You want to stand out.
You know you need to write an attractive summary on LinkedIn to grab people…
But you don’t have a ton of experience.
Or you have TOO much experience?
Where do you start?
How do you write to attract hiring managers? Investors? Nonprofits looking for board-members…We’re helping you out in today’s “THINK TANK OF THREE.”


[KJ] = Kathryn Janicek

[AF] = Audrea Fink

[JH] = Julie Holton

[00:00:00] [KJ] You want to stand out. You know you need to write an attractive summary on LinkedIn to grab people, but you don’t have a ton of experience, or you have way too much experience. How much do you include? Do you even include it all? So Where do you even start? How do you write to attract hiring managers, investors, nonprofits looking for board members? We’re helping you out in today’s Think Tank of Three.

[00:00:27] [INTRO]

[00:01:00] [KJ] So you might be on LinkedIn but your profile isn’t the best. Or you’re not even on LinkedIn yet; you have this resume that you send out digitally in an email attachment and you send that out when needed, but you haven’t put yourself out there on LinkedIn yet. We have some advice before you miss out on your dream job. Kathryn Janicek here with your other two hosts, as always, Audrea Fink and Julie Holton. Hello!

[00:01:24] [JH] Hey ladies!

[00:01:26] [AF] Heyyy!

[00:01:26] [KJ] Julie, Audrea. I’m sure you feel the same way: I’m always really surprised when I’m hiring or coaching people at the shape of their LinkedIn profiles. You know, you’ve hired people; you’ve hired interns, you’ve hired employees; have you seen some big misses on their resumes? Maybe we should start with like talking about the big misses that you might have seen on LinkedIn specifically.

[00:01:46] [JH] The first big miss is to not even be on LinkedIn. Especially as the owner of a marketing agency, when I have someone who’s applying for a job in marketing, they need to be marketing themselves on LinkedIn. But the same is true across all industries, really. People want to be able to do research and so you have to be able to be found.

[00:02:04] [AF] When I was hiring for sales professionals, or even now in my current role where I’m looking at attorney bios and attorney LinkedIn profiles as they’re coming into our firm, I think a weak profile is almost as bad as not being findable at all. What I want to see is that headline. Be really specific and descriptive of who you are and what you’re trying to get done.

[00:02:25] [JH] And forget about titles! I mean when we talk about the headline- So if you want to talk about people who: you have a LinkedIn profile, you feel like it’s in pretty good shape; look back at that headline. What does it say? Is it the title of your current position? Is it the name of your company? Does It really talk about you? Or does it just talk about the role that you’re currently in? I like to tell my clients to get rid of that headline. People don’t necessarily need to know like “executive director.” They want to know exactly what that means, what that entails. What are your skills? What do you do on a daily basis? And not just about you, but what are you helping your clients to do if that’s the role you’re in? So for instance, and I’m not saying this is perfect by any means, in fact ladies you can critique afterwards, but instead of saying owner and principal strategist of M-Connections, mine says that I turn marketing strategy into solutions with a focus on digital marketing, business development, and client experience. So I try to wrap in, like, I take strategy to solutions and here’s how I do it. That is what I do. It’s not just being an owner, or being a strategist; it’s a description of what I can do for my clients.

[00:03:31] [KJ] I think that’s a great title!

[00:03:32] [AF] Well it’s also important that you’re your headline isn’t just like buzzwords, right? It’s got to really be digging into the heart and core of what you can do for someone who’s looking to hire you either, you know, as an employee or as a consultant. You have to really show people where your passion is and what you’re capable of accomplishing.

[00:03:54] [KJ] Absolutely. And Julie going back to you, you know you are a marketing expert. You own your own digital marketing company, marketing company. Is there one overall thing that you’ve seen that can make a huge difference on someone’s digital resumé on their LinkedIn?

[00:04:09] [JH] Absolutely. I mean first of all you want to look at your LinkedIn profile as if it’s a resumé. What is the message that you’re conveying to people? What are the words that you’re using? What is the image you’re giving with the photo you have? I think one thing that’s really notable for me, even when people think that they have it all put together in this nice package with a bow, they’re leaving things out because we don’t want to seem like we’re bragging. Most people don’t want to seem like they’re bragging, but that’s exactly what LinkedIn is for. You’re not necessarily bragging, because it’s how you’re talking about things, but list all of your awards and list all of the relevant work experience that you have. List the big projects, with links, with examples. If you do graphic design work, if you had some graphic design work incorporated into a big project that you were working on, include that. Include those visuals, whether it’s any kind of media, whether it’s pictures, or videos, or links to other things; include that so that people can actually see what it is that you’ve done, so they can see what it is that you’re looking to do in the future. And oftentimes we think of this as bragging or a way of displaying our ego, and we need to really get out of that mindset because we’re not bragging. We’re sharing: here’s what we’ve done, here’s what we’re looking to do, here’s what excites us about the world, and about business. And so I’d look at it that way. You’re not really bragging–besides, that is exactly what this platform is for. It’s just a living, breathing resumé.

[00:05:37] [AF] You know, I think that’s great to talk about shifting the mindset. So, bragging, especially I think for women, right, we are taught to be deferential and quiet. You don’t really put yourself out there. You don’t self promote. This isn’t about bragging empty brags. It’s really about talking about your accomplishments. If I’m hiring someone I don’t want someone who says, “Well I helped out on a project, and this project was greatly successful, and I was part of a team.” I want to hear like what you did on that team, how you lead it, how you accomplished it. Don’t get me wrong, I want team players, but I want someone who knows how to talk about their accomplishments, talk about their successes, because chances are I’m gonna need them to be able to articulate that in this role. So let’s shift that mindset. It’s not about bragging, it’s about really articulating your accomplishments and your successes in a way that makes it very easy for someone to look at you and understand what you’re capable of doing.

[00:06:36] [KJ] We talked about some of the differences that happen when it just comes between men and women; the gender differences here. Have you seen differences between men and women? Because I certainly have.

[00:06:47] [JH] We just posted an hour on our, Facebook group, our private group, for Think Tank of Three, this study that came out. wrote this article saying that women are more likely to feel comfortable promoting others than they are themselves. That personal branding though, is so important! So women why are we–why is it easier for us to talk about someone else than it is about ourselves? And so that article is– look it up, it’s on our Facebook page. It details this science and the psychology behind why women tend to feel less comfortable. Women tend to feel, according to this article, that self promotion is risky. And the thing is maybe it is. But, if you’re being authentic, if you’re consistent in your message, and it’s relevant to the work that you’re doing, you should feel confident in the message that you’re giving.

[00:07:44] [AF] This ties back so nicely to the podcast with Dr. Dorian Hunter where she talked about imposter syndrome and sort of like the activities you can take. I think women frequently don’t feel like they can promote themselves because maybe they aren’t confident that they are as awesome as as they are. So even though I know I’m competent, or kickass, even, at my role, I might not feel comfortable promoting that I’m that kickass. And I think this is a real weak spot for women. And I hate to say that–but we’re taught to be differential; we’re taught to be less boastful, and less articulate or aggressive with sharing our successes. And I think this LinkedIn profile is the place where we really need to to start stepping it up.

[00:08:35] [JH] And here’s an idea women: let’s support each other. We support each other when something big happens, so lean on your tribe. You know, even your LinkedIn tribe! You’ve got these connections who are–you know, when we post things about Think Tank of Three, we always have these go-to people who are reading and commenting and sharing and liking, and it’s awesome, and women that’s what we need to be doing for each other, is tweeting out these wins and sharing these successes with each other, and then promoting each other’s successes. That way it does start to feel less like we’re bragging about ourselves or promoting our own agenda, and it’s more like we’re sharing with those who are closest to us and they’re sharing right back.

[00:09:20] [KJ] Perfect. Yeah I agree, and then you know, I don’t know if there’s–if you have an issue, if like this is something that you’ve noticed or someone’s giving you feedback that maybe you shouldn’t be doing this, please comment in our private group. We have a private group! Maybe you just want someone to be the second set of eyes. Post your LinkedIn there, because someone, when they have time, you know, whether it’s that day or the next day, maybe someone can give you that advice that you’re looking for. Just having another female look at it, second set of eyes, because just like Julie said, we women especially we’re much better at writing for other people and boosting other people up, or telling other people like, “Gosh you really should talk about this!” than knowing our own value and our own worth, and then being able to write that in a profile.

[00:10:12] [AF] I love that idea.

[00:10:13] [KJ] So go ahead, and if you have a LinkedIn that you want to plug in to the private group, or the public group, it doesn’t matter; someone will take a look and see, you know. Just like a thumbs up, “Yep this is good,” or, “Go, go further!” Maybe you just need that. Maybe you need someone just kind of rooting you on.

[00:10:32] [AF] I would love to see people post into our group and post their LinkedIn. Let’s go ahead and stick it in there, and then be really specific like what kind of feedback do you want? Do you want to know if your picture looks silly? Do You want to know if this is compelling? I would love to help with that. That’s a brilliant idea.

[00:10:49] [JH] Kathryn I’d love to hear from you too. You work with people on more of a one on one basis as they’re working to leverage their personal branding. So what are some of the things that you hear, some feedback you get from your clients about LinkedIn?

[00:11:03] [KJ] Yeah, I work with the younger and the older, and middle of the ground. But what’s nice is I see a wide variety. One person I’m working with right now hasn’t even graduated college, but for example, his father hired me to help him get an internship that will turn into a job. He is very concerned, he wants to make sure. So we’re working at interviewing, but part of it was I wanted to look at his LinkedIn and make sure–he was missing big chunks like great internships that went along with the kind of job that he’s looking for. So missing those things and not thinking, you know, how did you make a difference in that internship? What was your the impact that you left behind? So I don’t care how much experience you have, even if we’re just talking about two internships in college, you have to make sure that that description really shows what impact you made. And for example I’ve got someone who’s an–I don’t know if he’s in a 60s or 70s but–you know, I’ll get some people who’ll say, “Well I’m too old for LinkedIn, I’m not looking for a job,” but you might not even be looking for a job. You might own a very successful company, but you’re looking for now, maybe, a board position in a nonprofit to give back. You have to have something digitally to show people your vast experience without overwhelming them. Making sure that it’s very specific to what you’re looking for. So, for example for this gentleman I’m working with, I’m rewriting his LinkedIn to make sure that he looks like the expert he is, that he will look like the right person they’re looking for to be on a very prominent board here in the United States. So you want to whittle down that 40 years of experience, and show you’re not looking for a job, but showing that you have this worth, this use for an amazing nonprofit. And like I said, it runs the gamut. You could be in your 60s, 70s, but still you need that digital profile to be amazing, just like when you’re 20 or 21. But there’s two different uses there, right? I Just want to reiterate what Julie said: it’s so important to use that title on LinkedIn and use it to your benefit and not just mention what your current job is. It could be that you’re looking for a high profile nonprofit to share my experience with, or whatever it is. Whatever it is that you’re looking for, or somebody that sums up without just being like Julie said. She’s not going to put maybe “owner of a marketing firm,” she gave you an example of a beautiful title that really shows her worth or value. And the second thing is really focusing on your summary. Some people just kind of put a list there they just kind of put you know; I know I’ve been guilty about it, you’re just kind of put like “three Emmys, two associates, two AP awards,” and you end up putting this list, but people really want a story. This is your one place to kind of tell a story. Wrap up that 20 years of experience, wrap up that five years of experience, tell people, illustrate, show them why you’re the expert. Stay away from lists there. You can do that underneath your job titles. Don’t do that in your summary.

[00:14:10] [AF] I agree. This is your space to be really strategic with your title, with your summary. Tell that story, but tell the story that you really, really want out there. Don’t just tell the story of your life.

[00:14:23] [JH] Exactly. Be strategic, but be obvious. We also don’t know how quickly you’re going to lose your audience. You know, when I worked in news and Kathryn worked in news, we would always say don’t bury the lead, you know get to it right out of the gate. You want to really hook people in the beginning. Well the way you hook someone on LinkedIn is by being obvious. They don’t want to try and read between the lines, or figure out in your flowery writing like what it is you’re trying to say. Be very specific. Also, I get a lot of questions about, “Should I be listing general information, or do I really need to focus in on my niche?” And that’s probably a topic for an entire podcast, niche versus general, but here’s what I’ll say about it: Who are you looking to attract? Are you looking for just general branding? Then you might go a little more general. You might want that wider reach, cast that big net. But if you’re really looking for, say, a specific type of client, or a specific board position that you have in mind, or something specific, then you need to be specific. When I worked at a law firm as the marketing director, I often would come across bios, or you know the summaries on LinkedIn, or just a LinkedIn; case listings, you know you’re listing different examples of work; and it would just be all over the place. There was a couple people in particular where you know it’s like one very specific type of law, and then a very different type of law would be the next case, and when you start to look like a jack of all trades it can backfire on you because the client you were looking for, say, in family law is going to read that you’re working on environmental law and think like, “Well how is that person with that expertise going to be able to help me in this very specific child custody case?” or something like that that’s going on. And so, you want to make sure that you’re not turning your audience away by being too general. So, the last thing I’ll say too about about being obvious is don’t be afraid to bullet point your skill set. So, of course, with your summary you want to have those lines listed as Kathryn said, you know, you don’t just want like some bullet points right out of the gate there. You want to talk about it, you want to show your writing skills, show a little flair there, but after you give that introduction paragraph or two, don’t be afraid to say that, “I have experience in X Y and Z,” and, “I can work in these computer programs,” or whatever it is that your skills are that set you apart from others in your industry, or maybe other competitors, list them out.

[00:16:51] [AF] I think, also, as you’re going through this profile and you’re going through your different levels of experience, or different experience spaces, really be current. I think I see this a lot also in professional services working with lawyers. You know, “I started working environmental and then I shifted to other expertise in law.” We’ve all done it. The three of us have all done it, where we started in one career, and we’ve shifted, and we’ve moved into a different role. When you shift,you need to make sure that shift is obvious. You need to make sure that shift is current. And then, it might sound really simple, but, every couple of months, you should be going into your profile and looking it over and making sure that you are up to date. Make sure that your contact information and your credentials are all up to date and that they’re pretty consistent. So if I’m looking for your LinkedIn, it should also have your website bio if you have it; it should also have your phone number, or your email, if you want people contacting you through LinkedIn, include it there. You don’t have to include those things, but make sure that wherever you include it online, it’s consistent so people are finding you, and refresh that. This includes your photo. I cannot emphasize the importance of a photo enough. Please update it every couple of years. Your hair changes, your face changes, how you hold yourself changes, your role changes. You know, you don’t have to have an ever-revolving headshot, but you absolutely need to not look 20 years younger in your photo, so that when your client meets you, they’re like, “Who is this person? I don’t even recognize you.”

[00:18:31] [JH] When I was at the law firm, quick side note story about photos, when I first got there, it became very quickly apparent that they had not had their headshots taken in maybe a decade or two. And so I mean, busy, busy people, and headshots just fall to the wayside. Like, they’re getting the work done right? Like, “It doesn’t it doesn’t matter what my headshot looks like!” Well, yes, yes it does. And so we went through this big undertaking to schedule this out, and you know, we had to take some offices and turn them into a photo studio to have the headshots done onsite to make it easier. And this took some time to get it done. And it was just–for me as the marketing director, it was a headache, only because it dominated my time. It’s like, let’s just get this done and move on, right? Well let me tell you, it was so worth the work, because right after those headshots went on the website, went on everyone’s LinkedIn pages, an attorney called me and said that he had actually just been hired and I quote, “…because he looked trustworthy in his photo.” Like literally, the client hired him over someone else because he looked at this photo, and, you know, we can talk about all of the great qualities of a photo, but, he looked at this photo and just felt like it was someone he could connect with. And so that includes your LinkedIn profile photos. They must be current.

[00:19:53] [AF] Yes!

[00:19:54] [JH] They can’t be from the 80s or 90s. They have to show you.

[00:19:56] [AF] Agreed. And they should match, too, on a regular basis. I talk to attorneys about, does your LinkedIn photo match your website bio; match, you know, another prominent space where you send your headshot? If you have a speaking engagement, or if you’re in a brochure for a conference, that should all match and also be current, and the reason is: you want people to be able to see you, and identify you, and recognize you. And part of that is your branding, is your headshot. So it’s really important to do that. The other reason it’s important to keep your profile current is if you’re shifting. So if you’re shifting your career or your focus, you really want to make sure that the niche that you’re going for is the content on your LinkedIn versus the general, you know, Julie mentioned a little bit. People tend to hire experts. They don’t hire jack of all trades. If it’s something that anyone can do, then I can probably do it myself. If it’s something that no one else can do, that’s when I’m gonna hire someone. So again, it is a topic for a totally different podcast. But as you’re looking at your LinkedIn, think about where you are in your career right now and what’s the next step. Are you brand new, and so you want to get somewhere (in which case your your focus should be where you’re going to go)? Are you in your career and solid, and you want to develop where you’re at? Or if you’re at the end of your career, and you’re looking to maybe get on a board or invest your time in a non-profit, then that’s to be the focus of your LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn is not a stationary site. It is an ever-evolving, changing, and updating resumé. And while that can be daunting and time consuming, it also is one of the best ways to let people know what is important to you and what you can accomplish for them.

[00:21:45] What do you think about people who post in their title: looking for work, or seeking opportunities in the industry? What are your thoughts when you see that? I’m very curious. I’m putting you on the spot. We did not talk about this.

[00:22:01] [AF] I am torn on it. While I love the honesty in “looking for new opportunities,” that doesn’t really tell me what you’re good at. There are settings in LinkedIn that will tell LinkedIn that you’re open for new positions, and you should be networking and using your network if you’re looking for a new job. I think for me, I would prefer to see someone talk about what they want to do versus “looking for opportunities.” I’m open to opportunities, right? Like if something magical fell into my lap/ I would absolutely consider it. You should never stop looking for the next right place for yourself. However, I want to know what that is. So don’t tell me that you’re looking for opportunities. Tell me what you’re looking for. “I’m interested in being a coach.” “I’m interested in being a sales manager.” “Sales manager in training” or, you know, “actively passionate about working on a nonprofit board.” I don’t know, those are really horrible examples so hopefully Kathryn you’ve got better examples for them.

[00:23:12] [KJ] I just think that’s something that you have personal conversations about. I’d be irritated if I was your boss. You’re in your current job but you’re actively looking for more opportunities. That really should be something that you’re doing the work, and you’re reaching out to people, and you’re emailing them, or your calling them, or sending them an email. If you’re completely out of work, I get it, and that’s something that you want to put up there. There’s a little bit of desperation there. If you were a client of mine I would say, first of all, you always network while you’re still on a job. You’re constantly looking for the next job before it’s too late. That’s number one, a lot of people don’t do that. They think it’s wrong for some reason. But this isn’t your husband, it’s not your wife, it’s not your family–your company could let you go at any time. So you’re constantly building those relationships and looking for that next opportunity while you’re in that job. So the only time that I would think that you would put that up there is if you’re already out of a job; which you should have been looking for the next thing while you were in in the job.

[00:24:20] [AF] And even if you’re out of a job, again, there are places you can explain that to a potential employer or potential client. I don’t need to know that as you’re LinkedIn. When I look at your LinkedIn, I just want to know what you’re here for. Start with that. Then in your summary, you know, you can talk about where your skill sets are. And then maybe, if you’re out of work, and you want to let people know that you’re looking for opportunities, put that as a job. Put, “currently unemployed and here’s why,” if you really need it, but you don’t need it. Those are those are conversations you’ll have when you’re going through that process of getting hired. I say cut it out.

[00:24:59] [JH] I completely agree. I wanted to hear from you, because I see it so often and every single time, unfortunately, I just think like, my heart kind of sinks, like; it just looks so desperate, that I think if you’re putting that in your title, you must be in maybe a bad place that you’re really like putting it out there for everyone to see. Audrea, you mentioned a really great point. LinkedIn has amazing tools when you are open to opportunities. Go in there, check the box that lets recruiters contact you, check the box that lets people who are looking, who are opening jobs positions that are in your line of work, you will show up as options for them whether you’ve applied for that position or not, through LinkedIn. There are tools that LinkedIn has that lets the right people know that you’re open to opportunities without you signaling to everyone and maybe perhaps sending the wrong message. But, just wanted to ask you guys because I do see that so often and every time I think I just want to tell that person don’t put that there.

[00:26:00] [KJ] Yeah that’s a good really good point. Here’s another one. Don’t be willy nilly with your words. Make sure that you are being very clear that these are the things that you achieved; this the impact you made. Words like, trying, attempting, or attempted, or hoping, or–.

[00:26:17] [AF] “Seeking opportunities!”.

[00:26:21] [KJ] You’re right, “seeking opportunities” instead of “landed this opportunity,” right, whatever it is. But–use active words. Just like I would tell any sales person making sure that you’re saying you exceeded all sales quotas by hundred and fifteen percent, or met and exceeded all sales quotas; put numbers in there; show your next employer the value that you’re brought to your former employers. Tell the audience what you accomplished, how you raised donations by 30 percent in six months, how you exceeded all sales quotas, how you brought on 20 new clients, whatever it is in your first 30 days, but make sure you use super active words in your LinkedIn and your resume.

[00:27:11] [AF] Absolutely. Also be engaged. Just like any other marketing, the more you’re connected, the better it is for you. So if you’ve written anything, even if it’s something small, put it on your LinkedIn, link to it. If you have a blog, make sure you’re linking to it. If you have something that’s a professional article that you’ve posted somewhere, post it on LinkedIn Puls,e because then your entire network gets an update saying, “By the way this post is live.” So you really can increase your web presence and build your audience if you’re actively engaged online. LinkedIn is such an easy platform to be engaged. I know I probably spend 5 to 10 minutes every morning going through, liking articles from my colleagues, posting stuff that I think is relevant, or sharing stuff that I think is relevant. And again, be engaged, but also keep in mind this is a professional space. This is not for you to talk about like what you had for lunch yesterday, unless you happen to be a food critic in which case then it’s appropriate. So, really, be engaged in this platform. It’s an easy platform to be engaged in, and the more you follow topics that are relevant for you and your professional career, the more the algorithm in LinkedIn will change, and it will show you articles that are relevant for you. Which means that you are connected in your industry, you’re connected in your space. And then the other thing is, make sure you’re easy to contact. Make sure contact information, however it’s comfortable for you, is clearly posted. Don’t make your potential employers, or your potential business contacts, or your potential networking opportunities work to find you. Make it super easy for them to reach out to you.

[00:28:49] [JH] Be consistent. I consistently say this in every podcast or blog about everything! Be. Consistent. Take the time to make sure that your grammar is correct, that your tone and message are consistent; and not just on your LinkedIn profile, but across all of the platforms that you’re using. Don’t say one thing on LinkedIn, and another on your website, and another someplace else. Just like we talked about earlier, with the photos and images we use, be consistent. Be consistent about the information, be consistent about how your name appears, that the information’s updated, that it’s correct. Right? Keep it updated and make sure it matches your other profile. So again, be consistent.

[00:29:33] [KJ] Great. Great. I think there was a ton of good value in this podcast today. I’m really excited about this. I cannot wait to hear your feedback when you actually listen to this. And you know when we post this and we put it up on Think Tank of Three’s Facebook page and you’re listening to it there, can you please let us know if this hit the mark, if this was helpful to you? If this had value; if it did, please share it, you know, share it on your LinkedIn profile. Share it on your Facebook page, share it wherever you are on social media, because, we would love to help more people just like you. Because you know, you’re in a specific place in your career. We would love to help more people who are in the same space, and in other spaces in their career, whether they’re in their 20s 30s 40s 50s 60s or 70s . We all need to use LinkedIn in a very specific way. So, I hope you join us as we continue this conversation online, definitely go to We blog weekly; subscribe there, and you’re going to get an email alerting you to when the next podcast or blog is up. You can also find us on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter consistently as Think Tank of Three. Be sure to also to join our private group as we’ve referred to it. Join our private group. Put up your LinkedIn profile. I would love to see that link. Also if you just want to pop up your picture, like say, “I was considering putting this picture up,” and tell us what you do for a living. So we will see, and immediately we’ll like it or we’ll say, you know, we’ll tell you why maybe it might not hit the mark. We are definitely giving advice freely there, so are other people, so make sure to join that private group. You can look for the group in the community section of our Facebook page at Think Tank of Three, and then also if you have any questions or topics to discuss, send us a message at

Thanks for joining us!

[00:31:29] [OUTRO]