Archive for the ‘Articles by Brenda Bernstein’ Category

Top 10 Grammatical and Spelling Errors of 2013


It’s that time of year again! This year I will address some of the top grammatical and spelling errors specifically found on resumes Top Ten Grammatical Errors 2013and business documents, both of which constitute a large portion of what I read. Here’s the list:

#10 - Inconsistencies in Bulleted Lists
If you make a list of bulleted items, whether it be on a resume or on a website, make them consistent in terms of the part of speech you start with. Bullets that start with the words Provide, Assess, Ensure, and Designing are not parallel; nor are bullets that start with Creates, Teaches, Organized, and Fulfills. Perhaps the inconsistent word jumps off the page when listed this way, but I see mismatched bullets in many types of documents every day. Check your bulleted lists carefully!

#9 – Manager/Manger
According to Wikipedia, a “manger” is “a feeder that is made of carved stone, wood, or metal construction and is used to hold food for animals (as in a stable).” A “manager,” in contrast, is a person in a professional setting who supervises a person or team. Don’t mix them up on your resume, or in your Christmas greetings ;-).

#8 – Principal/Principle
“Principal” is an adjective meaning first, highest, or foremost in importance, rank, worth, or degree; or of, relating to, or being financial principal, or a principal in a financial transaction. It can also be a noun meaning a person with a leading role, or one who holds a position of presiding rank or who is a main participant in a situation. “Principle,” in contrast, is a basic truth, tenet or assumption. I realize this spelling distinction can be hard to remember. One trick I use to keep them straight is to think, “You’re my #1 pal” and know that the word ending in “pal” relates to someone or something that is #1.

#7 – PowerPoint/Powerpoint
It’s a common error to miss the capital P in the middle of PowerPoint. Be careful when listing any computer programs on your resume to spell them correctly!

#6 – Set up/Setup
“Set up” is a verb meaning to set something up or put something in a specified state. Notice that there is a word in between “set” and “up” in the definition of “set up,” which you can think of as being substituted with a space. You must set *something* (_) up. “Setup,” however, is a noun meaning the process of preparing something to be used. You might set up the menus in a restaurant if you work there, but you would go to a setup menu to get a computer program ready for use.

#5 – Inconsistent Dashes
If you use dashes in between start and end dates on your resume, or between any items in a document, use the same length dash for every similar set of text! I almost always see inconsistencies, especially on resumes, and they appear unprofessional. Don’t write June 2011-July 2013 in one spot and August 2010—June 2011 in another.

#4 – Apostrophes
This issue makes the list for the third year in a row. Main point: Creating a plural doesn’t require an apostrophe. One client, two clients. To make a singular word possessive, add an apostrophe ‘s’: e.g., I wrote one client’s resume today. To make a plural word possessive, add an apostrophe after the ‘s’: e.g., I reviewed 5 clients’ records and discovered errors in 3 of them. See Top 7 Grammatical and Spelling Errors of 2012 and Top 10 Grammatical and Spelling Errors of 2011 for more on this topic.

#3 – Everyday/Every day
This is a repeat topic as well. Everyday is an adjective meaning “common” or “day-to-day.” Every day means “daily” or “each and every day.” Want to learn a trick to remember which is which? See Common Grammatical Errors: Everyday vs. Every Day.

#2 – Lead/Led
The absolute most common spelling error on resumes is the use of “lead,” meant to be the past tense of “lead.” The past tense of the verb “to lead” is “led”! I would love to see this error disappear from the resume writing world.

#1 – Two spaces after a period!
Sure there are people who still argue that two spaces after a period is acceptable, but I have been fully converted! I have trained my fingers and my eyes to put one space after each period, and I’m attempting to train my clients to “get with the program” as well. If it’s good enough for the Chicago Manual of Style, it’s good enough for me!

Have a happy, healthy, and grammatically correct new year. And remember, I’m always open to hearing your suggestions for my 2014 list!

Top 5 Websites for Your Job Search Over the Holidays


Most job seekers conduct their search by applying for positions posted on various job search websites. They might look on LinkedIn, monster, indeed, or one of many industry-specific sites and identify appropriate jobs. While this tactic is an essential part of every job search, and while some people find jobs this way, the competition is enormous. If you saw the job online, so did hundreds or thousands of other qualified candidates who are also throwing their hat in the ring.

For many, a more fruitful job search strategy is to identify companies where you want to work, then approach them regarding what you have to offer. This “hidden job search” strategy has been effective for thousands of professionals who have created their dream job.

To conduct a “hidden job search,” the first step is to create a list of target companies. This practice, which requires a lot of research, allows you to take control of your search instead of letting the internet dictate what jobs you apply for. The next step is to identify the people you are connected with at those companies and to contact them to start conversations.

The holidays are a perfect time to do some valuable research on what companies you might want to work for. Here are my 5 top recommended websites for your job search over the holidays:

1. LinkedIn is probably the best site for discovering your connections at any company. First, search for companies using the search bar and dropping down to Companies. Type in your keywords or the company name to get a list of companies that fit your target.


Once you choose a company you want to research, go to the company page where you will be informed of “How You’re Connected” to the people at that company. For instance, when I go to the Dell page, I am informed that I have 5 first-degree connections (including the Talent Acquisition Senior Advisor in Phoenix) and 4,406 second-degree connections there. If I wanted to know what it’s like to work at Dell, I’d have quite a few people to reach out to!

 On the company page for most mid- to large-sized companies, you can look at the Careers tab to find out what jobs are available there. And if you want to get the company’s news, click on Follow to get their updates.

 Challenge: There is no “Advanced Search” available for Companies, so you are not able to search based on location or other more refined terms.

2. This site collects news articles (newspaper headlines, online media, and press releases) that indicate company expansion and restructuring. In other words, it saves you the work of doing a google search to find out what jobs might be opening up in your industry. From the home page, click on the Hidden Jobs app and you will be able to choose any U.S. state to see who’s hiring in that state. Then click on “view source” to read the news. It’s free!


Challenge: No ability to search by city, only state; and you don’t know what level of position might be available until you read the source material.

3. From the bottom section of Manta’s home page, you can search for both U.S. and  non-U.S. companies by either industry or location. You can then filter your results by Company Revenue, Number of Employees, Type of Ownership (Public or Private), and Location Type (Headquarters, Branch or Single Location). Within any given industry, you can browse by location as well. You will get the company’s website and snail mail address and you’ll have the option to “Follow company” (an option that requires you to set up a free account).

Challenge: Although manta is a great tool for research, I don’t see the value of building a network here if you have a robust LinkedIn network. Without a network, you won’t find a lot of information about people who work at any given company.

4. From ZoomInfo’s home page, scroll down to the section that says “Browse ZoomInfo’s company directory…” You can search in the US or Canada for companies by industry and then by city. You can then click on any of the search results to found out a company’s address, web address, revenue and number of employees; look a bit further to discover title and contact information of key employees. With a free profile (Community Edition), you can view up to 80 contacts per month.


Challenge: Some of the information on this site is out of date. Links to companies often do not work. Also, the initial list of companies is merely alphabetical and does not have any filtering options, so you may find yourself clicking on company names rather blindly.

5. If you’re looking for inside information on any company, this is the site for you. Click on the Companies tab, enter the name of a company and its location, and you’ll get an overall company rating by company employees, a list of salary ranges for various positions (a magic bullet for that dreaded “Salary Requirements” question!), reviews by employees including pros, cons, advice to senior management, and whether the person would recommend the company to a friend, and information about the company’s interview process and questions.

For full functionality, you’ll need to create an account. I’d say it’s worth it for the interview and salary information alone! The site also has job listings.


Challenge: The site is more integrated with Facebook than LinkedIn so you might not be able to find your professional connections at a company without logging in separately to LinkedIn. Also, it’s hard to tell whether information provided by company employees could be skewed.

Using a combination of all these resources for your research will give you a remarkable amount of information and will put you worlds beyond the average job seeker in terms of your confidence and preparedness in your job search.

Isn’t getting this kind of ammunition worth spending a bit of time during the holidays?

Please let me know what sites you’ve found the most useful for your job search research. And have a wonderful holiday!

Should You Avoid These Top 10 LinkedIn Profile Overused Buzzwords?


LinkedIn has released its annual report on the Top 10 Overused LinkedIn Profile Buzzwords of 2013. This year they analyzed only English-language profiles. As you read this year’s list, consider for each term whether it’s one you should avoid due to overuse, or whether it’s simply an essential word to have in your profile. As I look through the buzzwords, I find I have a different opinion on each one. Here’s the list:

  1. Responsible
  2. Strategic
  3. Creative
  4. Effective
  5. Patient
  6. Expert
  7. Organizational
  8. Driven
  9. Innovative
  10. Analytical


Responsible is a word I have banished from resumes and LinkedIn profiles for years now. I think it must have risen to the top as other overused buzzwords such as “extensive experience,” “results-oriented,” “proven track record” and “team player” have been shaved off most people’s profiles. Avoid using “responsible” in your profile – it doesn’t tell anyone about what you actually did! I’m hoping that the appearance of “Responsible” on LinkedIn’s list will shrink its appearance on resumes.


I’m frankly shocked that strategic just appeared on the top 10 list for the first time this year. I believe its emergence as #2 is a testament to the importance of the word. When your job includes strategic planning you must use this word, since it is central to your business role. If you claim you are a strategic thinker, however, be sure to include examples of that thinking and the results it has produced.


Creative ranked #1 last year and is #3 now. I don’t love this word and rarely use it. “Creative” describes people more than accomplishments and is better left for other people to say about you. Anyone can say they’re creative but the challenge is to prove it. Instead of relying on this buzzword, attach photos and PowerPoints showing your work; provide links to your writing; and describe the ways in which you’ve done things that other people have not.


Effective, which moved from #3 to #4 this year, is a throw-away word in my opinion, often easily avoided by reporting actual results. If you got your intended results, your strategy was effective.


Patient? I’m not sure why this word is suddenly on the top 10 list. I’d say scrap it. Patient is a trait you need to demonstrate, not claim on a piece of paper.


Everyone’s claiming to be an expert these days. If you can truly demonstrate expertise in a particular area, I think it’s okay to use the word (of course this is coming from a woman who calls her company The Essay Expert!) I believe some people might search for terms like “E-Learning Expert” or “Turnaround Expert” ; if they do, you want to have the word “Expert” in your headline and job titles. My caveat would be not to claim you are an expert if you’re really not. Be honest or someone could easily call your bluff.


Organizational first appeared on the buzzword list as #2 in 2011 and kept its ranking in 2012; it has slipped to #7 but is still on the list and I can understand why. Most LinkedIn members are mid- to upper-level managers and executives, for whom organizational goals are extremely important. I think this buzzword is here to stay, at least for a while, and I see no problem with using it.


Driven has started to replace “Results-oriented” as a favorite descriptive word. Take note of its overuse and see if you can provide examples that show your drive instead of calling yourself “driven.” If you would use this word as one of the top three adjectives to describe yourself, you might choose to keep it in your profile. But know that it will be taken with a grain of salt.


Innovative is a persistent one. It was #2 on the list in 2010, #7 in both 2011 and 2012. Honestly this word is a hard one to eliminate if you are in any sort of product marketing or management role. It’s better than “original” or “creative” in my opinion. If you need to use it, use it. But make sure to explain *what* was innovative about your ideas. Don’t just say “innovative” and think that explains something.


Finally, analytical is a word that you might need to use if you’re in marketing, finance, or any profession for which analysis is critical. Only claim to be analytical if analyzing things makes your heart sing and is central to the work you do.


For the first time this year, I have a vision of a world where the top 10 buzzwords on LinkedIn are not “overused,” but instead rank as the important words in business for the year. Let’s cut away the fluff and drill down to the essentials. Anyone with me?

Buzz Buzz!

The Essay Expert’s LinkedIn Advice Covered by U.K. Career Blog!


Last Sunday I was interviewed by Luca Rosi, Editorial Manager at Hays, a leading global professional recruiting group based in the U.K., for his career blog, Keeping ahead of the game. I answered 13 questions and Mr. Rosi published 12 of them in two blog articles on December 1 and 2: “How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 1” and “How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 2.”

If you’re curious to read my answers to the questions below, please visit Luca’s blog. You might also like his most recent entry on how to make an impact at an interview!

How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 1

Has the role of the traditional CV now diminished given the stellar rise of LinkedIn?
Is it as simple as uploading my CV and sprinkling a few keywords to make my profile search friendly?
What’s the biggest mistake professionals make with their LinkedIn profiles?
What three things can I do today to build my personal online brand?
Do I really need 500+connections? What can I do to boost my numbers?
If I’m unemployed, should I reveal this in my headline for example?

How to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile 2

Would you recommend that I upgrade to a premium account to boost my chances of finding a job?
What’s the protocol for recommendations? Surely I shouldn’t have to ask…
Apart from joining groups (the Q&A section is no longer), how else can I demonstrate my expertise?
How regularly should I be sharing updates and do they all have to be related to my industry?
Should I be using more of partner applications such as Slideshare?
And finally, what’s the best piece of career advice that anyone has given you?

What happened to the 13th question and answer? Here it is:

The average age of a LinkedIn user is 41. Is this the platform for graduates or first jobbers?

BB: Some of those 41-year-olds are recruiters and hiring managers. So absolutely! Also some new features on LinkedIn are more specifically geared toward younger job seekers.

Are there questions you want me to answer? Please post them in the comments!

Lessons in Life and Marketing Yourself (a.k.a. What I Learned at the River Food Pantry)


Last Friday evening I volunteered at the River Food Pantry, the busiest food pantry in my county. The pantry distributes 30 thousand pounds of food to 600 families per week—I think I personally distributed about 1000 pounds of it, as I was in charge of giving out cabbages.

These were not just ordinary cabbages like the ones you see in the grocery store. Some of them were bigger than my head and eaLessons from a Cabbagesily weighed 7 pounds.

My cabbage volunteer experience taught me many lessons about life and even resumes. Here’s some of what I learned:

  1. I *do* have time in my life for volunteering, and it feels good. All it takes is putting it in my calendar. This time it helped that a group of friends all decided to volunteer on the same day. Volunteering is even more fun as a community and when you can go out with friends afterward! (Maybe you are procrastinating something that would get done if you put it in your calendar and/or made a group experience out of it?)
  2. When there are small cabbages and big cabbages, most people do not want the big cabbages. But when there are only big cabbages, people take the big ones. Of course some people simply don’t like cabbage. But if you’re interested in cabbage, the desirability of any given one is all in your perspective. (It is your job to make yourself or your product look desirable when compared to all the other choices around it.)
  3. When told, “You can have one of everything on this table,” (a table filled with berries, pumpkins and potatoes in addition to heads of cabbage) people often skip over the cabbage. But when asked, “Would you like a cabbage?” most people will take a cabbage. And when further offered, “A nice big one?” most people will take a big one. This phenomenon reminded me of how simple our minds are. Put whatever you want people to notice in front of their noses; draw their attention to it and they will probably bite. We humans are so suggestible. (This strategy works on resumes too!)
  4. People like variety. On a cart to my right there were packs of cut watermelon. No one was taking them. But when they were placed on a table next to packs of blackberries and people were told they could choose two things, they chose variety: one watermelon and one blackberry instead of 2 blackberries. The watermelon, previously unwanted, flew off the shelves. (Workplaces and colleges look for variety too. You might be the right fit just because you are different!)
  5. People like things that look pretty. About an hour into my shift, I decided to start cleaning up the cabbages, taking off the outer leaves, before offering them to customers. The number of cabbage takers increased significantly. (Can you see an implication for your job search and marketing documents here?)
  6. I like to finish what I started. Even after my friends had completed their tasks, I found it impossible to leave with them until I had given out cabbages to the last patron. I’m sure someone else could have peeled cabbage leaves just as well as I did, but for some reason I felt I needed to see my job through to the end. And so I did.

Do you have a tradition of volunteering at holiday time? I’d love to hear what it is! And perhaps this year you can use the occasion as a way to learn some life lessons as well as spread holiday cheer.

Halloween Word Play: You Should Be Frightened…


Halloween always makes me think of my Yale College days and the clever costumes my classmates would devise. My favorite was a couple who dressed as “Paradise Lost.” They each donned a boxy six-sided die and walked around holding a map. Yes, they were a “pair of dice, lost.”

Over the weekend, at one of the workshops I take at Wright, I overheard a conversation between two women in the ladies room about their plans for the evening. One of them mentioned that she was going to a jack-o-lantern making party; the other lamented that she would probably not be able to attend a family event that night because of other commitments, but that she would try to carve out the time to go. “Looks like both of you will be carving something!” I observed.

Wordplay is a big part of my life. I’m often the person to notice puns when they weren’t intended. Halloween is not required. In a conversation with one of my subcontracting resume writers, we were discussing my preference for keeping the word “I” out of resumes. Without realizing what he was saying, he blurted, “I’ll keep an eye out for that!” “No pun intended,” I responded. (Indeed, I was recommending that he keep an “I” out!)

While any time is a great time for a good pun or wordplay in my book, Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to experiment with visual representation. For instance, what costume would you wear if you were dressing as a “Cereal Killer”? How about “Iron Maiden”? A “French Kiss”? A “Black-Eyed P”? “Blessing in Disguise”? Or perhaps you’d like to be a “Dust Bunny” or a “Chocolate Moose”? See the “Deviled Egg” to the right.

The possibilities are endless and although some Halloween parties have already happened, perhaps I’ve given you sufficient lead time to devise a creative costume if you’ve been wanting to break out of the standard witch or ghost costume this year.

I personally am dressing this year as “Facing Your Fears.” I will dress in black and most likely carry around a furry black and orange spider. I will carry a rearview mirror on which anyone willing to participate can write one of their fears in orange lipstick. They will then be able to face their fears in the rearview mirror.

What will your costume be this Halloween? Do you have ideas of ways to dress for any of the suggestions above? What’s your favorite Halloween pun? Please share!

How to Handle a Resume “Gap” – Conference November 6 in Silicon Valley!


Gaps Happen

How to handle a “gap” in employment is a frequently discussed and debated topic for job seekers, resume writers and other career professionals. General wisdom is that employers prefer to hire people who are currently employed, or at least who have a consistent work history. But real people make choices based on family obligations and important other human factors that don’t always match the picture of an “ideal” candidate.

There are, to be fair, several challenges if you are returning to work after an absence. How can you accurately assess your career options? What steps can you take to build your confidence and sharpen your interview skills? What are some strategies for finding meaningful work? These are all great questions to explore—and none of them have anything to do with a true problem or impossibility in finding work.

Nothing’s Wrong!

I do not subscribe to the idea that there is something “wrong” if you took a break from the workforce to raise children, care for an ailing parent, or heal from an illness yourself. These choices prove only that you are a caring, committed human being. I do not necessarily recommend that you reveal the reason for your work sabbatical on your resume, especially if you have significant accomplishments to share from that time period; but I don’t think it’s a complete no-no either.

I have seen resumes that use an inspiring story of cancer recovery to prove how an executive job seeker attacks every challenge in his life and comes out ahead. I have seen people be explicit about the reason for their work hiatus, and get a great job. Some of my tips for other ways to handle a resume gap can be found in my book, How to Write a WINNING Resume… 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target, which is FREE on Amazon through Tuesday October 22! Click below to download the book FREE today!

How to Write a WINNING Resume

November 6th Conference for People Returning to Work

I will be speaking at the Connect Work Thrive Conference in the San Francisco Bay Area on resumes and employment gaps, as well as on writing a KILLER LinkedIn® profile, on November 6th. If you are located in California and would like to join me for a day full of top-notch advice and strategies on returning to work, please register for the conference by October 22 (last day for special pricing) to get $50 off the conference price ($150 off the walk-in price!), PLUS an additional $50 off when you use coupon code ESSAYEXPERT. See the workshop schedule here. At the conference you will…

  •  identify and effectively communicate your areas of strength
  •  determine resources you need
  •  learn successful return-to-work strategies and tactics
  •  connect with firms in need of your skills

Return to Work Conference

In the long run, if you identify a job that’s the right fit, have the necessary skills and knowledge for the position, and present those skills powerfully on your resume, I believe you will likely get an interview even with a resume “gap.” Walk into your interview well-prepared and with confidence, and you can impress even the most skeptical hiring manager to get a meaningful job you truly want.

How to Write a WINNING Resume – FREE on Amazon October 18-22!


I’m happy to announce that for FIVE days beginning October 18, 2013, my new e-book, How to Write a WINNING Resume… 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target, will be available for FREE on Amazon Kindle! This e-book takes you through the entire resume writing process, from concept and preparation through formatting and special issues you might face.

Here’s a sample of one of the 50 tips included in the book. Download the book for FREE on Amazon, October 18th through 22nd, to get the remaining 49!

Consider Including a Chart, Graph or Testimonial

If you are in sales or you are an executive, you might choose to create a chart or graph as a pictorial representation of your accomplishments. If you’re a receptionist or a nursery school teacher, a graph would be overkill. Here are some samples of a graph or chart included in a resume:

Only use a graph if appropriate for the position to which you’re applying. In Career Directors International’s survey Global Hiring Trends 2012, 33% of respondents reported that they still have not received a resume with a chart or a graph. 24% of those who had seen charts and graphs found them helpful or very helpful, while 22% found them distracting. These results are rather inconclusive but indicate that if you work in a conservative industry (such as insurance or finance) it might be best to stick to the tried and true bullet format; in more innovative industries, or for marketing and sales positions, charts and graphs are a great fresh approach. For someone climbing the ladder within the same company, charts and graphs might also be very effective. When in doubt, keep it simple!


You might not particularly like tooting your own horn, and frankly, some things are much more credible when said by people other than yourself. If you have received recommendations on LinkedIn®, positive feedback in evaluations, or testimonials in any form, consider putting them on your resume!

Here’s what a testimonial might look like:


The use of testimonials is becoming more and more common on resumes. In Global Hiring Trends 2012, 29% of those surveyed said a testimonial would influence their decision positively. So take advantage of this trend and let your potential employer know what past employers (or professors if you are a new graduate) have to say about you! You may place the testimonial in the top third of the resume, near the relevant position, or anywhere that makes sense and is visually appealing.


Was this article helpful? You can find more tips like this (49 more to be exact!) in my new do-it-yourself resume writing e-book titled How to Write a WINNING Resume… 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target. And specifically for executives, I’ve authored a second version just for you called How to Write a STELLAR Executive Resume… 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target.

** From October 18th through 22nd, get your copy of How to Write a WINNING Resume absolutely FREE on Amazon! Or purchase How to Write a STELLAR Executive Resume for just $9.97.**

How to Write a STELLAR Executive Resume... 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target        How to Write a WINNING Resume... 50 Tips to Reach Your Job Search Target

Remember: When you send me a link to your Amazon review, your name will be entered into a bi-annual drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card! You will also be entered into my monthly drawing to win Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s Job Search Success System (winner of a 2011 CDI Career Innovator Award and a $97 value – check it out here). Click the images above to check out the reviews, purchase, or write a review of your own for a chance to win!


Life as a Service (LaaS)…


Do you ever get the feeling that your life is all about you and your own little world? I sometimes do, and when it happens I feel very small. Those are the moments where I think I need to travel the world or somehow make a bigger difference. But then there are moments where I understand on a deep level that my life is a contribution—and that every life is a contribution, whether human or plant or animal. In those moments there is no separation between me and the universe.

Last week I managed to get outside of my small-brained thoughts for long enough to feel that magical connection, and to write a poem about it. My life changed for the better after writing this poem. People reached out to me more, congratulated me and affirmed me more, and even gave me free stuff! Here is my message…

My Life as a Blessing

I am a host to the wind, the trees, the birds.

It is my charge to care for every living creature.

I hold space for the leaves to shake and shimmer.

I hold space for the moon to shine, for the rain to cleanse the earth.

I hold space for the sludge, the earthquakes, the fire ants.

I wake up early to usher the sun to the sky.

I make the bed for its setting.

I pick up the litter.

I pick raspberries for breakfast.

Earth, do you have everything you need?

Shall I put flowers in a vase by your bedside? A mint on your pillow?

How may I serve you? How might I host you?

Come on in. Rest your weary head.

You are welcome here.


You, my reader, are welcome here on my site and as part of my work and life. What can I do for you?

In the spirit of contribution and service, I invite you to ask yourself this question: How can I care for myself and the people and world around me?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

(For the non-techies out there, the title of this blog is a reference to cloud services such as Sales as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Maybe some of you geeks out there caught that!)

4 Ways to Take Control of your LinkedIn Endorsements


LinkedIn Skills & ExpertiseI’m a self-identified control freak when it comes to certain aspects of my life, and as such, I am perpetually perturbed by the Skills & Expertise section on LinkedIn. The way this section works, anyone can endorse me for anything – even things I know nothing about! And if enough people endorse me for things I do not consider important, these skills will be prominently displayed at the top of my Skills list.


You might, like me, get an email almost daily telling you that someone wants to endorse you for “new” Skills not currently listed on your profile. And if you’re like me, there was a reason you didn’t list that skill in the first place. Either you don’t have that skill or you don’t want to market it.

What I do in this situation is press “Skip” and wait until the next well-meaning person endorses me for skills I don’t have.

At the National Resume Writers’ Association Conference in Chicago this past week, LinkedIn endorsements were a hot topic. We are all concerned that the wrong people are endorsing us for the wrong things. In one session about LinkedIn, trainer Dean DeLisle suggested that we take control of our Skills & Expertise and stop complaining about it!

How can you wield control over this pesky section? Well, let me tell you:

  1. Fill in ALL 50 Skills. This way there will be less likelihood of additional, inappropriate skills being added to your profile. You would have to delete one skill to add another.
  2. Press “Skip” to decline adding Skills to your profile.
  3. Know that the skills listed at the top of your Skills list are the ones with the most endorsements. If you want different skills to show up there, ask your connections to endorse you for the ones you want to appear at the top! (I am going to do this momentarily. Be forewarned.)
  4. As a last resort, you can delete a skill, add it back, and start over from zero endorsements. That will push other skills higher up on your list.

Please Take Action! A Request

I’ve found that a lot of people seem to endorse me for Blogging, Social Networking, Social Media Marketing, Nonprofits, Career Management, Time Management, and a lot of other things I don’t market as my specialties. My request to you is to endorse me for the list of Skills & Expertise that appears below. Please only do so if you are confident that I have the skill! Also note that to endorse a skill, you must be a 1st-degree connection. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn if we are not already connected.

Hint when endorsing anyone for skills: Don’t default or be limited to the ones suggested at the top of their profile! Scroll down in the profile to the Skills & Expertise section and choose from there. You will be able to click on a + sign to choose the skill.

For example:

Resume Writing


Here’s my list of requests. Thanks in advance for your support!

  1. Resume Writing
  2. Executive Resumes
  3. Executive Resume Writing
  4. Sales Resumes
  5. Marketing Resumes
  6. C-Level Resumes
  7. Senior Management Resumes
  8. Supply Chain Resumes
  9. Operations Resumes
  10. LinkedIn
  11. LinkedIn Profiles
  12. Cover Letters
  13. Professional Bios
  14. College Application Essays
  15. MBA Admissions Consulting
  16. Law School Admissions Consulting
  17. Law School Resumes

I’m making this request partly as an experiment in service of my e-book, How to Write a KILLER LinkedIn Profile. If I can change the appearance of my Skills & Expertise section, then I will be able to stand tall and recommend similar action to my e-book readers in the 8th edition.

Also, if you think I am familiar with your skills and want me to endorse you for specific ones, I will do so IF I know your abilities first-hand.

Thank you and I look forward to the changing face of all our LinkedIn profiles!