LinkedIn profiles help professionals connect with fellow employees, recruiters, and industry experts. The platform has helped people find their next best opportunities. But are you maximizing your presence and expanding your reach on this platform?
This article will highlight LinkedIn profile insights from Dean Carter, Guild’s chief people and purpose officer, and Patagonia’s head of people and culture.¹ Through this resource, we aim to provide clear guidance on improving your online and professional presence while emphasizing the most critical aspect Carter recommended in optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn Trends: The Highs and Lows of Today’s Hiring Landscape
LinkedIn is the world’s biggest professional online network, with over 950 million users in more than 200 countries.
Today’s job hiring landscape on LinkedIn has become more competitive, according to LinkedIn’s 2023 Global Talent Trends report, as hiring declines worldwide. In the US, recruitment has declined by 24 percent.² However, job applicants have decided to intensify their job search efforts, and the rate has increased by 18 percent.
With a more competitive job market, one of the things you can do to stand out is to improve your LinkedIn profile. This can lead to more interviews as you widen your network by connecting with professionals who share the same values or experiences.
Your First Job: The Importance of Looking Back
Dean Carter says all LinkedIn profiles should include their first or earliest jobs to increase their network. It can also improve your chances of getting the attention of employers and hiring managers.
1. Your fundamental skills were built in your first job.
When you look back at where you used to be, you can see that you are now better equipped and that the tasks you accomplished then have contributed to your professional skills. These past experiences point us toward a path we want to go and mold us to become the person we want to be.
Serving Customers as a Waiter
Carter was first a waiter at Lone Star Cafe, Austin, Texas, many years before he came to Guild. Along with customer service, team building, and organizational skills, Carter says one lesson made him more efficient and effective throughout his career. This was when he was going from table to table, and someone pulled him aside and said:
“Dean, you have one table, not five. Think about it as a single table when you’re going around.”
This mindset saved him so much time and changed how he approached work.
Being a Camp Councilor
Carter also experienced being a camp counselor, overseeing a group of 10-year-old boys in the summer. He made sure they were taken care of and safe. He learned empathy during that job when he managed conflicts.
2. Posting your first job can inspire others who are now in those roles.
Aside from getting the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, you can empower others by sharing the jobs and lessons you’ve learned. People who are now in the roles you once had, like fresh graduates or people new to the industry, may need your help in recognizing and understanding the similar challenges they are going through.
Carter said that the work and skills people learn in their older jobs come underappreciated even though they are most valuable. Through these first experiences, people often gain the most critical skills organizations seek today.
Sharing older skills can help others who are now in those jobs to value their work and appreciate the skills they are developing.
3. Your first or earliest job shows recruiters whether you can be a cultural fit.
Some managers screen for culture fit and may look for people who worked in service of others as a criterion when hiring.
Back in Patagonia, Carter often searched for people with outdoor jobs or volunteer work experience. Adding early jobs to your profile can give your background and personality a pleasingly balanced look. This also helps purpose-driven organizations find the right individuals who align with their values and purpose by looking at their earliest experiences.
4. Your first job can demonstrate your work ethic.
Your earliest jobs can also show employers and hiring managers a glimpse into your work ethic. While most people transition to different career paths, leaving older jobs irrelevant, it’s still preferred to include your most relevant experiences when sending out resumes, depending on the company, industry, and role. This makes LinkedIn unique since you don’t know who’ll check your profile.
Carter gave an example that he sees a former grocery store bagger as someone willing to get their hands dirty. They are hard workers who show up at their jobs daily and strive to do well. Including your past experiences in your LinkedIn profile shows an overview of your skills and development, giving recruiters an idea of how well you’ll handle specific roles.
5. Your early jobs show that you are a human being.
Through your early jobs, you show your humanity because people can see the path you took. People want to know where you came from, for example, starting as a cashier and now managing as the head of human resources.
Posting your first job on LinkedIn was described by Carter as putting the ladder back down for others to climb. This is because you proved that your former position was meaningful and that it can give hope to others. They can get from where you were to better places.
Make The Most of Your First Job: What to Do with This Information on LinkedIn
Now that you understand the importance of discussing your first job, here are three ways to create a great LinkedIn profile.
1. Add it to your profile and include what you learned.
The first step is to add your earliest jobs to your profile. Include the tasks you’ve accomplished through it. Then, add all the skills you’ve learned from those experiences.
2. Talk about it in a post.
Your next step is to reminisce in a post. Talk about what it was like when you had your first job. Share about the highs and lows of your role, including your favorite parts.
Mention the people who helped you thrive in that role and those who made an impact in your career. Talk about the values and skills you learned from your former co-workers.
Browse LinkedIn for posts related to your earlier jobs and see who needs guidance. Share your experiences in the comments, and they may engage you in return, giving you additional knowledge from their experiences.
4. Join LinkedIn groups
Joining LinkedIn groups can help you reach more people faster. Find a relevant group where you can share your earliest experiences, and you may find people who resonate with you.
Related Reading: 4 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn if You Want a Job
Your First Job Matters
Elevate your LinkedIn profile by including your first and early experiences. These roles may have been years ago and are no longer relevant to your career path, but they can be to others. Our past experiences hone us to be better in our crafts, and we should always look back to where we came from.
Aside from giving employers and hiring managers an idea of your values and work ethics, you can inspire others with the same job you once had and build connections through interactions. Remember that our past experiences helped us become who we are today, and it’s time to share what we learned with those who need it.
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1. Vozza, Stephanie. “Your LinkedIn profile isn’t complete without this one thing.” Fast Company, 26 Oct. 2023, www.fastcompany.com/your-linkedin-profile-isnt-complete-without-this-one-thing.
2. “Global Talent Trends.” LinkedIn, 23 Oct. 2023, business.linkedin.com/global-talent-trends_Takeaways_For_Recruiters.