Disclosing data on LinkedIn that could hurt your company or personal brand?
As an executive, your work probabaly improves your employer’s market position, profit, technology innovation, quality, or efficiency.
Your resume SHOULD tout these facts – but your LinkedIn Profile might be a different story.
When you’re building a LinkedIn presence to support your job search, you may need to limit what you disclose if it affects your company or co-workers, as noted by marketer Neal Shaffer.
Market competitors, investors, shareholders, Board members, colleagues, and bosses can all see the data you’ve added. Employers are increasingly monitoring this data, according to Harvard Business Review.
To avoid problems, here are some ways to “tone down” your LinkedIn Profile, while maintaining a strong public and professional brand:
Remove the metrics from some of your achievements.
Metrics in your resume are CRITICAL to demonstrating performance (see 6 & 7 Figure Resume Trends You Need to Know), but these same figures can land you in hot water online – especially if they cover projects not yet disclosed to investors or the public.
First, check to see if any details were already published by your company (perhaps in the News section of the website). Next, question whether this information would give market competitors an edge based on what you’re disclosing.
These steps will help you decide what, if any, data can be shared online.
Then, alter your achievements for LinkedIn by toning down facts to an overview level, as shown in these examples (each avoiding the use of dollar figures):
RESUME: “Closed $54M in solution sales across APAC and Canada.”
LINKEDIN: “Closed millions in international solution sales – a 19% improvement.”
RESUME: “Saved 6M+ OPEX in Year 1 of 5-year Mitigation initiative.”
LINKEDIN: “Trimmed 30% OPEX in rapid first stages of mitigation project.”
Question if the information would paint your colleagues in a bad light.
Executives who lead turnarounds or improvements often save the day by eliminating lingering problems. Yet, if you mention these problems, your predecessors or executive team might take umbrage and your professional network could be affected.
Instead of pointing directly at the root cause, try a different way to describe a turnaround, as in this example:
RESUME: “Reversed stagnating 4-year revenue at ABC Company with 32% more product SKUs generating 54% uptick in sales.”
LINKEDIN: “Added product SKUs and innovative offerings raising ABC Company revenue to pre-COVID levels.”
By focusing on what you did (without framing the cause), you’re less likely to invoke the wrath of company insiders or co-workers.
Consider how customers could react to details you’re disclosing on LinkedIn.
Executives engaged in digital or business transformation face a unique challenge: by describing how they’ve upgraded outdated practices, they could be revealing problems to end consumers.
Rather than openly providing details on the issues from legacy IT systems or inefficient business models, you can make your point on LinkedIn from a different perspective.
For example, toning down the resume sentence shown below can make it less obvious to consumers that they’d paid a higher price for this company’s products:
RESUME: “Boosted profits 52% after resolving marketing analysis issues, leading to record-making margins and 30% higher prices in 2022.”
LINKEDIN: “Enabled better marketing insights with new analysis techniques, prompting 34% rise in targeted consumer sales.”
The bottom line: LinkedIn isn’t private in any form.
Potentially confidential information (including any copies of your resume floating around online) should be carefully examined to ensure it won’t cause professional or company issues.
So take a closer look at your resume accomplishments and adjust your story BEFORE sharing it on LinkedIn and other platforms.