Improve your LinkedIn profile with Pluralsight courses

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Here’s an idea I’ve seen from some Pluralsight subscribers: List the courses you’ve taken directly on your LinkedIn profile. In this post we'll focus on the best way to do this, but you can also apply the idea to other personal marketing mediums including your resume, cover letter, website, page, github and Stack Overflow profiles. First, you might be asking why you'd want to do this. You may be worried that it seems pompous, or like information overload. But I’ve learned that if we don’t tell people who we are, and how they should see us, then they take whatever information they can find and perceive who we are based on that. This perception becomes our personal brand. Why not, instead, guide them in how we want to be perceived? Putting courses you've completed on your LinkedIn profile communicates various messages, including the following:
  1. That you care about furthering your education, and you willingly invest your time and money in improving your value as an IT professional.
  2. You have a certain level of training, which implies that you won’t come into a new company or project needing much training.
  3. You understand that your professional skills need to be updated, and you take the initiative to do it.
  4. You are willing to learn from others, and expand the breadth and depth of your knowledge and skills.
  5. As a bonus, listing the names of courses, along with what you've learned, can improve the SEO of your LinkedIn profile. The more you mention the names of languages, protocols, acronyms and methodologies, the more likely you are to show up (higher) for those words or phrases.
There are a number of ways to communicate these things on your LinkedIn profile. We can do this with the older sections we’ve always had on the profile, and now we can use the newer sections, as well. The older sections include Professional Headline, Summary, Job and Education areas. They are older, but that isn’t a bad thing. When someone looks at a LinkedIn profile, they expect to see these sections, and they expect to see certain information in each category. In the recently launched Optimize Your LinkedIn Profiles course, I talk about where to put certain words and phrases in order to rank higher in the search engine results. If you really want to show up higher in a search [enter your own specialty or keywords here], there are certain fields in your profile that will have a higher impact than others. These are where you would put the names of programming languages, technologies, methodologies, or even course names you've taken or completed. Every LinkedIn section allows for a certain number of characters. This means you have to be careful what you put where, because putting those SEO-focused words or phrases may not help the person who eventually needs to make sense of your profile. For example, you might fill the Professional Headline (which is just below your name) with many keywords, or the name of a course you have mastered. While a move like this may be good for SEO, it might not make much sense to the reader. In the Summary section I generally like to see your value proposition, what you bring to the table, how you fit into the culture, and why people should be interested in you and your skill set. When I noticed someone list Pluralsight courses, I immediately got this message. This person wants to learn more: Check. This person took the initiative and carved out the time to be a better professional: Check.  This person values the training they took, and by saying they took the training, they're admitting to a certain level of proficiency. Why claim you took a course if you couldn’t answer questions about it? For example, an interviewer might ask, “I see that you took a course on Angular. What are some things that you learned, or things you’ll do differently, because of the course?” Stating that you took a course says “I have a better understanding of, or a certain proficiency with this topic.” If you want to give the message that you're passionate about, or an expert in a topic, put that in the Summary, which is typically at the top of your profile! Along these lines, perhaps you don’t put all of the courses you've taken in your Summary. Only list courses that complement and support your brand. For example, you would include Angular courses (or the number of Angular courses you’ve taken), but you might not put any the career management or job search courses you’ve taken. The brand you want to reinforce is that you are current and expert and passionate in and about Angular, not that you're expert in finding another job (even if you're passionate about finding another job). Another idea is to create a new job record on your profile specifically for Pluralsight courses you’ve taken. This could be a nice place to document all of those courses, which gives you another chance to add keywords, phrases or acronyms to bump you up in the search results. In the LinkedIn Profiles course I show you exactly where to put these words and phrases to rank higher in a search. During the last round of major enhancements to the LinkedIn profile, the company introduced new sections, including the following: Test Scores, Courses, Projects, Certifications, and even Personal Details. It could be appropriate, and even very helpful as far as SEO, to include Pluralsight courses you’ve completed or mastered in those new sections. The main idea is to include more keywords and key phrases so that you show up more, and higher, in search results. You also want to help the human reader know that you are passionate about your own continuing education, and that you're engaged in high quality training. You spend time learning, and becoming better, so why not let others know?

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Jason Alba

Jason Alba is founder and creator of He is a Pluralsight author of multiple courses on job search, career management and personal branding. You can find all his courses on his Pluralsight author page.