LinkedIn's Experience Section Has a New Look! Multiple Job Titles at the Same Company!

At 3:12 p.m. today, August 2, 2018, I popped by my LinkedIn profile and nearly spilled my iced tea all over my keyboard.

Behold!

Forgive my pitiful highlighting and drawing skills. This is BIG NEWS! At last! 

Forgive my pitiful highlighting and drawing skills. This is BIG NEWS! At last! 

I haven't taken time to investigate, just a moment to grab a screenshot of my Experience Section so folks can see now what it is I'm rejoicing about. This feature has been years ... years ... YEARS in the making and I'm so geeked I could jump from the rafters. (Except it's too hot. And I don't have rafters.)

Could it be that the workarounds my clients and I have endured for eons are a thing of the past?

To understand my joy, let's rewind to 2012.

In early-2012 (or was it late-2011?), LinkedIn approached me saying I was on their short-list of people to interview about things they could do to make LinkedIn a better user experience.

Not sure how I got on that list, but I surely had a long list of features, and indeed, the one-hour interview with two developers and a consultant (perhaps a mildly interesting TV sitcom title) turned into a three-hour pseudo-career advising session. All three wrote furiously in their notebooks, but their questions and their scribbles seemed more in response to career development concepts than feature improvements. 

Anyway, one of the most important improvements I saw for "a new LinkedIn experience" was the LinkedIn user's ability to tuck multiple job titles under the same company entry. As it stood, the company name field and job title field were a one-to-one experience, which mean creating a completely new company entry for every job title.

Subpar experience, particularly because doing so created the at-a-glance impression that the profile owner was a job hopper. A kiss-of-death term concept in recruiting that has only recently begun to be more acceptable as the gig economy rushes toward us. 

Indeed, most of my clients hold more than one job title at the same company, with a few outliers having held as many as 16 job titles at the same company over 15-20 years! 

When LinkedIn released its bold new UI in late-2012, we finally got to include ... wah-waaah ... corporate logos. Which kind of inched the needle toward a better sense of at-a-glance career cohesion, but still looked a trifling mess when you listed every last job in a row.

It had the impression that these fresh-faced developers hadn't been in the workforce long enough to realize the complexities around staying at a company for more than a minute. 

I'll admit I was kind of delighted that a "Projects Section" had been included. An idea that wasn't executed how I'd envisioned it, but I kind of loved it anyway and still use that section to highlight some of my speaking and training engagements.

Enough history. Let's celebrate the moment.

Also, it has taken me far too long to write this blog post. So enough blathering about the backstory. Let's all move into everything this could mean to tidying up our LinkedIn profiles and truly demonstrating our stories as they truly happened. 

I'll be letting my clients know about the good news, and working with incoming clients to tinker with the new feature. 

Anyone have experience with LinkedIn's new Experience Section? More than a fabulous look, it's an important way to demonstrate career stability and value. 

Now let's see if LinkedIn will finally fold into a future release the other 2.75 hours of suggestions I gave them! #notholdingmybreath #thankyoulinkedin #atyourmercy #themoreyouknow 

Garbage In, Garbage Out: Two Keystrokes that will Transform Your "Advanced Search" Results on LinkedIn

Yesterday, I hung up the phone with a client—a well-known, recent retiree from one of the world's largest investment banking institutions—and immediately drafted this blog post.

The experience was like many others before, and served as the perfect example of how a few keystrokes can transform search results when using LinkedIn's "Advanced Search" feature.

I'm guessing a lot of LinkedIn users don't even know Advanced Search exists, let alone how to use it effectively. Hence this post.

So, my client is in the trenches at the moment—developing the strategy and story needed to position himself for a public board director role.

One seemingly simple, but not-so-straightforward, task is to settle not only on the job title he'll use in a new consulting practice, but also to decide on the professional headline he'll use on LinkedIn.

Professional Headline on LinkedIn: The field immediately following your name on your LinkedIn profile—just below or to the right of your profile photo.

Also: One of LinkedIn's most important fields with respect to being passively found (based on my own LinkedIn user experience).

Do this: Infuse the keywords you believe others will use to find someone like you when querying LinkedIn's Advanced Search function. (As well as Google Search and other public search engines.)

After all, formerly timeless job titles like "Principal" and "Consultant" don't necessarily help tremendously (at least as keywords) when an executive search recruiter is looking for the right public board director and their first step is to type job titles and other defining content into a search bar.

Enter "Principal" into LinkedIn's Advanced Search tool, and you'll get everything from "high school principal," to "principal, eminent domain," to master cupcake baker who uses agave nectar as a principal ingredient.

Remember, this whole thing came up because my client's assignment was to research LinkedIn to identify how he might position himself going forward—not only in his new practice as an advisor, but also as a passive(ly findable) board candidate.

Unfortunately, he hadn't had much luck navigating LinkedIn's Advanced Search function.

Sharing screens, so he could follow along, I entered, "board director [industry]." (Board director wasn't in quotes, by the way. They're included here for clarity.)

What we ended up with was a list of people who are on the employee side of his industry, or who presently hold nonprofit board leadership roles at professional associations within the same industry.

The results weren't helpful for his purposes, so instead, I entered, "board director [industry] -association" (again, not in quotes).

Notice that we included a minus symbol before the word "association."

For good measure, I selected "Harvard Business School" to refine the search. 

Suddenly, our LinkedIn Advanced Search results were transformed, and we were seeing people closer to his peer set.

While our original intention was to see how others in similar circumstances had, and are, presently using LinkedIn, the minor refinements unlocked the value of the search results. The experience underscored the "garbage in, garbage out" adage, and made me think, again, about the many millions of users who complain, but don't look beneath LinkedIn's surface.

By the way, this is a bright guy, recognized for his intellect, intuition, and industry intelligence. His opinion can make or break markets. At least if investor behaviors have any influence on markets. He's a top-performer who has reached what many would consider to be the pinnacle of a professional career in the United States—maybe the world. And if he had an aha moment (after all, who sits around thinking about LinkedIn all day long), what does it say about the average LinkedIn user?

If you haven't discovered the wonders of the minus symbol when querying LinkedIn search, or the benefits of incrementally refining search parameters using other query features, take a moment to tinker and see if LinkedIn doesn't finally become the business tool you can't live without.

Why Job Boards Aren't the End All-Be All for Job Seekers

Except for the purpose of research (yes, I wrote a toolkit about that purpose), I've disdained and largely decried online job boards for years. But somehow, until last night, stumbling across Nick Corcodilos' 2013 CMO.com article "Fired! Job Boards Get Their Walking Papers," I hadn't really pieced together that online job boards are basically glorified job ads in the back pages of newspapers.

I'll admit that the last time I replied to a newspaper job ad was as a 17-year-old applying for a bank teller job in 1987.

Job ads in the back of the newspaper died in the late 90s, giving way to the promise of online job ads. Monster was among the first and biggest, but even as a recruiter in New York more than a decade ago, we eschewed the monster. We used niche job boards, and we had pretty good results.

Later, as a retained search recruiter in San Francisco, we didn't even advertise jobs. Our role was to research, identify, and convince the right people that the jobs we were recruiting were right for them.

In fact, we basically ignored inbound résumés because the résumé submitted by a person actively looking for work might mean there was something wrong. And retained search doesn't play with fire. Retained search plays with certainty. So it was far better to pursue than to be pursued. 

If you're thinking about uploading your résumé to a job board, don't. For oh-so-many reasons. If you're relying entirely on job boards, don't. If you want to know why, read Nick Corcodilos' insightful and convincing article. It's as good today as it was when it was uploaded in 2013.

How a Plate of Nachos Turned Into Jared Redick's Job Description Analysis

It's here! After blood, sweat, and tears, Jared Redick's Job Description Analysis is downloadable to the public! 

It's here! After blood, sweat, and tears, Jared Redick's Job Description Analysis is downloadable to the public! 

So, alright. I talk a lot on my blog about what other people and organizations are saying about career development.

I've watched a lot of colleagues and thought leaders publish important career development and awareness tools.

But today, it's my turn. I'm over-the-moon excited to share my first and only published resource to date: Jared Redick's Job Description Analysis.

The Job Description Analysis was born out of frustration, honestly. In 2009, a client gave me a spate of job descriptions for which he felt qualified, but they didn't hold a cogent through-line when I considered the entirety of his career. In fact, feelings rarely tell the whole story, nor lead to coherent decisions.

What did I do? I printed his materials and took them to a now-defunct neighborhood Mexican joint, of course! 

Which is where Jared Redick's Job Description Analysis was born. Over a plate of nachos, basically, and with a heaping sense of overwhelm.

Since then, the Job Description Analysis (called "the JDA" by many) has become a deceptively simple self-awareness tool for people with whom I work—baked into my one-on-work with clients.

Whether it's the head of mobile devices at a Silicon Valley consumer tech darling, one of the senior lever pullers at one of the nation's stock exchanges, or a scientist at one of the world's renowned medical device makers, the result is the same: "OMG! I had no idea!"

It's really a tool for everyone.

Basically, you look at your career through the proverbial windshield instead of the rear-view mirror to figure out whether the direction you intend to go is a suitable next step. Or maybe a few steps away. Some find that they've personally undersold themselves, while others find that they've over-shot their abilities. Or that there are a few technical gaps between where they are and where they want to go.

Either way, the scales are removed from their eyes and they learn a great deal about next steps in their careers. And/or they learn about the questions they need to ask to move forward. 

Jared Redick's Job Description Analysis is available, happily, to everyone as of October 29, 2015. The first 40 buyers can purchase the tool at $13.95 versus $24.95. I hope you'll find it helpful, and that you'll share your findings with me. I might want to publish them to this blog because we're all looking to move forward, and if I could tell your story, it might help someone else.

Let me know! 

CTOs, CIOs, and CMOs - This One's for You

A European client who's frequently at the cutting edge of technology and marketing yesterday forwarded HBR's The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist article by Scott Brinker (CTO at Ion Interactive) and Laura McLellan (research vice president at Gartner). 

It's a must read for my senior technology and marketing clients (CTOs, CIOs, CMOs, etc.), as we've all seen the same blur between the disciplines in recent years. Just think about the tightly woven job descriptions for so many program or product managers. So why wouldn't be think about the top roles integrating just as tightly? 

Important read for my clients.