LinkedIn Summary vs. LinkedIn Experience Sections

March 29th, 2016

I got this question from Derek, who saw my LinkedIn Optimization course on Pluralsight (which you can get access to for free… read below):

“I just completed the course on LinkedIn Profile Optimization and feel that I have a strong above the fold profile which the video was mainly focused on.

The video didn’t focus on the experience section and what to write based off what you did at the company. You touched on writing mini stories for the summary and experience sections, I am not sure writing only mini stories will give the best overall picture in the experience section. Do you have another video on pluralsight that helps enhance the content for the experience section?”

This is a great question. After doing group trainings and one-on-one consultations for years, I feel like my “best answer” is jelling pretty good. Of course, there are exceptions, but in 99% of the one-on-one consultations I do, and the Profile critiques I’ve done, the answer below will be appropriate.

It’s critical to think about the LinkedIn Profile as one single marketing document.  If you break up the sections of the Profile, and think about them as a critical reader (recruiter, hiring manager, prospective funder, partner, prospect, customer, etc.) might, you could probably guess that some parts are more important than others.  For example, your Professional Headline is not only at the top, but it’s a part of your “mini profile,” and seen in other places on LinkedIn (other than your Profile page). On the other hand, the best way to contact me, or the seeking sections, are largely ignored (by design, because they are so far down the Profile).

If we think about the Profile as a single marketing document, the question is, what is the single message of the document?  I am now counseling my consultation customers to have that single message communicated in a concise and clean way in the Professional Headline.  This is what I call your “main claim,” or your primary claim.  Then, your Summary has five to seven secondary claims, ALL OF THEM SUPPORTING THE MAIN CLAIM.  These can be communicated in various ways, my favorite of which is the mini-stories.

You can see all of this in action in my LinkedIn Profile Optimization course on Pluralsight for free.  How?  JibberJobber users get a free 30 day pass to Pluralsight, which means you can watch this, and dozens of my other courses (including the LinkedIn Proactive Strategies course), during your 30 day window.  Click here to see how you can have access within a 60 seconds – no credit card required.

Okay, so in the Pluralsight course, it’s clear how to position the secondary claims and make your Summary much better than the status quo.  Derek gets that, but wonders what to do in the Experience section, which some people call the job description – the parts in each of the jobs you list in your Profile. This really isn’t a job description, although some people treat it that way. I suggest you make this more about YOU and less about the job.

How do you do that?

I think the best way is to use the exact same strategy as what you used in the Summary section. That is, secondary claims (that all support the primary claim in the Professional Headline), with mini-stories that (a) present the claim, (b) give a “for example,” and (c) quantify the results.

Mini-stories are SO powerful. When you align them with your primary claim, you give further evidence and support that your primary claim is valid, and that you are focused and understand your value.

What I normally see is resume-like statements that are super concise, and super dry and boring. Worse, they look cliche. They look like what anyone else would write that has your same job history, and is making the same claims, and is looking for the same job you are looking for.

Okay, you think, maybe that’s not so bad.  To be honest with you, having resume-speak on your Profile is better than the weak, non-information that I see on too many Profiles. So kudos for having anything that helps me understand you more.

But what I’d rather see you have in your “experience” sections are mini-stories that each (a) make a claim, (b) give me a meaty for-example, and (c) tell me why it matters (ie, the quantification)… this is what we accomplish with mini-stories, and (d) support the primary claim. This last part is important so the reader doesn’t get sidetracked by irrelevant information.

That’s my recommendation… from the summary all the way down through the Experience section… claims, quantification, and alignment.

Do you have a different idea? Leave a comment and let us know!

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How To Marry Excel and Word for Mass Letters

March 28th, 2016

I did this many, many moons ago. It takes a little bit of work, but not too much. If you want to send mass letters that look customized (based on the name of the recipient), here’s how you do it: How to use Microsoft Excel and Word to send multiple emails.

This post was written in 2009 by Walt Feigenson, a friend in the Silicon Valley area. We met when I was in town a few years back, speaking at some job clubs, and the last time I saw him was at his house for dinner (on a different trip).  The stories he has of the history of software, which he was involved with, are awesome.

And this merge technique, which might feel a little dated, is really quite powerful.  YMMV, based on editions of Word/Excel… if yours doesn’t work the way he describes, figure it out and let me know in the comments what is different :) (that is a tactful way of saying: I’m not tech support for this tactic – good luck :))

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21 Surprising Ways To Waste Time In Your Job Search #FavoriteFriday

March 25th, 2016

Almost a year ago I wrote 21 Surprising Ways To Waste Time In Your Job Search.  As I look over the list, each point is as relevant today as it was then.

Don’t cheat your job search.  Don’t rationalize that you need to veg, chill, or recharge, when you are really just avoiding the hard work that needs to get done.

Check out the list (it’s a quick read), and then get on to the work that you really need to do today!


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6 Great Tech Tools for Job Seekers (from

March 24th, 2016 included JibberJobber in their list of great tech tools for job seekers. Check out the paragraph or two on each of these tools at Next-Level Job Search: 6 Great Tech Tools for Job Seekers.

  1. LearnUp. Job skills training, career coaching, automatic interview scheduling for entry-level job seekers.
  2. Analyzes job descriptions and your resume to tell you how they stack up. Free for up to 5 matches, about $90/year for more. JibberJobber has some of this functionality (read here), but jobscan is very cool and more comprehensive then our version 1 attempt.
  3. Page Monitor. Tells you when something on a website has changed. Personally, I would suggest you forego checking page changes at this degree and just go out and network.
  4. SnapDat. Allows you to exchange contact info from one iphone to another. I can’t figure out how to find it in the store, though…
  5. Put together a wish list of your ideal job… and then they send you jobs/companies that match.  Very cool concept… I have never heard of them, though.
  6. JibberJobber. For obvious reason, this is a tech tool I can stand behind! :)

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How To Network Like a Veteran

March 23rd, 2016

Here’s a great post by Chad Storlie on Every Veteran Hired: 10 Steps to Networking Success: An Easy (and Effective) Strategy

You may not be military-trained, but that shouldn’t stop you from understanding and following the 10 steps. This is more than a cute article with some cute ideas… I strongly urge you to follow each of the steps, in order.

Except, of course, Step 5, which says to use a spreadsheet for your contacts. Obviously you would use JibberJobber.  You can start with a spreadsheet, but as you network more you’ll find the spreadsheet becomes a rats nest of information, and soon it becomes unusable.

Check it out!


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Fear the Phone!

March 21st, 2016

My friend Alison Doyle, author at the Job Search channel at, shared this on Facebook over the weekend:


I love this.  I’m don’t always feel this way, but there are some calls that I dread. As I’ve thought about calls for job seekers, and now calls for JibberJobber sales, I’ve wondered if the reason we dread making calls is because of the fear of personal rejection. If they don’t want what we have to offer, we take it personally.

Whatever the reason is, let me suggest a great strategy for working through (rather than getting over) your fear of making phone calls. It is:

Pick up the phone, dial the number, and when they answer, have a conversation and ask your question (or, state why you are calling).

That’s it.  Just START.

Years ago I wrote about the “chicken list.” The idea is that you have a list of people you are scared to contact… and they never get scratched off of your list… this nags at you day after day, week after week.  I challenged you go just CALL the person on your list and get it over with, so you can scratch them off.

Need some motivation?  Check out these posts:

Get Out Your Chicken List And Make A Call

Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List!

The Chicken List Smackdown Video: Just Place The Call

Job Search Chicken List: It’s Monday! Call someone!

I triple-dog dare you to pick up the phone TODAY

And here’s the benefit/bonus post:

Self-Control leads to Self-Confidence

Cross the person off the list… make the call… conquer this fear… and your self confidence will grow.  I’ve done it, and I continue to do it, and it works!



DISC Assessements, Your Personality, The Right Fit Job

March 18th, 2016

The fine folks at JaneCo’s Sensible Solutions, who also run ProfilingPro, have offered their DISC assessment services to you.

You may have heard of DISC… it is a “behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory… which centers on four different behavioral traits, which… are…: dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance.” That is from wikipedia.

You’ve surely heard of the Myers-Briggs and other personality assessment tools… DISC is one that has caught on in the workplace. Here is a great write-up about DISC vs. StrengthsFinder: Compare Clifton StrengthsFinder and DISC.  Personally, I think that these are all helpful tools, and the more you learn about yourself, the more prepared you are to communicate your strengths and gravitate towards a rewarding role that you are inclined to succeed in.

While your report from the assessment process is easy to read, easy to understand and therefore, easy to apply the information, JaneCo’s ProfilingPro team takes your DISC results and helps you make sense of them, and figure out how to position yourself for your next role. There are different versions of the reports. Do you need word choices for resume development, branding, professional bios, and other personal marketing materials? There’s a Resume and Cover Letter DISCstyles version for that. In fact, it’s even great for interview preparation. If this is what you need, get started here.

Are you changing careers? You can select the version that goes beyond the Resume and Cover Letter report and get the comprehensive Career Management Report. The Career Management Report will give you all the same as the Resume and Cover Letter version, PLUS, it will even list actual job titles and specific occupational codes that match your style preferences. Either version can be used for interview prep and professional development. If you need help with your career path, order this version here.

Here is some helpful information:


Research suggests that 50-80 percent of all employed adults are in the wrong job or career. The Career Management Report helps you make career decisions and plan your changes by clarifying the job expectations, identifying the reasons for any inner conflict, revealing stressors experienced in your past or present jobs and in analyzing your perception of your “ideal job.”


Based on your responses, the Career Management Report will provide an understanding of your work style and identify the basic natural behaviors that you bring to the job. The report will also identify your special talents and value to the organization.


The needs and wants section of the Career Management Report will indicate what behavioral needs must be met for performance at an optimum level. You will learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. By understanding those weaknesses that may be hindering performance, you can develop an action plan to manage, mitigate or reduce them.


This section of the Career Management Report compares your perception of your ideal environment with the environment best suited for your inherent traits. By identifying your ideal work environment, your report will identify specific duties and responsibilities that you enjoy and will also make you aware of those that create frustration. It will list how the job requires you to respond to problems and challenges, influence others, deal with
activity levels, respond to rules set by others and accommodate quality expectations.


  • Understanding your natural behavioral style
  • Determining your best role in the organization and capitalizing on your unique value to secure it
  • Knowing behaviors necessary for job success
  • Discovering job titles most appropriate for your behavioral style including specific instructions to get all the necessary details on the job titles to be sure the job matches your personal criteria. (education, location, salary, job growth potential, etc.)
  • Understanding how to respond to everyday challenges in your specific work environment

Are you interested? The cost for the DISC – RESUME is $79 (we are an affiliate). You can take the Resume and Cover Letter DISC DISC assessment here,  and then you’ll get your report emailed directly to you.

If you need career direction, it is just $125.00. Get started here.

I’d love to hear what your experiences are, and what the value you get its.  Please drop me a note through the Contact page.

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JibberJobber Apps: iOS and Android Now Available

March 17th, 2016

Filed in “it’s about time!”, we are finally announcing the version 1 apps for Android and iOS.  That’s right, we now got our coveted app buttons (click either of these, they work):




Please send us your feedback so we can improve the next few versions. We’ll be working on this the rest of this year (probably the rest of forever) to make these powerful tools for you and your career.

I’d also appreciate any honest ratings in the stores, but if you feel like you should give us a low rating, I’d rather have you not do that and just message us to let us know why, so we can fix it.  Otherwise, people look at low ratings and think “THEY SUCK!” while it’s just stuff we need to improve on.  If you tell us, we’ll work on it.


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New Course, New Incentive (share this)

March 16th, 2016

I just shared this on my LinkedIn Groups:

Pluralsight just published my latest course: How to Speak to Business Leaders. The link is below.

I’m trying something new… instead of just one week of JibberJobber premium for watching this course, for the next two weeks, I’ll give you two weeks of JibberJobber premium. This is still on the honor system… all you do is turn on the Tracker, and click the “viewed” button twice (and you’ll get 14 days added to your JibberJobber account).

Take advantage of this special once, you get 14 days. Do it twice, you get almost a month. Do it 10 times, you get 140 days. The math is simple. I doubt you can listen to this course 10 times (lest you might go crazy hearing me talk about the same thing too much!) so check out any of the other 27 courses I have published – each of them gives you one week of Premium each time you watch it. Questions? Let me know.

To access the course FOR FREE, turn click this first link to turn on the tracker – it walks you through the 45 seconds it takes to set up a free 30 day Pluralsight account (no credit card required, no bait and switch!), and then you have access to all of my courses…

Turn on the tracker:

The new course:

All of my courses:

Feel free to share this with anyone and everyone, thank you!

Jason Alba
CEO of
Pluralsight Author

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Cover Letters Are About Preference: Here’s Mine

March 15th, 2016

Since announcing my contract sales positions on LinkedIn, Facebook, and this blog, I’ve gotten a number of emails. Some of them ask for more information. Others include a resume.  Not many include what has historically been called a “cover letter.”  “Experts” have poo-pooed the cover letters for years, causing job seekers to wonder “should I include a cover letter?”

Here’s a recent post citing a hiring manager at Bain on cover letters, which he says are NOT OPTIONAL.

My experience is this: I honestly have no idea if you are doing the “spray and pray” method of job search, if you are really interested in doing sales, or if you are going to give this an honest effort.

The lesson learned, for me, is that cover letters are ESSENTIAL.  I want to know that I’m not just a number, and that you read up on the opportunity and that you know something about JibberJobber.  Bonus, of course, if you are a JibberJobber user.

If you send me an email with just a resume, I don’t have much to go on.  You are asking me to sift through all kinds of data and draw a conclusion that amounts to “this person would be great for this job!”   Don’t make me sift, and don’t make me draw conclusions… give me, in your cover letter, helpful information, such as:

  • that you think you are qualified for the job, because ________.  I was talking to a recruiter who said that 80% of the applications he got (which was over 10,000 a month) were NOT QUALIFIED.  Come on people… we are better than that.  Want to stand out, and be part of the 20% the recruiter wants to seriously look at?  Tell the recruiter or hiring manager that, and why, you are qualified.
  • That you are interested in this job, and think you could excel at it, and why. Are you self-motivated? A hard worker? Driven by a commission-based compensation model, which means you have unlimited earning potential?  Do you have lots of recruiter and HR contacts?  Have you done sales before, and you are ready to get a lot of “no” answers while you find the “yes” answers? Are you a relationship builder, and love to help people come to proper solutions?

Can you ask questions? Sure.  You can let me know that you have some questions, and you look forward to learning more.  We could do that on a phone interview, or you could email me your questions.  But realize that getting me on the phone is as valuable as getting a prospect on the phone… you want to start that relationship (and so do I).

Let’s get a little more personal, and have more of a human touch.  Please, please start sending this type of information as you apply.  For every recruiter that poo-poos the idea of a cover letter, realize that there is an inexperienced hiring manager looking at this stuff who really wants more than just your name and a resume, which somehow looks the same as the thirty other resumes they’ve just been given.


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