30 LinkedIn Tips: #26/30 – Use the past tense

30 short, useful, actionable LinkedIn tips in 30 days from Doctor David Petherick. #30by30 #TheDoctorisIn

#26/30: Use the past tense. Your previous experience is not your current experience.

  • Originally written: October 26, 2017
    Text & Images Updated: June 30, 2020

If you look at my profile, you'll see how I describe my past experience.

  • I describe it in the past tense. 'I worked'. Not ' I work'.

But when I look at LinkedIn Profiles, I see, over and over again, how past experience is still written in the present tense.

Old roles have never been updated.

  • For a position you left five years ago, you're saying “My role includes...”

So it sounds like you're still stuck in that past role. And you're not. But it looks and sounds to the outside world that you are.

All this is not what a potential customer, partner or recruiter wants to see. You look forgetful, at best, or worse, disorganised, and are literally living in the past.

So when you move on to another new role, and leave one behind, spend two minutes putting what was the present into the past. “My role included...”

  • And remember, the past is generally best summed up in a concise way, so think about paring down past roles. Get rid of irrelevant stuff - focus on your current role.

Go and sort it out now.

That's all.

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About David Petherick

Doctor David Petherick is In. David writes LinkedIn profiles for a living and offers online and in person 'surgery'. He makes your online presence visible, legible and credible. Follow David on Twitter at @petherick. Click mzs.es/free to book a free ten-minute call, zoom or skype with David today for confidential, impartial advice on how you can improve your LinkedIn Profile.