LinkedIn: Focus on Your Strengths

Having worked with hundreds of clients to improve their profiles, expand their networks, and leverage their connections, I have noticed that many people are nervous talking about their strengths. When we reach the summary section, skills section, or experience descriptions, many clients immediately cringe from my suggestion of expanding the verbiage to include more strengths.

Generally speaking, individuals fall into two camps: they either say they “don’t want to brag” or they “don’t have any strengths.” For those who don’t want to brag, my response is fairly simple: it isn’t bragging, it’s just being honest. To get found on LinkedIn, or indeed, to get found in a job search, you have to be willing to sell yourself. If you’re nervous about bragging on LinkedIn, take a deep breath and tell yourself “It’s not bragging, it’s just being honest.” If you’re worried you’ll come off sounding narcissistic, you can get a friend or family member to read your profile. They should be able to tell you honestly whether it sounds too self-absorbed.

As far as not having any strengths goes, I will say this: I have never met anyone who didn’t have some skills and strengths in their background. Many individuals who believe they don’t have any specific skills just haven’t thought about their background from an outside perspective. For those people, here are some tips:

  • Look at the competition. Go onto LinkedIn and search for leaders in your industry or position. Take a look at what they list as skills. If they are in the same industry or position as you, chances are there will be some overlap between their skills and yours. Things like “interpersonal skills,” “detail focus,” and “analytical thinking” are in high demand for many positions. Don’t think just because you can’t program in Python that you have no strengths!
  • Go back through old job descriptions. If you have copies of resumes you submitted or (even better) the job description you submitted your resume for, then you can look for the specific skill requirements you clearly met. Things that may not seem like strengths to you will have been listed as high priority skills on the job posting. You can borrow language straight from the job listing and tweak it to suit your career goals before using it on LinkedIn!
  • Get an outside perspective. You can talk to friends and family about what skills you have in your background. Starting off by asking, “I’m developing my LinkedIn profile, and I was wondering if you could help me identify some of my professional strengths?” It may sound a little dorky, but your friends and family have spent enough time with you that they can help you identify your strengths. If you are able to, it can be useful to talk to a professional career expert or career counselor, who can help you articulate those strengths even further.

LinkedIn profiles can be stressful to create simply because you are marketing yourself. From an internal perspective, it is difficult to identify strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes even harder to put those things in writing. But with the above tips, I hope you’ll be hitting the bullseye with your strengths sometime very soon!

Career Solutions Group specializes in helping career changers make successful, smooth job transitions. If you are looking for a professional to boost your job search, email us at We offer free initial consultations and have helped hundreds of job seekers find fulfilling positions.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group