Sell your past, buy your future

The Future Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Manchester United wants to sign Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega, if rumor mills are to be believed. Well, sports stars like him don’t need to worry. Their work is visible to all, known to all. So they don’t need to list out their past experiences to impress future employers. For the likes of you and me however, things are different. We might have been brilliant in our jobs all these years, but that doesn’t automatically lead us to our dream jobs. We have to showcase our work effectively and which better place than LinkedIn to do it.

So if you have just mentioned your company name in your LinkedIn profile and left it at that (yes, many do that!), it’s time to add details. First write your title; remember to make it descriptive. For instance, if you were a Finance Manager and have written that as your title, also add the areas in finance you worked in- accounting, budgeting, financial analysis…. But writing an impressive title is still not enough. You need to let the recruiter know what exactly you did in your past jobs. Here are a few tips on how to go about doing that:

Instead of just listing out the things you did, write it in a manner that makes your story credible. Mention specific accomplishments without hesitation. If you don’t tell, they will not know. For instance, if you were given quick promotions, highlight that. This will clearly indicate your capabilities to the recruiter.

I have had a few experienced job seekers ask me: “We have done so many things in our past jobs. LinkedIn has a word limit. We can’t write everything, can we?” I advice them to highlight those things that would be relevant to the kind of job they are looking for. This will show the recruiter why they would be a good fit.

And now, here’s the most important thing you need to do: focus on keywords. Keywords are the one deciding factor that will get the recruiter to your profile and you better get these magic words right. But how do you find keywords? It’s quite simple. First look for job ads, the kind that you wish to apply for. Make a list of job-related words that are common to these ads. Look at profiles of people from similar backgrounds as yours. What are the words they use? And then use these words in your Experiences section. Use them liberally, but ensure they are relevant.

That’s not all. There’s one more way you can impress recruiters through the Experiences section- by adding media. You can upload a document of a letter that your client wrote on successful completion of a project, a picture of you in a product release program, a video featuring you in a past job, or a presentation that won you a ‘Wow!’

So what are you waiting for? Present your past experience in light of your future goals. And watch your career unfold just the way you want it to.


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