3 new norms of promoting professional successes in the digital age

Struggling with how to promote your professional successes as part of your workplace brand? You’re in luck: LinkedIn has just announced the results of a 2015 global survey of 15,000 full time workers. Titled “New Norms @Work,” it’s a comprehensive, global study of how workers are managing their personal brands in the digital age, touching on topics such as workplace dress codes, self-promotion and the use of social media.

As I dug through the data, all of it fascinating, I gleaned a few interesting facts to help you quickly boost the effectiveness of how you showcase your professional accomplishments in real time. Here are three “new norms” to consider when promoting your track record at work or online:

1. It’s OK to promote your accomplishments

When you discuss your own successes at work, how do you imagine it makes others feel?

If you guessed that it makes them annoyed, think again. In fact, only 7.5% of full time workers surveyed across the 19 markets internationally said they find it annoying when colleagues share their workplace success.

Jealous? Not that, either. Only 6.2% respondents reported feeling jealous when colleagues discussed their successes. Further, only 6.1% found it inappropriate, and 5% said it made them feel embarrassed. More than a quarter said it actually motivates them when their colleagues discuss work place success. One quarter said they feel it is more appropriate to self-promote now on social media than it was before.

So go ahead, share your successes at work. After all, you’re more likely to motivate your colleagues than to turn them off.

2. There’s an ideal number of jobs to list

Lesson number two deals with the ideal number of jobs to show on your LinkedIn profile.

When asked how many jobs they think looks impressive on another person’s resume or on LinkedIn, the average answer people gave was “three”. Only 8% of respondents thought that listing more than five jobs looks impressive.

So my advice is keep your LinkedIn profile up to date with your three most recent roles. Beyond that, you’ve not impressing anyone.

And just in case that prompts you to go to LinkedIn to update the number of jobs you have listed, don’t get distracted with all the other possible updates you could be making. After all, it can be tempting to constantly tweak your LinkedIn profile in an effort to make it stand out. Which leads us to the next point:

3. Quit fiddling with your LinkedIn profile

Is it just me, or has anyone else ever wasted a good part of their day updating every little thing on your LinkedIn profile? Last time I signed on to LinkedIn and visited my profile page, up popped a reminder to add “volunteer work” to my profile. Short on time, I ignored it and, now that I’ve read the survey, I’m glad that I did.

It’s so darn easy to get sucked in to uploading a new profile pic, adding the latest educational achievement, blog post, etc.

But guess what? None of that stuff boosts your credibility anywhere near to the extent that your professional track record does. Across all 19 countries surveyed, the number one factor that impressed people about a colleague’s professional profile was their work history. 56% of respondents said that what impresses them most about a colleague’s profile is their work experience. Education was a distant second at 29%, followed by volunteer experience at 17%. Only one in ten were impressed by profile pictures.*

So hopefully knowing all of this comes as something of a relief. So go, update your LinkedIn profile to three jobs, tossing in a few workplace successes as you do, then shut that browser down, and go do something more productive or fun with the extra time you won’t spend updating all that other stuff.

Crafting a kick-butt workplace brand can be a bit intimidating, but with this new data, hopefully sharing your success will be easier than ever.


* It’s worth mentioning, though, that according to LinkedIn your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if it has your picture (so for goodness sake add one if you haven’t already.)

Jo Miller

Jo Miller is a globally renowned authority on women’s leadership. She’s dedicated two decades to helping women advance into positions of influence by leveraging their leadership strengths. Based on her work with hundreds of thousands of women, she developed a pragmatic and powerful roadmap that guides women to become the leaders they aspire to be. Jo shares this proven process in her book Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw Hill, 2019.)

Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.com and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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