts of your personal brand to attract a new employer or more business. Here goes:
This reason presupposes that you have a good few glowing recommendations that will work their magic on any potential customer or employer. Let’s say you have five strong recommendations, instead of having them languishing down below the center of your profile you might want to bring them to the top. Perhaps not all the way but certainly before your work experience section which in most cases tends to be rather lengthy.
If you are a consultant, freelancer or in any other way trading in your own name, you’ll know how important recommendations are. If you have worked in this capacity for a number of years, your work history will not be made up of jobs but assignments. A list of short/medium term assignments doesn’t look great and that’s another reason you will want to put recommendations before work experience.
Nobody works for a big name because they get a great salary, more influence or are being managed more humanely. It’s all about brand recognition so make the most of your work and let your personal brand benefit from your sweat equity on your LinkedIn profile.
Just be careful, some big corporates are not exactly the flavor of the month, if you are working for Goldman Sachs, BP or Monsanto you’re probably better off with the recommendation focus instead.
Just like any good resume of a fresh graduate should feature their education first, so should their LinkedIn profile. Nobody wants to see your summer jobs or recommendations from your pals at the student union. Demote both the work experience and the recommendations sections, so that employers get to see your sterling academic record and perhaps even be enticed by the title of your master’s thesis.
Do you remember when MySpace came out? Everyone had the same basic profile. Two years later, you could barely see that it was a MySpace profile anymore due to all the customizing they allowed on the profiles. By heavily altering a profile like that, you kind of lose the point of being on a social media network and you would be better off with a personal site/blog.
Don’t tinker too much with your profile, you want the reader to be able to size you up in a minute. LinkedIn is the most professional platform out there, so keep your profile neat and tidy so that professionals can find the information they need.